Loaded week­end for sports

The Freeman - - 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?

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