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Milan Melindo out to capture second world title in Japan

Earlier this year, ALA Boxing standout and reigning IBF junior flyweight world champion Milan 'El Metodico' Melindo captured his first world championship in Japan, shocking the world by knocking out long-time champion Akira Yaegashi.  On New Year's Eve, Melindo has the chance to end the year pretty much the same way, as he steps into the squared circle on the final day of 2017 to challenge reiging WBA junior flyweight world champion Ryoichi Taguchi in a title unification bout, Sunday in Tokyo, Japan.  2017 has been nothing short of spectacular for the 29-year old Melindo.  After knocking out Yaegashi in Tokyo back in May, Melindo successfully defended his title at home in Cebu at Pinoy Pride 41 against South Africa's Hekkie Budler in an entertaining twelve-round affair.  After capturing the IBF belt in May, Melindo made it clear that his goal was to become the king of the junior flyweights, intending on capturing all of the four major world titles in the 108-pound weight division.  "Parang super champion ka na, kung makuha mo yung apat na high-position belt, yung WBA, WBO, IBF tsaka WBC, parang king ka na sa isang timbang. Ikaw ang may hawak sa isang timbang." On New Year’s Eve, Melindo gets the chance to move a step closer to his goal when he tries to snatch the WBA title from Taguchi. It won’t be an easy task however, as Taguchi has kept a firm grasp on the crown since 2014, having successfully defended it seven times in the last two years. For the second time this year, Melindo faces a hostile pro-Japan crowd in Tokyo. For the Cagayan de Oro native, a repeat of history would be in his favor.   Milan Melindo and Ryoichi Taguchi battle for the IBF and WBA junior flyweight belts on Sunday, December 31st at the Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan. Catch the telecast on Tuesday, January 2nd at 8:00 PM only on S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnDec 30th, 2017

Milan Melindo out to capture second world title in Japan

Earlier this year, ALA Boxing standout and reigning IBF junior flyweight world champion Milan 'El Metodico' Melindo captured his first world championship in Japan, shocking the world by knocking out long-time champion Akira Yaegashi.  On New Year's Eve, Melindo has the chance to end the year pretty much the same way, as he steps into the squared circle on the final day of 2017 to challenge reiging WBA junior flyweight world champion Ryoichi Taguchi in a title unification bout, Sunday in Tokyo, Japan.  2017 has been nothing short of spectacular for the 29-year old Melindo.  After knocking out Yaegashi in Tokyo back in May, Melindo successfully defended his title at home in Cebu at Pinoy Pride 41 against South Africa's Hekkie Budler in an entertaining twelve-round affair.  After capturing the IBF belt in May, Melindo made it clear that his goal was to become the king of the junior flyweights, intending on capturing all of the four major world titles in the 108-pound weight division.  "Parang super champion ka na, kung makuha mo yung apat na high-position belt, yung WBA, WBO, IBF tsaka WBC, parang king ka na sa isang timbang. Ikaw ang may hawak sa isang timbang." On New Year’s Eve, Melindo gets the chance to move a step closer to his goal when he tries to snatch the WBA title from Taguchi. It won’t be an easy task however, as Taguchi has kept a firm grasp on the crown since 2014, having successfully defended it seven times in the last two years. For the second time this year, Melindo faces a hostile pro-Japan crowd in Tokyo. For the Cagayan de Oro native, a repeat of history would be in his favor.   Milan Melindo and Ryoichi Taguchi battle for the IBF and WBA junior flyweight belts on Sunday, December 31st at the Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan. Catch the telecast on Tuesday, January 2nd at 8:00 PM only on S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2017

Melindo stopped in 7th by Japan s Shiro in world title fight

Japan's Ken Shiro (C) celebrates his win over Philippines' Milan Melindo after their WBC world light flyweight title match in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture on October 7, 2018. / AFP PHOTO.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsOct 9th, 2018

Milan Melindo loses world title bid vs Japanese foe

     MANILA, Philippines – A fresher, faster Ken Shiro foiled Milan Melindo’s bid to become world champion again Sunday night, October 7, stopping the Filipino in the 7th round to retain his WBC light flyweight crown in Yokohama, Japan. Melindo did not go down, but the fight was cut short at ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsOct 8th, 2018

Ancajas leads Elorde honorees; Pacquiao main guest speaker

World champion Jerwin Ancajas heads the honorees in the 18th Gabriel "Flash" Elorde Memorial Awards and Banquet of Champions Sunday night at the Grand Ballroom of Okada Hotel Manila.   Ancajas, who is slated to make his fifth defense of the International Boxing Federation super flyweight title against countryman Jonas Sultan in May, along with former IBF light flyweight titlist Milan Melindo and former World Boxing Organization bantamweight king Marlon Tapales will be feted as Boxers of the Year for 2017.   Melindo yielded his title to Ryoichi Taguchi by unanimous decision last Dec. 31 in Ota City, Japan, while Tapales lost his crown to the weight scales before ...Keep on reading: Ancajas leads Elorde honorees; Pacquiao main guest speaker.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 24th, 2018

Milan Melindo vows to fight on: I can be world champion again

MANILA, Philippines - Milan Melindo arrived back in Cebu from Japan on Wednesday evening, January 3, about an hour after originally he was originally scheduled. It had been a tough last few days for the Cagayan de Oro City native, who lost his IBF junior flyweight title ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 4th, 2018

Melindo coach on New Year s Eve fight: We lost to a better fighter

ALA Boxing standout and Pinoy boxing star Milan 'El Metodico' Melindo had a chance to close out 2017 with a bang by unifying the IBF and WBA junior flyweight belts when he took on Ryoichi Taguchi in Japan.  And while Melindo put on a valiant effort, in the end, the Japanese champion dominated the scoreboards for the unanimous decision nod.  Throughout the fight, Taguchi used his length and his reach to punish Melindo, who wound up with a couple of cuts above his eyebrows.  While it didn't go their way, ALA Boxing head coach Edito Villamor remained gracious in defeat, praising Taguchi on Twitter and calling him the better fighter.  We lost a better fighter last night. It was a great fight. Thank you for all your support. Happy New Year looking forward for 2018. — Edito Villamor (@coachala) December 31, 2017 While it's back to the drawing board for Melindo and ALA, 2017 was still a banner year for the Cagayanon, who won and defended his first world title.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2018

Melindo, Taguchi make weight for title unification bout in Japan

World champions Milan Melindo and Ryoichi Taguchi both made weight easily, one day before their scheduled junior flyweight world title unification bout in Tokyo, Japan on New Year's Eve.  Filipino IBF junior flyweight world champion Melindo tipped the scales at 107.5-pounds, while WBA junior flyweight world champion Taguchi of Japan came in at 107.75-pounds, both under the 108-pound junior flyweight limit. The two are set to meet in a winner-take-all junior flyweight title unification bout at the Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan on Sunday, December 31st.    Catch the telecast on Tuesday, January 2nd at 8:00 PM only on S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2017

LOOK: IBF champ Milan Melindo holds open workout in Japan

Two days after his arrival in Japan, reigning and defending IBF junior flyweight world champion Milan 'El Metodico' Melindo held an open workout ahead of his upcoming world title unification bout against hometown favorite and reigning WBA junior flyweight world champion Ryoichi Taguchi.  Melindo held his open workout at the Watanabe Boxing Gym in Tokyo, and members of the media were on hand to watch the Pinoy ALA Boxing standout get some work in, just days away from arguably the biggest fight of his storied career.  The 29-year old Melindo is coming off a close split decision title defense win over South Africa's Hekkie Budler in Cebu, while Taguchi is coming off his sixth successful title defense with a TKO win over Robert Barrera.  On New Year's Eve, Melindo and Taguchi put their world titles on the line in a winner-take-all unification bout at the Ota-City Central Gymnasium in Tokyo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017

IBF champion Milan Melindo meets WBA champ Ryoichi Taguchi in Japan

The road to becoming light flyweight king begins.  After winning the IBF world light flyweight championship back in May, ALA Promotions standout Milan 'El Metodico' Melindo said that his goal was to become 'king' of the light flyweights by capturing all four major world titles.  After successfully defending his IBF strap against South Africa's Hekkie Budler at Pinoy Pride 42 in Cebu back in September, 'El Metodico' shifts his focus to world title number two.  On their official Facebook page, ALA Promotions announced that Melindo will be taking on reigning WBA world light flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi in Japan in a unification bout at the end of the year.  A long time member of the ALA Boxing stable in Cebu City, the 29-year old Melindo (37-2, 13 KO) rose to prominence while showcasing his talents in the Pinoy Pride series.  After three tries, the Cagayan de Oro-native finally captured the big one, shocking Akira Yaegashi, also in Japan, to finally become a world champion.  Taguchi (26-2-2, 12 KO) on the other hand, has been the reigning WBA world light flyweight champion since 2014, and has defended the title six times since.  The 30-year old native of Tokyo is currently riding a nine-fight unbeaten streak.  Melindo and Taguchi are set to unify the titles on December 31st, 2017. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2017

World champ Milan Melindo relishes cheers from hometown crowd

When Milan 'El Metodico' Melindo captured the IBF light-flyweight world championship in Japan, the ALA Boxing product was met with stunned silence.  He had just knocked out one of Japan's most popular champions in Akira Yaegashi, after all, so the reaction from the hometown crowd wasn't surprising.  Prior to the knockout however, all that the Pinoy could hear was the the fans, chanting Yaegashi's name.  Fast-forward five months later, Melindo was inside the ring once again, but this time, it was his name being chanted, as he defended his title for the first time. 'MELINDO! MELINDO!'  From the opening bell right up to the official decision, the packed Waterfront Hotel and Casino crowd in Cebu City made it clear who they were rooting for.  'Masayang-masaya po ako, dahil yung mga boxing fans, hindi nila ako pinabayaan, gustong-gusto talaga nila akong manalo dahil sinisigaw nila yung pangalan ko.' Melindo shared with ABS-CBN Sports after the grueling 12-round war against South African challenger Hekkie Budler. 'Yung pagkatapos ng laban, pagka-taas ko ng kamay, cheering pa din sila kahit hindi pa na-dedeclare yung panalo.' Overcoming two massive cuts above both eyebrows, Melindo eked out a Split Decision win to retain his IBF title, much to the delight of the Cebuano crowd.  'Pagka-panalo, ayun nagsisigawan na silang lahat, so napaka-happy ko, na-appreciate nila yung ginawa ko at yung resulta ng laban.' While Melindo is a native of Cagayan de Oro, the champ now resides in Cebu, where he trains in the famed ALA Boxing Gym. Over the year's 'El Metodico' has become a household name in the so-called Boxing Mecca of the Philippines, along with guys like Donnie Nietes and Mark Magsayo.  More than anything however, Melindo says that it's knowing that all his hard work paid off at the end. 'Napaka-happy ko dahil hindi nabale-wala yung lahat ng sakripisyo ko, na lumaban ako hanggang sa huli, kahit marami na akong sugat sa mata.' Saturday night, Melindo shared one of his career's biggest moments with the fans in Cebu.  They chanted his name and cheered for him every step of the way.  A far cry from the stunned silence he recieved in Japan.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 18th, 2017

Inspired by teammate Milan Melindo's rise, Arthur Villanueva looks to write own comeback story

The journey of 28-year old Arthur Villanueva looks pretty familiar.  30 wins and only two setbacks, both coming from world title shots.  A little research will show that one other ALA Boxing product has a similar record, and he goes by the name of Milan Melindo, the current reigning IBF light-flyweight champion of the world.  Much like 'King' Arthur, Melindo was an impressive talent who dispatched every challenge put in front of him, with the exception of world title opportunities.  Before finally capturing the IBF world title back in May, Melindo came up short in two previous title shots, one for the WBO and WBA world titles against Juan Francisco Estrada back in 2013, and one for the IBF flyweight title against Javier Mendoza in 2015.  The third time was the charm for Melindo, and Villanueva the same will ring true for him as well.  'Kaya ko, yun din yung tingin ng manager ko, na hindi lang talaga ako sinuwerte.' Villanueva told ABS-CBN Sports. 'Talagang mayroon pa akong pag-asa.' Seeing his stablemate finally capture the big one only served as motivation for the Bago City, Negros native.  'Sabi ko kung kaya ni Milan, Kaya ko din.' In his most recent title shot, Villanueva came up short against Zolani Tete, who now holds the WBO world bantamweight championship.  'Dun sa laban ko kay Zolani Tete, hindi ko nabigay yung dapat kong gawin, kasi nahirapan ako sa style niya.' All that's in the past now, and Villanueva sets his sights on writing his own comeback story, one similar to Melindo's.  To do that, he says he needs to show people what 'King Arthur' can really do inside the ring.  'Nitong last year, na-feel ko naman sa sarili ko na medyo malaki yung na-improve sa akin. Mayroon pa akong gustong ipakita na hindi ko nagawa nung huling mga laban ko.' Arthur Villanueva makes his return to the boxing ring when he takes on Richie Mepranum at Pinoy Pride 42: Clash for Glory this Saturday, September 16th at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City.    em> strong>Catch Pinoy Pride 42: Clash For Glory on Sunday, September 17, 3:30 PM on ABS-CBN channel 2 and 6:30 PM on S+A channel 23.  /strong> /em> .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 16th, 2017

Amidst pre-fight drama, Melindo ready to defend world championship at Pinoy Pride 42

There's a saying in combat sports that goes 'You're not really a champion unless you defend your belt.'  Saturday night at Pinoy Pride 42, reigning IBF light-flyweight champion Milan 'El Metodico' Melindo will get a chance to solidify his place as champion when he defends his title for the first time against South African challenger Hekkie 'The Hexecutioner' Budler.  In Budler, Melindo faces somewhat a mirror-image of himself. Both are 29 years old, both are around the 5'2-5'3 height range, and both have a 65'' reach.  Even in records, Melindo (36-2, 13 KO) and Budler (31-2, 10 KO) are in the same ballpark.  Still, when the bell rings, records and statistics are thrown out the window.  Melindo is coming off an impressive first-round knockout win over Japan's Akira Yaegashi to become the new IBF 108-pound king. Asked when he looks to do the same to Budler in their title bout on Saturday, his response was simple: 'I don't predict the knockout.' Budler on the other hand, is coming off an eighth-round stoppage of Filipino Joey Canoy back in February. Budler says that he's ready for whatever Melindo has in store for him on fight night. 'We're ready for whatever he brings to us.'  In a highly-anticipated matchup, ALA Boxing's Jonas 'Zorro' Sultan gets the biggest shot of his career when he takes on former IBF flyweight champion John Riel 'Quadro Alas' Casimero in an IBF super-flyweight title eliminator.  One of ALA Boxing's fastest rising stars, Sultan (13-3, 9 KO) is riding a four-fight winning streak and is coming off an eighth-round KO win over former world champion Sonny Boy Jaro.  Casimero (24-3, 15 KO) on the other hand, is coming off a Unanimous Decision win over Jecker Buhawi in his super-flyweight debut. Before jumping up to the 115-pound division, Casimero was the reigning IBF 112-pound king, defeating Thailand's Amnat Ruenroeng to claim the title and then defenfding it against England's Charlie Edwards in late 2016.  The winner of this all-Filipino title elminator will get the shot at reigning IBF super-flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas.  Also on the card, Jason 'El Nino' Pagara returns to the ring to face Kenya's James Onyango in a 10-round co-main event, while former world title challenger 'King' Arthur Villanueva takes on Richie Mepranum in another exciting all-Filipino contest.  Pinoy Pride 42: Clash for Glory takes place on Saturday, September 16th at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City.    u> strong>Full Pinoy Pride 42 Fight Card /strong> /u> IBF light-flyweight championship: Milan Melindo vs. Hekkie Budler 146 lbs - 10 rds: Jason Pagara vs. James Onyango 115 lbs - 12 rds: Jonas Sultan vs. John Riel Casimero 118 lbs - 10 rds: Arthur Villanueva vs. Richie Mepranum 113 lbs - 8 rds: Kevin Jake Cataraja vs. Wiljan Ugbaniel 122 lbs - 8 rds: Virgel Vitor vs. Alvin Bais 115 lbs - 6 rds: Kenneth Gentallan vs. Jeffrey Stella 112 lbs - 4 rds: Jeno Macapobre vs. Mel Ando   em> strong>Catch Pinoy Pride 42: Clash For Glory on Sunday, September 17, 3:30 PM on ABS-CBN channel 2 and 6:30 PM on S+A channel 23.  /strong> /em> .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 16th, 2017

Boxing: Aston Palicte and camp waiting for title rematch with Donnie Nietes

After starching previously-undefeated Puerto Rican Jose Martinez in just two rounds back in late January, Filipino super flyweight contener Aston "Mighty" Palicte is back in the title picture.  The 28-year olf native of Bago, Negros earned a mandatory challenger spot after knocking out Martinez in the second round of their WBO super flyweight title eliminator, and now he's ready to challenge for the belt once more.  Fittingly, the man holding the WBO's 115-pound title is a familiar face in four-division titleholder Donnie "Ahas" Nietes, who Palicte already faced back in 2018 for the then-vacant WBO title.  Of course, the bout ended in a controversial split draw. Nietes would fight for and caputure the title just months later, defeatign Japan's Kazuto Ioka via split decision in Macau on New Year's Eve.  For Palicte, the prospect of once again challenging his fellow Negrense is all about doing his job and achieving his ultimate goal of becoming a world champion. "Sa akin naman, unang-una, ayaw ko din sana na Pinoy yung kalaban ko, kasi dalawang Pinoy, pero sabi ko nga, wala eh, trabaho ‘to eh," Palicte told ABS-CBN Sports. "Eto yung trabaho ko, alam din naman nila Donnie yun eh. Siyempre, sports lang, trabaho lang." In a perfect world, Palicte would rather find a way to capture a world championship without having to challenge Nietes, which could mean even more world championships for the Philippines.  "Kung may ibang paraan na hindi kami mag-lalaban [pero makakapag-champion ako], mas maganda yun," he explained. "Para yung may isa na Pinoy na champion, tapos kung manalo yung isa pang Pinoy na, kunyari ako, sa iba, world championship sa iba, at least dadagdag na naman yung Pinoy [na world champion] diba?" How it stands however, Palicte is the next in line for the WBO title, which means that to become a champion himself, he'll have to go through Nietes. For the Roy Jones Jr-promoted talent, he's just waiting to see what materializes in the next few days or weeks.  "Ang sakin, gaya ng sinasabi ko sa kanila, hindi ko iniisip kumbaga, sana kaming dalawa ni Nietes [yung maglaban], una hindi ko gusto yun, pero kung mangyari yun, kung gusto talaga ng promoter ko at promoter niya, manager niya at manager ko, wala naman ako magagawa kasi boxer ako. Kailangan ko sundin kung ano yung desisyon nila, nung promoter ko at ng manager ko." "Talagang nag-hihintay lang ako sa kung ano gusto nila," he continued.  While the WBO has ordered a rematch between the two Negros-born pugilists, Dennis Gasgonia of ABS-CBN News reports that Nietes' promoter ALA Promotions will be looking at the options, which could include a unification bout with the other 115-pound titleholders.  Palicte's long-time manager Jason Soong knows full well that a do-over with Nietes is far from set in stone, and he says that he understands the Cebu-based stable's desire to go after the division's bigger stars.  "I understand where they’re coming from, especially with Donnie being an older boxer, I guess he’s going towards the later part of his career, so I understand where they’re coming from, but walang personalan, it’s boxing, but there’s a reason why we’re the mandatory challenger," Soong elaborated. "If they don’t want to fight us, they’ll have to probably vacate the belt, because I don’t think the WBO is going…just the way the WBO is addressing this, the fact that they’re coming out with statements right away, and then the official letters are being circulated, I think the WBO is very serious that when it’s a mandatory, it’s a mandatory." "I don’t think they’re playing around with that," he added. Much like Palicte, Soong reiterated that the desire to go after Nietes stems from the simple fact that he is the one holding the belt.  "I understand them, but kami, we’re happy because we feel like we earned it, bottomline. It’s not like we chose him as an opponent, nagkataon lang na he holds the belt. Even that for me, them fighting for that belt, for me it’s also, that’s what I’m questioning, because [Donnie and Aston are] one and two, and they leapfrog us and then they fight for the belt and we’re left with the eliminator, but for me, sige, we took it. We took it and we’re here now." While the next step for Palicte remains unclear at this point, Soong is confident that his ward's next fight will be one for a major world championship.  "I’m excited, because I think no matter what happens, Aston’s next fight will be for a world championship, whether it’s with Donnie or with someone else. I’m excited." Should Nietes end up vacating the WBO title, Soong sees a scenario wherein Palicte could end up facing Mexican star Juan Francisco Estrada for the title in what he considers a 'dream fight'.  "Well, if he vacates it and we’re in the championship, the one next ranked is Estrada," Soong said. "That would be, ever since Aston was a contender, [Estrada] was actually our dream match, and I think their styles, Estrada was the main event in the last SuperFly 3, and it was always our dream matchup, one because he’s a big name and we think it would be a very good, very entertaining fight, and I think we would do well against a fighter like that.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 8th, 2019

Top sports headliners in the year that was

From the FIFA World Cup to the NBA, the PBA to the UAAP and NCAA, the Asian Games to Manny Pacquiao, volleyball to MMA, the past 12 months truly was a great year for Filipino sports fans.   Here are some of the most memorable sports headliners that bannered the year that was.    San Miguel Corporation dominates PBA San Miguel Corporation owned 2018. For the first time in the history of the Asia’s first professional basketball league one company dominated all three conferences of the PBA. The San Miguel Beermen annexed their fourth straight Philippine Cup title against sister team Magnolia last May, while Ginebra rode on undersized do-it-all forward Justin Brownlee to the Commissioner's Cup title at the expense of San Miguel last August. Then it was Magnolia's time to shine in December. The Hotshots dismantled Alaska in six games to complete SMC’s domination of PBA 2018. Outside of basketball, SMC also made its presence felt in volleyball as Petron bagged the Grand Prix, Challenge Cup (beach volleyball) and the All-Filipino Conference in the Philippine Superliga.   Kai Sotto stands tall as Ateneo takes title vs NU Kai Sotto became a household name in 2018 as the 7'1" wunderkind showed off in the UAAP Season 80 juniors' basketball tournament. The eventual Finals MVP was a beast in Game 1 of the Finals against the NU Bullpups, tallying a triple-double of 22 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 blocks in the 86-70 win, the first of its kind since 2003. Ateneo finished the season almost unscathed at 16-1, with their lone loss in Game 2 of the series, a very chippy one to say the least. In Game 3, Sotto came up clutch, scoring the go-ahead basket, 60-58, with about 30 seconds left as Ateneo came away with the 63-58 win to take the title.  SJ Belangel, Joaqui Manuel, Dave Ildefonso and Jason Credo, and coach Joe Silva all appeared in their last games for the Blue Eaglets.   DLSU completes three-peat; NU dethrones Ateneo  The UAAP Season 80 volleyball tournament was filled with lasting memories that will surely be remembered for a long time. Numerous upsets in the eliminations, great games, and much more were the name of the game for the women's tournament. However, a long-time rivalry was rekindled when two-time defending champs De La Salle Lady Spikers met 29-time title holders FEU Lady Tamaraws for all the marbles last May. Kim Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron, and Dawn Macandili all ended their careers on a high note as they swept graduating Bernadeth Pons and the Lady Tamaraws in two straight games to win their third straight title. Graduating libero Macandili was named Finals MVP for the first and final time in her collegiate career.  Behind their magnificent floor defense and some stellar play from Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas, the NU Bulldogs also swept three-time defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles to reclaim a title they last enjoyed in Season 76. Espejo, a five-time UAAP MVP, had an awesome performance for the world's record books, scoring a record-55 points to force the FEU Tamaraws to a do-or-die Final Four. The Blue Eagle legend had played his last, and has since suited up for a semi-pro team in Japan's topflight volleyball league.   Alab fends off Mono Vampire to claim ABL title San Miguel-backed Alab Pilipinas were such a glorious sight to see in the eighth season of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) last March. Coached by perennial fan favorite Jimmy Alapag in his very first season, the trio of Renaldo Balkman, Justin Brownlee, and Local and Finals MVP Bobby Ray Parks to their first title in home soil. Alab faced Thailand-based Mono Vampire, who were led by Mike Singletary, towering Sam Deguara, Fil-Am Jason Brickman and Pinoy Paul Zamar. In the very same day as the coronation of the UAAP volleyball championships, Alab took home the crown in a rousing 102-92 victory in Sta. Rosa, much to the delight of the home crowd. Balkman, the league's Defensive Player of the Year led Alab in scoring with 32, while Brownlee added 24 of his own. Parks added 13 markers. The two imports played in the PBA for the Commissioner's Cup, where Balkman (San Miguel) and Brownlee (Ginebra) would face each other in the Finals.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Warriors send LeBron packing to Los Angeles The Golden St. Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers locked horns in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season after the two teams were pushed to the brink in the Conference Finals. Both teams were down 3-2 and won Game 7 on the road to win their respective conferences, with both teams banking on experience to forge another bout in the championship series. Game 1 was undoubtedly the most exciting game in the series as LeBron James had an epic performance of 51 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.  However, JR Smith's blunder at the end of regulation became the lasting image of that game, as he dribbled out the clock with the score tied at 107-all. The defending champions rode the surge and took the opening game, 124-114. Stephen Curry's brillant performance throughout the series was overshadowed by Kevin Durant's dagger in Game 3, a few feet away from the spot where he launched the go-ahead three in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals. Durant was named as the Bill Russell Finals MVP after norming 28.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, and 7.5 apg in the four-game sweep, demolishing the Cavs 108-85 in the series finale last June. It would also be the last game LeBron James had in a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform, as he bolted for the Los Angeles Lakers almost a month later.   (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) France rules 2018 FIFA World Cup The most-coveted title of the beautiful game returned to France after two decades. The youthful French squad celebrated their conquest soaked in a downpour in Moscow after a 4-2 victory over first-time finalist Croatia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup last July. Teenager Kylian Mbappe stood out in the French team composed of a bunch of 25 and under players. Speed, strength and youth became France’s biggest asset during the quadrennial football spectacle watched by almost 3.5 billion viewers around the world.  The 19-year-old migrant scored one of the four goals in the championship match to become the second teen to score a goal in the Finals after the legendary Pele back in 1958. France defeated Belgium in the semifinal, 1-0, while Croatia outlasted the favored Russians in penalty shootout, 4-3 (2-2). The French team also displayed diversity, with players born of migrant parents including Alphonse Areola, whose parents are both Filipinos working in France.   Pac on top, The Filipino Flash returns The most-celebrated Filipino athlete continued make the headlines this year. Manny Pacquaio stripped Lucas Matthysse of his WBA welterweight world championship belt with a seventh round technical knockout win in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in July. Pacquiao split with long-time trainer Freddie Roach during his build up for the Matthysse bout back in April but confirmed their partnership once again for the 40-year old boxer’s title defense against Adrien Broner next year. Nonito Donaire Jr. announced that he would be going back down to super bantamweight after a loss to Carl Frampton in April for the interim WBO Featherweight belt and would be taking part in the World Boxing Super Series' super bantamweight tournament.  Matched up in the quarterfinal round against Ryan Burnett back in November, Donaire scored what many consider an upset, winning via TKO after the Irishman suffered a back injury to snatch the WBA (Super) Bantamweight World Championship.  Up next for Donaire will be WBO Super Bantamweight World Champion Zolani Tete of South Africa in the semifinals.           Pinay power in the Asian Games   The Philippines participated in the 18th Asian Games held in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia that ran from August 18 to September 2. A total of 272 athletes that participated in 31 sports represented the country in the quadrennial meet with Jordan Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers and medalist Margielyn Didal marching as flagbearers in the opening and closing ceremonies, respectively. Rio Olympian Hidilyn Diaz gave the PHI its first gold medal in women’s -53 kg. weightlifting. Five days after Diaz’s victory, the trio of Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go accounted for the women’s golf team mint. Saso also bagged the individual gold. In Palembang, Didal rolled her way into winning the women’s street skateboard gold. The celebrated men’s basketball team started out strong after routing Kazakhstan but lost by two-points to China in the group stage. The Gilas Pilipinas squad advanced in the quarterfinals but bowed down to South Korea by nine points eventually settling for a fifth spot in the classification phase after wins over Japan and Syria. The PHI finished with a 4-2-15 gold-silver-bronze haul and landed at 19th spot, three places higher that its 2014 finish in Incheon, South Korea.      Red Lions roar, Blue Eagles soar San Beda University continued its mastery over the NCAA as it annexed its third straight title and 22nd overall. The Red Lions grabbed its 11th crown in 13 years at the expense of Lyceum of the Philippines University. It was one-sided championship series – just like in their Finals meeting last year – with the San Beda ripping the Pirates apart in Game One with LPU playing sans its best player in CJ Perez, who was banned for one game after failing to notify the league of his intention to join the PBA Draft. Perez returned in Game 2 but even his presence didn’t stop the Red Lions from painting the NCAA red once again. In probably one of the most memorable UAAP season in recent years, Ateneo de Manila University won its second straight crown. Ivorian tower and Rookie of the Year 6-foot-11 Ange Kouame made an immediate impact for the Blue Eagles complementing the already stacked Ateneo squad led by Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena. But the glory of Ateneo was overshadowed by the Cinderalla story of the team it vanquished in the Finals. Climbing up from the cellar in the past years, University of the Philippines made history by making it in the Finals for the first time since winning it all in 1986. But before their championship stint, the Fighting Maroons ended a two-decade Final Four drought. UP then shocked twice-to-beat Adamson University with both games decided by game-winners. Ateneo came in the series as the title favorites but overwhelming support from a very hungry UP community and underdogs fans backed the Fighting Maroons. But in the end, it was the Blue Eagles championship experience that prevailed.       Pinoys make wave in MMA Fighters under Team Lakay flexed their muscles in One Championship. Flyweight star Geje Eustaquio opened the year with an interim championship win over former champion Kairat Akhmetov in Manila back in January. Eustaquio then defeated two-time champion Adriano Moraes in Macau last July to become the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion.  Joshua Pacio earned the ONE Strawweight World Championship last September after a unanimous decision win over two-time champion Japanese Yoshitaka Naito. Kevin Belingon dropped former world title challenger Andrew Leone with a now-famous spinning back kick in April. He followed it up with a dominating win over then-two division world champion Martin Nguyen to capture the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion. Belingon ended the five-year reign and seven-year winning streak of of long-time bantamweight king Brazilian Bibiano Fernandes in November via split decision.  Eduard Folayang outclassed Singaporean contender Amir Khan at ONE: Conquest of Champions in Manila in early December to bag the ONE Lightweight World Championship for the second time in his storied career.  BRAVE Combat Federation Bantamweight World Champion Stephen Loman successfully defended his title twice in 2018.  Reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera needed only 64 seconds to knockout hard-hitting Italian challenger Mauro Cerilli in Manila early December to remain the king of the ONE Championship heavyweight kingdom.    Petron, Creamline rule respective club leagues Creamline claimed its breakthrough championship in the Premier Volleyball League by sweeping PayMaya in the Reinforced Conference Finals series last July. Alyssa Valdez finally ended a two-year title drought with the Cool Smashers' victory. Creamline opposite hitter Michele Gumabao was named Miss Globe-Philippines during the Binibining Pilipinas 2018 last March. Gumabao represented the country in the 2018 Miss Globe in Albania last October and won the Miss Social Media and Dream Girl awards while landing a spot in the Top 15.     The Cool Smashers completed a sweep of the PVL’s Season 2 after claiming the Open Conference crown at the expense of Ateneo-Motolite via an emphatic series sweep this month. In the Philippine Superliga, Petron reigned supreme in the Grand Prix after taking down archrival F2 Logistics last May. Petron extended its supremacy in the sands after the tandem of Sisi Rondina and Bernadethn Pons defeated Dhannylaine Demontano and Jackielyn Estoquia of Sta. Lucia in the Challenge Cup final last May. The Cargo Movers got its revenge in the Invitational Cup, toppling the Blaze Spikers in a series sweep last July. Petron wrapped the year with the All-Filipino Conference in its pocket. The Blaze Spikers won its first 14 games before dropping Game 2 of the Finals. Petron swept F2 Logistics in Game 3......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2018

VOLLEYBALL IS LIFE: A look back at Philippine volleyball in 2018

Glorious victories, dynasties, historic feats, controversies and memorable moments once again highlighted another fruitful year for Philippine volleyball.   Now, let us take a look back in the year that was in volleyball:   DYNASTY Powerhouse teams continued to thrive in the country’s most popular collegiate leagues. Arellano University muscled its way back into the NCAA Season 93 Finals and met a newcomer in San Beda University. The Lady Chiefs did find the Lady Red Spikers as feisty opponents in their first championship meeting, needing five sets to survive San Beda in Game One. But it didn’t take long for Arellano U to stomp its class over the newbies to capture its second straight title and fourth overall crown in five years. De La Salle University painted UAAP Season 80 green after annexing its third straight title handing legendary head coach Ramil De Jesus his third grand slam in the country’s most popular and competitive collegiate league. Second year setter Michelle Cobb stepped up to the challenge of filling the big shoes left by Kim Fajardo and complemented the depth and firepower of DLSU. Far Eastern University, which advanced into the Finals for the first time after a decade, stood no chance against the onslaught of the Lady Spikers, which swept their way onto throne. University of Perpetual Help completed a four-peat in the NCAA juniors after sweeping Letran. Philippine Air Force snatched the Premier Volleyball League men’s Reinforced Conference crown and the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference title. Sisi Rondina cemented her legacy as the UAAP’s queen of the sands after completing a three-peat in women’s beach volleyball. Rondina wrapped her tour of duty with four titles in five years. The Tigers ruled the men’s division.       YEAR OF THE UNDERDOGS San Beda University made great strides in NCAA Season 93 after earning its first-ever Finals appearance behind the efforts of Cesca Racraquin and twins Nieza and Jiezela Viray. The Lady Red Spikers closed the elims with an 8-1 win-loss record and took down Perpetual in the semis. Languishing at the bottom half of the standings since the return of its women’s volleyball program in 2008, Jose Rizal University made history by advancing into the Final Four. Shola Alvarez capped the Lady Bombers’ remarkable season by pocketing the Most Valuable Player award.   Far Eastern University made it to the UAAP women’s volleyball Finals by booting out crowd-favorite Ateneo de Manila University in the semis.  For the first time in five years, the Blue Eagles found themselves in a very difficult position in the Final Four. With a twice-to-win disadvantage, the Marck Espejo-led Ateneo shocked FEU – a team that beat them twice in the elims – to march to its fifth straight championship appearance.      But the real underdog story belonged to NU. After three years of finishing runner-up to the Blue Eagles, the Bulldogs led by Bryan Bagunas finally got their long-awaited revenge as they swept Ateneo off its three-year reign at the throne.     OFF COURT STORIES, CONTROVERSIES University of the East parted ways with head coach Francis Vicente midway in Season 80 after three and a half seasons with the Lady Warriors. Vicente left for ‘personal reasons’ with a UE coaching record of 2-45 (win-loss). Red Warriors head coach Sammy Acaylar also resigned from his post midway in the season. University of Sto. Tomas hitter EJ Laure after months of speculations to the real reason of her sitting out UAAP Season 80 broke her silence by saying that needed time to recover from her right shoulder injury to end all the rumors circulating including an alleged pregnancy.    Sound bites, videos and clips that show collegiate players’ ‘human side’ made its rounds around social media that drew mixed reactions from fans.  Just like in the previous years, controversy filled the formation of the national women’s volleyball team. Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. initially named Ramil De Jesus as the national team coach but just two months after his designation, the multi-titled DLSU mentor resigned from his post citing ‘conflict of schedule’. Shaq Delos Santos took over De Jesus’ spot. Netizens went abuzz when the composition of the national team that participated in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games was released as fans give their different views on who should and should not be included in the roster.             LVPI named a new president in Peter Cayco of Arellano U to replace Joey Romasanta during the association’s election.   WRITING HISTORY Smart’s Cuban import Gigi Silva carved a world scoring record in the Philippine Superliga after scoring 56 points in a lost cause against Cocolife in the 2018 Grand Prix. Silva pounded 53 kills and had three aces to land her name in the fourth spot in the women’s world scoring record behind Polina Rahimova of Azerbaijan’s 58 points in 2015 while playing in Japan, American Madison Kingdon’s 57 (2017 Korea Volleyball League) and Bulgarian Elitsa Vasileva’s 57 (2013 Korea Volleyball League). Silva also surpassed the 55 points of Americans Nicole Fawcett (2013 KVL) and Alaina Bergsma, who led Petron to the 2014 PSL Grand Prix crown, (2016 KVL).     Not to be outdone, local volleyball star Marck Espejo had a 55-point explosion of his own in the Blue Eagles’ five-set Game 1 UAAP Final Four win over FEU. The five-time MVP pounded 47 attacks, had six kill blocks and two service aces for the Katipunan-based squad. Espejo scored 11 points in the deciding frame including Ateneo’s last four to seal the win in the match that lasted for two hours and 21 minutes. Espejo’s feat fueled Ateneo’s eventual semis series win over the twice-to-beat Tamaraws.  Espejo and DLSU libero Dawn Macandili were named as the Philippine Sportswriters Association’s 2017 Mr. and Miss Volleyball.     The Philippines saw three players make their mark in the international scene this year as Espejo and sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat were tapped as imports in Japan’s V. Premier League. Espejo is now playing for Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler while Jaja and Dindin suit up for Saitama Ageo Medics and Toray Arrows, respectively.     After 36 long years, the Philippines sent a women’s volleyball team to participate in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games. The squad won against Hong Kong in straight sets in pool play in the country’s first Asian Games victory since defeating India in the 1982 New Delhi Games. The PHI advanced in the quarterfinals but went home empty-handed. The Filipinas ended up at ninth place in the AVC Asian Cup. Sisi Rondina and Dzi Gervacio made waves in the country’s hosting of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open after the duo barged in the quarterfinals. The tandem eventually bowed down to eventual champion Japan. The NU Bulldogs brought its bark into the international scene and howled its way to giving honor to country by winning the ASEAN University Games gold medal at the expense of Thailand. Volleyball proved to be the most talked about sport in the country as #UAAPSeason80Volleyball became the most tweeted sports hashtag in 2018.   SMASHING WIN, BLAZING VICTORY Creamline became the most successful club in the Premier Volleyball League this year after winning its breakthrough Reinforced Conference crown before following it up with a title romp in the Open Conference. Alyssa Valdez finally ended a two-year title drought after leading the Cool Smashers to the Reinforced Conference throne.   Creamline’s Michele Gumabao joined Binibining Pilipinas and represented the country im the 2018 Miss Globe in Albania, landing at the top 15.     Petron lorded it over in the PSL after winning the Grand Prix and All-Filipino Conference titles at the expense of archrival F2 Logistics, which ruled the Invitational Conference. University of the Philippines ended a 36-year title drought by claiming the PVL Collegiate Conference championship and followed it up by reigning supreme in the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam The SiPons tandem of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons of Petron annexed their second straight PSL Challenge Cup beach volleyball title. University of Perpetual Help reclaimed the NCAA men’s title after taking down Arellano University as the Altas bagged it 11th title overall.           National University took back the title it lost last year in the UAAP boys’ tournament while De La Salle-Zobel bagged the girls’ mint. The Beach Volleyball Republic continued its advocacy of propagating the sport throughout the country.   END OF THE ROAD After winning three straight UAAP titles, the Lady Spikers bid goodbye to its Big Three in Kim Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron and Dawn Macandili. Season 80 saw the end of the six-year Ateneo-DLSU Finals rivalry as the Lady Eagles bowed down to FEU in the semis. The Blue Eagles three-year reign ended at the hands of NU as Ateneo gave its farewell to its greatest men’s volleyball star Marck Espejo and prized setter Ish Povorosa.    NU’s four-year domination in the girls’ division was snapped by DLS-Zobel. After a dry 2018 PVL season, Pocari Sweat parted ways with its franchise player Myla Pablo as newcomer Motolite agreed to buyout the hitter’s last three contract years.      Thai coach Tai Bundit after five years and bringing two titles including a rare tournament sweep to the Lady Eagles finally called it quits after Ateneo’s campaign in UAAP Season 80. Creamline gave Bundit a farewell championship trophy in the PVL.      A NEW BEGINNING It was a colorful 2018, indeed, for volleyball but 2019 is another promising year for the sport. Can the Lady Chiefs complete a three-peat in the NCAA? Newcomers are sure to bring more excitement and interest in the UAAP. DLSU will try to extend its reign for another season while NU is looking for a repeat crown in the men’s side. Another season for the PSL and the PVL will open while the national men’s and women’s team will highlight the country’s Southeast Asian Games hosting.        --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 27th, 2018

2018 s most memorable bits of boxing

The sweet science is always a source of headlines in the sporting world, especially in a country that's full of fight fans like the Philippines. Over the last twelve months, we've seen comebacks, championships, and even a little controversy.  Here are some of the best bits of boxing from 2018!    PAC BACK ON TOP 2018 saw Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao once again claim world championship gold following a bitter and controversial loss to Jeff Horn in 2017.  Fighting in Asia for the first time since 2014, Pacquiao challenged reigning WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Champion Lucas "La Maquina" Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia back in July.  Billed as a durable, heavy-hitting brawler, Matthysse was supposed to be the one to threaten Pacquiao with a KO finish.  Instead, looking like the Pacquiao of old, it was the Filipino star who came out aggressive, landing bombs until finally scoring a seventh-round TKO finish, his first since 2009.  Just months shy of his 40th birthday, Pacquiao was a world champion for the eleventh time in his storied career.    THE BREAKUP Prior to Pacquiao's win over Matthysse, the Filipino boxer made headlines the world over after a split from long-time trainer and head coach Freddie Roach.  In April, months before Pacquiao's return to the ring against Matthysse, reports surfaced that Pacquiao, for the first time in over 15 years and 34 bouts, would not be working with the Hall of Fame trainer. According to various sources, the split stemmed from a disagreement between Pacquiao and Roach following the loss to Jeff Horn back in 2017.  Taking Roach's place as head trainer was Pacquiao's best friend, Buboy Fernandez, and judging from the result of the Matthysse bout, it paid dividends.  Still, the split didn't last too long.  Soon after Pacquiao's first WBA title defense against Adrien Broner was announced, both Pacquiao and Roach have confirmed that they will be working together once again.  This time however, Roach will be serving more of a consultant role, guiding Fernandez who remains as Pacquiao's head trainer.    CONTROVERSY SURROUNDS CANELO-GGG 2 In 2017, middleweight stars Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez went to an exciting 12-round draw that warranted a rematch in 2018.  In January, it was announced that the two warriors would square off once again in a Cinco de Mayo rematch. The rematch was put in jeopardy however, when Canelo tested positive for a banned substance in March. By April, the fight was off after the Mexican star decided to withdraw from the highly-anticipated rematch.  The fight eventually pushed through in September, with Alvarez picking up the majority decision win to hand Golovkin his first career loss, and more importantly claim the WBA (Super) and WBC Middleweight World Championships.  Three months later, Canelo would stop British boxer Rocky Fielding in the third round to capture the WBA (Regular) Middleweight World Championship as well.    ALL-FILIPINO For the first time in 92 years, two Filipino boxers faced off for a world championship when reigning IBF Super Flyweight World Champion Jerwin "Pretty Boy" Ancajas defended his title against Jonas "Zorro" Sultan in California.  In the historic meeting, it was Ancajas who emerged victorious, defeating Sultan via unanimous decision as the reigning IBF 115-pound champ continued his run of dominance with five successful title defenses. Four months later, Ancajas would retain his world championship once again, but this time after figuring in a split draw against Mexican Alejandro Santiago.    DONNIE NIETES MAKES THE JUMP Speaking of all-Filipino bouts and going to a draw, Donnie Nietes and Aston Palicte experienced both in just one bout.  Following a spectacular albiet short-lived run at Flyweight, which saw him capture and retain the IBF's 112-pound title, Nietes made the decision to move up to the 115-pound super flyweight division, where he'll be in the same pool as the big names like Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Juan Francisco Estrada, and compatriot Jerwin Ancajas.  Nietes' debut bout at 115 however, would be against fellow Negrense in Palicte, and it would be for the vacant WBO Super Flyweight World Championship in September.  In what many believed as a win for Nietes, the 12-round bout went to a controversial split draw, that denied Nietes of the distinction of joining Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr. as the only Filipinos to capture four world titles in as many divisions.  Nietes still has the chance to do that before the end of 2018 however, as he gets another shot at the title on New Year's Eve when he meets Japan's Kazuto Ioka in Macau.    BUD MOVES UP Following years of dominance at junior welterweight, Terence "Bud" Crawford also made the jump up to a heavier weight class, and immediately made a splash.  Facing off against WBO Welterweight World Champion Jeff Horn, Crawford announced his arrival at 140-pounds with a dominant TKO win over the Australian in June.  Four months later, Crawford successfully defended the title against Jose Benavidez Jr. with a 12th-round TKO victory.    FLASH FORWARD Nonito Donaire Jr's 2018 didn't start off as well as he would have wanted.  The Filipino Flash lost his April bout to Carl Frampton for the WBO Interim Featherweight World Championship, prompting questions regarding the former four-division world champion's future.  In a surprising move however, Donaire announced that he would be going back down to super bantamweight and would be taking part in the World Boxing Super Series' super bantamweight tournament.  Matched up in the quarterfinal round against Ryan Burnett back in November, Donaire scored what many consider an upset, winning via TKO after the Irishman suffered a back injury. As a result, Donaire advanced into the next round of the tournament with the WBA (Super) Bantamweight World Championship around his waist.  Up next for Donaire will be WBO Super Bantamweight World Champion Zolani Tete of South Africa in the semifinals.    WILDER AND FURY GO TO WAR In one of the most talked-about heavyweight bouts in recent history, WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury put on a 12-round war that ended in...surprise, surprise, a split draw. Fury used his movement and technique to dictate the pace over Wilder throughout the 12-round bout, but the reigning champion dropped the British challenger in the final round that led to the draw decision, setting up what could be another highly-anticipated rematch in the future. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 26th, 2018

ONE Championship: Geje Eustaquio to defend title in Manila

ONE Championship's first of four trips to Manila in 2019 will feature Team Lakay star and reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio defending his title against a very familiar opponent in former champion Adriano "Mikinho" Moraes.  The strawweight world title bout headlines ONE: Hero's Ascent set for Friday, January 25th at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.  This will be the third meeting between Eustaquio and Moraes after splitting their first two encounters, both times for the ONE Flyweight World Championship.  Moraes won the first bout in 2014 after submitting Eustaquio in the second round to capture ONE's inaugural strawweight title.  Eustaquio, who captured the ONE Interim Flyweight World Championship in January of 2018, went on to win the second encounter in June of the same year, avenging his previous loss to Moraes with a split decision win to unify the titles.   The highly-anticipated grudge match could ultimately decide who will be waiting for the winner of the ONE Flyweight Grand Prix which begins in March in Tokyo, Japan.  Eustaquio will be the second world champion from the Philippines to defend his title in 2019, following teammate and reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio who is set to face Japanese challenger Yosuke Saruta on January 19th in Jakarta.  Another fellow Team Lakay star in Eduard Folayang has also been scheduled to put his ONE Lightweight World Championship up for grabs, taking on former champion Shinya Aoki in Tokyo this March as well. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 21st, 2018

Boxing: New father Albert Pagara drawing inspiration from baby boy

A confident and composed ‘Prince’ Albert Pagara put on a show in front of his hometown of Maasin, Southern Leyte, Saturday evening in the main event of Pinoy Pride 44: Laban sa Leyte. Looking like the dominant ‘Prince’ Albert of old, Pagara dominated Ghanaian opponent Laryea Gabriel Odoi in three rounds to reclaim the WBO Intercontinental Super Bantamweight Championship for a second run with the regional title. (READ ALSO: Albert Pagara back to form, sets sights on world champion Dogboe) It was the same title that the lost to Cesar Juarez in 2016, and getting it back was a bit of redemption for the ALA Boxing Promotions standout. While the ultimate goal of one day becoming a world champion - like stablemates Donnie Nietes and Milan Melindo - is the main motivation for Pagara, the 24-year old found a new source of inspiration heading into his bout against Odoi in Maasin. After dispatching his Ghanaian foe, Pagara thanked the people of Maasin, and then gave a special shoutout to his son, three month old Prince Albert. Talking to ABS-CBN Sports after the bout, Pagara shared that baby Prince Albert was his unico hijo. “Inspirasyon ko yung anak ko kasi yan yung first baby ko,” For Pagara, having a baby was also a dream that was intertwined with his world championship aspirations. “Nangarap ako na magka-baby ako, para pag nag-boboxing ako, may inspiration ako.” The new father adds that having a young one at home will help keep him focused on the ultimate goal. “Dati family ko yung inspiration ko, ngayon may baby ako, pag-umuuwi ako hindi puyat.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 11th, 2018

Boxing: Albert Pagara back to form, sets sights on world champion Dogboe

Fighting in his hometown of Maasin, Southern Leyte, ALA Boxing standout ‘Prince’ Albert Pagara took one forward on his redemption tour as he demolished Laryea Gabriel Odoi to the point that the Ghanaian’s cornermen were forced to throw in the towel in the third round of their main event bout at Pinoy Pride 44: Laban sa Leyte, Saturday evening. With the win, Pagara reclaimed the WBO Intercontinental Super Bantamweight Championship, the very same title that he lost to Cesar Juarez back in 2016. The loss to Juarez remains as the only notch in Pagara’s loss column. Since then, the 24-year old Pagara has racked up four straight victories, three straight have come by KO or TKO, including Saturday’s win over Odoi. After destroying Odoi, Pagara an emotional Pagara fought back tears as he basked in the cheers of his kababayans. For Pagara, reclaiming the belt that he lost nothing short of euphoric. “Sobrang happy ako na nabalik ko yung belt ko, naging champion ulit ako ngayon.” Pagara told ABS-CBN Sports. Looking more like the ‘Prince’ Albert of old that won his first 26 bouts, Pagara says that now more relaxed and has found the optimal walking weight so that once fight time comes, he’s lighter and more agile. “Yung katawan ko, parang magaan, hindi tulad nung dating mga laban ko na parang hindi ako makasuntok at gigil ako. Ngayon, yung timbang ko, paglalaban ako, 132 pounds, ten pounds lang yung over ko para magaan yung katawan ko, para confident ako pag 132-pounds, kasi lalaban ako dati, 138 o 139, mabigat yung katawan ko, ngayon, grabe, parang ang-liksi.” After having already reclaimed the WBO Intercontinental title, would a rematch against Juarez be the next step towards complete redemption for Pagara? Not necessarily. For Pagara, another go-around with Juarez isn’t too appealing anymore. “Ayaw ko na hamunin si Juarez kasi na-knockout na siya ni [Isaac] Dogboe, gusto ko sa level na yung kakalabanin ko. Parang wala na siya. Gusto ko pa-taas na.” “Kung gusto ng ALA Promotion na rematch kay Juarez, sige okay lang sa akin kung mag-rematch kami.” Pagara added. Speaking of Isaac Dogboe, Pagara has his sights set on the current reigning WBO Super Bantamweight World Champion. The unbeaten Ghanaian knocked out Juarez to become the interim champ, and then knocked out Jessie Magdaleno just three months later to snatch the world title. Quite the target for Pagara, but he says the prospect of a bout against Dogboe is keeping him motivated. “Si Dogboe, gusto ko kalabanin, kaya focused ako ngayon sa training, focused talaga sa training, ngayon na nakamit ko na yung belt.” With teammates like Donnie Nietes, Milan Melindo, Jonas Sultan, and Arthur Villanueva all having held or challenged for world titles, Pagara says that he’s working even harder so that one day, he too can reach the level that they have. “Gusto ko maabot yung pangarap ko na maging world champion kagaya nila, kaya pursige lang talaga, disiplina sa sarili.” “Masasabi ko na nakabalik na si Albert, kasi yung style ko dati, binabalik ko na yung mga galaw ko, yung pag-laban ko dati.” Pagara added......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 10th, 2018

Japan duo bags FIVB beach volley diadem

Japan’s Takemi Nishibori and Ayumi Kusano stamped their class on Spain’s Paula Soria and Maria Belen Carro, 21-14, 21-18, to capture the women’s title in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open at SM Sands by the Bay yesterday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 6th, 2018