John Pages

Match point

CONGRATULATIONS to several Cebuanos who joined last Sunday’s race. No, the run didn’t start at the Cebu Business Park and it wasn’t a 5K. It was the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon.

Roy and Dr. Rosan Trani finished. So did 42K first-timer Kenneth Toledo, Dr. Emily Estrada, Dr. Alex Junia and Dodong Sulatre, who clocked an impressive 4:24.

Best of all, Mendel Lopez, an awardee this March 11 during the 28th SAC-SMB Cebu Sports Awards, scored a standout finish: Of the thousands who participated in the 21K race, Mendel placed third. A Japanese arrived first, an Italian second (only five seconds ahead of Mendel), then our very own Cebuano.

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The past two Februarys in HK, Mendel placed fourth. Now, he’s climbed one step higher. And given that this race attracts a mix of global runners that would make the United Nations smile, this was a remarkable performance. Congratulations!

PBA. Thanks to the controversy last Feb. 5, when Talk ‘N Text walked out of their game against Barangay Ginebra, my interest in the Philippine Basketball Association has intensified.

Remarkable showing by the Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants. Having been down 1-2 in their best-of-seven semifinal series against San Miguel Beer, the Giants won three games in a row and, thus far in the KFC PBA Philippine Cup Finals, they’ve won another three straight. That’s 6 of 6.

Will it be Lucky 7 when Game 4 is contested tomorrow? Alaska Milk, highly-touted to have provided tough resistance to Purefoods, has faltered. In Game 2, they

shouldn’t have lost. Leading by 13 points in the third quarter, they stumbled. Now they’re in a deep, dark hole. Can they win their first game? And, after that, maybe one more? To seize the momentum? Can they score four straight when no team ever in PBA history has come back from a 0-3 deficit?

Improbable. That’s as unlikely as Joshua Clottey scoring a knockout win versus our Filipino flag-bearer next Sunday.

But here’s a fact: A former University of San Jose Recoletos star, a Cebuano named Roger Yap, has been the playoff’s best.

“‘He was really the brightest star who played with an incredible will to win,’ said Ryan Gregorio of Yap, who was named the undisputed KFC/Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period Feb. 15 to 21, quoting the official website PBA.com.ph.

MAGSAYSAY. Balamban Councilor Dave Karamihan, one of the wittiest and funniest men you’ll meet on this island, is once again at the helm of a noble project: the Paghandum ni Magsasay Annual Adventure Trek ’10. Held in commemoration of the 53rd death anniversary of Pres. Ramon Magsaysay, this annual climb runs from March 20 to 21 in Dave’s bailiwick called Balamban.

“The Annual Commemoration is on March 17. A simple wreath laying rite will be held in the crash site at 9 a.m.,” wrote Dave in an email message.

“On March 20, the festivities kick off with the 5th Annual Paghandum ni Magsaysay (PNM) Adventure Race. This is a climbathon open to professional runners, weekend

warriors and locals. The race starts at the Welcome Arch of the Municipality of Balamban at the Transcentral Highway all the way to the crash site in Mt. Manunggal.

There is also a women’s category. The route is 17K (13K for the Executive, Local, and Women categories) of partly concrete road, dirt road and mountain trails.

“In the evening is the San Miguel Beer Night. A concert by various bands will be held in the campsite. Trekkers can have the chance to party with fellow mountaineers.

“On March 21, the 7th Annual PNM Mountain Bike Challenge commences from Poblacion in Balamban with the finish line, likewise at the campsite in Mt. Manunggal.

“Nobody really knows how this adventure trek started. One thing definite is, this all started with a mountain, which happened to embrace a great man in his death. It is ironic, that with Magsaysay’s death, a new life is born. A new life for the constituents of Brgy. Gaas and Manunggal.”

For more details, call Jackie at 333-2190.

(www.pages.ph)