Blog Posts by Sid Ventura

  • GAB airs its side on Maquinto tragedy

    It's been a week now since boxer Karlo Maquinto tragically died, six days after lapsing into a coma following his eight-round bout with Mark Joseph Costa at the Recom Dome in Caloocan City. The fight ended in a majority draw, with two judges scoring it an even 75-75 and a third scoring it 75-74, with Costa getting deducted a point in Round 4 for repeatedly spitting out his mouthpiece. Costa decked Maquinto twice in the second round, although Maquinto came back strong to nearly floor Costa in the very same round. Costa was close to going down but was saved by the bell.

    After the decision was announced, Maquinto walked back to his corner. He never made it, collapsing along the way and losing consciousness. According the Games and Amusements Board report, Maquinto "was immediately taken by the stand-by ambulance at the FEU hospital by GAB's Medical Chief, Dr. Radentor Viernes with assistance of the Rescue Medical Team deployed by the city government of Caloocan."

    There has been some

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  • Giving disabled Filipinos a lift

    Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    Ask any Filipino you meet on the street who won our last Olympic medal, and chances are you'd get the right answer: Onyok Velasco, who won a silver in boxing in the 1996 Atlanta Games. But ask that same person to name the only differently-abled athlete who has won our only medal in the Paralympic Games, and most likely he'll need to search for the answer on the Internet.

    The answer is Adeline Dumapong, a 38-year-old powerlifter who won the bronze medal in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, and who hopes to inspire other differently-abled Filipinos to use sports as a means to achieve equality in society.

    "We're using sports to fight for equality," says Adeline, who has represented the country in various international competitions. "There has to be a paradigm shift, even among the disabled. Madami sa amin, sa mga katulad kong may kapansanan, naghihintay. Gusto nila na ma-treat equally, pero gusto rin nila, special treatment sila."

    Adeline, who competes in the +82.5 kilogram division for

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  • Wheelchair Warriors

    Players wait for the rebound. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    Basketball is the Philippines' national pastime, a sport played in every street corner in the country with such passion and grit. Thus it's not surprising that in the ongoing Philippine Para National Games at the Marikina Sports Park, the wheelchair basketball tournament is one of the most competitive and hotly contested.

    Never mind if dribbling a basketball and pushing a wheelchair at the same time requires unbelievable coordination. These guys aren't about to let their disability get in the way of playing a good game of basketball.

    In the ongoing Para National Games basketball tournament, there are eight wheelchair teams vying for top honors, with the Tahanang Walang Hagdan team a slight favorite to win it all.

    I caught the tail end of the elimination round game between TWH and the QC Stallions last Friday afternoon, which TWH eventually won, 67-52. Although I saw only a few minutes of action, I saw enough to make me conclude that wheelchair basketball poses its own unique

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  • Donaire annexes jr. featherweight title

    Nonito Donaire, Jr. joined Manny Pacquiao as the only Filipino fighters to win championships in at least four different weight classes after the Filipino Flash scored a split decision over Wilfredo Vazquez of Puerto Rico to win the World Boxing Organization junior featherweight title in San Antonio, Texas.

    Donaire dominated the fight in the early rounds before Vazquez came back to win the middle rounds and make it interesting. But Donaire sealed the deal in the ninth when he dropped Vazquez with a crunching left uppercut and left hook. The Puerto Rican got back up, but he wasn't the same fighter afterwards as Donaire controlled the remaining rounds.

    Two judges had it 117-110 for Donaire, while a third judge incredibly had Vazquez winning by a score of 115-112.

    After winning belts at flyweight, junior bantamweight (interim title), and bantamweight, Donaire annexed his fourth world title. He had said prior to the fight that junior featherweight appeared right for him, since he didn't

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  • PHILSPADA chairman Mike Barredo speaks at Para Games opening. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    The Philippine Sports Commission-Philippine Sports Association for the Differently Abled (PSC-PHILSPADA) Philippine Para National Games is ongoing at the Marikina Sports Park with around 550 differently-abled athletes from all over the country participating in 10 sporting events. The PHILSPADA is headed by its chairman Mike Barredo, a former PSC commissioner who has worked tirelessly to promote the rights of the differently-abled, particularly in sports.

    I caught up with Chairman Barredo shortly after the opening ceremonies of the Para Games yesterday, and he talked about the games, what still needs to be done to get more differently-abled Filipinos into sports, and our prospects in the coming Paralympics. Excerpts:

    How significant are these particular Para Games?

    The significance of it is the fact that government and private organizations — PSC, PHILSPADA, POC and other government agencies — have gotten together to work towards an event that will promote the abilities and sports

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  • Para Nat’l Games get going in Marikina

    A participant in the Para National Games takes part in the torch relay. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    The city of Marikina formally welcomed differently-abled athletes from all over the country as it opened the Philippine Para National Games in simple opening rites this morning at the Marikina Sports Park.

    The opening ceremonies were graced by Philippine Sports Association for the Differently Abled, National Paralympic Committee (PHILSPADA-NPC) Chairman Mike Barredo, Philippine Sports Commission commissioners Jose Luis Gomez and Akiko Thomson-Guevara, Mr. Cesar Motaces of the Department of Interior and Local Government, and Victoriano Sabiniano, Jr., City Administrator of Marikina who represented Mayor Del De Guzman.

    The Games will bring together over 500 differently abled athletes from all over the countrywho will compete for medals in athletics, swimming, table tennis, powerlifting, badminton, chess, goalball, tenpin bowling, and wheelchair basketball plus the demonstration sports boccia, cycling and wheelchair tennis. Differently abled athletes include those who are amputees,

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  • WWFX stars ready to rumble

    John Hennigan answers a question at the press conference. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    Everything's set for the World Wrestling Fan Xperience (WWFX) Champions Showcase Tour that reels off tomorrow at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with a seven-bout card, including the main event where the first-ever WWFX world champion will be crowned.

    The grapplers featured on the card met with the press earlier today, and in typical pro wrestling fashion, engaged in some entertaining trash talking and verbal sparring to build up their respective matches.

    Veteran Billy Gun (yes, just one "n" because the name "Billy Gunn" is owned by the World Wrestling Entertainment), who at 48 is easily the oldest wrestler on the card, will go up against a younger opponent in Jimmy Yang, and he couldn't help make fun of their age difference.

    "I'm looking forward to it, actually. I've watched Jimmy a long time, but probably not as long as he's watched me growing up," Gun quipped. "But it'll be entertaining anyway, because that's what my career has come down to, is being entertaining. Less on offense and

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  • Wrestling extravaganza at the Big Dome this Saturday

    John Hennigan will headline the WWFX Champions Showcase Tour 2012. (Photo courtesy of the WWFX)

    The World Wrestling Fan Xperience (WWFX), an international touring wrestling company that showcases talents from the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Total Non-stop Action (TNA) Wrestling, hits town this week with the Champions Showcase Tour 2012 slated this Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.

    Several former WWE champions are on the card, including John Morrison (who'll be wrestling using his real name John Hennigan). John will be going up against another former WWE titleholder Shelton Benjamin for the WWFX World Championship.

    The 32-year-old Hennigan/Morrison, who also once went by the names Johnny Nitro and Johnny Blaze, is a former three-time WWE Intercontinental Champion, former five-time WWE Tag Team Champion, former ECW World Champion and a veteran of RAW and Smackdown. He'll be up against the 36-year-old Benjamin, who's also won a few belts himself. Like Hennigan, he's also a former three-time WWE Intercontinental Champion, aside from being a former WWE United States

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  • Fonacier proves that nice guys don’t always finish last

    Fonacier's impeccable shooting form helped him finals MVP. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    Larry Fonacier has always been the consummate pro: not too flashy, not too demonstrative, not needing the spotlight too much. He's not the quickest player out there, and certainly not the most athletic. He doesn't show up in the list of Talk 'N Text's statistical leaders; there are five TNT players who have higher scoring averages than his 10.74 for the recently-concluded Philippine Cup, he's only the fourth-best rebounder, and fifth-best in assists.

    But the one thing he did have during the Tropang Texters' recent run to the Philippine Cup championship was consistency. He was the only player on TNT's expanded roster who appeared in every single one of their 28 games. Additionally, you knew what you would get out of him each time he stepped on the floor. There were no bad or "off" games for the guy known as the Baby-faced Assassin.

    In the finals against Powerade, Fonacier averaged a little over 16 points a game (six more than his conference average), hitting double digits in all but

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  • TNT’s road to title was anything but smooth

    It was a bumpy title defense for Talk 'N Text. (Photo by Sid Ventura)

    The overriding theme of the recently-concluded PBA Philippine Cup finals won by the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters over the underdog Powerade Tigers by a score of 4-1 was how the Tigers might be a team of destiny, an eighth seed that had to battle through long odds and adversity just to get to the finals.

    But while the Tigers' dream run to the finals was indeed a feel-good, Cinderella-type story, the Tropang Texters' eventual triumph also had a fulfillment-of-destiny ring to it. For their road to the championship was also littered with obstacles and challenges, as the Tropa battled injuries, the near-fatal shooting of one of their big men, almost certain elimination at the hands of their rivals, and even history itself.

    For coach Chot Reyes, their campaign was at a crossroads on November 9, when center Ali Peek was brazenly shot in the nape in a parking lot. Peek missed several games and eventually played again, but in the days following the shooting, Reyes wasn't too sure if his team

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