Asia’s largest mixed martial arts organization with a 90% market share, ONE Championship™ (ONE), has announced two additional bouts for ONE: VALOR OF CHAMPIONS. In the co-main event, Filipino superstar Mark Striegl will make his promotional debut when he takes on the undefeated Casey Suire. Accomplished kickboxer Eugene Toquero also returns to action when he faces Indonesia’s Brianata Rosadhi. ONE: VALOR OF CHAMPIONS will be headlined by a ONE Welterweight World Championship bout between incumbent champion Ben Askren and the number one contender, Luis Santos.
Tickets for ONE: VALOR OF CHAMPIONS are available now at www.smtickets.com. Ticket categories begin with the full Red Carpet and cageside experience for VVIPs at PHP5380. Tickets priced at PHP3180, PHP1280, PHP640 and PHP220 are also available. Early bird promotions for Gold, Silver and Bronze categories are available until 20 April. Prices include ticketing fee.
CEO of ONE Championship, Victor Cui, stated, “ONE: VALOR OF CHAMPIONS is set to be the biggest sporting event to be held in the Philippines this year. Mark Striegl is a Filipino MMA superstar who has proven that he has what it takes to compete with the best in the world. He now tests himself against the best in the world in ONE Championship’s stacked Bantamweight division, beginning with the undefeated Casey Suire. Both mixed martial artists are known for their exciting styles. Get set for a night of adrenaline pumping mixed martial arts action as ONE Championship goes live around the world on 24 April!”
Mark Striegl is a Filipino mixed martial arts superstar who has found success in every promotion he has competed in. Striegl has a proven grappling pedigree, and has won eleven of his bouts by submission. Striegl will be making his ONE debut in the bantamweight division after exploding onto the MMA scene with twelve straight wins in the featherweight division.
Casey Suire is an undefeated mixed martial artist currently training in Indonesia. He has finished all of his opponents, with the majority of them being submission victories. Suire currently trains with fellow undefeated mixed martial artist Fransino Tirta. Suire has knocked down all challenges put in front of him thus far, but faces his toughest test yet as he takes on the popular Filipino star, Striegl, in his hometown.
Eugene Toquero is an accomplished kickboxer who has impressed since making his debut in ONE Championship in 2013. Toquero’s charisma and energy has charmed mixed martial arts fans in Asia and his performances have been impressive as well. He notched his most notable victory the last time he stepped into the ONE Championship cage when he defeated rising prospect Gianni Subba convincingly.
Brianata Rosadhi is a Wushu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner who will be making his return to ONE Championship. He has won multiple regional titles in Wushu Hailing from East Java, Rosadhi is one of the top mixed martial artists emerging from Indonesia and will look to notch his first win in ONE Championship when he takes on Toquero.
Rose Vargas all set for UAAP return after four-season absence
In an unprecedented move, hard-hitting Far Eastern University spiker Rose Vargas will return to finish her UAAP career when Season 80 kicks off on February 3 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Vargas last played for the Lady Tamaraws in Season 75. With a year of eligibility left, Vargas left the Morayta-based program to focus on her academics and pursue a career in the semi-pro ranks.
Five years since her last UAAP game, Vargas says that she did not hesitate when FEU officials asked if she wanted to return to play out her final year of eligibility.
During her time in the V-League, she played for the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns, the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors, the Bureau of Custom Transformers, and, most recently, the Creamline Cool Smashers.
“‘Yung pag-babalik naman dito (FEU) is hindi ko naman pinag-isipan matagal or nag-dalawang isip ako,” said the Season 74 Best Scorer. “Noong tinanong lang sa akin kung gusto ko daw bumalik, ang sagot ko lang, oo.
“Kasi gusto kong makatulong, and gusto kong makuha ‘yung championship namin na matagal ng hindi nakukuha ng FEU.”
Vargas adds to an already solid FEU core which includes graduating captain Bernadeth Pons, Toni Rose Basas, and Jerrili Malabanan.
The last time Vargas suited up for FEU, she was the main piece to a core that included Mari Toni Basas — Toni Rose’s older sister, a young Remy Palma, Gyzelle Sy, and Tin Agno.
Vargas now sees herself as more of a complimentary piece, the hardened veteran looking to guide FEU’s younger guns in a season where much if expected of them.
“Ngayon, nadagdagan siguro yung maturity and ko, pagiging veteran daw, sabi, na pwede ko mai-share din sa mga bata ‘yun, as a leader, as an ate,” added Vargas.
“Nako-contribute ko kung anong knowledge ang natutunan ko.”
League insiders are confident that Vargas, who turned 25-year-old on December 12 last year, will be declared eligible to play in Season 80. Although the UAAP is yet to have their eligibility meeting this week, a source closely monitoring the situation expressed confidence that Vargas will pass the league’s eligibility rules.
23 for 2023 cadet CJ Perez honored to help out Gilas
Having had the chance to represent the Philippines in FIBA-sanctioned cagefests such the Asia Challenge Cup and the 3X3 All-Stars back in 2016, Lyceum Pirates star CJ Perez is no stranger to the international stage.
But the 24-year-old do-it-all swingman admits that he still gets overwhelmed whenever he sees his seniors — the stars and pillars of the program — in the team. “Nasusurprise [pa rin] ako,” he said. “Mga professionals eh.
“Na-istarstruck pa rin ako sa kanila.”
Perez said so when he finally made his return within Gilas’ realms last Monday night. The last time he was with the National Team was in August 2016, when the SBP built an amateur-laden batch of Gilas cagers that served as the transition from the 2016 Olympic Qualifiers squad to the 2017 SEABA team.
“Sobrang grateful ako (sa invitation),” said the talented six-foot-two guard, after practice at the Meralco Gym.
The reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player is back in the fold for Gilas as his name, along with young, up-and-coming stars, was included in the 23 for 2023 pool — a list of cagers projected to be the contingent for the Manila-hosted World Cup.
“Iniisip ko yun (FIBA World Cup 2023) simula magtawag sila ng practice. Actually nandoon na yung utak ko eh,” the Lyceum Pirate ace bared. “Kailangan ko lang mag work hard pa para makapasok dun sa lineup na yun, kahit malayo pa.
“It’s an honor para ma-represent yung country.”
Unlike in 2016, Perez graced the court and took part in drills with the veterans such as Gabe Norwood, Japeth Aguilar, June Mar Fajardo, among others. With those type of players around him, he feels that the lessons he can get will be limitless.
“Oo sobra. Kahit kanino naman (matututo ka talaga),” Perez shared. “(At tsaka) Dito parang more on sa mental. ‘Di na iniisip yung conditioning kasi may ibang teams naman sila so about sa mental toughness [talaga].”
For now, the 23 for 2023 cadets are already working out not just for familiarity, but also to help the seniors in preparing for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers this February.
“Sobrang happy and grateful na nakakatulong ako sa kanila kahit sa simpleng practice lang.”
Blistering Mikey Williams takes home Heritage Import of the Week honor
The resurgent Saigon Heat have been the thorn to topflight clubs teams Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club and Nanhai Kung Fu, handing both squads their first losses in the eighth season of the ASEAN Basketball League. The Heat would not have done it without Filipino-American import Mikey Williams.
Williams, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Cal State Fullerton, dropped 39 points on 14-for-25 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and nine assists in Saigon’s 121-115 overtime win over Hong Kong.
The former NBA G-Leaguer followed it up with a sensational 24-point, five-rebound, and seven-assist outing in their 96-93 win over Kung Fu.
Overall, the 26-year-old guard averaged 31.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.0 steals to edge out fellow Filipino AJ Mandani of the Singapore Slingers for the weekly award.
For the Local Player of the Week, two Alab Pilipinas stalwarts were the runners-up for the crown.
Reigning local Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. and his floor general Josh Urbiztondo had stellar weeks that earned them honorable mentions.
Urbiztondo, on the other hand, had norms of 14.5 points on a hot 9-for-17 clip from downtown.
Brazilian football legend Zico to visit Manila
One of the best to ever play the Beautiful Game is coming to the Philippines. Zico, who electrified the footballing world in the ’70s and ’80s, is slated to visit Manila on the weekend of January 27.
The Brazilian, whose real name is Arthur Antunes Coimbra, is considered one of the best footballers in the world during the late 70’s and early 80’s. Zico starred for the Brazilian national team, scoring 48 goals in 71 appearances for the Selecao. In 1999, the attacking midfielder came 8th in the FIFA Player of the Century grand jury vote, and in 2004 was named in FIFA’s list of the world’s greatest living players.
Zico played for legendary Brazilian club Flamengo and also for the Italian Serie A team Udinese. He finished his playing career suiting up for Kashima Antlers in the J-League, the top tier of Japanese football, leading them to an unlikely runner-up finish.
The 64-year-old also had a successful managerial career, leading Turkey’s Fenerbahce, Greek team Olympiacos, and CSKA Moscow to titles. Zico was also in charge of the Japanese national team when they won the AFC Asian Cup in 2004. Because of that accomplishment, Zico is one of the most beloved football figures in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Seven Seas Properties, a company that promotes Philippine real estate and Philippine stocks in the Japanese market, is bringing the football icon here.
“We are delighted to welcome Zico to the Philippines. I’m sure he will give a big boost to the growing football scene here,” says Seven Seas Properties President Yukihiro Nishimura.
Zico will attend a CSR event with young footballers from underprivileged communities on Saturday, January 27. The following day, Sunday January 28, he will lead a football clinic for elite young players and coaches in the McKinley Hill stadium in Taguig. Football fans and media are welcome to watch this event, which kicks off at 2:00 pm. Admission is free.
Zico in Manila is also made possible by Otsuka – Solar Philippines, Inter Sports Partners, AgriNurture, and Primex.