Our goal: To be PacMan in tennis shoes

For nearly an hour yesterday morning, I watched the Japanese players practice. They wore Yonex, a Japanese brand. Go Soeda, their No.1, donned a bright red shirt. His forehand and double-fisted backhand were just as bright: cross-court, down-the-line—he could pound the yellow ball to any corner. Their second-ranked netter, Tatsuma Ito, wore blue. Tall at 5’11”, his serve boomed. It echoed around the newly-build stadium of Plantation Bay. He’ll be a formidable and tall sight for our Pinoys.

Good thing the sun reappeared yesterday. After a full day of rain last Sunday, it was outdoor-court practice time for the players. The Japanese practiced from 10 a.m. until 12 noon. Our Filipino Davis Cuppers took the court from 2 to 4 p.m. After that, it was back to the Japanese. That’s how it will be today until Thursday—two hours alternating time until Friday’s “The Battle of Mactan.”

On paper, give the edge to the visitors. Go Soeda, based on the Davis Cup website, is ranked world no. 108. That’s high. His teammate, Tatsuma Ito, is world 168. Their third player, Yuichi Sugita, is no. 175.

Check out the flying flag on top of the waterfalls

The Pinoys? Cecil Mamiit, who had a ranking as high as no. 72, is now at 738 in the world. Treat Huey (doubles ranking no. 101) sits at 886 in singles. Based on numbers, we lose. But Davis Cup is not about numbers. So many a DC tie I’ve witnessed where—given the external factors (climate, surface, cheering/home court)—a much higher-ranked player succumbs to the pressure and wilts. He loses.

As a Filipino, we hope this happens. We hope, like Manny Pacquiao, who rose from obscurity to defy every handicap facing him (remember how we thought Oscar de la Hoya would destroy MP?)—we hope for the same from Pacquiao’s countrymen in tennis. Or how the Azkals—anonymous before last December—have now transformed into the darlings of sport. The ball is round. The sun, too, is round. We hope these two combine like doubles partners to weaken the invaders.

Looking down? We hope so.


Seven reasons to watch the Davis Cup

Only five days remain before the first serve is smashed to start the Japan-Philippines tennis battle. Why make the trip to Plantation Bay Resort and Spa from March 4 to 6?

1) Be part of history. Never before in the sport of tennis has an event of this magnitude landed in our shores. This is major, major. No, it’s not a major Grand Slam event (there are only four: in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York) but, in this hemisphere, this is major.

2) Japan. Our country faces no better “enemy” than the Japanese. We have a long history with our neighbors. Our conquerors during World War II in 1941, they have also dominated our tennis rivalry at the Davis Cup. Out of 26 encounters, they’ve won 17, including our last meeting 12 months ago…

3) Beatable. Which brings me to “winnability.” Although we got blanked, 5-0, when we faced Japan in March of 2010, there are several changes involved today. First, the venue. Davis Cup is unique because the hosting alternates. This week, we host Japan; last year, we were the visitors and they played our squad on a lightning-fast indoor court with 5,000 screaming, wailing, howling Japanese. Now, it’s the opposite: it’s outdoor, slow (clay-court) and the ones banging drums and chanting PI-LI-PI-NAS will be Pinoys. Also, last year, the scores were close: Treat Huey (our player) lost in five sets; Mamiit, in four close sets. If we tweak the surroundings, who knows, the result (we hope) will be the reverse.

4) World-class. Everything about the Davis Cup is A-1. It’s an ace of a tournament. It began in 1900 as a friendly match between the Americans and the British. Today, it involves 125 nations and is officially “the world’s largest annual international team competition in sport.” It’s special. So is the court. So are the 1,500 bleachers, constructed by the Lapu-Lapu City government. So is, of course, Plantation Bay.

5) Hot. With this word, I mean literally. It will turn your skin color to red (or dark black!). With no roofing on top of the bleachers and with the games scheduled from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., you’ll be baked. Which is why you should watch. If our DC players can suffer from the heat (yes, we hope, for our team’s sake and given the winter season in Japan, that it will be hot!), then we can cheer for them under the scorching sun.

6) See the stars. The Japanese team is composed of Go Soeda, Tatsuma Ito, Yuichi Sugita and Takao Suzuki. (Their top-ranked netter, Kei Nishikori, ranked world no. 66, is not coming to Mactan. Good for us.) As for Team PHL, we have Cecil Mamiit (who also doubles as the captain), Treat Conrad Huey, Johnny Arcilla and Elbert Anasta (plus alternate PJ Tierro).

Mamiit, based in Los Angeles, is our Pinoy version of Michael Chang. He’s fast, tough, steady, tenacious. In his career, he has beaten Chang, Mark Woodforde and even Andre Agassi (who defaulted after leading, 6-0, 6-6).

Treat Huey, 25, is based in Virginia, U.S.A. His mother is from Manila. Like Nadal, he is left-handed. Now world-ranked 101 in doubles, his favorite quote is… “If winning isn’t everything, then why do people keep score?”

7) It’s three days. Unlike most one-day-only sporting events, the Davis Cup runs the entire weekend. On Friday, it’s the first two singles matches. (All are best-of-five.) On Saturday, it’s the crucial doubles match. And, on Sunday, it’s the reverse singles. Whoever wins three out of five, wins.

I often get asked: Which day is the best to watch? My answer: Every day. Friday is all-important (and electrifying) because it’s pressure-filled. If the score is 2-0 at day’s end, that gives the winning team huge confidence. If it’s 1-all, the next day’s doubles is pivotal. (BTW, the Mamiit-Huey tandem beat the same Japanese doubles team in the Asian Games two months ago.) Finally, Sunday. If the score is 2-1, the finale is the most breathtaking. Each day is riveting. Get your tickets today! Few are left at SM City’s Nike Stadium or at Ayala Center’s Planet Sports. See you in DC.

ALA Boys with the Davis Cuppers

Round One! Cecil Mamiit vs. Boom-Boom Bautista

World champion Donnie Nietes with Elbert Anasta

Boom-Boom with Johnny Arcilla

Donnie with Treat Huey

Boxers turned tennis players turned boxers

Photo Contest

Best Beach/Island Theme Tennis Outfit Photo Contest
Mechanics: ??1. The male or female model must be smiling and wearing a beach or island theme tennis outfit while holding a tennis racquet
2. Accessories such as swim goggles, floaters, music players and the like, are encouraged
3. To submit your photo entry, LIKE the fan page www.facebook.com/daviscuplapulapucity and post your photo on its wall.
4. In the photo caption, state the name of the photographer, address and contact numbers
5. Criteria for judging: ??*** Most number of photo LIKEs – 20%?*** Relevance to the theme – 50%?*** Creativity – 30%
6. The following prizes will be awarded to the contest winners: ??— First Prize —?Two (2) VIP season tickets?Overnight stay for 2 at Plantation Bay Resort & Spa ??— Second Prize —?Two (2) season tickets with reserved seats?Free day use of facilities for 2 at Plantation Bay Resort & Spa ??— Third Prize —?Two (2) free-seating tickets for 3 days?Open dinner for 2 at Plantation Bay Resort & Spa ??— Ten (10) Consolation prizes —?One (1) free-seating ticket each for 3 days
7. Deadline for posting of entries will be on March 1, 2011. Winners will be announced on March 2, 2011. The winning photos will be shown through a slideshow on the tournament dates.
8. For more information, kindly visit www.lapulapucity.gov.ph or call (+63 32) 341-1822 and look for Marizel.

Free! Plantation Bay stay, DC VIP tickets

Our tennis players arrived last Monday. Wearing blue-and-white shirts with PILIPINAS printed at the back, they carried with them giant tennis bags and even larger, jumbo-sized smiles. Excited. That’s how they looked. I helped welcome them at the airport. Thanks to Harry Radaza, we rode an open-air truck that transported our Davis Cuppers from MCIAA to Plantation Bay. Along the route, hundreds of schoolchildren stood. They cheered. Screamed. Waved flags. Loud music played. Fireworks erupted. Twenty cars, 33 motorbikes and hundreds paraded. Cecil Mamiit snapped photos with his Canon DSLR. PJ Tierro slapped high-fives. “So this is how it feels to be Manny Pacquiao!” I told Harry as hundreds lined the streets of Lapu-Lapu City.

What a welcome! “First-time pa ko ka experience ingon ani,” said Johnny Arcilla, our local No.1, in the press conference. If the Cebuano hospitality astounded our countrymen-visitors, what followed next had them dazzled. Minutes after landing in Plantation Bay, we walked. There, surrounded by 1,500 red and blue brand-new-smelling seats, sat the center stage that will be the focus of next weekend’s Battle of Mactan.

“Amazing,” said Mamiit, the 34-year-old captain who was once ranked world no. 72. Three months ago with Efren Belarmino, Randy Villanueva, Harry Radaza and myself, Cecil stood on the same spot. It was bare. Two rotten hard-courts slept. No bleachers stood. It was quiet.

Today, it’s the Australian Open transported from Melbourne to Cebu. World-caliber tennis will unfold when yellow Slazenger balls will be smothered. Racquet strings will snap. Arms, raised; victories, claimed. Japan? Philippines? Only three letters will stand… JPN or PHL. Go, PILIPINAS!

BASELINE. Since it’s a holiday in Cebu City today, why not watch the players? For the first time, get to see them train. At the Baseline tennis courts, they’ll practice from 2:30 to 5 p.m.

Treat (pronounced “Tret”) Conrad Huey you’ll watch. Same with J. Arcilla, Elbert Anasta, PJ Tierro and C. Mamiit. They’ll use up two courts. They’ll exchange hundreds of forehands. After, they’ll sign autographs and smile for photos. Be there for today’s open session Fans Day.

FB CONTEST. Here’s your chance to win an overnight stay for two at the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa. And, with it, a pair of VIP tickets (priced at P5,000 each) to the Davis Cup, scheduled this March 4 to 6. The game is simple. Log-in to Facebook and go to “DavisCupLapuLapuCity.” Read the mechanics. All you need is a photo in beach wear holding a racquet… send the picture and–TA-DA!–who knows, you just might be sipping fresh mango juice while sunbathing at one of Asia’s best. Visit FB now.

4th Olango Challenge


KICK off those running shoes and put on your swimming caps; the time has come to take your athletic skills away from fun runs and test them in the open waters of Mactan Island. Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and Philippine Aquatic Sports Association (PASA) invites all competitive and non-competitive swimmers to join the 4th OLANGO CHALLENGE, a fund raising open water swim for the benefit of the people of Olango Island.

The event will take place at Tambuli Beach Club on April 30, 2011 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Launched in 2008, the OLANGO CHALLENGE was crafted with the same dynamic as that of the open water swim category of the Beijing Summer Olympics to help promote open water swimming marathon discipline in this country. The swimming event also serves as an advocacy campaign to highlight the importance of a clean marine environment and raise awareness about the high incidence of drowning in the Philippines.

For four years now, the OLANGO CHALLENGE continues to help improve the lives of 2,300 families on Olango Island through the delivery of basic social services, the provision of sustainable income opportunities and the rehabilitation of the unique environment of the island.

Proceeds of the past Olango Challenges went to the construction and refurbishment of classrooms, the promotion and practice of organic vermiculture and the greening of Olango Island. The 3rd Olango Challenge allowed for the reforestation of 5,200 trees on Olango Island. The construction of another two-room classroom building for the public elementary school at Barangay Caw-Oy shall begin next week and should be completed in time for the 2011-2012 school year.

Proceeds of this year’s Olango Challenge are programmed for use towards an extensive reforestation effort of Olango Island.

Winners of last year’s Olango Challenge include Rey Suerte and Alali Ada Villocino for the 1.5K. Competitive Category; Jason Ong and Lorhiz Echavez of the 2.5K Competitive Category; Nikita Dacera. and Erika Lukang of the 5K Category and Franz Baguio of the 5K Fun Category.

Interested entrants of the 4th Olango Challenge may join the 2K and 6K competitive, competitive relay or the fun categories. Registration is pegged at P500.00 for the 2K and 6K competitive swim, P500.00 for the competitive relay category and P2, 000.00 for the fun category. Discounts will be given to those who register on or before April 8, 2011.

To join the event, interested swimmers may visit the PBSP office at the fourth floor of PLDT, Juan Luna Ave., Mabolo, Cebu City or the PASA office located at Rm 201, Bldg. B, Philsports Complex, Meralco Ave., Pasig City. Online registration is available via email at [email protected] or [email protected]. Visit the event’s blog site at http://olangochallenge.wordpress.com/ for downloadable forms and updated

For personalized information, please look for Riva of PBSP at (032) 232-5270 or 232-5283 or Alex of PASA at (02) 687-7403. @

Other queries may be addressed to:
Philippine Business for Social Progress
Visayas Regional Office
4F PLDT Building, Juan Luna Ave.
Mabolo, Cebu City 6000
Tel: (032) 232-5270 | 232-5283
Fax: (032) 232-5286 Email: [email protected]
Please visit our Web site www.pbsp.org.ph
Please visit our Visayas blog www.pbspvro.blogspot.com

Categorized as Swimming

Cebu Fire Run

The Cebu Filipino-Chinese Volunteers Fire Brigade (CFCVFB) is set to hold the Cebu Fire Run 2011 slated for March 6, 2011, Sunday at the Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu Business Park grounds.  This is in line with CFCVFB’ 30 years of dedicated service. Aside from the Run activities are lined from March 4 to 6 mall hours at the Activity Area of Ayala Center Cebu.  CFCVFB will hold a photo exhibit featuring the volunteer firefighter in action.  The photos were taken by friends and volunteers during the line of duty.

Alongside the photo exhibit are booths like a photo wall where you can have your picture taken with fire gear and hose, a lecture area and fire drill / simulation area where people can experience the proper procedure to follow in case of fire emergencies.

All these activities are geared at promoting the Learn not to Burn Program in a fun way.  Firemen in complete fire uniforms and gear will be around along with the mascot Sparky the Fire Dog.  Leaflets, bookmarks and certificates are given to the first 1,500 visitors.

The Learn Not to Burn® (LNTB®) fire safety education program that is available to elementary school children worldwide. Based on the USA’s National Fire Protection Association’s curriculum, it includes songs, stories, puppets, games and other activities to teach fire safety behavior in a way that children can understand and remember.

The Cebu Fire Run will be managed by Runcheck.  Registration details are: 15k P300.00; 7.5k P250.00; 3k P250.00.  There is also the Kiddie Dash 100 meters and 200 meters.  Run starts at 5:00 am and assembly is at 4:30 am.  Prizes are: 1st prize P7,000.00; 2nd prize P5,000.00; 3rd prize P3,000.00 plus medals.  Registration centers are: Runnr (Ayala Center Cebu); Philippine Sports Commission Office (Cebu City Sports Center); Holiday Gym; CFCV Fire Brigade Office.  For more inquiries call Mobile No. 0933-339-9111.

Since 1980, the Cebu Filipino-Chinese Volunteers Fire Brigade with its group of volunteer firemen has helped fight fires in the City and Province of Cebu.  Funding and volunteers come from the members of Cebu’s Filipino Chinese community.  These men render their service on a purely voluntary basis without thought of reward, compensation or recognition, but guided by a sense of civic duty and responsibility for the good of the community blazing a trail in the “Spirit of Volunteerism and Service “.  You may also visit www.facebook/cebufirerun.com or ask any fire brigade volunteer.

Categorized as Running