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Fueled by Passion and Faith: The Making of Kid Kulafu

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In less than three weeks leading up to the “fight of the century,” eight-division world champion Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao is set to inspire the world as he steps away from the spotlight to reveal his humble beginnings in the movie entitled “Kid Kulafu.”

It is safe to say that Filipinos from every corner of the globe have become witnesses to Pacquiao’s ascent to stardom whether in the ring or at the courts. The truth is, however, not a lot knew him before his claim to fame as “Pac Man.”

In the biographical film presented by ABS-CBN, Star Cinema, and Ten17 Productions, director Paul Soriano brings his audience once step closer to the roots of Pacquiao’s earlier years—a struggling amateur and pro boxer, and a dejected teenager—at the heart of Saranggani, General Santos City.

As Manny shared to Direk Paul, “All the pain and the knockouts I experienced in boxing were just physical pain. But you know what’s more painful? It’s the fact that you have nothing to eat, no home where you can rest, and having a broken family. And I endured all those when I was young.

Pacquiao almost never happened. The scrawny kid from Kibawe, Bukidnon stood no chance against the obstacles life threw at him, until he started punching down banana trees, thanks to the urging of his uncle Sardo.

Unleashed Within

Direk paul

According to Direk Paul, “Kid Kulafu” has been three years in the making with two years dedicated for extensive research about the Pacquiao’s childhood.

“Pambansang Kamao” and “People’s Champ” are among the many nicknames the professional boxer has earned in the ring, but away from it, the one that does not get heard a lot makes known, more than any other name will, about who he is, namely Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao.

How fitting to know that “Dapidran” is a warrior tribe in the mountains of Bukidnon, all the more emphasizing his nature as a fighter.

Viewers will get to know a young boy who had nothing but attitude, passion, and fighting spirit to face every challenge head-on and knock it out one by one,” said the critically-acclaimed director.

Aside from catching a stroke of luck in discovering his doppelgänger of the past, Sardo needed someone who could train the kid like Roger, Pacquiao’s uncle turned trainer to coach to father figure.

This is where Buboy Villar, the actor who plays the young Manny Pacquiao, and head trainer Erwin Tagle step in.

Kailangan kasi mapalapit kami sa training ni Pacquiao. Sobrang hirap po kasi sa isang araw, dalawang beses ako bumalik sa gym kasi kailangan mo talaga ibuo yung katawan,” shared Villar who underwent serious boxing training in preparation for the film.

To pack some muscle in that light frame, Tagle developed a program that would put Villar in the gym two hours, four times a week for three consecutive months.

As the lead choreographer of the fights, he spent a tremendous amount of time to do research, delving deeper into the moves that made Pacquiao who he is today—namely the left straight punch and fist combinations. This is of course on top of the partner drills and movements that the twosome practices to simulate the actual fights.

Gusto namin na sanay siya sa mga movements na suntok-ilag-suntok-palitan-dikit, so finamiliarize ko siya para lang maging kumportable sa bawat action scene namin. Ayaw namin na pag sinuntok, pipikit o iilag siya,” disclosed Tagle.

The Past At Present

But the difficulty of recreating scenes of several years away pushed both Soriano and Tagle to be creative in making it as realistic as possible to even the single most minute detail of every bout.

Basta si Direk Paul gusto niya na itong idea dapat believable, organic, at mukhang totoo. Dapat ramdam nung audience na sila ‘yung lumalaban,” said the Martial Arts aficionado and entrepreneur. “Before going to the choreography, dapat ‘yung mindset namin pang international ang peg.”

Si Buboy kasi parang sponge, may skill na mag-absorb ng kung anong role ang gagawin niya. Talagang Pacquiao ‘yung training at commitment niya,” added Tagle. “Actually, pwede naming mas galingan pa, pero hindi pwede kasi dapat medyo raw pa. Nandun ‘yung special left straight niya at ‘yung tapang kaso di pwede ‘yung magaling yung footwork o umiilag na siya agad hanggang sa nadiscover na siya ni Freddie Roach.

With that said, the lack of footages from Pacquiao’s amateur fights led to the team being creative in patching second-hand accounts from the man himself.

Binigyan nalang ako ni Direk Paul ng story. Si Manny ang nagkukuwento what happened during his fight—Masmalaki ‘tong kalaban ko,’ ‘mas-mature tong kalaban,’ ‘underdog siya,’ ‘nahilo’t natumba siya sa sobrang galing nung kalaban,’ ‘napagod lang,’” shared Tagle.

Rise Above Adversity

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Knowing that this movie could set ablaze a nation as they march towards supporting their very own against the undefeated Golden Boy, the group focused on their efforts to deliver the best film possible with the highest of international standards in mind.

Every time may ginagawa kami everyday kahit puyat, kahit pagod, kahit ilang takes, kahit masakit na yung suntok ng mga boxer, tuloy pa rin kami kasi on the same page kami. Isang eksena, isang fight scene, pwede ng bumuo ng isang movie sa dami ng takes kasi lahat perfectionist. Tapos nung makita namin ‘yung preview, sa sobrang galing, nakakakakilabot,” said the Brazilian Jiujitsu practitioner. “Gusto ni Direk na tumabi si Manny sa boxing greats ng mga pelikulang Ali, Raging Bull, at saka Cinderella Man.

With life’s odds stacked against him, Pacquiao simply had no chance. All his fights, despite that of the amateur level, were intense, greater even than the pressure of any Game 7 any finals could ever have replicated.

Isipin mo kung matalo siya, di siya aabot kung saan siya ngayon so every fight life and death talaga,” said Tagle. “Underdog siya sa lahat ng fights dito pero kahit ginugulpi na siya na parang wala ng pagasang manalo, dinala niya pa rin sarili niya sa tapang at determinasyong walang katulad.

Portraying Manny’s parents Dionisia and Rosalio are award-winning actors Alessandra de Rossi and Alex Medina. Also part of the cast are Cesar Montano, Khalil Ramos and Igi Boy Flores. “Kid Kulafu” is written by Froilan Medina and under creative consultant Amor Olaguer and the aforementioned fight director Erwin Tagle.

The biggest sports drama movie of the year, “Kid Kulafu,” is set to hit cinemas nationwide on April 15.

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Football

Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory

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Photo from the-AFC.com

2017 AFC ASEAN Zone Champions Ceres-Negros banked on their poise and composure from the spot as they knocked out Myanmar’s Shan United via a 4-3 penalty shootout (1-1 after extra time) triumph, Tuesday evening at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

The Negrenses punched their ticket to Brisbane, Australia after emerging the better spotkick takers. Four Busmen were on target, while two of their Shan Warriors counterparts fluffed their lines.

The two domestic champions were inseparable after 120 minutes, with the hosts holding their own against the Philippine champions. Ceres-Negros looked the more dominant of the two teams. However, they couldn’t make the advantage count where it mattered, as they failed to breach the sturdy Shan United defense inside the first two regulation halves.

The visitors were visibly more comfortable in the first half, but with the scores staying level at the break, the less-fancied Myanmar champions eventually found their footing in the encounter. While there were several half-chances from either side to open the scoring, both defenses remained defiant en route to unwanted extra time.

“It was a tough game. We weren’t ready to play 120 minutes because we only had four training sessions before the game but everytime we wear this jersey, we represent Ceres, we represent Bacolod, we represent the Philippines, so we have to give our best,” Ceres’ defender Carli de Murga elaborated to the Inquirer after the match. The Asian Football season has yet to start, and with both teams not too busy with pre-season preparations, rust and fatigue in a demanding affair were evident.

Come extra time, Ceres-Negros took the initiative when Stephan Schröck’s deflected effort went past the helpless Thiha Si Thu just three minutes into the first half.

Nonetheless, the hosts refused to go down without a fight, and their resilience was rewarded later in the opening half. Substitute Patrick Asare found the back of the net to restore parity in Yangon.

Another 15 minutes of goalless action took place in the second half as both teams looked more cautious, perhaps with the collective aim of avoiding a costly error or two. Among all the chances, Schröck’s in the 114th minute may have proved to be the closest to changing the scores, as his attempt shaved the post.

Shan United took to the spot first, where Asare made his penalty attempt count. Nay Lin Tun also made his, but not before teammate Chizoba smashed his attempt over Toni Doblas’ goal.

While the hosts squandered a shot, the visitors remained calm in front of a hostile Myanmar crowd. De Murga, Schröck and Mike Ott nailed their turns, with Marañon also not missing a vital kick from 12 yards.

It set up William Biassi Nyakwe, the man credited with the own goal when he deflected Schröck’s opener, with the chance to prolong his team’s campaign in the AFC Champions League. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t atone for his earlier mistake, as his attempt soared high and wide — much to the delight of the visiting team from Bacolod, the Philippines.

The reward for Ceres-Negros is a trip to Queensland, Australia, where they will seek to do one better than compatriots Global-Cebu. The 2016 Philippine champions also played against the Brisbane Roar, who dealt them a staggering 6-0 hammering this time last year. The match will be held at the Suncorp Stadium on January 23.

As for Shan United, a spot in the AFC Cup Group Stage awaits them and they may not have seen the last of Ceres-Negros just yet. If the Negrenses lose to either Brisbane Roar or Tianjin Quanjian, they will be reacquainted with the Burmese champions in Group F.

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Basketball

Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’

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Abu Tratter may have missed the jersey-giving ceremony that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas held for the 23 for 2023 cadets last Monday but he made sure to help out when the current batch needed him the most.

After helping the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers win the Sinulog Cup in Cebu a week ago, the 6-foot-7 Filipino-American did not hesitate to heed Gilas’ call, as they were undermanned for their second session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“I think it’s just an honor to put on this jersey, to be able to represent our country, to possibly represent our country in the future. It’s an honor,” shared the Laguna-native.

The 25-year old, who just celebrated his birthday last January 9, admitted that he was in awe of the talent inside the Meralco Gym. Like a fan, he wanted to take a few photo ops with the senior team’s Gabe Norwood and June Mar Fajardo.

“Actually, at first I was just shocked to see June Mar and Gabe, just to be able to be in the midst of them,” gushed the former DLSU Green Archer, who will suit-up for Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League. “I even asked them for a picture, and hopefully they’ll still give me one.

“It’s just humbling, definitely.”

However, the work has only began for Tratter. With five years to go until the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the two-time UAAP champion plans to continue to do what he does best — be the same scrapper that he is and hopefully catch the eye of Gilas’ brass.

“I think just doing the dirty work, of course. Giving whatever the team needs, rebound or any steals, any thing a dirty player would need to pick up on,” he said.

“That’s how it is, garbage into gold. Get anything, sweep up anything and try to put it back.”

Moreover, he will continue answering the call when Gilas needs him, as he himself is learning a lot from being surrounded by the country’s topflight cagers.

“Whenever I can. I want to be able to absorb all the information coming from here and hopefully apply it in the D-League and hopefully apply it on future practices, future games.”

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup

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Stronger than ever

Scoring sensation Terrence Romeo has been invited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to join the Philippine team in the upcoming FIBA 3X3 World Cup, according to Philippine Star columnist Quinito Henson.

Romeo, who is currently out due to a right knee injury, has been in rehabilitation and is expected to miss the entire Philippine Cup campaign of the Globalport Batang Pier and the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Baka sa second conference na ko makabalik kasi talagang gusto ko malakas ako pagbalik ko,” the 25-year-old shared during Chooks-to-Go Live last January 2.

SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios personally met with the 6-foot guard, inviting him to be part of the Philippine team.

Romeo has plenty of 3×3 basketball experience under his belt.

Back in 2014, Romeo was part of the Manila West 3×3 team during the Manila Masters. He was adjudged as the tournament Most Valuable Player.

The 2018 3X3 World Cup will take place from June 8-12 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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NCAA

Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win

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Shaking off a forgettable outing against the Perpetual Help Altas last January 11, the San Beda College Red Spikers vented their ire on defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers in four sets, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, and claimed their second win of the season, Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

“Sabi ng coaches kalimutan na yung talo,” shared captain Lorenze Santos of what transpired after that match.

So, in this game, the San Beda team poured on what they worked hard for to regain momentum. “Binuhos po namin lahat ng ginawa namin sa training [ngayon].”

After tight starts in all the first two sets, the Mendiola-based side pulled away to register the seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.

Nonetheless, summoning the heart of a champion and led by seniors Isaah Arda and Jethro Orian, the reigning champions pulled off gritty runs to snag the third set and making a tussle of the fourth.

Ultimately, Adrian Viray virtually ended the match with a vicious serve, which the Blazers failed to convert.

The prolific outside hitter finished with 17 points, 11 coming from attacks and five off blocks. Former skipper Mark Encino also registered 17 markers.

The Red Spikers (2-1) will face the Mapua University, also at 2-1, on Friday, January 19.

Orian was such a presence at the net, ending up with 20 points for the Taft-based squad.

The defending champions Blazers (2-1) will try to bounce back later that day against San Sebastian College (0-3).

The Scores:

SBC 3 – Viray 17, Enciso 17, Santos 11, Patenio 7, Amagan 7, Desuyo 3, Zabala 0, Genobaten 0, Manliclic 0, Casin L.

CSB 1 – Orian 20, Arda 18, Bacani 6, Basilan 4, Bautista 4, Magsino 2, Martinez 0, Garcia 0, San Miguel 0, Saldavia 0, Dy L.

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