(STAR) By Nelson Beltran - ABC-5 is preparing a strategy that could best present its PBA TV coverage after getting the assurance from the PBA that it would continue to be the league’s exclusive coveror for the coming season.

In a meeting Monday, PBA board chairman Tony Chua and ABC-5 managing director Bobby Barreiro, ironed out the minor kinks of the coverage. ABC-5 settled its dues and guaranteed the placement of a surety bond that would seal its continued partnership with the PBA in the 2007-08 season starting Oct. 14.

It’s the final year of the three-year deal between the PBA and ABC-5. The PBA chairman said he would call for an open bidding for the next contract at the end of the coming All-Filipino tourney.

ABC-5 officials have said they would pursue a contract extension with the PBA at the end of their existing deal in June next year.

With that in mind, the ABC-5 production team is now busy working out a package aimed at PBA fans and followers.

“Actually, we’ve been planning everything for two weeks now. We’re evaluating our panelists and looking how to improve our coverage,” said ABC Sports top official Sienna Olaso.

“We’re also trying to figure out if we achieved our strategy last year. The sales effort is also ongoing,” Olaso added.

The PBA chair expressed confidence ABC-5 can do a good job and didn’t rule out the possibility of contract-extension even as other outfits, this early, have signified their intention to become the league’s next TV coveror.

Up for decision in the next few days is the group which would handle the opening spectacle of the league on Oct. 14 at the Araneta Coliseum.

The and Solar Sports are the two outfits bidding to do the job.

Apparently, the, which has done a number of PBA shows in the past, has proposed concepts that are grander but costlier.

Kids to have day with Pacman By Abac Cordero Wednesday, September 5, 2007

(STAR) Manny Pacquiao will have some very special guests at ringside when he holds a media workout on Saturday at the Rex “Wakee” Salud Gym in Cebu City.

They are the 43 children from the Fun and Learn Achievers Academy in Cebu. Aged from nine to 10 years old, the children have long wanted to see Pacquiao in person.

“They collected signatures on their request to be allowed in the gym on Saturday. Freddie Roach and Pacquiao said ‘yes,’” said Jake Joson of Team Pacquiao.

This means that Pacquiao, probably for the first time in his career, will hold a workout with a big group of children, all die-hard fans of the boxer, watching, cheering him on.

“They also want their pictures taken with Pacquiao. And this will take place after the workout. On Saturday, it’s the media and these children who will be in there,” said Joson.

Pacquiao holds closed-door workouts from Monday to Friday, and opens the door to fans on Saturdays. However, it’s still a “no-pass-no-entry” status upon Roach’s instructions.

Pacquiao, who went down with the flu over the weekend, was on the road and at the gym yesterday. Last Sunday, he sparred six rounds, bringing the total to 31 rounds.

Pacquiao has been training for three weeks in Cebu while his Oct. 6 rival, Marco Antonio Barrera, is on his fifth week of high-altitude training in Guadalajara.

Barrera told that his coming rematch with Pacquiao is more than just a personal battle.

“I’m not just fighting for personal revenge,” said the Mexican, who was knocked out by Pacquiao inside 11 rounds of their 2003 showdown in Texas.

“I’m fighting for my country. I am training harder than I ever have. I want to beat Manny so badly I can taste it. This goes beyond being personal. For me, this fight is about restoring national pride,” he vowed.

While Barrera is training in seclusion, Pacquiao, the “People’s Champion,” is generous enough to have school kids, as young as his own, all over him.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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