Loaded weekend for sports
Hi sports fan. Where did you go this weekend? Were you impressed with this weekend’s sports events in Cebu? Did you have a tough time choosing which event to watch? Or did you check on “all of the above” being the true sports fans that you are? Welcome to another perfect weekend for the sports fan who has a multiple choice of big events taking place, conveniently woven into a schedule that fits all our needs.
The sports sked for the weekend actually had a “soft” opening last Wednesday when Global Cebu FC defeated Davao Aguilas FC, 3-1, in a Philippines Football League match (fixture if you want to be technically correct) at the Cebu City Sports Center. We can still remember how Wesley dos Santos happened to be at the right place and at the right time when he booted in the first goal in a goal-mouth scramble, the kind which gives goalkeepers nightmares. Then how can we forget the next two goals that were candidates for top goals of the league? Daryl Roberts volleyed in a beautiful cross of Paolo Salenga for the second goal. What made the goal classic was the “slow motion” effect it had as Salenga’s cross was a nice high arching lob that landed perfectly on Roberts’s swinging right foot which found the back of the net quickly after contact. If you didn’t watch the game, review it on youtube to see it for yourself. The third goal was just as great. Paolo to Paolo was the tag when Paolo Bugas whipped a low-line drive cross to the waiting Salenga who hammered the ball into the goal via a left-footed low shot which the Davao goalkeeper had no chance to stop. It should’ve been a shutout 3-0 win but Global allowed Davao to score late in the game when the match was already settled. For the 3,000 fans who trooped to the venue, it was perfect midweek prelude to the weekend.
Moving along to Friday, the SM Food Court Activity Area was filled with boxing fans witnessing the weigh-in for Pinoy Pride 42. We were all used to seeing all boxers make the weight easily in ALA Promotions events, but this one had a slight twist of concern. Everyone was surprised when defending IBF light flyweight world champion Milan Milendo didn’t make the weight of 108 pounds in his first attempt, while his challenger Hekkie Budler made it easily. Milan weighed in at 109.25 pounds, causing a few eyebrows to rise and a lot questions running, all concerned for the main event fighter and ace of the night for the host promotions team. We’ve seen undercard boxers miss weight in the past, but for a main event boxer to miss the weight is different. But that’s over now as Milan hit the target weight after sweating it out and getting rid of the excess baggage after around an hour. The fight is on and that took place last night in Pinoy Pride 42. I see Milan winning by unanimous decision in a fight between the bull and the matador. Budler will be aggressive and force the issue but Milan will wisely stay away from danger and counter well enough through combinations to carve out the win. If he stays away from Budler’s bombs, Milan will be fine. My only concern is if there are mental or psychological effects from not missing the weight last Friday that might have an impact on the way he fights. Or did his losing more weight also slow him down physically? As always, we pray for the best. The other fight that fight fans were anxiously awaiting for was the bout between former two-division world champion Johnriel “Quadro Alas” Casimero and Jonas “Zorro” Sultan in a Pinoy vs Pinoy showdown for the top seed in the IBF super flyweight division. This had the makings of what could be the best fight of the night. Casimero is the favorite here and he’ll show why he’s ready to challenge current Pinoy IBF world champion Jerwin Ancajas. Casimero’s experience and power will be the key to the fight which will be a phone booth brawl until someone gets hurt. (I write this piece hours before the fight and before it goes on TV later today). I see Casimero winning the exchange of punches although Sultan will land a few of his own. Can Sultan pull off an upset? He can sure if he finds a way to land his big bombs and hurt Casimero early in the fight.
Also taking place Friday (and yesterday) was the CESAFI Volleyball All-Star weekend featuring a friendly game between top commercial team F2 Logistics and the CESAFI All Stars. While we’re used to seeing fans cheer for their football, basketball and boxing idols, I must admit that volleyball fans are something else. They were loud, noisy, rowdy and gaga over their idols on the F2 team and this was evident even before the ladies went on the court. Seeing the likes of Abby Maraño, Kim Fajardo, Ara Galang, Dawn Macandili, Kim Dy, Majoy Baron, Cha Cruz, Desiree Cheng and the rest of the F2 team up close and personal sent fans wild. From warm-ups to the actual game (did the fans even bother to monitor the score?), to the post-game meet-and-greet, the fans were all over their idols. Pictures were taken; Facebook posts were aplenty from the USC Main Gym; Twitter and Instagram were certainly happy with their sudden traffic. Thank you F2 for visiting Cebu.
If that wasn’t enough, Global Cebu FC played the PFL’s top team FC Meralco Manila at the CCSC yesterday. Still undefeated on home turf, Global Cebu counts on its home crowd as a crucial 12th man and forgets all the pains and fatigue (it’s their third game in seven days) when it plays at home. Games in Cebu have recorded the highest numbers in terms of attendance, and it doesn’t come as a surprise at all. The crowd will be rocking and rolling (and praying) for their home team. The 19th Aboitiz Football Cup was also launched yesterday in the same venue, with practically all teams present in the stadium to watch the PFL game and show the football world how mad we are about our football. We’d like to brag that the Aboitiz Football Cup is the biggest tournament (not a one-day football festival) in the country featuring age groups from six years old to 45-above. This will run until around February or March with the first set of games to be played today.
And don’t forget that somewhere in between, we also have the CESAFI basketball and volleyball and football tournaments ongoing at the Cebu Coliseum, USC Main Gym, and CCSC, respectively. What a weekend indeed. Or is it just another day in the office for Cebu Sports?