(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Marco Antonio Barrera, who does road work in the morning and gym work in the evening, did four rounds of sparring against Japanese Takashiro Aoh yesterday as his preparations for an Oct. 6 rematch with Manny Pacquiao shifted to high gear in Guadalajara.

Barrera has three Japanese sparring partners by his side, and reportedly has four or five more Mexicans on standby and ready to jump in if called for.

Reports said Barrera started sparring last Monday, the same day Pacquiao did in Cebu City.

According to Mexican newspaper Esto, Barrera has planned a total of 100 rounds of sparring as he prepares to avenge an 11th round knockout loss to Pacquiao in San Antonio, Texas in November of 2003.

Barrera has been training in Guadalajara for almost three weeks now, and like Pacquiao rests on Sundays.

Pacquiao recently stayed in shape by playing basketball and watching his diet but went into serious training only two weeks ago. He moved to Cebu City Wednesday last week after two days of training at the Wild Card Gym in Parañaque.

Pacquiao, including his trainers Freddie Roach and Buboy Fernandez, believes that he’s right on schedule, saying seven weeks and at least 130 rounds of sparring should be enough. The Filipino boxing icon has sparred for four rounds last Monday and yesterday.

“If Barrera did start training four weeks ago as reported, then he might overtrain,” said Pacquiao who, at 137 lbs, is close to the 130 lb limit with still 44 days left before the fight, which could end up as the biggest this year.

Aoh, an undefeated featherweight (15 with eight knockouts), is one of Barrera’s favorite sparring partners, and the three-time world champion believes that the style of the Japanese, who flew in from Tokyo, fits well in his training.

Pacquiao, who will spend the last two weeks of his training in Los Angeles, spars on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays behind closed-door. Fans are allowed to watch him train only on Saturdays.

PBA: Hidden stories SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson Thursday, August 23, 2007

The PBA recently released its complete player and team statistics for the 2006-07 season.

From the statistics painstakingly assembled by Fidel Mangonon and his staff, we found out who did what. Barangay Ginebra’s Mark Caguioa, for instance, topped the league in scoring with a 24.6 clip (for 148 locals and Fil-Ams who played at least a game) while teammate Rudy Hatfield was No. 1 in rebounding, grabbing 11.3 a game. Other major statistical leaders included Purefoods’ Marc Pingris (field goal percentage at .588), San Miguel’s Chris Calaguio (three-point field goal percentage at .405), San Miguel’s Olsen Racela (free throw percentage at .872), Ginebra’s Jay-Jay Helterbrand (assists at 8.5), Air21’s Wynne Arboleda (steals at 1.8) and Sta. Lucia’s Marlou Aquino (blocked shots at 1.7).

Beyond the traditional leaders board, we looked at other things not tabulated in – but derived from – the PBA’s 24-page statistical report. These were the intriguing stories behind the statistics – like the guards who compiled more turnovers than assists, those who never took a single three-point shot, those who shot better from the field than the free throw line, those who were more accurate shooting when defended than when open, those who didn’t miss a single free throw, those who shot less than 45 percent from the line, those who had more offensive than defensive rebounds and the one player who had more rebounds than points.

Here’s what we came up with.

Believe it or not, one of the league’s shortest (if not the shortest) players, Red Bull’s Topex Robinson, was one of three players who hauled down more offensive than defensive rebounds. Robinson had 80 offensive and 76 defensive rebounds. Others similarly situated were Coca-Cola’s Neil Raneses (14 to 11) and Mike Gavino (21 to 16).

It’s not often a player has a higher shooting percentage from the field than the charity stripe. But six cagers did it – Pingris (.588 to .509), Welcoat’s Gilbert Lao (.544 to .444), Ginebra’s Rafi Reavis (.564 to .533), Talk ’N’ Text’s Harvey Carey (.574 to .523), San Miguel’s Kiko Adriano (.594 to .500) and Air21’s Mark Andaya (.545 to .500).

Only one player had more rebounds than points. Coca-Cola’s Bernzon Franco scored five points and grabbed seven rebounds in five total games, including two with Alaska.

In the dubious list of players who shot less than 45 percent from the line were Robinson (.448), Talk ’N’ Text’s Patrick Fran (.400), Alaska’s Christian Luanzon (.250), Lao (.440), Welcoat’s Jay Sagad (.000 on 0-of-2) and Coca-Cola’s R. J. Rizada (.000 on 0-of-2).

Almost making it to the roster were Aquino (.460), San Miguel’s Enrico Villanueva (.472) and Purefoods’ Romel Adducul (.495).

In contrast, four players didn’t miss at all from the stripe – Franco (1-of-1), Purefoods’ Boyet Bautista (4-of-4) and Arnold Gamboa (2-of-2) and Talk ’N’ Text’s Abby Santos (4-of-4).

Players who hit less than 45 percent from both the field and foul line included Robinson (.429 FG, .448 FT), Fran (.293 FG, .400 FT), Luanzon (.227 FG, .250 FT), Sagad (.429 FG, .000 FT) and Rizada (.000 FG, .000 FT). Barely missing the cut was Aquino who shot .443 from the field and .460 from the line.

Those who registered a higher shooting percentage when defended than when open were Coca-Cola’s Leo Avenido (.333 to .278), Sagad (.478 to .200), Lao (.538 to .500) and Welcoat’s E. J. Feihl (.444 to .000). Sometimes, a player is more comfortable shooting when there’s a defender in front of him than when he’s left wide open. But he’s more the exception than the rule.

Hitting open shots is almost an imperative. Why would a player free himself for a shot if he can’t shoot it anyway? Those who were very accurate in unmolested situations were Carey (.921 on 70-of-76 open shots), Pingris (.957 on 22-of-23), Ginebra’s Paolo Hubalde (3-of-3), Talk ’N’ Text’s Jonathan Aldave (1-of-1), Air21’s Niño Marquez (2-of-2), Air21’s Ryan Bernardo (1-of-1), Sta. Lucia’s Mark Magsumbol (2-of-2) and Franco (1-of-1).

The players who never attempted a triple were Magsumbol, Sta. Lucia’s Mark Isip, Andaya, Feihl, Ginebra’s Billy Mamaril and Andy Seigle, Red Bull’s Paolo Bugia, Coca-Cola’s Ali Peek, Franco and Jason Misolas, Alaska’s Sonny Thoss, San Miguel’s Mark Kong and Omanzie Rodriguez, Bernardo, Pingris, Purefoods’ Jondan Salvador and Gamboa, Gavino and Coca-Cola’s Kalani Ferreria. That means 129 of 148 locals tried to shoot at least one triple or a high 87 percent.

Those who tried to score from three-point distance but never converted were San Miguel’s Danny Ildefonso (0-of-8), Abby Santos (0-of-4), Alaska’s Reynel Hugnatan (0-of-3), Reavis (0-of-3), Aquino (0-of-3), San Miguel’s Gabby Espinas (0-of-3) and 19 others who attempted at least twice.

The guards who had more turnovers than assists were Ginebra’s Mark Macapagal (37 to 35), Red Bull’s Leo Najorda (61 to 53), Talk ’N’ Text’s Mark Cardona (210 to 157), Sta. Lucia’s Kelly Williams (84 to 76), Cesar Catli (12 to 5) and Bitoy Omolon (53 to 39), Purefoods’ James Yap (87 to 72), P. J. Simon (52 to 44), Coca-Cola’s Joseph Yeo (44 to 30) and Misolas (30 to 22), Welcoat’s Rob Wainwright (30 to 27), Air21’s Gary David (96 to 64) and Arwind Santos (66 to 41), San Miguel’s Lordy Tugade (33 to 16), Alaska’s Aaron Aban (7 to 5), Luanzon (4 to 1), Eddie Laure (47 to 43) and Tony de la Cruz (44 to 43). Some of them played forward, too, so they’re excused.

If you’re patient in digging up hidden statistics, you’ll uncover a lot more intriguing stories.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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