FILE – ONE Championship: Kings of Destiny at Mall of Asia Arena last April 21. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netPouncing on the mixed martial arts boom in the country, ONE Championship is set to stage four events in the Philippines next year.ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong bared the development on Thursday as the Asia’s biggest mixed martial arts promotion announced its full 2018 calendar.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Four of ONE’s 24 fightcards next year will be held in Manila after hosting two events in 2017.“We have 24 massive shows planned for all sports fans in Asia and will continue to showcase the absolute best in martial arts, delivered by our homegrown martial arts superheroes. 2018 is going to be an epic year of action and I can’t wait to get things started,” Sityodtong said in a statement.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutONE events in Manila will be on January 26, April 20, July 28, and November 16, with the venues still yet to be announced.The promotion will stage one more event in the country this year, with ONE: Legends of the World set on November 10 at Mall of Asia Arena. /je LATEST STORIES Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Read Next LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight LOOK: Floyd Mayweather flaunts new $26M mansion in Beverly Hills Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients View comments Alvarez ready to take risk vs Folayang, looks to end clash by ‘knockout or submission’ PLAY LIST 02:18Alvarez ready to take risk vs Folayang, looks to end clash by ‘knockout or submission’01:42Stars face off at ONE: Dawn of Heroes00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games
MOST READ BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight (1) CJ Perez – F, Lyceum Pirates20.5 points (6/13 3PT), 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.5 stealsLast Week: 2CJ Perez. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netFor the third straight time, CJ Perez topped our list and there wasn’t much of a debate at all.The energetic forward remained the lynchpin in aiding Lyceum preserve its unblemished 15-0 record.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next Desiderio struggles, praises ‘great defender’ Dennison in UP loss to FEU The senior guard flirted with a triple-double in the Red Lions’ 83-72 win over Arellano on Thursday in what could be a prelude for his strong finishing kick late this season.With San Beda also dealing with a schedule heavy on contenders in its next four games, you can bet that Bolick can rekindle his form late in the elimination round and aid the Red Lions to extend its 12-game winning streak.(5) Allyn Bulanadi – F, San Sebastian Golden Stags17.5 points (4/13 3PT), 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 stealLast Week: N/AAllyn Bulanadi. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netAfter another even week for San Sebastian, we have to go with its most consistent performer.And this week, it was Allyn Bulanadi.The forward was part of the sweet-shooting crew that barraged Letran for a 94-64 beatdown on Tuesday, and kept the Golden Stags fighting against Lyceum up until the endgame before falling, 73-78.Bulanadi’s emergence is a fresh sight for San Sebastian, as it spreads the scoring load more to the supporting crew aside from just relying to guys like Michael Calisaan and its troika of guards.(6) MJ Dela Virgen – G, JRU Heavy Bombers 18 points (4/8 3PT), 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 stealLast Week: N/AMJ dela Virgen. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netSpeaking of sweet-shooting, MJ Dela Virgen also had a week to remember.The sophomore caught fire early and continued his torrid shooting in the endgame to go 50 percent from rainbow country in JRU’s 85-52 demolition of Perpetual.Dela Virgen stepping up is another welcome development for coach Vergel Meneses, as the Heavy Bombers strengthened their grip of the third spot.But the PBA legend is hoping that performances like these won’t be a one-off, as he preaches consistency going to JRU’s last four games.(7) Laurenz Victoria – G, Mapua Cardinals19 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 stealLast Week: N/ALaurenz Victoria. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMapua may be out, but showed it still has some fight left. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC View comments Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Little-known Laurenz Victoria sparked the Cardinals to their first win in three months, as they pulled the rug from under St. Benilde, 79-69, and took the Blazers to the grave with them.Victoria’s late explosion, together with Denniel Aguirre, allowed Mapua to finally taste victory again as it snapped its inglorious 11-game losing streak.With the skid now halted, Victoria and the rest of the Cardinals now have the confidence to seek upsets and gain some silver linings despite having a woeful season. Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes PLAY LIST 01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients LATEST STORIES For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. We’re just three weeks away from ultimately weeding out the contenders from the pretenders, and for the teams still in the running in the Final Four race, they are hell-bent to grab those seats rather than see their championship aspirations go down the drain.Two teams — Lyceum and San Beda — have already occupied the first two seats, while cellar-dwellers Mapua and St. Benilde are finally out of the running.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThat leaves six more teams staking their claim for the last two tickets in the playoffs, and after another action-packed week, these teams once again went to their leaders to bolster their chances of making it to the final dance.Here’s this week’s best players: Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Last Week: N/AMJ Ayaay. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netCall him Lyceum’s glue guy.Also enough to merit the spotlight this week was Pirates forward MJ Ayaay, who has shown tenacity on both sides of the floor.Though Perez has been the unbowed leader of Lyceum, Ayaay has been steadily churning out consistent numbers while being the one to do the dirty work on the floor for the Pirates.But his mettle will be tested as Lyceum enters unchartered territory as it guns to sweep the eliminations in the final three outings.(4) Robert Bolick – G, San Beda Red Lions13 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assistsLast Week: N/ARobert Bolick. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netLook who’s back!Jeramer Cabanag may have had his coming out party and Javee Mocon continued to showcase his worth for San Beda, but it was Robert Bolick, who has been making things work for coach Boyet Fernandez. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Perez showed his brilliance anew on Friday when he recorded a career-best 28 points in the Pirates’ 78-73 win over San Sebastian.But coach Topex Robinson warned Perez that the immaculate record will be put to waste if Lyceum won’t be able to pull off the wins they need to get, especially with the tough grind ahead at the end of the eliminations.(2) Bong Quinto – F, Letran Knights20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assistsLast Week: 1Bong Quinto. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netLast week’s pacesetter remains near the top of our rankings as Bong Quinto helped Letran go 1-1 in a tough week.Though the Knights bowed to the Golden Stags on Tuesday, the forward came out to played inspired basketball on Friday, registering a career-best 27 points in Letran’s 84-78 victory against EAC.Quinto and team captain Rey Nambatac unleashed a stellar showing that could no doubt make their late coach Bob Lotuaco proud if he was alive today.(3) MJ Ayaay – F, Lyceum Pirates13.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 block With the collegiate season in full swing, INQUIRER lists the week’s top seven performers in the ongoing NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament. From their game statistics to their overall impact in the outcomes, everything is weighed to come up with the best players from the week that was.ADVERTISEMENT
Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Read Next Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Justin Brownlee didn’t need to come up with the buzzer-beating triple to win this one for the Kings, though his role in this latest triumph was more pronounced because he was able to play more that just the offensive end.Tenorio, who will have surgery to correct a right elbow injury on Monday, won the PBA Press Corps-Cignal Finals MVP award. He was also the winner of the same citation last season when the Kings snapped an eight-year title wait.“We’re not going to stop here; we have more (championships) to win,” Cone declared while addressing the crowd that stayed after the final buzzer to watch the celebration on the floor.Allen Durham also had 26 points to pace Meralco, with Jared Dillinger shooting 20, his biggest production in the series after being held to single digits in each of the first six games.“Game 7s are just the most amazing games to play,” Cone said. “You never know what’s going to happen; you just try to do your best while staying calm, staying focused. You just don’t want to let the fans down, let the management down.”ADVERTISEMENT Fight another day Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Kin of Misamis Oriental hero cop to get death benefits, award — PNP Barangay Ginebra didn’t need a big comeback this time, but had to fend off Meralco before prevailing, 101-96, in a historic Game 7 to repeat as PBA Governors’ Cup champions Friday night at Philippine Arena here.The Kings erected a 20-point lead in the first half then weathered numerous storms that the hard-fighting Bolts tried to conjure in the last two quarters to repeat as champions for the first time in franchise history and trigger a stomping celebration by its major share of the record 54,086 fans who showed up.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“We hit big shots all night; it was a total team effort,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone shortly after the buzzer as he won his 20th championship in 32 title series appearances. “And to be able to do it in front of 50,000 fans is just so cool.”The heady LA Tenorio hit some of the biggest shots of the night and finished with 26 points built on 5-for-7 clip from beyond three-point range. Five more Gin Kings chipped in twin digits in a balanced attack that befuddled the Meralco defense. Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC BOCAUE—The team that has never said die had just enough to hold off an enemy that has taken the same sort of attitude and reach a new milestone for the franchise.ADVERTISEMENT After the final buzzer sounded, amid a deafening crescendo from the roaring crowd, Tenorio gathered his teammates to one section of the floor for a prayer, before they broke up with hands raised and fingers signaling No. 1.The ScoresGINEBRA 101—Tenorio 26, Brownlee 23, Thompson 14, Slaughter 12, Aguilar 10, Devance 10, Caguioa 4, Ferrer 2.MERALCO 96—Durham 26, Dillinger 20, Hodge 14, Newsome 11, Caram 9, Hugnatan 7, Amer 6, Lanete 3.Quarters: 27-19, 52-37, 81-64, 101-96 MOST READ Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH View comments
Read Next 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Denver rallied to get back into it, and Jokic drained a jumper from the top of the key to give the Nuggets a 91-89 lead with 1:12 left. Barnes missed a 3-pointer, but an offensive foul was called on Jokic with 12.7 seconds left. After Mason Plumlee blocked Smith’s layup out of bounds, Wesley Matthews missed a 3 at the buzzer. Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, left, of Serbia, tries to work the ball inside as Dallas Mavericks center Salah Mejri defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)DENVER — Nikola Jokic completed his second triple-double with a late jumper to put Denver ahead, and the Nuggets held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 91-89 on Saturday night.Jokic had 11 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists. Gary Harris scored 24 to help Denver rally from nine points down in the fourth quarter for its third straight victory.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ LATEST STORIES Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray was healthy but did not start for an undisclosed reason. After averaging 26.7 points in his previous three games, he struggled early Saturday before scoring all 15 of his points in the second half.The Mavericks were missing guards J.J. Barea (oblique strain) and Devin Harris (personal reasons) but played well without them. They faltered down the stretch, going 4:27 without a field goal late in the game.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutHarrison Barnes had 22 points and Dennis Smith Jr. had 13 points, six rebounds and six assists for Dallas. The Mavericks have lost three in a row.Dallas trailed by 12 early but quickly erased the deficit and took a three-point lead in the second quarter. The Mavericks went on a 16-1 run to end the third and take a 74-66 lead. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC View comments Curry scores 13 points over final 1:42, Warriors beat Celtics Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH
Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ There is nearly constant gastronomic temptation for tennis players at the annual Grand Slam tournament held in one of the world’s capitals of cuisine. Crepes and croissants. Baguettes and pates. Steaks and french fries. The rich sauces. The chocolate. The macaroons. The wine. And on and on and on.“The French cheese and foie gras and everything they have — it is extremely caloric,” said Sergiy Stakhovsky, a 31-year-old from Ukraine best known for his upset of Roger Federer in the second round of Wimbledon four years ago.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“But as you can see,” he joked, lifting his shirt to reveal a flat stomach, “it doesn’t stay. It just goes somewhere. I don’t know where.”Some players say they resist the carbs, the desserts, the alcohol. Others simply give in. Others hold out until they’re done competing. Warriors set to make their claim as NBA’s best ever Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games MOST READ 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire “I’ve gotten better at the ‘everything in moderation’ thing. But I’m in my 20s, I travel, I work out a lot. So I’m like, ‘You know what? I love food,’” said Madison Brengle, a 27-year-old American who reached the second round at the French Open. “I feel like I’d rather work out more and really enjoy the food. The places we get to go to around the world, there’s amazing food. Got to try it.”Brengle’s top treat in Paris? Pistachio macaroons.For two weeks two years ago, Mattek-Sands said, she thought about those waffles. Then, on the day that she and Czech partner Lucie Safarova won the championship, all bets were off.“Right after the final, I was like, ‘We are going to the waffles!’ I didn’t want anything else,” Mattek-Sands recalled with a hearty laugh. “So I had the trophy in one arm and was just eating a Nutella waffle from the other. I was still in my match gear.”And, according to her husband, Justin Sands, that long-awaited waffle was washed down with Champagne sipped from the doubles trophy.ADVERTISEMENT World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage A cook prepares a waffle at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Saturday, June 3, 2017 in Paris. There is nearly constant gastronomic temptation for tennis players at the annual Grand Slam tournament held in one of the world’s capitals of cuisine. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)PARIS— As a professional athlete who is judicious about what she eats and drinks, Bethanie Mattek-Sands knows all too well how impossible it is to avoid the sweet aroma emanating from a stand selling waffles with a chocolate-hazelnut spread just outside the French Open’s main stadium.“We would walk by that every day,” the 32-year-old American said last week at Roland Garros, recalling her run to the 2015 women’s doubles title. “We could even smell it from one of the match courts.”ADVERTISEMENT Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken As they spoke, Mattek-Sands — who was born in Minnesota and is now based in Arizona — was eating her post-match meal: a bowl prepared by Justin in the players’ cafeteria with rice, cut-up chicken, carrots, olive oil, salt and pepper. Plus, a red apple.“For me, when I’m in tournament mode, food is fuel, and I can really look at it that way. There’s a time and a place to really enjoy the food. And we go out of our way to try to find places that I can find something that I like and can eat,” she said. “I feel like I still eat well, within my parameters. But I definitely look forward to my cheat days. I mean, I plan them out. Because they are few and far between, I am not just going to waste them on just anything.”A cook prepares crepes at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Friday, June 2, 2017 in Paris. There is nearly constant gastronomic temptation for tennis players at the annual Grand Slam tournament held in one of the world’s capitals of cuisine. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)Petra Martic, a Croatian ranked 290th, said she celebrated each victory with a glass of French wine as she made it all the way from qualifying to the fourth round of the main draw.So when she eventually lost, a reporter wondered whether the routine would change that night.“Still a great tournament, you know,” Martic responded. “You can always find reason for red wine.”Stakhovsky would tend to agree.He said he never drank the stuff at all until he was 22, and even then it was only during tennis’ brief offseason. And now? Stakhovsky said he has a glass — or half-glass — every evening.Stakhovsky’s fondness for wine is such that he plays club matches at a tennis club in Bordeaux sponsored by area winemakers such as Chateau Pavie and Mouton Rothschild. He orders 40 to 60 bottles while there.“It’s interesting now talking to some of today’s players: They drink more than I did when I was on tour,” said Chanda Rubin, a top-10 singles and doubles player in the 1990s. “I was kind of behind the times, I guess. But I’m making up for it now.”Another former player, Mats Wilander, thinks current players’ lives are a lot more regimented — how and when they eat, the way they spend their time, etc. LATEST STORIES Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games What ‘missteps’? “You have a physical therapist. You have a trainer. You have your coach. You have an agent, of course. So that’s your team. You’re always doing stuff and it’s all scheduled. You plan your lunch. And then after lunch you’re going to go stretch. And so on,” said Wilander, a Swede who won seven Grand Slam titles in the 1980s.“Professional tennis players don’t hang out as much together now. They don’t go out for dinner together. And what happens when 22-year-old guys went for dinner together in the ’80s, and you just won a five-setter? You might throw in a beer. Or two,” Wilander said. “And if you lost? … I’m going to call the other Swedes that lost in the first round and ask, ‘Hey, you want to go to out?’”John Isner, an American who was seeded 21st at the French Open, has his go-to restaurants in Paris, including L’Avenue, which is popular among tennis players.But Isner, listed by the ATP at 6-foot-10 (2.08 meters) and 238 pounds (107 kilograms), does have a complaint: The steak portions are too small. He said he remedies that by ordering two servings.“I’m used to going to Texas Roadhouse, back in America, getting a 36-ouncer. … As good as the food is in Europe, especially in Paris, I miss the food back home,” said Isner, who is based in Florida. “You can’t beat a good Applebee’s or Carrabba’s Italian Grill. I do miss that a little bit.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments
Just over 2 years left, intense work at Tokyo stadium site Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters The veteran forward was shipped to Meralco Monday, marking the end of a colorful nine-year run with the Talk ‘N Text franchise.“He fits us perfectly and he’s with us at the right time,” Black told INQUIRER.net Tuesday. “Ranidel is not only a talented and experienced player, he’s also very, very smart.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingThe 6-foot-6 de Ocampo addresses the Bolts’ lack of big men and he gives the team another knock down shooter and reliable post player.“The reason why we wanted him at Meralco it’s because he gives us another floor spacer, somebody who can stretch the floor,” said Black, who won four titles with de Ocampo at TNT. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games LATEST STORIES Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side “Our team is built around Durham and we want to surround him with guys who can shoot from the outside,” he added, referring to import Allen Durham, who is a menacing force in the paint.Black hopes de Ocampo is Meralco’s missing piece of the puzzle to finally get over the hump.The Bolts are currently among the top teams in the 2017 Governors’ Cup with a 6-2 record just half a game out of first place held by Barangay Ginebra and NLEX, who own similar 7-2 slates.“We’re aiming to win a championship and we need him right now,” said Black, who has nothing but praise for the 35-year-old de Ocampo.“Ranidel is still the best, if not one of the best stretch fours in the league today.”ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Meralco head coach Norman Black believes Ranidel de Ocampo is a perfect addition to the Bolts and his arrival couldn’t have come at a better time.ADVERTISEMENT NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information.
Twenty-five-year-old Rohit Kuttappa has a pedaling passion; his life revolves around bicycles, so much so that he has started a business venture in which people are encouraged to pedal their way to Mahabalipuram as part of a monthly group getaway which is slowly turning into a very popular movement in,Twenty-five-year-old Rohit Kuttappa has a pedaling passion; his life revolves around bicycles, so much so that he has started a business venture in which people are encouraged to pedal their way to Mahabalipuram as part of a monthly group getaway which is slowly turning into a very popular movement in Chennai.Cycling, which he took up after a cricketing injury, made him see business potential. What started off as just another timepass with friends like renowned musician Tanvi Shah of the Slumdog Millionaire fame and Abhay Shah, Suhail Ahmed and Siddharth Mohapatra, soon became enterprise and the group started CRX Sports. “We wanted people to get up and have fun,”says Tanvi Shah. She adds, “To begin with we were very causal about it, but because more and more people wanted to join, we started CRX Sports.”CRX involves 100-150 people cycling from Chennai to Mahabalipuram, one Sunday of every month. Flagging off during the wee hours in the morning, the ride lasts for around two hours and ends with a hearty breakfast and a friendly game of football at Temple Bay.”Right now CRX Sports is at a nascent stage but we are trying to take to the next level, by organising a cyclothon in the city soon. Currently we are operational consultants for the Mumbai and Pune cyclothons, and hope to bring it to Chennai soon,” says Kuttappa.Come October and a similar kind of cycling event will start in four other major cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai. “India needs outdoor entertainment,” believes Kuttappa, “Our idea is to finally move into sports entertainment,” she says.advertisementWe started off with cycling but want to expand to various other sports and reach out to cities that dont have such sporting oppurtunities,” she says with a smile.Encouraging has been the response so far and unlike a few months back when they had to goad people to attend, the numbers are now spilling.Cycling is not only one of the most healthy workout options today, but is also environment friendly and besides a safety briefing, and an ambulance on call at all times, CRX sports also provides a mechanic, well oiled cycles and helmets with ample pit stops for all its riders. “Safety is paramount and we ask all our participants to take enough fluids 48 hours prior to the event, along with advising them to wear bright clothes and to stay within the safety lines. After all, a safe ride is the best ride,” says Kuttappa.So how much would a ride like this cost? “A total of Rs.750 per person and people are urged to register online at crx.doattend.com, informs Kuttappa. CRX Sports is also hoping to encourage corporate houses to embrace this and get their employees to cycle to work once in a while.”It has opened up roads, to the city literally and is comforting to know that enthusiastic Chennaiites are still looking to explore innovative ways to have fun and get fit.” Something that started as a way to enjoy is now becomming a national craze.
Behind the golden glow that enveloped the country’s athletes and its image at the 19th Commonwealth Games lies the untold story of the invisible men who planned and executed India’s new saga of sporting success. The credit, gold medal if you will, goes to a little-known organisation called the International,Behind the golden glow that enveloped the country’s athletes and its image at the 19th Commonwealth Games lies the untold story of the invisible men who planned and executed India’s new saga of sporting success. The credit, gold medal if you will, goes to a little-known organisation called the International Sports Division (ISD), created in 2008 under the leadership of Rahul Bhatnagar, a joint secretary, in the Sports Ministry.The gold medal-winning Indian women’s 4×400 relay team, (from left) A.C. Ashwini, Manjeet Kaur, Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose.The ISD got it right, and even the most optimistic Indian sports lover got to see things they had never imagined. Three Indian medal winners-with gold, silver, bronze-in the women’s discus throw, lined up on the podium while 50,000 spectators in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium went hysterical. It was India’s first gold medal in track events in 52 years. Hysteria reached new levels a day later when the Indian women’s 4X400 team ran a technically perfect race to win the country’s second gold in track and field. By the penultimate day of the Games, India won nine medals at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. In India’s CWG history, the country had won just one medal in athletics, Milkha Singh’s gold in Melbourne way back in 1958. On the medal table, India stood second, another history-making achievement.Bhatnagar’s ISD kept it simple. Under the umbrella of the Sports Ministry, the division’s mandate was that India should win between 96 and 125 medals and, more importantly, no hurdle (pun intended) should come in the way whether it was money, training and facilities, proper diet, international exposure or the services of the best international coaches. An unprecedented Rs 678 crore was earmarked to be spent on training (55 per cent), scientific support to sportspersons (35 per cent) and infrastructure. But more crucial to success was to restrict the role of the sports federations that are run like serfdoms mostly by politicians with little sporting background.advertisementThe crowd at Major Dhyan Chand StadiumThe entire exercise lasting 30 months was executed in relative obscurity, free from media glare and bureaucratic tangles. The ISD’s plan, after identifying areas of weakness, was to provide intensive training of 530 days in India, 225 days of training and competition abroad to 1,140 players in 18 sporting disciplines. The goal was to create a group of “core probables”, three-four times more than the players who would actually represent India, give them the best training and international exposure and then conduct a pruning process in a phased manner under a steering committee set up for each discipline to assess individual performance recorded by a high-tech computer-based monitoring system. “The idea was to train players in the same environment they would compete so that they peak around the time Games are held,” says Bhatnagar.The result is India’s best-ever performance in a multi-discipline sporting event, second only to the Olympics, with 71 participating nations. Compared to the downbeat national mood at the start of the Games, the sudden upsurge of patriotism and collective pride is the result of a plan modelled on how socialist countries of former Soviet Union went about achieving sporting success. The selected sportspersons came mostly from rural India, from poorer families, with women contributing to a major share of the medals tally. The initial phase of the plan was spent analysing the reasons for the consistent poor showing by Indian players. This was done in consultation with various sports federations.Indian hockey captain Rajpal SinghWhat emerged was hardly rocket science. Apart from inefficiency and ad-hocism in sports administrations, there was no continuity of training and sportspersons were trained just months before a mega event. There was no planning or annual calendar for training even for national teams in sports like hockey. The athletes were given a poor diet and inadequate support of experts and coaches. There was lack of international exposure and dearth of training equipment. Not everyone could do an Abhinav Bindra, India’s lone individual Olympic gold medalist, who paid from his pocket for training and coaching.Deepika Kumari with her archery goldUnder the new plan, athletes got Rs 550 per day for their diet against a paltry Rs 200 they were given when Mani Shankar Aiyar was the sports minister. A total of 174 Indian and 36 foreign coaches (hired at an average monthly salary of $5,000) were put in charge of the probables. Also for the first time, the services of 78 support staff-sports doctors, psychologists, physiotherapists and masseurs-offered to the players. High-altitude training was introduced for the first time to improve stamina and endurance while doping was discouraged with stringent checks on athletes and coaches.Blueprint for SuccessadvertisementRahul BhatnagarHe spearheaded a team that brought glitter to the GamesSteering committees under Bhatnagar, a joint secretary of Sports Ministry, was set up for each of the 18 sport disciplines 30 months ago. It met 161 times to monitor preparations and proper selection of players and coaches.Rs 678 crore was allocated for training 1,140 sportspersons for two-and-half years against earlier budget of Rs 40 crore per annum.305 days of rigorous training every year, including 75 days of training abroad in top academies, so that players perform at their best.In key disciplines, the best foreign coaches hired at high salaries in addition to the 170 Indian coaches, some of who were trained abroad.Individual players and teams made 3,760 foreign trips to participate in events or for training.Pruning of players to represent India in the Games was done in a phased manner depending on their performance recorded on a computer-based monitoring system.Special high-altitude training at Shilarro in Himachal Pradesh at a height of 9,000 ft to improve stamina and endurance.70 specialised support staff-sports analysts, doctors, physiologists, physiotherapists, masseurs and mental trainers-were provided.On an average, athletes were trained for 305 days a year which included 75 days of foreign training. Participation in foreign sporting event or for training abroad resulted in 3,567 trips by players, many of whom had never flown in an aircraft before. The table tennis team was trained at Hebei Zhengding National Table Tennis Training Base, China, wrestlers went to Russia and tennis players were trained at the IMG Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida, the best in the world. Krishna Poonia, who won gold in women’s discus throw, has barely seen her son in the past two years because of her hectic schedule, which included training stints in Ukraine. Her success is an example of how the ISD tapped into the sports that were not India’s traditional strength. Ashish Kumar is another. The 19-year-old from Allahabad created a history by winning two medals in gymnastics, a first for India.Foreign coaches were hired for all disciples except for women’s hockey, tennis and weightlifting. Indian coaches were also sent for advanced training abroad. Athletes agree that foreign coaches, with their superior professionalism, modern approach and rigorous training schedule, made a quantum difference towards their preparedness. “Foreign coaches meant no local politics and favouritism based on region and other considerations,” says a senior official in the Sports Ministry. Take men’s hockey coach Jose Brasa, a Spaniard, who is not popular among the players and Indian coaches as he lines them up at five in the morning (any latecomer is sent back) and follows it by a rigorous training schedule and tactical targets. The result was in evidence at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium: arch-rivals Pakistan were humbled 7-4 in the quarterfinal while steely nerves and tactics ensured a scintillating semi-final win against England.Russian Vladimir Chertkov who coached the Indian gymnastics team feels that to realise its full potential India will have to develop systems to tap the young and train them better. “The Sports Ministry was of great help. But federations do not have the knowledge to develop such systems,” he says. India’s first lawn ball team was trained for last 16 months by Australian coach Richard Gale. “I can assure a gold medal if I get to train the team for four to six years,” says Gale.advertisementShooting is an expensive sport and India won 14 gold medals in these events because four top shooters-Bindra, Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Mansher Singh and Ronjan Sodhi-were paid Rs 2 crore each to prepare. Apart from this, 36 other shooters used ammunition worth Rs 2.7 crore for training. Even training venues were the best in the country, including nine private facilities like the Gopichand Badminton Academy at Hyderabad or JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur, all paid for by the ISD.The message is clear: India has a huge reservoir of sporting talent. What we need are money, systematic training and infrastructure. Every host country for a major sporting event does well traditionally, partly because of prestige, efforts and local conditions. The ISD has shown the right track and millions of Indians have suddenly discovered a sporting world beyond cricket. What needs to be seen is that the euphoria around India’s most successful Games is not short-lived.