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SPORTS NEWS THE PAST WEEKS
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

(IPTL) INTERNATIONAL PREMIER TENNIS LEAGUE IN MANILA

SUPER SERENA STAR OF THE SHOW AT DASMARIÑAS VILLAGE


DECEMBER 7 -Serena Williams (right) and Philippine Mavericks teammate Jarmila Gajdosova at the IPTL welcome dinner in Makati last Saturday.
The stars shone brightly at the IPTL (International Premier Tennis League) welcome dinner in Philippine Mavericks’ co-owner Haresh Hiranand’s residence in Dasmariñas Village, Makati, last Saturday and they were on the ground not in the sky.
The brightest star of all was world No. 1 women’s tennis player Serena Williams, the center of attraction from the moment she arrived with the other luminaries seeing action in the three-day Manila leg of the IPTL’s second season that began at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena yesterday. The players flew in on a chartered flight from Japan where they opened the season with six matches over three days in Kobe. World No. 5 Rafael Nadal didn’t play in Japan and went straight to Manila on his own. Nadal couldn’t make the dinner because of his late arrival that night. IPTL founder Mahesh Bhupathi, a four-time Grand Slam doubles champion and a three-time Grand Slam singles quarterfinalist, was all smiles as he recounted how the second season got off to a rousing start in Kobe where the latest franchise Japan Warriors hosted last week. The 41-year-old Indian tennis legend said he’s looking forward to three exciting days of top-caliber action in Manila. Williams, 34, is anchoring the Mavericks team this season. The other players on the Philippine squad are Australian legend Mark Philippoussis, world No. 9 Richard Gasquet of France, world No. 14 Milos Raonic of Montenegro (now based in Canada), Jarmila Gajdosova of Slovakia, Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia (now based in Australia) and Fil-Am doubles specialist Treat Huey. In Kobe, the Mavericks lost to Singapore, 26-24 and beat Japan, 28-24. The highlight of the win over the Warriors was Williams and Huey teaming up to beat Leander Paes and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in mixed doubles, 6-3. It was Williams’ first IPTL victory this season. Against Singapore, she lost to Karolina Pliskova, 6-4. Against Japan, she bowed to Kurumi Nara, 6-4. Williams hasn’t played in over two months since losing to Italy’s Roberta Vinci in the semifinals of the US Open, ending her hopes of becoming the first female player to capture a calendar Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988. For Huey, it was a dream matchup. “Serena hardly plays doubles and it was my first time to play with her,” said Huey, a mainstay on the Philippine Davis Cup team. “She hasn’t played for a bit and she’s now getting ready for next year. She lost her two singles matches in Japan but she’s still unbelievable. Her strokes remain solid. As the season goes on, she’ll be unbeatable. There’s no better woman player in the world. It was an honor to play with her in mixed doubles.” Williams has announced she’ll open the new year by playing for the US at the Hopman Cup in Perth starting Jan. 3. Despite her loss at the US Open, Williams is ranked world No. 1 with career earnings of over $74 Million and 21 Grand Slam singles titles under her belt. Last Saturday, Hiranand was a gracious host. A makeshift stage was set up for live music and an auction was held to raise funds for the construction and rehabilitation of tennis courts in the country. A total of $17,000 was banked with $3,000 going for a Nadal playing outfit, $2,400 for a set of IPTL signed playing cards and $2,000 for a worn playing outfit of former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, among others. Hiranand, SM Prime Holdings president Hans Sy, Philippine Tennis Association chairman Jean Henri Lhuillier, Philstar.com president Kevin Belmonte and Balaji Swaminathan own Match Point International Tennis Events, Inc. which is the IPTL’s Philippine franchise holder. READ MORE...

ALSO Vamos Rafa: Nadal electrifies Manila crowd in IPTL debut


DECEMBER 9 -Future Hall of Famer Rafael Nadal was electrifying in his much-awaited IPTL debut in Manila. EC Toledo IV PHILSTAR FILE  The whole Mall of Asia Arena went wild the moment Rafael Nadal stepped on the court.
It did not take long for Nadal, one of the greatest tennis players of this generation, to reciprocate the warm Filipino hospitality with top-notch performance never before seen live on Philippine soil. The Spaniard tennis great dished out an inspired effort in the final two sets to seal the defending champion Micromax Indian Aces' third straight romp by sweeping the UAE Royals, 30-18, in the Coca-Cola Premier Tennis League Season 2 that jolted a slow-moving Monday in the metropolis. The five-set sweep pushed the Aces momentarily back on top of the table with 146-82 record and 56.2 percent winning percentage. The much-awaited IPTL debut of Nadal went down more than what was anticipated with the 14-time Grand Slam champion putting on a show to the roaring approval of the Manila crowd that chanted "Vamos Rafa!" almost all throughout the match. He teamed up with Ivan Dodig for an electrifying 6-3 win in the men's doubles against the UAE Royals' Tomas Berdych and Daniel Nestor. As if that was not enough, Nadal returned to the court on the final set and score an epic come-from-behind 6-5 win against Berdych that was decided in a super shootout. READ MORE....

ALSO: Pacman makes Facebook's year-end athletes list


DECEMBER 10 -Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. during their match last May. | Facebook.com
He's no global icon for no reason. Eight-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has once again proven he's still a slugger to be talked about, landing a spot in Facebook's most-discussed athletes' list of the year. The guy ahead of him in the list? His tormentor in what was dubbed as "The Fight of the Century," Floyd Mayweather Jr. While it was generally accepted as a lackluster match, it generated so much buzz that it appeared on almost every corner of the Internet and ended up as the richest fight in boxing history. THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO SALUD RESIGNS: PBA President/CEO position to be reviewed pending results of Non leadership


DECEMBER 10 -Outgoing PBA President/CEO Chito Salud and PBA Chairman Robert Non I File Photos
- While this season’s chairman Robert Non is set to temporarily take over from Chito Salud, who resigned as president and chief executive officer, the two soon-to-be-vacated positions are subject for review by the league’s powerful board.
PBA media bureau chief Willy Marcial said Non, who also serves as San Miguel Beer’s representative to the board, will assume the twin executive positions in an acting capacity until the end of the Philippine Cup. Non will be taking over from Salud, who on Monday startled the league’s board when he announced that he is resigning from his positions as president and CEO of the PBA effective the end of December. “Pinag-uusapan pa ng board (who to replace Salud) pero si chairman Non will be serving the positions till the end of the (all-Filipino) conference,” Marcial told Philstar.com on Friday. The two positions to be vacated by Salud were incorporated in the PBA’s organizational structure just before the start of the new season. Asked if the PBA board intends to hire a head-hunting firm once more to help the league find Salud’s replacement, Marcial responded in the negative. READ MORE...

ALSO: Winner by unanimous decision, Donaire world champion anew


DECEMBER 13 -A referee raises the hand of new WBO super-bantamweight champ Nonito Donaire Jr. TOP RANK
Nonito Donaire Jr. fought Cesar Juarez like his life was at stake yesterday, earning a unanimous decision and winning the vacant WBO super-bantamweight title in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The 33-year-old Filipino floored the Mexican twice in the fourth but was swollen, bleeding and hurt from the fifth round until the end. At times late in the fight, he was in trouble. But Donaire fought with pride and went toe-to-toe with the 24-year-old Juarez in the closing rounds even when he could have opted to run away and still get away with the win. Donaire, his left eye swelling and right eye bleeding from a cut, also slipped and twisted an ankle. In the end, he looked like a boxer who just fought 24 rounds. The crowd inside the Roberto Clemente Stadium got what they came for – a brutal fight and a late but strong candidate for Fight of the Year honors. Donaire won on all three scorecards, 117-109, 116-110, 116-110. A picture that posted on the Internet showed Donaire after the decision, in tears or on the verge, raising his right hand and once more proclaiming himself as world champion. Donaire, born in Talibon in Bohol but grew up in General Santos City and studied in the same school as Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao, improved to 36-3 with 23 knockouts. Juarez, the underdog, rallied and fought like a wounded tiger but fell short in the end. He dropped to 17-4 with 14 knockouts. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Super Serena star of the show


Singapore Slammers Serena Williams in action against Manila Mavericks Kirsten Flipkens during their Women's Singles match at the IPTL (International Premier
Tennis League) on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 at the Mall of Asia Arena in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. The IPTL, featuring four teams, introduces a new format in tennis and a chance for a championship prize of $1-million dollars. Williams won the match. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) INQUIRER FILE

MANILA, DECEMBER 7, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Joaquin Henson December 7, 2015 - The stars shone brightly at the IPTL (International Premier Tennis League) welcome dinner in Philippine Mavericks’ co-owner Haresh Hiranand’s residence in Dasmariñas Village, Makati, last Saturday and they were on the ground not in the sky.

The brightest star of all was world No. 1 women’s tennis player Serena Williams, the center of attraction from the moment she arrived with the other luminaries seeing action in the three-day Manila leg of the IPTL’s second season that began at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena yesterday. The players flew in on a chartered flight from Japan where they opened the season with six matches over three days in Kobe. World No. 5 Rafael Nadal didn’t play in Japan and went straight to Manila on his own. Nadal couldn’t make the dinner because of his late arrival that night.

IPTL founder Mahesh Bhupathi, a four-time Grand Slam doubles champion and a three-time Grand Slam singles quarterfinalist, was all smiles as he recounted how the second season got off to a rousing start in Kobe where the latest franchise Japan Warriors hosted last week. The 41-year-old Indian tennis legend said he’s looking forward to three exciting days of top-caliber action in Manila.

Williams, 34, is anchoring the Mavericks team this season. The other players on the Philippine squad are Australian legend Mark Philippoussis, world No. 9 Richard Gasquet of France, world No. 14 Milos Raonic of Montenegro (now based in Canada), Jarmila Gajdosova of Slovakia, Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia (now based in Australia) and Fil-Am doubles specialist Treat Huey.

In Kobe, the Mavericks lost to Singapore, 26-24 and beat Japan, 28-24. The highlight of the win over the Warriors was Williams and Huey teaming up to beat Leander Paes and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in mixed doubles, 6-3. It was Williams’ first IPTL victory this season. Against Singapore, she lost to Karolina Pliskova, 6-4.

Against Japan, she bowed to Kurumi Nara, 6-4. Williams hasn’t played in over two months since losing to Italy’s Roberta Vinci in the semifinals of the US Open, ending her hopes of becoming the first female player to capture a calendar Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988.

For Huey, it was a dream matchup. “Serena hardly plays doubles and it was my first time to play with her,” said Huey, a mainstay on the Philippine Davis Cup team. “She hasn’t played for a bit and she’s now getting ready for next year. She lost her two singles matches in Japan but she’s still unbelievable. Her strokes remain solid.

As the season goes on, she’ll be unbeatable. There’s no better woman player in the world. It was an honor to play with her in mixed doubles.” Williams has announced she’ll open the new year by playing for the US at the Hopman Cup in Perth starting Jan. 3.

Despite her loss at the US Open, Williams is ranked world No. 1 with career earnings of over $74 Million and 21 Grand Slam singles titles under her belt.

Last Saturday, Hiranand was a gracious host. A makeshift stage was set up for live music and an auction was held to raise funds for the construction and rehabilitation of tennis courts in the country. A total of $17,000 was banked with $3,000 going for a Nadal playing outfit, $2,400 for a set of IPTL signed playing cards and $2,000 for a worn playing outfit of former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, among others.

Hiranand, SM Prime Holdings president Hans Sy, Philippine Tennis Association chairman Jean Henri Lhuillier, Philstar.com president Kevin Belmonte and Balaji Swaminathan own Match Point International Tennis Events, Inc. which is the IPTL’s Philippine franchise holder.

READ MORE...

The welcome dinner brought in an array of high-powered guests including Secretary of Trade of Industry Gregory Domingo, Philippine Ambassador to Portugal Philippe Lhuillier, Chris Po of Century Tuna, property developer J. J. Atencio, RFM president/CEO and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion and PBA five-time Coach of the Year and TV5 executive Chot Reyes and wife Toni & Guy Philippines managing director Cherry.

Williams was seated at the Mavericks table flanked by Gajdosova and Tomljanovic. Fans and well-wishers crowded around Williams who accommodated every request for a photo with a smile. “I’m happy to be back in Manila,” said Williams who played mixed doubles and singles for Singapore against the Mavericks at the MOA Arena last season. Ivanovic, playing for the United Arab Emirates Royals, was another magnet during the affair. Others who drew attention were 6-4 Nick Kyrgios of the Singapore Slammers, 6-5 Tomas Berdych of the Royals and the Mavericks’ 6-5 Milos Raonic. They literally stood out from the rest.

Huey said the Japanese fans came out in droves to support the Warriors last week. “Kei Nishikori is like a rock star in Japan but while the stadium was packed, the fans weren’t as loud as our fans in Manila last year,” he said. “I hope our fans came out to cheer for us this season, too. We’ve got a great team led by Serena.”

Huey said the ride from the Nobu Hotel to Dasmariñas Village took over an hour with police escorts. “Last year, we were at EDSA Shangri-La Hotel and it took over two hours to go to the MOA Arena,” he said. “We’re used to the traffic now. But it’s wonderful that we’re staying at the Nobu, which is an excellent hotel, and it’s just a few minutes away from the arena. We’re all excited to play for our Filipino fans.”


PHILSTAR

It's a wrap! Serena, Rafa make IPTL's 2015 Manila stop memorable Updated Wednesday December 09, 2015 - 12:31am 2 1 Google +0 0


SERENA WILLIAMS, RAFA NADAL

The International Premier Tennis League wrapped up its three-day Manila leg late Tuesday, with superstars Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal making good on their promise to deliver performances to remember. Check out the results of three days of exciting tennis action!

Vamos Rafa: Nadal electrifies Manila crowd in IPTL debut By Alder Almo (philstar.com) | Updated December 7, 2015 - 6:47pm 6 19 googleplus0 0


Future Hall of Famer Rafael Nadal was electrifying in his much-awaited IPTL debut in Manila. EC Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines -- The whole Mall of Asia Arena went wild the moment Rafael Nadal stepped on the court.

It did not take long for Nadal, one of the greatest tennis players of this generation, to reciprocate the warm Filipino hospitality with top-notch performance never before seen live on Philippine soil.

The Spaniard tennis great dished out an inspired effort in the final two sets to seal the defending champion Micromax Indian Aces' third straight romp by sweeping the UAE Royals, 30-18, in the Coca-Cola Premier Tennis League Season 2 that jolted a slow-moving Monday in the metropolis.

The five-set sweep pushed the Aces momentarily back on top of the table with 146-82 record and 56.2 percent winning percentage.

The much-awaited IPTL debut of Nadal went down more than what was anticipated with the 14-time Grand Slam champion putting on a show to the roaring approval of the Manila crowd that chanted "Vamos Rafa!" almost all throughout the match.

He teamed up with Ivan Dodig for an electrifying 6-3 win in the men's doubles against the UAE Royals' Tomas Berdych and Daniel Nestor.

As if that was not enough, Nadal returned to the court on the final set and score an epic come-from-behind 6-5 win against Berdych that was decided in a super shootout.

READ MORE...

"Great feeling, I'm very happy to be here. It's a pleasure to be in Manila for the first time in my life and play in front of a fantastic crowd here," said Nadal that was well received by thousands of fans who came to watch him play in flesh.

The Indian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza started the ball rolling for the tournament favorite Aces sneaking from behind to trip the Royals pair of Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic, who were coming off a big win over local hero Treat Huey and world no.1 Serena Williams 24 hours ago.

Bopanna and Mirza wiped out the 3-1 lead erected by Nestor and Mladenovic to score a 6-4 win in the opening set. Samantha Stosur outclassed an out-of-sync Ana Ivanovic in the women's singles. Not even a Mladenovic substitution late in the set can save the Royals from falling deep early, 7-12, as Stosur went on to chalk up a 6-3 win.

The Aces' playing-coach Fabrice Santoro continued his unbeaten run in the IPTL Season 2 with a clinical 6-3 win over an exasperated Goran Ivanosevic in the Legends single to hike their overall lead to 18-10.

Then came Nadal's pair of electrifying performances that got the crowd roaring and up on their feet to honor the future Hall of Famer.


PHILSTAR

Pacman makes Facebook's year-end athletes list By Denison Rey A. Dalupang (philstar.com) | Updated December 10, 2015 - 1:29pm 101 153 googleplus0 0


Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. during their match last May. | Facebook.com

MANILA, Philippines – He's no global icon for no reason.

Eight-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has once again proven he's still a slugger to be talked about, landing a spot in Facebook's most-discussed athletes' list of the year.

The guy ahead of him in the list? His tormentor in what was dubbed as "The Fight of the Century," Floyd Mayweather Jr. While it was generally accepted as a lackluster match, it generated so much buzz that it appeared on almost every corner of the Internet and ended up as the richest fight in boxing history.


PHILSTAR

PBA President/CEO position to be reviewed pending results of Non leadership By Richard Dy, contributor (philstar.com) | Updated December 4, 2015 - 12:00pm 22 25 googleplus0 0


Outgoing PBA President/CEO Chito Salud and PBA Chairman Robert Non I File Photos

MANILA, Philippines -- While this season’s chairman Robert Non is set to temporarily take over from Chito Salud, who resigned as president and chief executive officer, the two soon-to-be-vacated positions are subject for review by the league’s powerful board.

PBA media bureau chief Willy Marcial said Non, who also serves as San Miguel Beer’s representative to the board, will assume the twin executive positions in an acting capacity until the end of the Philippine Cup.

Non will be taking over from Salud, who on Monday startled the league’s board when he announced that he is resigning from his positions as president and CEO of the PBA effective the end of December.

“Pinag-uusapan pa ng board (who to replace Salud) pero si chairman Non will be serving the positions till the end of the (all-Filipino) conference,” Marcial told Philstar.com on Friday.

The two positions to be vacated by Salud were incorporated in the PBA’s organizational structure just before the start of the new season.

Asked if the PBA board intends to hire a head-hunting firm once more to help the league find Salud’s replacement, Marcial responded in the negative.

READ MORE...

“Baka mag-iba na ng proseso kasi ang gustong makita ng board eh ano ba ang magiging bunga. Gusto nila makita ano ang magiging resulta or bunga ng positions na president and CEO sa business side,” he added.

As it is, Marcial said Non, aside from performing his duties as chairman of the league this season, he is expected to report at the PBA office at least three times a week to assume the tasks of a president and CEO.

The soft-spoken media bureau chief explained that the twin posts require numerous off-the-court activities such as being on top of the various outreach programs of the PBA.

“Bukod sa outreach, yung mga checks dumadaan din sa CEO. Tapos yung mga programs promoting the brand of the PBA under din sa kanya,” he said.

“Siya din yung makikipag-usap sa mga ibang liga if ever gaya ng Japan (Basketball League or KBL (Korean Basketball League) tapos ganun din yung sa kontrata with TV5 saka sa admin ng mga tao sa office.”


PHILSTAR

Winner by unanimous decision, Donaire world champion anew By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 13, 2015 - 12:00am
0 1 googleplus0 0


A referee raises the hand of new WBO super-bantamweight champ Nonito Donaire Jr. TOP RANK

MANILA, Philippines - Nonito Donaire Jr. fought Cesar Juarez like his life was at stake yesterday, earning a unanimous decision and winning the vacant WBO super-bantamweight title in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The 33-year-old Filipino floored the Mexican twice in the fourth but was swollen, bleeding and hurt from the fifth round until the end. At times late in the fight, he was in trouble.

But Donaire fought with pride and went toe-to-toe with the 24-year-old Juarez in the closing rounds even when he could have opted to run away and still get away with the win.

Donaire, his left eye swelling and right eye bleeding from a cut, also slipped and twisted an ankle. In the end, he looked like a boxer who just fought 24 rounds.

The crowd inside the Roberto Clemente Stadium got what they came for – a brutal fight and a late but strong candidate for Fight of the Year honors.

Donaire won on all three scorecards, 117-109, 116-110, 116-110.

A picture that posted on the Internet showed Donaire after the decision, in tears or on the verge, raising his right hand and once more proclaiming himself as world champion.

Donaire, born in Talibon in Bohol but grew up in General Santos City and studied in the same school as Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao, improved to 36-3 with 23 knockouts.

Juarez, the underdog, rallied and fought like a wounded tiger but fell short in the end. He dropped to 17-4 with 14 knockouts.

READ MORE...

Donaire had won world titles as a flyweight, light-flyweight (interim), bantamweight, super-bantamweight and featherweight.

He travelled to Puerto Rico to reclaim the 122 lb title which he won in 2012, when he won the Fighter of the Year honors, and lost to Guillermo Rigondeaux in 2013.

“I think that was the toughest fight I’ve ever been in in my life. It was an amazing fight,” Donaire told ESPN.com.

“The guy was amazing. The guy was strong. I give it to him,” added the Filipino, now based in Las Vegas with his wife and two young kids.

Donaire said Juarez deserves a rematch.

“I will definitely give him a rematch. I’m not taking anything away from him,” Donaire said.

“It was a hard, tremendous fight. We’re both warriors,” said Juarez, who pinned Donaire on the ropes late in the fight and landed punches that could have dropped the Filipino.

Under attack, Donaire countered and slipped in some good punches to convince the judges that he’s not letting the fight slip away.

In the fourth round, Juarez took a solid right from Donaire and went down for the first time, and swallowed left for the second knockdown.

The crowd of over 8,000 waited for the knockout from Donaire and it never came.

Instead, they witnessed a potential Fight of the Year.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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