, August 27, 2005
(STAR) By Joey Villar - Pro-bound Leo Najorda scattered 11 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as San Sebastian stunned defending champion Philippine Christian University, 81-75, yesterday to clinch the last berth in the Final Four of the 81st NCAA basketball tournament at the Astrodome.

"I really want the team to win the championship before I leave for the PBA" said Najorda, who is expected to suit up for the Red Bull Barako in the coming PBA season.

With the win, the Stags stayed in contention for a three-way tie for No. 2 and the twice-to-beat advantage. They also dashed the hopes of Perpetual Help and St. Benilde of making it to the semis via backdoor.

The Stags ironically also got some help from PCU’s top gun Gabby Espinas.

With San Sebastian up, 77-75, PCU blew a chance to force a tie as Espinas was called for a foul on Najorda, whom he elbowed after he got a hard foul from the SSC cager.

Najorda coolly sank the charities in the last 28.3 seconds and teammate Miguel Lindaya added two more foul shots to seal the win.

It was PCU’s third loss against nine wins that hampered the Dolphins’ bid of moving closer to clinching the twice-to-beat semifinal edge.

This meant Mapua, which halted Letran’s sweep bid with a 71-66 win Wednesday for its eighth win against four losses, and San Sebastian remained in the hunt for that big Final Four incentive.

Martin Urra unloaded a 25-point effort as St. Benilde trounced San Beda, 91-86, in overtime in a non-bearing contest. It was the Blazers’ fifth win against eight losses while the Red Lions absorbed their 10th setback against three wins.

Manny cancels public workout By Abac Cordero The Philippine Star 08/27/2005

Not even Manny Pacquiao’s public workout, scheduled Aug. 31 at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California, will be open to the public.

One of Pacquiao’s advisers, Los Angeles-based Filipino Joe Ramos, yesterday said that instead of a public workout, the explosive fighter from Gen. Santos City will hold a media workout.

Same time. Same place.

Pacquiao has been training at the Wild Card Gym since Aug. 7 in preparation for his 12-round, non-title fight against Mexico’s Hector Velasquez at the Staples Center, the home of the LA Lakers, on Sept. 10.

The Aug. 31 workout will give mediamen, particularly the foreigners, their final glimpse at Pacquiao heading into the fight.

Pacquiao, now under a new promoter in Gary Shaw, is scheduled to hold his last sparring session on Sept. 5 at the gym owned by his American trainer Freddie Roach.

A lot has changed in Pacquiao’s training program since he lost a classic 12-round battle against Mexico’s Erik Morales at the glittery MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Gone were the days when almost everybody interested in Pacquiao could get in and watch him train. Also gone were the days when Pacquaio’s small LA pad was filled with close to a dozen people day in, day out.

After he lost to Morales, Pacquiao said "too many distractions" while he prepared for the fight did him in. The changes being implemented this time, therefore, are expected to serve him well.

This time, only official members of Team Pacquiao are allowed in the gym and Pacquiao’s new apartment, a 15-minute drive from the famous, star-studded gym.

Morales will fight American Zahir Raheem also on Sept. 10. If things go on as planned, a Morales-Pacquiao rematch will probably be held early next year.

Even Pacquiao’s cellular phones, a couple of them, are now in the hands of Ramos who has to screen each caller.

Reports have it that Pacquiao has recently been receiving too many calls from friends back home, most of them asking too many favors — from fight tickets or even plane tickets to hotel bookings and reservations.

All these had to stop, according to Ramos, and Pacquiao is just as glad to see the changes.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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