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.

Archery targets the bullseye in Cebu

Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe, lands in our cinema screens this May 14. But, prior to the movie’s blockbuster arrival, we can all watch real-life, in-the-flesh Robin Hoods in action.

It’s called the 1st Cebu Archery Open and, from Thursday until Sunday, we’ll all be witnesses to this skillful art of propelling arrows with the use of bows.

Archery, as we’ve seen in archaic movies, has been around forever. The earliest use of a bow, according to Wikipedia, dates back to 10,000 B.C. Fast forward to Robin Hood, who’s become the poster boy and heroic figure shooting a bow-and-arrow.

Here in Cebu this weekend, thousands of arrows will stab the Mandaue skyline as the tournament unravels at the Aboitiz Sports Field.

How big is this contest? It’s the largest of its kind in Cebu.. in the province.. in Region VII.. in the entire country. “Yes, it looks like the biggest event in Archery ever… in the Philippines. We did not expect it to get so big, but it shows a high level of interest plus the drawing power of Cebu.”

Who spoke those words? Gordon Alan P. Joseph. Known to everyone as Dondi, he’s the president of the Cebu Archery Club. Dondi is influential and prominent in our land. Apart from being the owner (and wine connoisseur) of Darras + Bowler and the CEO of Philinsure, he’s often on these newspaper pages as the president of the Cebu Business Club. (As to his looks, according to my wife Jasmin, he resembles Pete Sampras.)

Dondi started archery with his son in 2004. Does his studying in La Salle, there from elementary until college, influence his passion for archery (thanks to the La Salle Green Archers)? “Of course that had an effect! The interest was always there,” said Dondi, a former president of the local alumni chapter of De La Salle University.

Of archery in Cebu, “We incorporated four years ago and just kind of chugged along till Dondon Sombrio became the mainstay of the Philippine Compound Bow Team,” he said. “The archers have been quietly practicing in the open space of Holiday Gym & Spa in Banilad, who kindly lent us the space. Dondon called a meeting earlier this year on his idea to set up a tournament and get it accredited by the National Archery Assoc. of the Phils. as one of its qualification events for the RP team. Our intention was that this would be ‘practice’ for a full blown international tournament next year. We planned on 100 archers.”

One hundred participants? That figure has ballooned to 175 archers and the event has become the biggest in the Philippines. “We have participants from Tagbilaran, UP Los Banos, Liloan, Mandaue, Dapitan, Bacolod, Cordilleras, Manila, CDO, Dumaguete, Mandaue, Talisay, Cebu City,” said Joanna Fajardo-Salazar, who’s one of the key organizers.

“Archery is one of the top eight sports that the POC and the PSC are focusing on to develop medal winners,” adds Dondi. “Archery is important to the Philippines and if you are committed and good enough, it is one of the best ways to be an RP athlete. Can this sport give our nation its first-ever Olympic gold medal? “It can be, provided we can set-up the right range facilities,” said Dondi. “The Cebu Archery Club is working on this. We want to develop top Filipino archers.”

Dondon Sombrio is the spirit behind this tournament, says Dondi. A member of the RP Team, Dondon is the tournament director. And, to provide “celebrity status” to the event, “Actor, businessman and archer Marvin Agustin will be competing,” said Dondon, whose event is backed by San Miguel Beer, Gandiva, ScubaWorld, Simon Enterprises, Philpacific Insurance Brokers, SunStar Daily, RCTV, Boysen Paints, Metro Ayala, Islands Souvenirs, D+B Wines, Laserwriter, Aboitiz Land, Mr. Builders Construction, Benedicto College, Aboitiz Sports Field and Maya Restaurant.

When I asked if he purposely chose this weekend to nearly-match the Robin Hood film, Dondi replied, “Hahahaha! Purely coincidental but great nonetheless!”

Categorized as Archery