Aboitiz, like it always does, takes the lead

Volleyball smashes our province this weekend with the Shakey’s Girls V-League Visayas regional eliminations. Soccer, with 39 days left before the Fifa World Cup, is kicking up a football storm with the CAFC 10th National Interclub Invitational meet at the USC-TC grounds. Archery is firing! Thanks to the record number of 175 archers who are now at the Aboitiz Sports Field. Tennis? How about the nation’s top two, Johnny Arcilla and PJ Tierro, who’ll topspin forehands and slice backhands at 3 p.m. later in Mandaue?

Summer sports is hot. Plus, this morning, it’s Sugar vs. Money. And, just yesterday, didn’t we witness Pau Gasol resurrect the LA Lakers from defeat with a two-pointer just 0.5 seconds from the buzzer? How about the Dallas Mavericks, seeded No. 2, ousted in Round One? You want even more sizzling news? Tiger Woods three-putt bogeys on consecutive holes and, on Hole 15, four-putt double bogeys from 30 feet, missing the cut with a 7-over 79. Ouch. What a boiling-hot sports Labor Day.

ARCHERY. The hottest—literally—event this weekend? The 1st Cebu Archery Open. Held at the Aboitiz Sports Field grounds, I made sure to feel the heat, visiting at 3 p.m. yesterday.

Marvin Agustin, the actor/sportsman, was there. He wore a black-and-red sleeveless shirt. Very timely as I arrived, his name was called together with 17 others for the men’s competition. Among the archers was Cebu-based Dondon Sombrio, who’s a member of the RP Team.

What did I see? Men lined up, standing right, facing left, all eyes on the target. There were a total of 18 targets, all multi-colored circles. They were far: 70 meters away. The wind? It swirled and howled. It was windy. Which made the event more challenging as many of the archers, I was told, were used to archery with little or no-wind conditions.

The bows and arrows? Ahh, so unlike Robin Hood’s. For what I saw were expensive, state-of-the-art bows, all in various handles, colors and shapes. “This is not only the country’s biggest archery event,” said Joanna Fajardo-Salazar, one of the key organizers of this meet, “it’s also the first time that we’ll have competition at night.” Wow. Night games. That’s interesting, I told Joanna. No sun and, possibly, less wind.

Archery, I’ve observed, is all about concentration. Yes, it’s physical, since you need strength to power that arrow across 70 meters; but, even more essential, is one’s strength found in-between our ears. Thus far, said Joanna, the contest has been a blistering success. Congratulations to the Cebu Archery Club, led by its energetic president, Dondi Joseph.

TENNIS. Just two kilometers away from where the archers stood were the tennisters who sprinted. Four players were vying for the champion’s trophy of the 3rd Jonas C. Cortes Men’s Open.

After two hours of play during the semi-finals, the No. 1 seed Johnny Arcilla beat Ralph Kevin Barte, 6-4, 6-1, and PJ Tierro bested Elbert Anasta, 7-6, 6-3. This means that, as expected, the top two netters of our country will battle on the rectangle clay-court. The Final is at 3 p.m. today and the winner receives P20,000 while the runner-up gets half the amount. Venue is the Mandaue Tennis Complex (beside the city’s Cultural and Sports Complex).

ABOITIZ. The archery competition was held at the Aboitiz Sports Field, which has become, the past year since it’s opened, a major, major help for Cebu sports.

Baseball, softball, football, rugby, flag football plus many more outdoor events (including one of the biggest soccer events in the country, The Aboitiz Cup) are being held at this 40,000-square-meter expanse of greenland beside Makro in Mandaue. What the government has failed to do (provide the citizenry with plenty of public venues for sports), the Aboitizes have accomplished.

To Bobby and Andoni Aboitiz, and the entire Aboitiz group: Like the example you’ve set in the business community, you’ve done the same for Cebu sports.

John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!

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