APRIL  14  SHOWDOWN:  PACMAN  FIGHT  ON;  SOLIS  NO-SHOW  IN  NEWS  PRESS CON

MANILA, MARCH 23, 2007
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Jorge Solis not showing up for a scheduled news conference with Manny Pacquiao in Los Angeles yesterday was not enough to spoil the day of the Filipino boxing sensation.

Because almost at the same time, while Pacquiao sat and patiently waited for Solis at the Palm Restaurant, he learned that his April 14 showdown with the Mexican will go on as scheduled.

A Nevada court junked a plea for injunction filed by Golden Boy Promotions. The injunction would have kept the Pacquiao-Solis bout at the Alamodome in Texas from pushing through.

"Well, that was what we expected. And we’re happy," said Pacquiao’s legal counsel, Franklin Gacal. "Manny has been informed about it earlier and he’s happy, too."

Judge Philip Pro of the District of Nevada, according to Gacal, found no sufficient reason for him to uphold the injunction, and that GBP failed to prove the strength of its plea.

And as a result, the Nevada judge ruled that the GBP plea "must be denied."

"The grounds for the injunction were not met. And we’re thankful. This only means that the Pacquiao-Solis fight will push through. Same time, same place," Gacal added.

Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, was just as happy and elated with the court decision.

"Oscar (de la Hoya, GBP owner) should be ashamed of himself," Arum told fightnews.com. "How can he try to stop Manny Pacquiao from making a living?"

Arum said Filipino fight fans will not take things sitting down, and that de la Hoya only "has himself to blame if Filipinos don’t buy his pay-per-view (for his May 5 bout with Floyd Mayweather)."

Top Rank and GBP are locked in a legal battle on which outfit has the promotional rights over the Filipino superstar. Both Top Rank and GBP are holding on to a contract signed by Pacquiao.

Pacquiao arrived in Los Angeles last Saturday to resume his training at the Wild Card Gym. He was supposed to meet Solis for the first time, during the news conference.

But Solis was a no-show. The reason, according to Ed dela Vega of philboxing.com, was that the Mexican boxer was still at the US Consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico, applying for a visa.

But the show went on as Pacquiao showed up along with Brian Viloria and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., two exciting boxers who are part of the April 14 undercard.

Pacquiao arrived with his Canadian adviser Mike Koncz and trainer Justin Fortune, the ex-heavyweight who’s taken over Freddie Roach, now busy training de la Hoya in Puerto Rico.

Pacquiao, dela Vega added, looked "pretty good and very confident."

Fortune said the left-handed slugger is about 75 percent in condition and should be a hundred percent after three full weeks of training, and before heading to Texas.

Pacquiao, who is eyeing a Congressional seat in the May 14 elections, said he will "put up a good fight for everybody to enjoy" and, in jest, thanked the Mexican people "who will be supporting him in San Antonio."

Tale of three Fil-Ams SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson The Philippine Star 03/23/2007

This is a story of three overachieving Fil-Ams involved in US sports. The first is Washington Wizards cheerdancer Myra Aznar of Burke, Virginia. The second is strength and conditioning coach Stephen Afable King of Falls Church, Virginia. And the third is Chatsworth High School all-star guard Michael Palarca of Los Angeles, California.

Myra, born and raised in the US, is in her second year with the Wizards. Her father is from Bicol and her mother from Bohol. She earned a bachelor’s degree in art from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech.

Aside from dancing for the Wizards, Myra works as a graphic designer.

"Success is not the key to happiness," said Myra. "Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you’re doing, you’ll be successful. My goal is to have a successful career, family life and dance as long as I can."

Hundreds of hopefuls show up for tryouts every year for 15 slots on the Wizards dance team. Choreographer Wanda Brown chooses the dancers who must be within the age range of 19 to 30.

The Wizards Dancers perform at every Washington home game at the MCI Center and execute routines that require strength, flexibility and timing. They also appear in charity events in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas. Aside from their busy appearance schedule, the Wizards Dancers report for a team workout and rehearsal two nights a week for three to four hours each session.

Myra’s first cousin Karen said the NBA cheerdancer was in Manila to celebrate her grandparents’ diamond anniversary three years ago. "She’s very shy," said Karen whose daughter Karelle Vanessa Aznar-Martinez turns one on Sunday. "She can hardly understand Tagalog but she loves the Philippines, especially the beaches."

Like Myra, Karen is a huge basketball fan. While Myra cheers for the Wizards, Karen is a Ginebra diehard.

Myra was one of three Wizards Dancers nominated to perform at the recent All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas.

* * *

King, 25, earned a master’s degree in exercise science at the University of Georgia last year. His father Fred is a retired World Bank economist and mother Yolanda Afable, a UST commerce graduate, is from Balayan, Batangas.

One of three children, King is single and hopes to find a job as a coach in the Philippines.

"I have worked with multiple teams in the strength and conditioning aspect," said King. "I have always been interested in sport, the competition of it and just seeing what the human body can do that the elite athletes can make the most amazing plays look routine. I have had prior experience working with a basketball team when I was at Georgia.

"My specialization is Olympic lifting, which I believe is the most beneficial way to train athletes because it helps train motor patterns and builds power as opposed to only strength. Almost all sports take place with not enough time to ever reach maximal strength so you are forced to react in such a short time that you must muster as much power as you can in under half a second."

King said he grew up embracing Filipino values and eating Filipino food like adobo, sinigang and bistek Tagalog. He has visited the Philippines thrice.

King pointed to Michael Jordan as the perfect example of an athlete who benefited from Olympic lifting. "Jordan used it for his explosiveness through vertical jumps," he explained. "It also helped him train his body’s movement patterns of transferring power from the feet and through the body. He used it to build leg strength and power through the back and shoulders."

As a University of Maryland intern, King was exposed to the conditioning program of the champion women’s basketball team.

Those interested in King’s services may reach him at StephenAfableKing@gmail.com.

* * *

Palarca’s father Fernando is Filipino and his mother is Caucasian.

At Chatsworth, the 5-8 guard is known as a cage phenom. He’s averaging 18.3 points, 7.0 assists and 4.9 steals a game as a senior this season. His assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.95. He has posted single-game highs of 29 points and 11 assists. And he is hitting 81 percent from the line. Palarca has scored more than 1,000 points in his prep career.

Which college Palarca will enroll in next school year is a big question mark. California State at Northridge (where Japanese-American Michael Dorsey Takahashi played), Pacific and California State at Bakersfield are options. Xavier, Duquesne and San Diego State are other possibilities.

Palarca’s father Fernando said his son is open to play for a UAAP or NCAA school.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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