GAME  7  LURES  RECORD  CROWD;  TICKETS  SOLD  OUT

MANILA, MARCH 1, 2008
(STAR) Purefoods Tender Juicy and Sta. Lucia Realty end in climactic fashion their battle for the Smart PBA Philippine Cup championship tomorrow – a deciding Game Seven that is likely to attract a record crowd.

While the Giants and the Realtors are gearing up for a total war, the league is bracing for a heavy turnout with tickets for patron, lower box and upper box A sections sold out as early as Thursday noon.

Both the Purefoods and Sta. Lucia camps themselves have run out of tickets for their supporters, and all these hint at a possible record-breaking gate attendance to watch the do-or-die showdown between the Giants and the Realtors.

Since the renovation of the Big Dome, the biggest crowd attendance recorded in the venue was 18,077 on Feb. 7, 2007 during the Fiesta Cup Final Four featuring Barangay Ginebra against Talk n Text and San Miguel Beer versus Red Bull.

Just the Game Six last Wednesday attracted a crowd of more than 15,000.

The Giants and the Realtors fight for all the marbles at 6:30 p.m. At 1 p.m., the La Salle Archers and the Ateneo Eagles play in a benefit match in the same venue. The La Salle-Ateneo crowd will be cleared right after the match.

The Giants denied the Realtors a date with destiny on Wednesday, riding on the explosive comeback by James Yap from a one-game suspension in hacking out an 89-81 win..

“It’s all about survival for us. We’ve survived Game Six and we intend to do the same in Game Seven. We want to end this tourney on top,” said Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio.

“As I’ve said before we don’t care if it’s a short or long series as long we win it in the end. We’re stalled in Game Six but we’ll be back in Game Seven,” said Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez.

Both coaches believe the series will boil down to a question of desire and determination.

The Giants are the more experienced team but Fernandez said his youth brigade has shown they can handle the pressure of a sudden death in beating Alaska Milk in Game Seven of their Final Four showdown.

To Fernandez, it’s about the will to win. – Nelson Beltran

Roach says Pacquiao can finish off rival By Abac Cordero Saturday, March 1, 2008

Freddie Roach doesn’t see Juan Manuel Marquez getting up if and when the Mexican champion goes down on the floor this time against Manny Pacquiao.

“I think if he (Pacquiao) puts him (Marquez) down now, he’ll keep him down,” said Roach as he looked forward to a big finish favoring his Filipino boxer.

Roach looked back at the May 2004 bout between Pacquiao and Marquez who went down thrice in the opening round but still managed to salvage a draw.

Roach said that shouldn’t happen this time.

“I think he (Pacquiao) is bigger and stronger. He’s just a much bigger person now,” Roach said in an article that came out of philboxing.com yesterday.

Pacquiao and Marquez first met at 126 lbs. This time, the weight limit is pegged at 130 lbs, with the Mexican putting his WBC super-featherweight crown on the line.

“I think he’s a 90 percent better fighter. He’s smarter, more experienced. He sets things up. He has two hands now. I think he’s a much better fighter than the first time they fought,” said Roach.

Marquez, almost five years older at 34, also vowed to knock out Pacquiao.

Roach also said that win or lose, this should be Pacquiao’s last fight as a super-featherweight.

“Definitely, this will be his last fight at 130,” said Roach, adding that promoter Bob Arum has already lined up two fights for Pacquaio at a higher class.

Up next for Pacquiao, granting that he beats Marquez, is WBC lightweight (135 lbs) champion David Diaz on June 21 in Macau, then possibly Ricky Hatton at 140 lbs.

But before he starts thinking of moving up, Pacquiao should first bring Marquez down.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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