EAGLES  HAVE  LANDED,  SKIN  TIGERS  ALIVE
 
MANILA, AUGUST 7, 2006 (STAR) By Joey Villar - Unable to shake off University of Santo Tomas in the early going, Ateneo used one big scoring spurt in the second period as the Eagles soared to their sixth straight victory with a 114-78 rout of the Tigers to complete a sweep of the first round elims in the 69th UAAP basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum yesterday.

JC Intal came through with a season-high 24 points, highlighted by rim-rattling slams that sent the Ateneo fans into a frenzy, as the Eagles matched their first round sweep in 2004 on a team built around Larry Fonacier.

Chris Tiu and Doug Kramer fired 19 points apiece while Macky Escalona and sophomore Rabeth Al-Hussaini tossed in 15 and 12 points, respectively, to underscore the Eagles’ balanced offensive sock, which the Tigers failed to neutralize.

"We went into this thinking it’s going to be a track meet because we know UST is a quick team," said Ateneo coach Norman Black.

But the Eagles, after barely taking a 28-27 lead in the first period, quickly left the Tigers behind with a torrid scoring run in the second quarter.

Ateneo unloaded 35 points in that stretch while holding UST to just nine points as the Eagles sat on a 63-36 cushion at the turn and never looked back at resumption of the contest.

The respite actually failed to cool down the Eagles as they sustained their pace and put in another 27-point splurge to put the outcome beyond doubt at 90-47, with still a full quarter left in the game.

Jojo Duncil, back from a one-game suspension for head-butting National U’s Dave Catamora, led the Tigers with 24 points but failed to get enough support from the rest as the Tigers took their fourth setback against two wins.

Duncil scored 13-point first quarter points to keep the Tigers in the game.

But when Intal teamed up with Kramer, Tiu and Escalona in that decisive second quarter run, Duncil failed to keep pace and got sidetracked along with the baffled Tigers.

Earlier, University of the East outgunned State U, 96-84, to move up to second place with a 4-2 (win-loss) slate.

Bonbon Custodio had 20 points to lead five teammates with double-digit scores.

UE held Miguel de Asis to a season-low six points as UP fell to a fourth loss against two wins.

The Maroons played without top rookie Martin Reyes, whose father passed away recently. UP team manager Bombet Silva was also ejected late in the second quarter for misconduct.

Viloria fights for Filipino pride By Joaquin Henson The Philippine Star 08/07/2006

World Boxing Council (WBC) lightflyweight champion Brian Viloria of Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, and Waipahu, Hawaii, vowed yesterday to make the Philippines proud when he stakes his crown against Mexican challenger Omar Nino Romero at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Aug. 10.

It will be Viloria’s second defense of the 108-pound title he wrested from Eric Ortiz on a first round knockout in Los Angeles last year. He outpointed Jose Antonio Aguirre in his first defense in Las Vegas last February.

In a personal message to his Filipino fans, Viloria said: "I want to thank all my brothers and sisters in the Philippines for your support and inspiration. I go into battle each fight with the mission to make you proud. I will never let you down in the ring and you can always be sure that my corner will wave the Philippine colors with pride.

"After I defend my world title, I plan to visit the Philippines and spend time with family, friends and fans. I love you all and can’t wait to return to your warm welcome. Maraming salamat!"

Viloria’s manager Gary Gittelsohn said the "Hawaiian Punch" is ready to rumble and his right hand, injured during the Aguirre bout, is back to normal.

"The hand is fine," said Gittelsohn in an e-mail from Los Angeles where Viloria trains. "Dr. David Kulber immobilized the hand in a cast for a month then prescribed a period of rehabilitative therapy. Brian’s hand was tested well in training camp and in sparring, he is pain-free and ready to resume full contact."

Dr. Kulber is a Beverly Hills reconstructive hand surgeon who works out of Cedar Sinai Hospital. He also treated Viloria’s right hand when it was injured in his pro debut against Filipino Ben Escobia in 2001.

Viloria was unable to use the hand for four months. Gittelsohn said the injury didn’t prevent Viloria from staying in shape and working out in the gym – without the use of the hand.

"Only during the last seven weeks has he gradually used the hand in full contact drills," noted Gittelsohn.

Viloria has sparred at least 30 rounds a week since June with numerous fighters, including flyweights Giovanni Segura of Mexico and Dimitri Kirilov of Russia. Segura, 24, boasts a 14-0 record, with 11 KOs, while Kirilov, 27, has a mark of 28-3, with nine KOs.

Two weeks ago, Viloria tipped the scales at 116 pounds. He weighed in at 111 yesterday. "He’s exactly where we want him to be 10 days from the fight," said Gittelsohn who expects Viloria to easily make the 108-pound limit at the weigh-in on the eve of the match.

Gittelsohn said Viloria’s only focus is Romero, nobody else.

"We are not prepared to make any announcements beyond the defense against Romero," continued Gittelsohn. "However, we are aware of Brian’s mandatory obligations and Brian looks forward to satisfying them. Brian also looks forward to bigger and better challenges and we see many of them in his future."

Romero, 30, has a record of 23-2-1, with 10 KOs. His claim to fame is stopping highly touted flyweight and former world champion Jorge Arce in the first round in 1996.

Viloria’s record is 19-0, with 12 KOs.

Viloria said he has put off plans on cutting his first CD while preparing for Romero. The CD will feature Viloria singing rap music.

"I will be able to revisit my other interests after I take care of business on the 10th," said Viloria.

Last month, Wandee Singwangcha of Thailand scored a unanimous 12-round decision over Filipino Juanito Rubillar to clinch a mandatory shot at Viloria’s title. The win raised Wandee’s record to 49-7-1, with 10 KOs.

Rubillar claimed he was robbed of victory but the three judges disagreed. Brad Vocale of Australia scored it 117-111 for Wandee. Japanese Takeaki Kanaya and Korean Jae Bong Kim had it 117-113 both for the Thai.

Pacquiao undecided on political career By Abac Cordero The Philippine Star 08/07/2006

Manny Pacquiao, the other day, admitted that he needs to think twice or thrice whether he would make the big jump from the boxing ring to the political arena next year.

"I really need to think about it. But as of now, I haven’t made a decision yet," said Pacquiao, who arrived in Manila last Friday after spending a week with his family in Gen. Santos City.

Talks about Pacquiao’s possible retirement from boxing, and his plans to run for vice mayor of Manila in May 2007 moved around town Thursday, creating excitement for some and apprehension for others.

Fanning the reports about Pacquiao’s political plans was his filing of a transfer of residency from Gen. Santos City to Manila where he owns a condominium unit.

Pacquiao quietly went to the Commission on Elections office July 5 to file the transfer of his residency. Ali Atienza, son of Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, accompanied the boxer to the Comelec.

If he runs, it’s almost impossible for Pacquiao to lose.

But Pacquiao, who spent Friday afternoon rehearsing for a mini-concert the following day, said joining politics is not his top priority at the moment.

"Right now, I’m still concentrating on my boxing career," he said.

"But regarding politics, I have to think about it whether it’s good for me or whether it can give me the chance to help our country. As of now, there’s no decision yet," he added.

Pacquiao is just wrapping up some off-the-ring commitments before he plunges back into training for his Nov. 18 battle with Erik Morales at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao, according to Ramos, will start training on the third or fourth week of August. First stop of the training is Cebu City. Then it shifts to the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles early September.

Once he arrives in the US, there’ll be no turning back for Pacquiao. It’ll be eight full weeks of training to be interrupted just a day or two when he travels to Vegas to watch the Barrera-Juarez title bout on Sept. 16.

For his third and decisive bout with Morales, Pacquiao will be guaranteed $2.5 million or roughly P127 million. The Filipino boxer received $1.75 and $2 million in his first two fights with Morales.

Ramos stressed that the $2.5 million is the least Pacquiao could get since he also has a 50-50 share with Morales on the fight earnings from television, pay-per-view, tickets and merchandise.

Pacquiao’s gross earnings for the Nov. 18 fight are expected to go beyond $4 million.

With all this money, Pacquiao can even run for higher office in the future — and win. But first things first. He needs to win in Vegas.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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