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ONE Spirit of Champions: All fighters make weight; Eustaquio-Yang scrapped



[nextpage title = “Results”]
Before ONE Championship’s year-end show, the fighters stepped on the scales to make sure that all fighters make weight for their respective bouts.

However, the Flyweight bout between Team Lakay’s Geje Eustaquio and Yang Jian Bing was cancelled due to unknown reasons. According to Team Lakay’s head trainer, Eustaquio is prepared and ready for the bout but due to “medical” reasons, Yang Jian Bing did not push through with his weight cut.

All other fighters fighting in the card including the bout for the inaugural ONE World Heavyweight Championship match between Brandon Vera and Paul Cheng. Unlike the bad blood featured in Vera’s original match-up against Chi Lewis-Parry, both men were cordial and showed mutual respect with each other.

“Alam niyo yung title na ito ay hindi para sa akin,” Vera admitted. “Ito ay para sa inyo.” He then gave a stern warning to Cheng in saying, “hindi lang alam ni Paul (Cheng), kawawa siya bukas.”

For the Taiwanese heavyweight, this is an opportunity he can’t refuse. “Yeah I fought in Manila before but this is the biggest opportunity in my career.” He then quipped, “I apologize in advance with what I’m going to do.”

Filipino-American bantamweight Mark Striegl was delighted to return to Manila once more. “Definitely there’s no city I’d rather fight in than here.” Knowing that this bout is his stepping stone to a world championship match, Striegl emphasized that “I came here to bring the championship to the Philippines.” His opponent Reece McLaren just feels blessed to have the opportunity to fight for ONE Championship. “This is a dream come true for me,” the Australian disclosed.

Filipino boxing champion Ana Julaton also pumped up the audience in attendance watching the weigh-ins. She confessed that she is not pressured to fight in her home country. She then told to audience to “cancel your dates. If you’re going to watch a movie, just cancel it and show your support to the Filipino fighters!”

In the comedic moment of the night, Filipino flyweight Eugene Toquero said that he’s training for this fight was still the same as his last fight. “Ganun pa rin, trabaho lang at basketball,” he said to the delight of the audience. “Naghanda ako para dito. Kelangan makakita ng magandang laban ang mga tao.” His opponent, Li Wei Bin, though warned that “I’ve been watching a lot of videos of him. I know how to beat him.”

ONE Spirit of Champions Weigh-in Results
December 10, 2015 – SM Mall of Asia Arena Atrium, Pasay City

ONE World Heavyweight Championship
Brandon Vera (Philippines, 13-7)
Weight: 112.3kg/247.5lbs
Paul Cheng (Taiwan, 5-1)
Weight: 113.4kg/250.0lbs

Bantamweight bout
Mark Striegl (Philippines, 14-1)
Weight: 61.0kg/134.4lbs
Reece McLaren (Australia, 7-3)
Weight: 60.8kg/134.0lbs

Flyweight bout
Geje Eustaquio (Philippines, 6-4)
Yang Jian Bing (China, 5-1)

Flyweight bout
Eugene Toquero (Philippines, 7-2)
Weight: 56.7kg/125.0lbs
Li Wei Bin (China, 3-0)
Weight: 56.6kg/124.5lbs

Women’s Flyweight bout
Ana Julaton (Philippines, 2-1)
Weight: 56.7kg/125.0 lbs
Irina Mazepa (Russia, 1-0)
Weight: 56.4kg/124.0lbs

Women’s Strawweight bout
Angela Lee (Singapore, 3-0)
Weight: 51.9kg/114.0lbs
Lena Tkhorevska (Poland, 3-1)
Weight: 51.8kg/114.0lbs

Featherweight bout
Bruno Pucci (Brazil, 3-1)
Weight: 65.7kg/144.5lbs
Anthony Engelen (Indonesia, 3-0)
Weight: 65.4kg/144.0lbs

Flyweight bout
Alex Silva (Brazil, 2-1)
Weight: 56.4kg/124.0lbs
Ruel Catalan (Philippines, 2-6)
Weight: 56.2kg/123.5lbs

Featherweight bout
Christian Lee (Singapore, debut)
Weight: 65.3kg/143.0lbs
David Meak (Australia, 1-4)
Weight: 65.1kg/143.5lbs
[nextpage title = “Gallery”]

Featherweight bout: Christian Lee (Singapore, debut) vs. David Meak (Australia, 1-4)

ONE Spirit of Champions - Weigh in - David Meak

ONE Spirit of Champions - Weigh in - Lee

Flyweight bout: Alex Silva (Brazil, 2-1) vs. Ruel Catalan (Philippines, 2-6)

ONE Spirit of Champions - Weigh in - Silva Catalan

Featherweight bout: Bruno Pucci (Brazil, 3-1) vs. Anthony Engelen (Indonesia, 3-0)

ONE Spirit of Champions - Weigh in - Pucci
ONE Spirit of Champions - Weigh in - Engalin

Women’s Strawweight bout: Angela Lee (Singapore, 3-0) vs. Lena Tkhorevska (Poland, 3-1)

ONE Spirit of Champions - Weigh in - Lee Lena

[nextpage title = “Gallery 2”]

Women’s Flyweight bout: Ana Julaton (Philippines, 2-1) vs. Irina Mazepa (Russia, 1-0)

ONE Spirit of Champions - Weigh in - Ana Julaton

Flyweight bout: Eugene Toquero (Philippines, 7-2) vs. Li Wei Bin (China, 3-0)

ONE Spirit of Champions - Weigh in - Toquero

Bantamweight bout: Mark Striegl (Philippines, 14-1) vs. Reece McLaren (Australia, 7-3)

ONE Spirit of Champions - Weigh in - Mark Streigl

ONE World Heavyweight Championship: Brandon Vera (Philippines, 13-7) vs. Paul Cheng (Taiwan, 5-1)

ONE Spirit of Champions - Weigh in - Paul Cheng
ONE Spirit of Champions - Weigh in - Brandon Vera


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James Yap breaks out of personal shooting slump



James Yap came out of Rain or Shine’s locker room at the SMART Araneta Coliseum with a sigh of relief Wednesday night. Two slumps have finally been put to rest.

First, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters’ two-game skid saw its end with a 120-99 victory over the Phoenix Fuel Masters — a one-sided affair nobody ever thought due to the fact that Phoenix is coming off two straight victories.

More importantly, Yap’s personal slump had also come to an end. After shooting just a combined 4-of-26 in the last three games, the two-time league MVP shot 8-of-10 from the floor en route to a conference-high 20 markers.

“Well ako keep working hard lang,” said the 35-year-old of his performance. “Kung pangit yung last two games ko, last three games ata, huwag ka mawalan ng pag asa. Pag-aralan mo yung pagkukulang mo… I’m not 100 percent sa kundisyon.

“Yun ang winowork out ko lagi.”

“I think everybody expects James to play well but tao lang din naman siya. Pero you know, what we want from James is to basically play his best. Whether he’s in a slump, we still want him taking shots,” added Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia.

Aside from Yap, six more Elasto Painters scored in double figures in the victory. According to the 14-year league veteran, it was mostly because of the advice he gave his teammates: pull the trigger when given the chance.

“Lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila wala nang isip-isip pa, pag open, tira. Ganun. Yun yung usap-usapan namin sa loob. Pag nasa loob na kami ng court, wala nang isip-isip pa. Tira! So at least yung kumpyansa nandoon,” he said.

“Sana tuloy-tuloy na, madala namin for next game.”

Wednesday’s victory truly means a lot for Yap and the Elasto Painters, who are now 2-2 in the team standings. Now, all that the seven-time champion aims to do is to sustain this rhythm of his as the 2018 Philippine Cup rolls on.

“Malaking bagay ‘to. Sa lahat ng kumbaga, pinaghirapan mo sa papakundisyon, at least nagbubunga,” said Yap.

“So pagpatuloy ko pa rin ginagawa ko or higitan ko pa para kahit papano masustain or tuloy tuloy na.”

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Caloy Garcia downplays misunderstanding with Raymond Almazan



The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters were already missing the services of Jericho Cruz, Jay Washington, and Jireh Ibanes Wednesday evening. Adding to their woes was that their ace big man Raymond Almazan did not suit up in their game against the Phoenix Fuel Masters.

But the 6-foot-8 big man, who missed the last two Gilas practices, was not injured. He figured in a soft confrontation with head coach Caloy Garcia during their game against Globalport last January 12.

“Hindi kasi nakapag-practice the last two days so sabi namin pahinga na lang muna. Actually, after the loss against Global, medyo nagka-anuhan lang kami but I think everything is good right now,” said Garcia after Rain or Shine’s 120-99 against Phoenix.

“Well siyempre, frustration.”

During their 70-78 loss against Globalport, Almazan shot just 1-for-5 from the field, finishing with just two points, four rebounds, and three turnovers.

“We know that he can perform better than the way he did against Global,” furthered the second-year head coach. “Actually I told Raymond before the start of this season that one of my goals was to basically make him a double-double player. Yun yung target ko nung simula.

“But the way he played against Global, I felt that it wasn’t Raymond.”

The rest of the Elasto Painters are confident that the two will get a chance to settle things out.

“I’m positive that would be resolved and we just have to hold the fort. I think we’ll be okay,” said Tiu, who is one of Rain or Shine’s leaders.

“Hopefully, the guys can step up and when Raymond’s back we’ll be even stronger.”

Garcia hopes that Almazan understands that this is just part of the game. Moreover, he just wants what’s best for the five-year veteran.

“So ayun, medyo napagalitan, nagkatampuhan but that’s it. I think kasama naman sa trabaho namin yun eh.”

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With Rain or Shine ailing, Ed Daquioag seizes opportunity



For Ed Daquioag, his big outing Wednesday night was just a result of him grabbing opportunities, with some of his teammates still recovering from injuries.

The sophomore guard was instrumental in the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters’ 120-99 drubbing of the Phoenix Fuel Masters, top-billing with 21 points on top of five rebounds and five assists — his best outing for the franchise so far.

“Yung mga guards like Jericho [Cruz] ‘di pa siya nakakalaro, so yung sa puwesto niya kailangan ko mag-step up,” said Daquioag. “At dalawang sunod kaming talo. Ang sama ng game namin nung nakaraan.

“Kailangan namin manalo.”

The Elasto Painters still have Cruz, Jay Washington, and Jireh Ibañes on the injured list, and it is feared that Daquioag may add up to it as he left the game for good with 7:33 remaining in the third canto after hurting his hip.

But the former UST Growling Tiger quickly allayed fears regarding his injury.

“‘Di naman siya malala. Baka nabigla lang. ‘Di ko kasi mailakad ng maayos eh,” said Daquioag.

“Pinahinga ko na lang kasi sunud-sunod yung games. E kung pilitin ko baka may maanong ugat or ano, kaya ‘di ko na lang pinilit.”

“Tinanong ko, sabi niya mukhang okay naman,” said Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia of Daquioag’s condition. “Masakit lang daw talaga.”

It was still a huge night for the six-foot-one cager from Ilocos Norte despite being hurt and not being able to finish the match. But Daquiaog deflected credit to the Elasto Painters’ defense, which he said played a major factor in the win.

“Maganda lang yung defense namin,” said Daquioag, who averaged 5.8 points last season. “Nagkataon lang na yung points eh napupunta sakin. And yung mga opportunity sa transition, ginagrab ko kasi yun yung alam kong strength ko.

“Pero nanalo kami dahil sa team defense namin.”

But Daquioag hopes that he can sustain this kind of outing in their next games to help Rain or Shine rake more wins, as they aim for a strong push for the playoffs. “Hopefully madala kahit maglaro na si Jericho,” said the Gilas Pilipinas cager.

“Depende pa rin naman sa performance mo yan every game eh.”

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Jeff Chan still can’t get one over Rain or Shine



It’s been 163 days since Jeff Chan was shockingly traded by the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters to the Phoenix Fuel Masters. Even if the 6-foot-2 sniper from Bacolod has already faced his former team twice, the sight of Chan wearing a jersey outside of the Elasto Painters’ blue and yellow is still something to behold.

Chan, on the other hand, has already moved on.

“Wala na. Medyo matagal na yun,” said the 33-year-old when asked whether he still feels odd whenever he faces Rain or Shine.

“Habol ko na lang is sana makaisa na ko sa kanila.”

After losing to his former team last September 13, 116-111, Chan — who won two championships with Rain or Shine — was eyeing payback. However, it was not meant to be, as Phoenix wound up on the wrong side of a blowout, 120-99, Wednesday evening.

It was a disappointing outing for the Fuel Masters, especially as they were coming off two straight impressive wins. Phoenix were already down by 26 points entering the second frame and fell behind by as much as 39 points in the third canto.

“Medyo masama yung gising namin today. Rain or Shine shot just better good today and we were not able to stop them,” rued Chan, who scored all 11 of his points during the third quarter.

“Yung first quarter pa lang, natambakan na kami at hindi na kami naka-recover.”

Though his team had suffered their second setback in four games, the 10-year pro was relieved that it happened early in the season instead in the crucial stages of the tournament.

“Mas maganda na nagkakamali ka ng maaga para makita namin saan kami magkamali at hindi maulit ito,” added Chan, who averaged 18.0 points prior to this game.

And Chan hopes that they can regain their bearings by Saturday when they face the formidable Magnolia Hotshots.

“Siyempre lahat masama yung loob kasi talo. Again, we have a game on Saturday. We’ll go hard and hopefully we get the win.”

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