Batang Pinoy Luzon invites 250 junior athletes

BAGUIO City: The city will bring in fray 250 delegates for the upcoming 2015 Batang Pinoy Luzon Qualifiers in Ilagan, Isabela, this August.
They need higher number of athletes for this year’s race if the Summer Capital wants to reclaim the overall title in the sports competition, Sun Star quoted City sports development officer Gaudencio Gonzales as saying.

“We have padded the number of Baguio athletes for this year’s Batang Pinoy Luzon, so if we enlist 250 there will be at least 220 or so junior athletes excluding their coaches playing in the various events,” Gonzales reportedly said.

The city official added that the additional number of city athletes bound for the Luzon qualifiers were allowed after the city agreed to bring in more to join the various team competitions.
Apart from the futsal team, Baguio will also carry at least two more squads participating in baseball and softball competitions, the report said.
“The coaches of batted balls made their request, since we are trying to somewhat give all sports the equal chance we agreed to help them in reaching the Luzon leg of Batang Pinoy,” said Gonzales.
Last year, they sent 170 delegates with only 150 athletes, he added.

During the city 2015 edition of the Luzon qualifiers held in Malolos, Bulacan, Baguio maintained its second overall finish with 42 gold, 40 silver, and 46 bronze medals behind back-to-back champion Quezon City with 47-29-27.

“We fell a little short last year pero we are confident that we can reclaim the overall title we held in 2012 and 2013. Despite the fact na natalo tayo sa gold count we are still considered as one of the powerhouse since we still managed to earn the most number of medals among other competitors,” Gonzales explained.

While the Philippine Sports Commission is yet to announce the final dates of the week-long sports race after it was deferred from July, the City Sports Office assured all junior athletes set for BP Luzon will be at their peak during the competition, said the news portal.

PH boxing team hopes to crack global amateur tilt

MANILA: The national boxing team hopes to perform excellently during the 2016 Amateur International Boxing Association’s World Championship Olympic Qualifying tournament on June 16 to 25 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) President Ricky Vargas has reportedly informed that bantamweight Mario Fernandez has been removed to the Baku-bound team because of illness, Manila Times reported.

“We already decided to pull him out because we don’t want to risk him [Fernandez],” Vargas reportedly said, refusing to share the details of Fernandez’s illness. “We are just going to send our two boxers in Azerbaijan and they will leave on Monday.”

Welterweight Eumir Felix Marcial and flyweight Ian Clark Bautista will be the country’s representatives in the Baku meet.
“I’m still upbeat, of course, of our chances that these two warriors will qualify and follow their two fellow boxers in the Rio Olympics,” added Vargas. “I believe these two boxers will do their best to qualify.”

Light flyweight Rogen Ladon and lightweight Charly Suarez, who already qualified in the Olympics, will also fly to US on Monday to attend a training camp in Las Vegas before going to the Rio Olympics.
“Rogen and Suarez will go to US on Monday immediately if their plane tickets will be processed on time. They will be accompanied by our consultant Nonito Donaire Sr.,” said Vargas.
The four national boxers also trained in Baguio City under ABAP coaches and Donaire Sr., Manila Times reported.

‘Pinoy Aquaman’ crosses Cebu Strait in a new feat

Manila: Pinoy Aquaman, lawyer Ingemar Macarine, has achieved another feat by conquering the rough seas of Cebu Strait.
Enduring the bad weather, Macarine who is preparing for another herculean task of crossing the icy waters of the English Channel on August, completed the 16.83 kilometer open water swim in five hours and 49 minutes, Cebu Daily Inquirer reported.

The Boholano open water swimmer crossed the Cebu Strait from Cabilao Island in Bohol all the way to Argao town, South Cebu.
“It was a deliberate decision to not broadcast this swim as I was doubtful at first of reaching Cebu as I’m still recovering from a severe asthma attack last month,” Macarine reportedly said. “Thank you Lord for giving me the strength to conquer Cebu Strait despite the bad weather. “

Sunday’s swim served as Macarine’s 22nd successful open water swim, the report said.
He reportedly earned his popularity in the country when he crossed Alcatraz Island to mainland San Francisco in the United States in 2014.

His Cebu Strait swim yesterday served as his third successful open water swim for this year. His most recent achievement was swimming a 7km distance along Subic Bay, Zambales. Early this year, he conquered a 15k swim along the seas of Bohol.
The 39-year-old Macarine is also a triathlete and an environmental advocate.

Pacquiao’s ranking plunges in top paid athletes’ list

MANILA: He may have emerged as the richest congressman in 2015, but Manny Pacquiao has plunged to No. 63 in Forbes’ list of the highest paid athletes for this year from his previous number 2 ranking.
Pacquiao owed his high ranking last year to his megabuck showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May last year, which ended up as boxing’s richest fight ever. The Filipino lost that fight, and an injured shoulder forced him to sit out the rest of 2015, Philippine Star reported.

“Pacquiao’s fight with Floyd Mayweather in May 2015 set every financial record in the history of boxing, including PPV buys (4.6 million), gate ($73 million) and total revenue ($600 million), and rewarded him with a $125 million payday,” Forbes wrote in its entry on Pacquiao.

For this year, however, Pacquiao fought only once – defeating Timothy Bradley in April – before announcing his retirement. Forbes noted that Pacquiao took home a total of $25 million for this year, including $24 million in salary and $2.5 million in endorsements, the report said.

The boxer is now a member of the Philippine senate after a successful run in the May elections.
“Manny Pacquiao says he is retired ‘as of now’ after his April bout with Timothy Bradley where he banked a $20 million purse plus his cut of Filipino TV money,” Forbes continued.
“He’s earned $500 million during this career from purses, pay-per-view and endorsements. Pacquiao was elected to the Filipino Senate in May after first being elected to the House of Representatives,” it added.

Forbes also stressed how Pacquiao’s recent controversial statement on same-sex relations affected his endorsements, with Nike among the biggest brands to snap ties with him.
“He was once a marketing darling with companies like Nike, Foot Locker, Hewlett-Packard and Nestle, but companies avoided the eight division world champ after his 2016 comments comparing gay people to animals,” the financial media firm reportedly said.

For his part, Mayweather, who topped the list last year, dropped to No. 16 with $44 million in earnings. He retired after fighting Andre Berto in September last year.
Football superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi finished at first and second place with total earnings of $88 million and $81.4 million, respectively, Philippine Star reported.

Filipino golfer Tabuena qualifies for US Open

CALIFORNIA: After topping the sectional qualifying in California on Tuesday, rising Filipino star Miguel Tabuena will make a dream debut at the US Open next week.

The 21-year-old Tabuena, currently third on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, won by two shots after carding a fine 64 at Lake Merced Golf Club and a 68 at The Olympic Club, Ocean course, for an 11-under-par 132 aggregate, reported The Standard.

“I told myself that Lake Merced would be the easier course and I needed to go low there, which I did,” said Tabuena, who had two eagles, 10 birdies and three bogeys in his two rounds.

“I am just really happy with my rounds. I am still in shock. This will be my first major and I just can’t wait to have fun next week. I am really happy with the way I am playing now,” he reportedly said.

Tabuena’s career has been on the upswing over the last seven months after he won his first Asian Tour title at the Philippine Open presented by ICTSI in December.

Earlier this season, he finished tied fourth at the SMBC Singapore Open and second at the Maybank Championship Malaysia. He is also in the running to represent his country in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August, said the news portal.

Sunghoon Kang of Korea, winner of the 2013 CJ Invitational, will join Tabuena at the U.S. Open at the Oakmont Country Club from June 16 to 19 after claiming the 10th and final ticket at sectional qualifying in Tennessee, reported The Standard.

Tabuena will fly the Asian Tour flag at the year’s second Major alongside reigning Order of Merit winner Anirban Lahiri of India, K.T. Kim of Korea and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who all qualified via the Official World Golf Ranking.

No Filipino shooter makes it to 2016 Rio Olympics

Manila: For the first time in 24 years and after six straight Olympics, the Philippines will not have a shooter in the Rio de Janeiro Games in August, according to outgoing Philippine National Sports Association president Col. Danilo Gamboa.

“I was informed by a PNSA staff that the International Shooting Sport Federation formally notified the association last week that it did not award a wild card to the Philippines,” Gamboa, who resigned last week due to health reasons, was quoted as saying by Malaya.

As early as November last year the PNSA had reportedly applied for wild card slots for rifle shooters Jayson Valdez and Amparo Acuna and skeet shooter Hagen Topacio, who all received subsidies under the Olympic Solidarity program to help them compete in Olympic qualifying events.

Competing in ISSF World Cup competitions, both Valdez and Acuna met the Olympic minimum qualifying scores in their respective events but were still not given wild card slots while Topacio won a silver medal in the Asian shooting championships, an Olympic qualifying competition, in Kuwait last November, the report said.

Topacio, 26, would have earned an outright slot to Rio with his feat but the ISSF and the International Olympic Committee voided the results of the tourney when the Kuwaiti hosts barred a technical official from Israel in entering their country, said the news portal.
The stocky shooter, whose family is into the arms and ammunition industry, was forced to skip the new Asian Olympic shooting qualifiers in India because it coincided with an important business trip to the US, the news report said.

“There will be other Olympics, and the Zika virus is just too worrisome,” Topacio’s mother, Marie Jean, reportedly said, relieved that his son would not go to Rio.

“We were expecting that one of them would get a wild card but, unfortunately, the ISSF told us that it would not be awarding any so we will not have a shooter in the Rio Olympics,” Gamboa was quoted as saying by Malaya.

Clarkson hopeful of PH team outshining in FIBA qualifiers

Metro Manila: National Basketball Association (NBA) point guard Jordan Clarkson is optimistic about his Team Philippines’ outshining in FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in July.

“I think we have a really good chance. All we got to do is go out there and fight and compete,” Clarkson, who is in Manila to support Gilas Pilipinas, was quoted as saying by CNN Philippines. “You go out there, you compete and leave it all out there on the floor and anything can happen.”

Clarkson last saw action in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers, and is entering the off-season as a restricted free agent. He is unable to join Gilas because of complications in negotiations with the Lakers.

But even if Clarkson could not take part in the qualifying tournament, he will be supporting the team.
“I want to be there on the court fighting with them, but it kind of sucks what happened and I can’t be there,” the Fil-Am cager reportedly said. “But I’ll be there for them any way I can.”

With Gilas facing off powerhouse France and a tough New Zealand five, Clarkson said the team just has to give its best, citing the Lakers’ upset victory over the Golden State Warriors as example.

“Basketball is that way, like when we beat Golden State this year,” he reportedly said. “You go out there and compete and leave it all on the line.”
Gilas Pilipinas will tip off their FIBA OQT campaign against France on July 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena, CNN Philippines reported.

Gilas cadets beat Thais to retain SEABA crown

BANGKOK: Mac Belo, Troy Rosario and Jiovani Jalalon helped Gilas cadet team to smother Thailand, 97-80, for the coveted crown in the 2016 SEABA Stankovic Cup at Stadium 29 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Dragged to a battle by the Thais for more than three-fourths of the way, Belo, Rosario and Jalalon worked on a decisive attack midway through the final quarter as Gilas gained some breathing space and fended off the gritty challenge of the home team, reported Philippine Star.

From a precarious 69-66 lead, Belo reportedly nailed back-to-back treys then a twinner to touch off Gilas’ flying finish that culminated the team’s five-game sweep in the five-nation SEABA eliminator for the FIBA Asia Challenge in Tehran, Iran in September.
“Congrats Gilas! And thank you to these brave 12 who answered the call! SEABA Champs,” Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Pangilinan reportedly posted on his Twitter account after the gold-medal game.

Troy Rosario, a Tropang TNT rookie in the pros, top scored with 17 points that went with seven rebounds and three assists against four errors in 23:55 minutes of action, the report said.

National U guard Jiovani Jalalon also reportedly produced good all-around numbers with 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one steal while Belo, Chris Tolomia, Almond Vosotros and Roger Pogoy contributed double-digit markers as Team Phl reasserted its domination of Southeast Asian basketball after title runs in the SEABA Championship and SEA Games in Singapore last year.
Team Phl carved this Stankovic Cup crown with mostly collegiate players with only a three-week training under UAAP champion coach Nash Racela, the report pointed out.

The Gilas cadets barely escaped with a 66-65 win over the Thais in their non-bearing elims tussle last Thursday it said.
It helped that the Filipinos found their touch this time, improving on their woeful 3-of-37 three-point shooting in their previous face-off.

The Gilas cadets reportedly fired away 12-of-32, the most crucial being those back-to-back treys Belo rattled in from a 69-66 count.
Vosotros, the other pro player on the team besides Rosario, went 3-of-4 from the arc to highlight his 11-point game he laced with four rebounds and one assist, reported Philippine Star.

Rosario and Ferrer fired two triples each while Tolomia, Pogoy and Jalalon had one apiece.
The Thais connected with a 10-of-28 three-point clip, the report said.

Filipino fighters eye PXC flyweight belt

MANILA: Pacific X-treme Combat (PXC) will unveil its first title match of 2016 at the Solaire Resort and Casino on January 16, media reports said.

PXC-51 flyweight championship will feature the bout between two Filipino mixed martial arts fighters, Crisanto Pitpitunge and Jenel Lausa as the main event of the evening, Manila Times reported.

Pitpitunge is an experienced fighter, and also a former PXC champion in the 135 lbs division. He knocked out Alvin Cacdac in PXC-48 in a non-title bout, the report said.

Lausa, on the other hand, established a reputation as a heavy-handed striker and a fighter who is not afraid to take punches. He also knocked out Erickson Montilla in PXC-48, it added.

PXC-51 will also feature eight other matches with nine foreign and seven local fighters: Rex De Lara (PH) vs. Stepehen Loman (PH), Ernie Braca (PH) vs. Emilio Urrutia (THA), Rolando Dy (PH) vs. Miguel Mosquera (PH), Gina Iniong (PH) vs. Vanessa Fernandez (ESP), Nao Yoneda (JPN) vs. Han Seul Kim (KOR), Wesley Machado (BRA) vs. Sho Kagane (JPN), Jon Cris Corton (PH) vs. Farmon Gafarov (UZB), and Kyle Aguon (GUM) vs. Kwan Ho Kwak (KOR), Manila Times reported.

Manny Pacquiao eager to reclaim throne

Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao wants to re-establish his reputation as one of the world’s best fighters.
As such, he says he has been training as hard as he could for his upcoming bout with  American Brandon Rios in Macau next month.
He admits that his current training regimen is the “longest” and hardest” for him, focused as he is to regain his deadly form.
In contrast to his past training, which was covered by news media, his training to meet Rios has largely been held behind closed doors.
Pacquiao, who turns 35 in December, is seeking to come back from two consecutive defeats including one where he was knocked out cold by Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez.

The pugilist said he has learned to accept the defeat as “part of the game.”
Critics have previously questioned whether Pacquiao’s diminishing prowess in the ring was due to the many distractions that his popularity afforded him but the eight-time world champion has consistently denied this.