Twelve Rounds

Much has been said about the controversial Pacquiao-Bradley fight yesterday. It is written all over the blogs, news portals, tabloids, and broadsheets. It is the content of almost all the local news programs and I expect it to last for at least one week and another week after Manny Pacquiao’s homecoming.

I am writing this not to sound as an aspiring sports columnist. Or as a sports writer/blogger. Or some expressive bandwagon rider who writes his opinion on almost every issue.

I am writing this as an ordinary viewer who tried to keep focused on watching the fight despite a nasty hangover brought by an inuman session with his friends the night before the match. And as an ordinary Filipino boxing fan who, together with his fellow countrymen, felt robbed of a good and clean entertainment.

Please take note that these should be taken with a grain of iodized salt.

  1. Pacquiao was undefeated for the last seven years (fifteen fights) of his boxing career – until the tragedy came yesterday. Perhaps we are just always accustomed to his victory that’s why we were all shocked by the tragedy. How about that?
  2. Karl Marx once said that ‘Religion is the opium of the people’. Well here in the Philippines, it’s showbiz, television, social media, and the fights of Manny Pacquiao. In a country plagued by tragedy, corruption, impunity, and crime, there must always be something to uplift our spirit and temporarily escape these tragedies and Pacquiao’s fights are one of them. So I understood our grief. It is like taking away from us our painkiller.
  3. But of course, you will argue that yesterday’s fight was a clear victory for Manny Pacquiao. First, you are not the judges (who happen to have the final say on that match). Second, some boxing analysts saw a ‘relaxed’ Manny Pacquiao during the last, crucial rounds of the fight and they would have called it a draw. And third, as what Pontius Pilate said, “What I have written, I have written”.
  4. The  tragedy of Manny Pacquiao yesterday reminds me of the same boxing tragedy of Mansueto ‘Onyok’ Velasco during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. He was also robbed of what would have been the country’s first Olympic gold medal. What happened? Did we create the same noise? Did we support Onyok’s protest? Maybe I was just too young then to know these things. And times are different now with the age of social media. (The last time I saw, Onyok plays as a co-host and one of Pacquiao’s sidekicks on his shows. But that’s another story.)
  5. Some (including my Erpats) said that Manny’s loss was a justice for the supposed victory of Juan Manuel Marquez during his third fight with the former. Plausible? (Maybe we should call the Mythbusters to test this.)
  6. Another conspiracy that came out yesterday was Bob Arum was behind all of these. He wants a more hyped rematch for Pacquiao and Bradley which will only mean two words for the boxing promoter – Kaching! Kaching! (With these, I suggest that Manny Pacquiao’s entrance song on his next fight would be ‘Price Tag’ by Jessie J and not the overused and Rocky-ish ‘Eye of the Tiger’.)
  7. With yesterday’s aftermath of the match and most of the people’s reactions, I have once again proven that the word ‘loser’ (or ‘talunan’) is not in our dictionary. We use the equally synonymous terms dinaya,niluto, and  pinagkaisahan. They are commonly used during the election period.
  8. One of the most retweeted tweet/joke yesterday was ‘Niluto ang labang Pacquiao-Bradley. Sa sobrang luto, nasunog si Bradley!’. Wow! Just a few days ago, most of us went berserk on the alleged racism of the Bayo advertisement. I admire our inconsistency. Mabuhay!
  9. I felt bad for Manny Pacquiao’s sons. It was their first time to watch their father’s fight on ringside. Some moron may look at this as a bad luck but hey, Daddy Manny would still go home with Money Many Prizes. Kaching! Kaching!
  10. And yes, win or lose for Manny, Mommy Dionisia would still get her Hermes bag. So the ‘No Hermes’ trending topic yesterday is a blasphemy against Manny’s riches.  Kaching! Kaching! (After all, Manny has already bought Mommy D. a new van for her birthday last month).
  11. As what Jessica Zafra said on her column today, it is natural for us Filipinos to look for someone or something to blame – his new-found love for God, Politics, show business, and the people around him. but let’s just leave it there. After all, Manny Pacquiao, despite his loss yesterday, will still (and always) be remembered as one of the greatest, if not the greatest boxer of all time.
  12. Comic artist Gerry Alanguilan (Komikero) tweeted this yesterday“I think we all need to lose once in a while. To keep us from being complacent. To keep us hungry. To have some humility.” Boxing is a game. There are winners and losers. Manny may have lost but this is not the end of him. And I think his new-found faith in God will help him deal with this loss. Or maybe this is the proper time for Manny to pass the torch to the next generation of great Filipino boxers.

Elsewhere:

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‘Boring’ can be spelled as N-A-R-V-A-E-Z

Philippine boxer Nonito Donaire connects with a left to Omar Narvaez of Argentina in the WBC, WBO World Bantamweight Titles bout at Madison Square Garden in New York on October 22, 2011. CHRIS TROTMAN/AFP

 

If there is one thing I love about Filipino boxing aside from Filipino heavyweights Pacquiao, Elorde, Velasco, Donaire, and other world-class fighters, it would be the viewers, the ordinary Juan.

An ordinary Juan watching the fight on his humble TV set can turn into an instant boxing analyst. After each fight, one can easily discuss how the fight went through or what a fighter should have done to knock the enemy out. An ordinary Juan does not need to be a Ronnie Nathanielsz, Ed Tolentino, Dyan Castillejo, or a Chino Trinidad to give a well-delivered analysis on the fight. Being a boxing aficionado nation, we are expert on that.

But one does not need to be a huge boxing fan to conclude yesterday’s much-anticipated Donaire-Narvaez fight is nothing but a boring show.

It was so boring I just decided to watch the fight of our Cebuano fighters televised on the rival network. And they proved to be more exciting and action-filled compared to this well-promoted match. So much for the hype.

Donaire is dubbed as an heir-apparent to Manny Pacquiao (though Bob Arum refuted that). Narvaez has a clean record and is undefeated. So I thought it will be an interesting punch fest.

But the challenger Omar Narvaez did a Joshua Clottey by just keeping his defensive stance and throwing an average 24 punches per round (An average bantamweight fighter throws 60 punches per round, according to ESPN’s Michael Woods) much to the disappointment of the Filipino Flash.

And the thousands of boxing fans who watched the fight at the Madison Square Gardenin New York. The crowd went wild in frustration and shouted “This is bullshit! This is bullshit!” and some of them left the theater even after the winner was declared.

Ryan Songolia of the Boxing Writers Asscoiation of America said that Donaire must have felt the pressure to perform an impressive fight having a good record of knockouts from his previous fight. On the other hand, Narvaez came only to survive and knowing that the Filipino Flash may knock him out.

But as in all boxing matches, win or lose, you still have the purse. And Narvaez may have survived the wrath of Donaire but the latter has stained his clean record. And we must still celebrate the victory of our Kababayan. this is another honor for our country.

Congratulations Nonito! See you on your next fight!

And I hope the upcoming Pacquiao-Marquez fight will be a good one and not just for “survival for the purse”.

Mabuhay ang mga Pilipinong boksingero!

Read more here:

Enter the Dragon

This may not be a government-sponsored hero's welcome but this is far more touching - a people's welcome. (Photo courtesy of PDI)

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III presents the Presidential Citation to the 26-members of the Cobra Philippine Dragon Boat Federation, represented by Philippine Dragon Boat Federation President Marcia Cristobal, in recognition for their triumphant participation in the 10th International Dragon Boat Federation World Championships in Tampa Bay, Florida during the Courtesy Call at the Heroes Hall, Malacañan Palace Friday August 12, 2011. (Photo courtesy of Noynoy Aquino's Facebook Page)

I may be late on posting this. Much has been said and written about the Philippine Dragonboat Federation Team and the alleged lack of support by the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission.

I was tempted to just leave it there and not blog about it but I made a promise on my last post that I will get back on this. After all, it is advocacy to promote Pinoy pride and to put a different and light approach on serious matters of society, sports, and politics.

Most of the things that I will share here may be already said by the Sports experts and fellow bloggers. You are free to skip this post and try looking for other interesting stuff on the internet. As usual, I will put my thoughts into bullets because I am too lazy to construct an full-length discussion about the topic (and so as not to bore the younglings who read this post). Here we go:

  • GMA News TV’s Brigada and ABS-CBN’s Dyan Castillejo’s Krusada has featured the struggles of the team during their preparation for the tournament. Lack of funds, support, and own paddles are just some of the items tackled on the above-mentioned programs. The athletes have to resort on diving for mussels (tahong) for their food. So to those who are accusing our athletes of using steroids, it’s tahong who give extraordinary strength to our athletes. Beat that douchebags! (I even laughed on one of the soldier-athlete’s answer on Jessica Soho’s interview last Friday night on SONA when asked about steroids. The soldier told Jessica, “Steriods? E yung iba nga sa amin hindi alam ang spelling ng steroids eh..”. See?)
  • I really admired the Filipinos in Tampa Bay, Florida who gave their full support (food, allowance, gifts, etc. You name it.) to our athletes. It just shows that the spirit of bayanihan is still alive even in other country.Mabuhay kayo!
  • Based on what I understood, the only trouble about this team and our authorities is that dragonboat should be under the canoe-kayak classification since dragonboat uses forward paddling. I hope that they could fix this mess soon and come up with an agreement good for both parties. Sports should unite, not divide. Humility lang yan mga Pare! 
  • Noynoy Aquino promised his support for the team and he vowed to rid sports of politics. On a different but related thought, should we keep sportsmen away from Politics so as not to distract them on their game? (Ring any bells?). He promised support to the athletes, but one of the alleged kontrabida in this whole fiasco is Noynoy’s Uncle, Don Peping Cojuangco. Cool eh?
  • Speaking of Don Peping, he actually got irked on defending the Olympic Committee last Friday night on SONA. He told Jessica Soho that the Federation did not ask for any support from the Committee. He also added that lack of funds is not only the Dragonboat Federation’s problem but the whole sports community. Are you ready for their face-off between the two parties? Let’s wait and watch the Senate and House hearing on this issue and, hopefully, come up with a solution to end this fiasco.
  • While the Federation was fighting for our country in Tampa Bay, Florida, POC and PSC continued to defend themselves and gave a not-so-pleasing statements (e.g. PSC Jeff Tamayo’s “They have the body, they have everything, but as we all know, ampaw na lang ’yun”) that set the public into an uproar. Douchebags. Dragon boat team, please give them a kamehame wave for us! #LOL
  • We all know that our government, dealing with other more important problems (education, security, and health), lack funds on supporting our sportsmen. Why don’t we just leave it to the private sector? (I personally commend Cobra Energy Drink, ABS-CBN, and Manny V. Pangilinan for supporting our athletes).
  • Support. Our paddlers need their fellow countrymen’s support. Just because they are not as guwapo as the Azkals does not mean we will have to neglect them. (Come on! Mas mukhang Pilipino ang mga ‘to mga Pare! I’m just kidding but I know you got my point there.)
  • I hope that dragon boat will soon be recognized as an Olympic sport. Who knows? Our country’s first gold medal may come from this event.
  • In the event that the tension on West Philippine Sea escalates and our chinky-eyed neighbors threaten us with their aircraft carrier,  hamunin na lang natin sila sa Dragon Boat! Kahit sa kanila pa nanggaling ang sports na ‘yan! Ha ha!
  • We can have other better paddlers when these great athletes retire.Madami tayong mga mangingisda! Magaling magsagwan ang mga yan!

Congratulations again to the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation. Thank you for bringing an honor and inspiration on this divided country. Viva Filipinas! Padayon!

Read more here: 1. Aquino vows to rid sports of Politics. 2. Dragonslayers (Patricia Evangelista)

Oh Laser!

Kung hindi 'yan laser pointer? Ano yan? Lightsaber?

A story has been circulating around Twitter (and the internet) about a Kuwaiti football fan allegedly pointing a laser pointer at Azklas goalkeeper Neil Etheridge during the Azkals-Kuwait match last Saturday for the second round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

I was away from the internet for almost a week (though I have been always active on Twitter via SMS tweeting service @tweetitow) so I have no means to confirm the claimMoreso, the image shown on some news programs on television is a little bit pixelated, blurred, and seemingly edited (orphotoshopped, if that is the proper word to describe it).

Earlier this evening, TV-5’s Aksyon website interaksyon.com posted a high-resolution wide shot of the photo courtesy of the Kuwaiti Times. It appears to be fake or edited at first glance but Neil Etheridge’s story, as told on TV-Patrol, that he was actually distracted by a laser pointer is more than enough reason to believe the veracity of the photo.

You may also want to check the comments of some of the netizens on this issue by clicking the photo above. Sometimes, or most of the time, the real fun and and excitement happen on the comment box and not on the news per se.

And as for the usual and other stuff:

  • I was among the few souls who stayed awake during the wee hours of the morning last Sunday to catch the Azkals-Kuwait match. The result may not be worth my puyat but I am still proud of our Philippine Foootball Team.
  • The first half which ended on 1-0 in favor of Kuwait was good. It only shows that we can beat the Kuwaiti team. Sadly, the 40 plus-degree temperature on Kuwait and the exhaustion of our players paved the way for our 3-0 defeat.
  • As expected, there are Pinoys who instantly became instant balimbings and perfect douchebags who instantly criticized and booed the Azkals for their defeat. Welcome to the Philippines!
  • I wonder if alleged Azkals rape victim watched the game last Sunday. but she showed up on The Buzz later that afternoon for an interview with Tito Boy Abunda, What’s her name again? Nah, never mind. Good luck girl.
  • I jokingly asked my friends who will watch the game later on Rizal Stadium to watch out for Kuwait #13 outside the stadium. Ha ha!
  • If this Kuwaiti fan unleashed his laser pointer to distract our goal keeper, friends and fellow countrymen, UNLEASH YOUR LASER SWORD! (Or to my fellow Jedis, ilabas ang mga nakatagong Light Saber!)
  • I hope that it will rain later so as to give us an advantage on these players who are not used on a rainy football match. Yahoo!

I wish our Philippine Football Team the best of luck! The road to Brazil is hard but I believe that we can make it!

Long live the Azkals! Padayon!

Yellow Fever

Tomorrow, Filipino Pride and Pambansang Kamao Manny Pacquiao will once again step into the ring to show the whole world what an eight division world champion can do to defend his title. This time, against the American Sugar Shane Mosley. And earlier today, Philippine time, these two great fighters stepped into the scales for their weigh-in.

Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines and US Shane Mosley (R) attend the official weigh-in for their fight in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 6, 2011. The eight division world champion Pacquiao marks his return to Las Vegas for the first time since 2009 by fighting Mosley for the World Boxing Organization welterweight title at the Garden Arena in the MGM Grand on May 7

Most of us are excited for the fight that will once again, hopefully, bring honor, pride, and unity to our problem-filled and divided country.

While most of the viewers will be placing their bets and riches for Pacquiao (or on what round will he send Mosley sleeping on the ring), our fighter will be fighting another opponent – poverty.

And Manny Pacquiao will once again set history tomorrow. For the first time in boxing history, a yellow pair of boxing gloves will be used.

As most of us know, red, blue, and burgundy are the colors used by a boxer. Yellow as a symbol of his fight against poverty. Pacman is said to wear yellow to “signify the unity among the Filipino people across the globe”. In an interview with sportscaster Chino Trinidad, Pacman said in context that “boxing is not the biggest fight in his life. Eradicating poverty is now the biggest fight of his life.” He also encouraged suppoters and fans of Shane Mosley to wear yellow too as a sign of unity with the Filipinos in our fight against poverty.

This move and advocacy of Pacquiao was lauded by the foreign media and other non-Filipino boxing aficionados. He uses his influence as a famous boxer to do something good and for the betterment of other people.

As expected, this move by Pacman, especially the preferred color, was not spared from comments and allegations that this was in support for President Noynoy Aquino (who used the same color during his campaign and obviously, the color inherited from his mother Cory Aquino). Why choose the color yellow? Why not the other colors? In my humorous and sarcastic mind, I made these things up:

  • Blue – The famous color of President Nonoy’s running-mate during the 2010 elections. This may be a bad choice. That color didn’t win.
  • Green – The so-called “galing at talino” color. Again, bad choice. This has akiss of death back in 2010 (wink!)
  • Pink – The color of a bayani. Why not this one? Masakit sa mata. And Pacman might be mistaken as a member of Sir Danton Remoto’s group.
  • Red – The color of the badtrip and flash great man from Subic. Why not this one? It’s the usual.
  • Orange – The color of the guy who swam in the sea of garbage. Why not this one? Pacman supported this guy back in 2010? The reason may be obvious.

For some, Manny’s choice of color may be a big deal. Metaphysically speaking, color is just an accident. It may be present or not. What is essential is the essence, the substance. What is important is Manny Pacquiao’s advocacy to giht poverty.

With that advocacy, he is already a champion. And no one can take that title away from him.

I hope to see a sea of yellow tomorrow in support for our Pambansang Kamao.

And Floyd Mayweather, I hope to see you soon on the ring with this man.

Good luck Manny and bring honor once again to this country. Padayon!

P.S. Can you spot the Pambansang Anino in the photo?

Hopes and Dreams for Azkals and the Philippines

Once again, the Azkals have proven that they have what it takes to be a football sensation. In a jam-packed Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City yesterday evening, the Azkals defeated the Mongolian team in a 2-0 victory.

The match last night, though considered in the football world as not that important nor sensational, was an important game for our Philippine football team. It was the first match that was held here in the Philippines since the football euphoria brought by the Azkals late last year swept the whola nation.

Though we may not consider ourselves as football crazy

fans like the other countries, the match last night was the first step on our journey on loving the world’s famous sport.

  • The support for the Azkals was overwhelming. The jam-packed Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City and the rest of the whole nation who were glued at the match which was aired at Studio 23 was more than enough moral support for our players.
  • If the last FIFA World Cupat South Africa  was infested by the vuvuzelas, Filipino fans resorted to shouting and cheering as crazy as a vuvuzela– with lots of abanikos. (Though there are unconfirmed reports that there were also vuvuzelas at the stadium last night).
  • I pity our goal keeper Neil Etheridge. He just stood there at the goal most of the time during the entire game. We should have given him a PSP or a good magazine to read. (Haha! Peace Mongolia!)
  • I forgive the commentators who still have an “element of basketball” while covering the event (They said  lots of “nice shot!” during the entire game. Come on!). We may still be a rookie on analyzing the technicalities of this sport but I believe that our time will come. Learning is a process.

The victory las night ws also a sort of “vindication” for our national team after theirl lost against Indonesia on the last AFF Suzuki Cup (But we were still victorious there for beating the Vietnamese team. It is considered by many as one of the biggest upsets in South East Asian football history).

The Azkals was indeed victorious last night.

  • They once again earned the respect of the Filipinos and our neighboring countries (You better watch out for us!)
  • They are slowly putting us on the world football map. Though we are ranked on the 151st spot on the whole world, I believe that we will slowly get our way to the top.
  • They once again made football the talk of the town and raised the football awareness in the Land of Juan.
  • Their victory in our own country will, hopefully, be the start of football love for our country. From the kids in the barrios to the athletes on different schools, colleges, and universities.
  • Somehow, even just for a while, we became united as one country, forgetting the numerous controversies – the carnapping incedents, the plea-bargaining agreement, the alleged corruption at the Armed Forces, the tragic death of Angelo Reyes, and the fight bewtween Hayden Kho and Sharon Cuneta.

Earlier this evening, the Azkals had a courtesy call to the President at the Malacañan Palace. The team gave an Azkals jacket to our President. It’s good to see the President giving his suport to our athletes and heroes.

I have been preaching about football during the past few months and I would like to reiterate my point while the football euphoria is still high.

  • Ningas cogon. This is one of the bad traits of the Filipinos. I hope that this support will not be like a burning cogon grass. Let’s have a continous support and interest for the sport.
  • I hope that you are supporting the team not just because some of the players are guwapo.
  • I hope to see more native Filipinos (like last night’s local hero Chieffy Caligdong) on our national team. I hope that this sport will be loved by the kids in the barrios and  not just the half-Filipinos who grew up playing the sport abroad.
  • I wish for more stadiums with world-class standards ready for an international competition.
  • Football teams and football development programs starting in elementary for the future. Who knows? Some of these kids might be the next superstar.
  • Government support. ‘Nuff said!
  • We need support and love for football from the people just as how we supported boxing and the PBA (I am talking about the Crispa-Toyota era of Pba and not today’s league).
  • Let’s focus on football. We will excel more on this sport.

Way to go Azkals! It might still be a distant dream to see us in the FIFA World Cup but who knows? This is our first few steps on our long journey up there.

Congratulations Azkals! Viva Filipinas! Padayon!