MANILA, JULY 16, 2008
(STAR)  SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson Wednesday, July 16, 2008 Six-time world champion Paeng Nepomuceno continues to mercilessly assault the record books and at the age of 51, the Philippines’ most decorated athlete remains an active competitor in the international bowling circuit.

Nepomuceno has been cited thrice by the Guinness Book of World Records with the latest recognition his collection of 118 bowling titles in a career that began when he was only 12.

Last September, the left-handed kegler garnered his 118th championship, topping Australia’s most prestigious individual tournament – the South Pacific Classic in Melbourne. He beat last year’s World Tenpin Masters champion Jason Belmonte, 23, for the crown.

No other bowler in history has ever been honored for three world records. And what makes Nepomuceno’s feat even more remarkable is his three records are intact, withstanding the test of time. That’s a tribute to Nepomuceno’s unparalleled brilliance.

It’s no wonder there’s a more-than-life-sized, seven-foot image of Nepomuceno greeting visitors at the entrance of the International Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Louis, Missouri. No one has come close to even duplicating Nepomuceno’s achievements.

In the 288-page edition of the Guinness World Records 2008, Nepomuceno is mentioned under “Tenpin Bowling” in the “target sports” section of the chapter on sports.

Here’s what it said:

“The tenpin-bowling World Cup (instituted in 1965) is contested annually by the national champions of the Federation Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ). The most wins of the tenpin-bowling World Cup is four by Paeng Nepomuceno (Philippines) in 1976, 1980, 1992 and 1996.

“Three bowlers share the record for most World Cup tenpin-bowling titles won by a woman, with two wins each. They are Jeanette Baker (Australia) in 1982 and 1983, Pauline Smith (UK) in 1981 and 1993 and Shannon Pluhowsky (USA) in 2002 and 2004.”

No male or female champion has been able to bag titles in a period of time longer than Nepomuceno’s 20-year stretch from his first crown in 1976 to his fourth in 1996. The woman with the longest wait of 12 years in between two championships was Smith.

Nepomuceno gained his first Guinness certificate for winning four World Cup titles in three different decades – the 70s, 80s and 90s. He’s still hoping to reset the record to five crowns in a fourth decade.

The second Guinness recognition was for Nepomuceno being the youngest at 19 to win the World Cup in Tehran in 1976.

The third citation for most career championships was the icing on the cake.

“This is a great honor and I’d like to share it with all my countrymen,” said Nepomuceno. “Whenever I compete, my countrymen always give me great support which gives me great inspiration to always do my best.”

The latest Guinness certificate honoring Nepomuceno stated: “The record for the most tenpin-bowling titles in a career is 118 and was achieved by Paeng Nepomuceno (Philippines) on 18 September 2007.”

Nepomuceno was congratulated by the Guinness World Records management team, headed by Marco Frigatti, and welcomed to the elite club of World Record Holders in an accompanying letter.

It was the second award received by Nepomuceno for winning the South Pacific Classic. Last January, President Arroyo conferred on Nepomuceno the Order of Lakandula with the Special Class of Champion for Life in recognition of his Melbourne victory.

The Guinness World Records management team should also consider citing Nepomuceno for other accomplishments such as being the only bowler to be given the International Olympic Committee President’s Trophy – the highest award for sports – in 1999 despite bowling’s absence in the Olympic calendar, the only man to be named by the World FIQ as the Bowling Athlete of the Millennium, the only athlete to be recognized by the Bowler’s Journal International as the greatest international bowler of all-time in 2003 and the only bowler to win world titles in five continents – the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Nepomuceno, who was named as the greatest Filipino athlete of the century by Congress and the Senate, makes every Filipino proud. Soft-spoken and humble, he credits hard work, an uncompromising discipline, self-sacrifice, his father Angel’s coaching, his mother Baby’s guidance, his wife Pinky’s support and his three children’s inspiration (Rafael Jose, 22, Saira Margarita Paz, 18 and Isabel Angela, 12) as the factors that led to his success at the lanes.

Pacquiao to decide which title to retain By Abac Cordero Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The World Boxing Council has given Manny Pacquiao only until July 28 to decide which belt he intends to keep.

Pacquiao won the WBC super-featherweight crown by beating Juan Manuel Marquez last March, then without defending the title he decided to move up in weight.

Then the 29-year-old superstar from Gen. Santos City took the WBC lightweight title from David Diaz last month, and technically became a champion of two divisions.

Now, he has to decide which one to relinquish, which one to keep.

“The present double WBC world champion at lightweight and super featherweight, Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines, must announce by July 28 which title he has decided to keep,” the WBC said.

Jose Sulaiman, the WBC chief, said if Pacquiao decides to relinquish the lightweight title, then he should defend the super-featherweight crown against Humberto Soto in his next fight.

But that’s unlikely to happen because Pacquiao is bent on leaving the super-featherweight division, since he’s already having great difficulty making 130 lbs,

He said he feels more comfortable at 135 lbs, and in fact has dared anybody to challenge him for the crown.

Pacquiao is already a four-time world champion in different weight classes, having been champion in the light-flyweight and super-bantamweight divisions earlier in his career.

Among those being considered to face Pacquiao at 135 are Edwin Valero, Joel Casamayor, Nate Campbell, Juan Manuel Marquez or Soto.

Pacquiao has even expressed his desire to move one notch higher and challenge British superstar Ricky Hatton for this light-welterweight (140) title.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved