LARIOS:  I AM  HERE  TO  BEAT  PACQUIAO
 

MANILA, JUNE 27, 2006 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - The first thing he noticed inside Oscar Lariosí three-bedroom suite was that the refrigerator was loaded. The first thing he ordered was for it to be emptied.

"I want it emptied. I want nothing. If Oscar eats, he increases his weight. We are watching his weight," said Lariosí Mexican promoter Rafael Mendoza.

Larios flew in from Japan at 133 lbs which is above the fight limit of 130 lbs. But Mendoza said there shouldnít be any problem since Larios has trained tremendously for the fight.

"The weight is not an issue. For two years he had no problem at 122 lbs. Do you think heíll have a problem at 130? Even if the weigh-in is tomorrow, heíll make it," Mendoza said.

A couple of Filipino scribes were allowed inside the cozy suite for a 15-minute interview with the Mexican visitors. Mendoza acted as Lariosí interpreter.

"Iím ready now. Iím just waiting for the day of the fight," said the 29-year-old Larios.

In the sport for 50 years now, Mendoza said Larios, a former two-time world champion, means business. He is being paid a hefty $450,000 to fight the Filipino knockout artist.

Lariosí business here is to stop Pacquiao.

"Oscar is no longer here to impress the press or give interviews. Heís here to beat Pacquiao," said Mendoza of his fighter who logged 90 rounds of sparring ó 40 in Guadalajara and the rest in Japan.

Mendoza also said they donít care about the odds, which placed Pacquiao as the overwhelming favorite. A bet of P1,000, according to the latest odds, would win you no more than P600.

"We donít care about the odds. Manny Pacquiao was at 12-1 (underdog) when he fought (Marco Antonio) Barrera but he knocked Barrerra out.

"Thereís no guarantee in boxing. Iíve handled 18 different champions and itís very difficult to make a guarantee. Anything can happen: a broken wrist, a broken jaw or a cut.

"Itís quite normal to predict that Manny Pacquiao is the favorite. But that does not guarantee anything. Iím not confident but Iím not worried," Mendoza continued.

Under an afternoon drizzle, Larios arrived in the country yesterday and from the airport was brought straight to Discovery Suites, a very private and elegant hotel in Ortigas.

Larios was last to step out of a tinted van that was trailed by a mobile patrol. He came in with trainer Edison Reynoso and a handful more team members.

Larios, who will face Manny Pacquiao on July 2 at the Araneta Coliseum, spent no more than five minutes at the lobby before being escorted to his 12th floor suite.

Pacquiao returned to Manila yesterday afternoon after spending a day off with his family in Gen. Santos City. He left for his hometown Saturday afternoon.

Any day from now, Pacquiao will move to the Discovery Suites, the fightís official residence. As fight sponsor, the hotel has allotted 40 of its 225 rooms in a P5 million package.

Pacquiao and Larios will figure in a public workout at the Big Dome today starting at 11 a.m. Once itís over, Larios will train for an hour or two at the Big Dome.

The final presscon is set Thursday and the official weigh-in on Saturday at Discovery Suites.

For the next five days, Larios will train at an unspecified venue. Mendoza said they have five choices, but added "Iím not gonna tell you where."

Beermen clobber returning Bulls By Nelson Beltran The Philippine Star 06/26/2006

Red Bull staged a walkout late in the first half but returned after a few minutes only to be swept by the rampaging San Miguel Beer.

The Beermen bounced back strong from a sorry loss Friday, dominating the Bulls last night for a 106-82 rout that forced a two-game standoff between the two teams in their Gran Matador Brandy PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinal series at the Araneta Coliseum.

But the match was marred by the Red Bull walkout led by coach Yeng Guiao with 2:06 left in the first half.

San Miguel seemingly lost momentum at the resumption of play following the return of Red Bull but the Beermen gathered steam again midway in the third period and completed the big win that reduced the series to a best-of-three affair.

"My concern when they (the Bulls) left the game was my players losing their focus. That did happen and luckily weíre able to recover," said San Miguel coach Jong Uichico.

"People saw the game and they can decide for themselves what happened. I donít want to blame my team for this loss. This game wasnít lost by my team," said Red Bull coach Yeng Guiao, hinting at poor officiating the Bulls had to endure.

"We have to be mentally tougher next game because we expect the same thing to happen," Guiao added.

Thereís no word yet from the Commissionerís Office whether Red Bull would be sanctioned for its action. It would be remembered that Anejo Rhum was slapped a huge fine of P550,000 for abandoning the endgame of Game Six of its 1990 First Conference title playoff versus eventual champion Shell.

For leaving the game for about two minutes late in the first half while trailing 32-41, the Bulls were called two infractions for delaying the game for a pair of charities for the Beermen.

At the resumption of play after the brief break, the Bulls trimmed the gap to 40-45 at halftime and even surged ahead at 48-47 on baskets by Larry Fonacier and Paolo Bugia at the start of the second half.

But the Beermen shook regrouped and regained control, 60-50, before the third quarter ended.

With a well-balanced attack, the Beermen even stepped up their attack in the payoff period.

Danny Seigle made 24 points for his 16th straight game where he scored at least 20 markers. He led six other Beermen who finished in double figures.

"This (the win) is big because it would have been very tough for us to recover had we fell behind 1-3 in this series," said Uichico.

"Itís very important for us to tie the series. Now we have a chance to get ahead in Game Five," Uichico added.

Alaska Milk bounced back from a sorry loss Friday, getting off to a fiery start and dominating Purefoods for a 91-77 rout and a commanding three-game-to-one lead in their own semis duel.

The Aces take the first of three cracks at the title playoff in Game Five Wednesday.

"Didnít expect this kind of game. Iím expecting a tough battle... a battle for possession after possession. But lo and behold, we got a big lead early," said Alaska coach Tim Cone.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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