PRRD sends off team Ph to Rio Olympics, vows more support for athletes

MANILA (Presidential Communications Office) — President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday led government officials in the send-off ceremony for the Philippine delegation to the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“Just try your best, and the conscious mind would always be in the direction of love of country,” the President told the members of Team Philippines, adding that “of the 100 million Filipinos plus, few are given the opportunity to be a part of a team or to be working for government and it’s not given to everybody.”

The President vowed that he will exert efforts to source funds for the athletes by instituting reforms in government agencies and using public funds for the good of all Filipinos.

Six of the 12 Rio Olympians were present during the momentous event, namely: long jumper Maristela Torres, golfer Miguel Tabuena, taekwondo jin Kirstie Elaine Alora, weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colonia, and table tennis player Ian Lariba. The other six athletes are training abroad.

During the send-off, President Duterte also increased the individual allowance of the delegates to the quadrennial games, which he hopes would boost the morale of the Rio-bound athletes.

Leading the country’s sports officials during the ceremony at Malacanan Palace were Philippine Sports Commission chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, and Jose “Joey” Romasanta, POC first vice president who is also the Chef-de-Mission for the Philippine delegation.

To date, the highest honor garnered by the country from the Olympics were two silver medals, both in boxing. Anthony Villanueva gave the Philippines its first silver medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and 32 years later, Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco captured the silver during the 1996 Atlanta Games. PND

Phl bows to Japan in Aspac opener

CLARK – Host Philippines, represented by first-timer Sarangani, started its bid in the Asia Pacific Intermediate Baseball Tournament on a losing note, yielding to fancied Japan, 0-8, on a rainy Monday at Clark International Sports Complex at The Villages here.

Still adjusting to competition at this level, the Sarangani batters couldn’t hold fort on defense in the fateful second inning, where they allowed the Japanese to rack up a seven-run binge from which they couldn’t recover.
Taisei Okui and Taketo Ikenaka pounced on successive passed balls by Phl to open scoring for Japan.
Yuma Hara made it 4-0 with a two-run double before Suguru Taniguchi dashed home while the Pinoys were picking off Seiya Matsushita.
Hara scored off a balk then Issei Yoshizaki drove in Komin Toda as Japan put the game beyond Phl’s reach in the first game of the tournament sponsored by Mister Donut and the Philippine Sports Commission.
“Maganda naman ang pinakita ng mga bata (They played well) considering this is our first time and we played Japan, which is used to playing in the World Series,” said coach Lord Ken Naval, whose Sarangani team is being cheered on by a contingent of supporters led by Gov. Steve Solon, Vice Gov, Elmer De Peralta, Maitum, Sarangani Mayor Alexander Bryan Riganit and Provincial Board members along with parents.
“We did our best. We were hitting their pitches but just couldn’t translate it to runs, and we had some catching errors,” he added.
Phl’s other representive, ILLAM, was playing Australia in the Senior League Baseball division at presstime.
Guam thwarted Seniors holder CNMI in the opener, 12-7.(pr)

Streakin’ Lascuña eyes No. 4 at NOGCC

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Coming out of a tight finish a winner a third time around, Tony Lascuña exudes confidence as he heads to the ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic, shooting for fourth straight and fifth overall at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club in Bacolod starting Wednesday (July 13).
“This win further boosted my confidence going to Marapara. I really feel good and will go for another win,” said the 46-year-old veteran Davaoeño shotmaker, after rallying from three shots down with a closing bogey-free 65 at the Bacolod Golf and Country Club in Binitin then nipped Dutch Guido Van der Valk and American Micah Shin on the first playoff hole to bag the ICTSI Bacolod Golf Challenge crown last Saturday.
It was Lascuña’s third straight victory in this year’s Philippine Golf Tour, counting his one-shot win over Japanese Ryoma Miki at Eagle Ridge and a nine-stroke romp over Zanieboy Gialon and Orlan Sumcad at Forest Hills last month.
That should make him the player to beat at the former Marapara layout although Van der Valk and Shin, along with the other local top guns will also be going all-out to foil his bid while fueling their respective title drives in the P1.5 million event serving as the 10th leg of this year’s circuit sponsored by ICTSI.
But Lascuña, who also won at Luisita last April, isn’t only coming into the event riding on a three-win run but also brings with him the bragging rights as the winner at NOGCC when it last hosted a PGT leg in 2014. He beat Elmer Salvador and amateur Lloyd Go by four to spark a three-leg sweep and finish with five legs wins on his way to copping his third straight OOM title.
“I always love to play at Marapara, despite its tough condition especially in the presence of the wind,” said Lascuña. “But I expect another tight finish since everybody will be trying to stop my streak.”
They include Van der Valk and Shin, who fell short of their bid to nail a breakthrough on the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. with shaky backside stints at Binitin, enabling Lascuña to gain a crack at the title and eventually snatch the win.
Others tipped to contend for the top P270,000 are Jay Bayron, Cassius Casas, Mhark Fernando and Sumcad who all bounced back into contention in the final round at Binitin but failed to match Lascuña’ solid finish.
Meanwhile, a select number of pros test the NOGCC layout in tomorrow’s pro-am tournament where they will be paired with the amateur guests and officials of the event’s chief backers, including Custom Clubmakers, adidas, KZG, Summit Mineral Water, Srixon, Pacsports, TaylorMade, Sharp and Champion.(pr)

Blu Girls snap skid, edge Venezuelans

The Philippines finally chalked up a win in the World Cup of Softball XI as the World No. 23 Blu Girls edged No. 19 Venezuela, 2-1, Saturday at ASA Hall of Fame Complex’s Field 3 in Oklahoma City (Sunday in Manila).

Fil-Am Dani Gilmore blasted a solo home run in the third inning and Angelie Ursabia stole home in the sixth to give the Cebuana Lhuillier-backed Filipinas the cushion that led to their breakthrough victory after five consecutive losses. Venezuela remained winless at 0-5.
“This tournament gave us a glimpse of how steep the climb we have to make if we want to contend in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. What’s good to see through is that our girls fought hard and continued to improve in each game,” said Asaphil president Jean Henri Lhuillier.
The Blu Girls will next compete in the World Women’s Softball Championships in Surrey, Canada on July 15-24 as part of their four-year plan towards qualifying and competing in the Tokyo Games.
Later in the day, the Blu Girls pushed world No. 3 Australia to the limit before yielding a 2-3 loss.
The upset-conscious Phl softbelles enjoyed a 2-1 upperhand up until the bottom seventh, where they conceded two costly runs that allowed the fancied Aussies to escape with the triumph.
“We gave Australia, the No. 3 team in the world, hell in seven innings. This is a good sign going to the World Championships in Canada on July 15-24,” Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines executive director Jun Veloso said.
Sierra Lange stood at the forefront of the Blu Girls’ defense against Venezuela, pitching a five-hitter in a no-relief job while striking out three batters. She gave up a solo homer to Yaicey Sojo in the bottom seventh but the Pinays held on preserve the win.
The Blu Girls had a big fifth inning against the Aussies, leaning on Garie Blando’s sacrifice RBI and Chelsea Suitos’ run to wipe out a 0-1 deficit and storm ahead.
The Aussies, though, had the last say. Carmelie Sorensen was hit by a pitch in a bases-loaded situation, allowing Jade Wall to score the tying run. Georgia Blaire then launched a sacrifice fly that enabled Clare Warwick to make the go-ahead run and Australia went on to pick up its fourth win in five outings.(pr)

Cebu all set for biggest Cobra Ironman 70.3

The stage is set for the biggest triathlon event on Philippine soil as the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships presented by Ford blasts off on Aug. 7 in Cebu.

Close to 3,000 competitors led by defending champions Tim Reed and Caroline Steffen are set to answer the starting gun for the prestigious race that starts and ends at Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa. This will mark the first time the AsPac tourney will be held outside of Australia.
“On Aug. 7, we’ll have over 2,900 athletes from 43 countries, marking the biggest triathlon in the history of the Philippines,” Wilfred Uytengsu, president of the organizing Sunrise Events, Inc. said during yesterday’s kick-off event at Shangri-La at The Fort.
“We will assemble the largest cast of professional triathletes – over 30, many of whom are world champions competing and preparing not just for the rights to be Asia Pacific champion but also for the world championships in Australia set a few months after the race,” he added.
Produced and organized by Sunrise Events and backed by Cobra Energy Drink as title sponsor with Ford as Presenting Sponsor, the 1.9K swim, 90K bike, 21K run race will also offer the biggest prize money ever in the Philippines at $75,000 and the highest points earned.
Uytengsu was joined in the launch by Hubert Tan, Asia Brewery, Inc. Senior Vice President, Commercial Division, Ford Philippines managing director Lance Mosley, Tourism Promotions Board COO Domingo Ramon Enerio, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, Cebu Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino, Globe Telecoms VP for content Jil Go, Shangri-La Mactan director of sales Natalia Zotova, and renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who once more designed the medals for the winners. Matteo Guidicelli co-hosted the launch with Chiqui Reyes.
“On its fifth year in Cebu, the Province will be ready to welcome all participants and their families with the traditional Cebuano warmth and festivities,” said Tolentino.
“Year on year, we dream bigger, we grow stronger and we aim to achieve greater heights. For eight years we’re able to successfully grow and build a community of enthusiasts who dare to push their mind, body and spirit to its limit. And on this year, first time in the history of Ironman 70.3 that the Asia Pacific Championship is outside Australia. We celebrate and share this moment of well-deserved success with everyone behind Cobra Ironman,” said Tan.
The event backed by Ford as presenting sponsor, Globe as official wireless and broadband services partner, Philippine Airlines, Summit Water, Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, 2Go Express (official courier and logistics partner), Asics, Gatorade, Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu Province, Lapu Lapu City, Cebu City, Talisay City, Prudential Guarantee, Oakley and Timex will offers 50 slots to the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Action will be aired live on www.ironman.com courtesy of Globe Telecoms, according to SEI.
 Celebrities slated to see action include Piolo Pascual, Paul Jake Castillo, Dingdong Dantes, Gretchen Fullido, Kim Atienza, Apl de Ap, Dyan Castillejo, Ivan Carapiet, Bubbles Paraiso, Xander Angeles, Anthony and Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan, Sara Black, Gilbert Remulla, and SEI’s Uytengsu.
Other sponsors are Alaska, David’s Salon, Intercare, Gu gel, Kenneth Cobonpue, Megaworld Mactan Newtown, Sun Life Financial, TYR, media partners The Philippine Star, ABS-CBN Sports+Action, TriLife Magazine, AsiaTri, FinisherPix, technology partner Xurpas, official hotels Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa, Be Resorts Mactan, Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan, Waterfront Hotel and Casino Mactan, Movenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu and official registration partner Active Network.(pr)