PACMAN HEAVY FAVORITE VS MOSLEY / PBA X'MAS TREAT: XMAS DAY SHOWDOWN
 

MANILA, DECEMBER 24, 2010 (STAR)By Abac Cordero – Just as Bob Arum announced the other day that the fight is on, the oddsmakers started punching the numbers for the May 7 fight between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley.

To no surprise, the 32-year-old superstar, who flew to Boracay yesterday with his family, came out as the early, heavy favorite.

An online betting station, Sportbet.com, yesterday painted Pacquiao as a -750 favorite, meaning you need to place $750 on him just to win a hundred bucks.

Mosley, the 39-year-old fighter from Pomona, California, stood at +450, meaning every $100 on him wins $450.

Unless he has a time machine, Mosley won’t be able to pull the odds to his favor. It could even get taller in the days leading to the fight.

Arum’s announcement of the Pacquiao-Mosley fight, set at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, should also close the book on those for a Pacquiao fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Yesterday, the odds for the superfight between the two pound-for-pound champions were still on.

Mayweather, playing hide-and-seek the past couple of months, was at -145 and Pacquiao at +115 if the fight, twice close to happening, were held today.

But it’s not going to happen. Instead, the world will see Pacquiao vs Mosley.

Pacquiao arrived in Boracay on a private plane from General Santos City. They will spend Christmas at the high-end West Cove Resort owned by his bosom buddy Cris Aquino.

Pacquiao will go scuba-diving, as he had brought his diving instructor along. He and his family will fly back to Manila on Dec. 27, and the following day will leave for another vacation in Japan and Australia until Jan. 8.

Even blindfolded, the oddsmakers can point to Pacquiao as the heavy favorite.

For one, the fighting congressman from Sarangani is the reigning pound-for-pound champion, and is being hailed as the greatest of his era, if not of all time.

He has won his last 13 fights, most of them against taller, bigger, heavier and stronger opponents. His 12-round destruction of Antonio Margarito gave him his eighth world title in as many divisions.

Pacquiao will fight Mosley at 147 lb, and that should be a problem for Mosley because it’s the best fighting weight for the heavy-handed boxer who began his pro career at 106 lb in 1995.

Over his last five fights, Pacquiao crushed Oscar dela Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey and Margarito, and averaged 1.02 million in pay-per-view sales.

Mosley, on the other hand, will turn 40 in September, old enough he could get tired blowing the candles on his birthday cake.

He has two wins, two losses and a draw in his last five fights, the losses including one against Mayweather last May, and a bad draw against Sergio Mora last September.

PBA's Christmas treat SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) Updated December 24, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (1)

Only one game is scheduled in the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs at the Cuneta Astrodome tomorrow and there couldn’t be a more exciting Christmas Day showdown. The treat is a do-or-die battle between No. 3 seed Ginebra San Miguel and No. 6 seed Alaska.

Ginebra and Alaska are squaring off for the right to play San Miguel Beer in a best-of-7 semifinal duel starting Jan. 5. Game 1 of the other semifinal series between B-Meg and Talk ‘N’ Text will be played at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Sunday. No games are scheduled from Dec. 27 to Jan. 4.

Coach Joseph Uichico has been jinxed by Alaska in the last two conference playoffs and on top of his wish list for Santa Claus is payback. In the Philippine Cup last season, Alaska was merciless in disposing of Ginebra in a four-game semifinals sweep by an average margin of 10.75 points. Willie Miller, Larry Fonacier, John Ferriols and Jeffrey Cariaso were still in the Aces lineup that conference. Then, in the Fiesta Conference best-of-five quarterfinals, Alaska jumped to a 2-0 series lead then held on to repulse Ginebra, 93-91, in the Game 5 clincher. The Aces advanced to capture the crown with Cyrus Baguio in the forefront after leaving Ginebra for Miller.

This conference, Ginebra and Alaska have faced off thrice with the Kings winning twice, 79-68 last Nov. 14 and 94-76 last Wednesday and the Aces, once, 104-101 last Dec. 17.

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Tomorrow’s confrontation will be a “win or go home” situation. The loser won’t be back in action until next conference. That’s what makes the game so enticing. The PBA expects a sell-out but in the spirit of Christmas, the Board of Governors is giving away 1,000 free general admission tickets on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Uichico said mainstays Jay-Jay Helterbrand and Eric Menk are doubtful for the game. Helterbrand has sat out the last two outings with nagging pain in the back of his knee. He’s now the Kings’ No. 1 cheerleader. Menk is down with an Achilles tendon strain and he, too, has been sidelined the last two contests. Both were sorely missed in Game 1 of the quarterfinals as Ginebra struggled against Alaska’s unforgiving defense.

In last Wednesday’s game, Menk sat with the fans in civvies while Helterbrand was in uniform on the bench. The word is there’s a slim chance that Helterbrand will play but none for Menk.

Alaska is a team that thrives under pressure because of its championship experience under coach Tim Cone. Poise sets the Aces apart from the rest. What’s going for Alaska is it’s peaking at the right time. In the eliminations, Alaska went up and down – dropping four in a row after a 3-0 start then ending with two consecutive wins after losing two straight.

Before bowing to Ginebra last Wednesday, Alaska had won three in a row, two with Brandon Cablay reactivated to fortify the Aces’ bench. In the playoffs, Cone has gone to his shock troopers more than usual, easing the pressure off his starters. Mark Borboran, Bonbon Custodio, Reynel Hugnatan and Sam Eman are providing solid support for Sonny Thoss, Baguio, Tony de la Cruz, Joe De Vance and L. A. Tenorio.

Last Wednesday’s battle saw Uichico make crucial defensive adjustments. After De Vance broke loose for a career-high 30 points in Game 1, Uichico designated Rudy Hatfield to shadow the former University of Texas at El Paso forward and make life miserable for the Speaker. Hatfield didn’t only limit De Vance to seven points on 3-of-9 field goals and 1-of-2 free throws but also contributed 16 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and two steals in 32 minutes.

Uichico admitted the Kings allowed De Vance to gobble up his small defenders in Game 1. Since Uichico plays a three-guard formation with Ronald Tubid at the three-spot, the 6-7 De Vance has a huge match-up advantage in size at the shooting forward position. In Game 2, Uichico took away De Vance’s edge with Hatfield as his primary defender. Uichico’s other adjustment was assigning Mike Cortez on Tenorio to set the tone defensively at the outset. Cortez didn’t start in Game 1 but was in the first five in Game 2. The Cool Cat didn’t only hold Tenorio to only six points but also chipped in 13 to aid Ginebra’s cause.

In Game 1, Alaska’s precise execution on both ends was evident in how the Aces shot from the floor (.494) and how the Kings fared (.404). Ginebra had more rebounds, 59-44, more assists, 22-19, less turnovers, 11-12 and more free throw conversions, 22-14, but still lost by three in a heartbreaker that once more displayed Alaska’s poise.

* * * *

In Game 2, Ginebra wouldn’t be denied as the Kings ran roughshod over the Aces behind a scorching transition attack that netted 16 fastbreak points. Playing “small” ball, the Kings used pace to offset the Aces’ height advantage and went to the zone to take away Alaska’s inside play. Miller redeemed himself from a woeful two-point showing in the series opener to scatter 16 points, including 3-of-6 triples. The Kings aggressively attacked the interior, resulting in Eman’s disqualification on six personals and De Vance getting into foul trouble.

To win tomorrow, Alaska’s big frontline must assert its size in controlling the boards and limiting Ginebra’s second chance opportunities. The Aces must also extend their defense to cover the Kings’ outside shooters and establish a slow-down tempo to throw off Ginebra’s rhythm. More than anyone, Tenorio must step up to lead the charge. “Showtime” is Alaska’s engine – he’s what makes the team tick. Tenorio must be in synch for the Aces to move forward.

As for Ginebra, the Kings’ remarkable asset-to-turnover rate of 29-to-5 in last Wednesday’s game was a reflection of their never-say-die attitude. Their backs were against the wall and they came through. Hatfield’s infectious work ethic rubbed off on his teammates. The Kings capitalized on Alaska’s miscues to score 12 turnover points and with only five errors, didn’t give the Aces much of a chance to retaliate in this department. For the Kings, the key is to attack without warning, run Alaska to the ground and not allow the Aces to set up defensively. That means Ginebra must control the defensive glass and trigger transition at every opportunity.

It’s a can’t-miss game on Christmas Day. Uichico will try to motivate his players with the theme “small is beautiful” while Cone will rely on Alaska’s poise under pressure in a match-up of the ages.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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