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Pinoy Pride waves high in the Golden State



In an event five years in the making, ALA Productions, together with ABS-CBN Sports, have finally stepped foot in the United States of America.

It was a surreal moment for Filipino boxing in general as the pure Filipino promotion produced a show in America that showcased what Filipino boxing was all about. In front of a solid crowd at the StubHub Center in Carson City, California, and with Jimmy Lennon Jr. doing ring announcing duties, Pinoy Pride 33: The Philippines vs. The World was a night to remember.

The first Asian boxing promotion licensed to produce fight cards in the States showcased its top boxers for the world to see. All four passed with flying colors Sunday morning.

Nietes retains World Championship, dominates Alejo

Fighting for the first time in America, Donnie “Ahas” Nietes showed uncanny composure and utter dominance in his WBO World Light Flyweight Championship title defense against Mexican Juan “Pinky” Alejo.

Alejo, who was riding a 21 fight win streak prior to this fight, was confident going into the fight in vowing to dethrone the longest reigning Filipino world champion. It was not meant to be, however, as “Ahas” was a class above his opponent as he dominated his Mexican opponent in almost the entirety of the fight.

The Negros Occidental-native right from the opening bell was consistent in displaying advanced ring generalship in stalking his opponent all throughout. Nietes picked his spots in landing perfectly times jabs to keep distance and strike with combinations when his opponent’s guard was down.

Nietes picked apart his opponent in the first five rounds as he bloodied “Pinky” with solid connections. In the second round, Alejo was cut under his right eye coming from a jab while in the fourth round received a cut on the corner of his left eye due to a glancing straight.

However, during the sixth round, Alejo was able to find his footing as he traded shots with the WBO Champion in the sixth round. In the only shining moment for the Mexican, he was able to land a clean shot resulting to a gash to Nietes’ left eye.

After the round, Nietes picked apart his opponent in a masterful performance as the match went to the full 12. All three judges called the match in favor of the Filipino with scores of Lou Moret: 120-108, Pat Russell: 119-109, and Marshall Walker 119-109.

In the post-fight presser and with rambles for him to go up in weight, “Ahas” expressed his desire to go up to Flyweight and challenge Roman “Chocalotito” Gonzalez for the WBC World Flyweight crown. “Panalo rin ako ngayon. Gusto ko yan, that’s a good fight,” he said.

With the win, the 33-year old Filipino world champion’s record goes up to 37-1-4.

“Prince” Pagara extends streak to 25

With the vacant WBO Intercontinental Junior Featherweight title on the line, 21 year old “Prince” Albert Pagara showed veteran instincts beyond his years in his decimation of 24 year old Nicaraguan William Gonzalez (27-6).

To start-off the fight, the young Pagara, known for his aggressive style, played it safe as he was on the defensive for almost the entirety of the first two rounds. He kept distance by utilizing jabs and clinches to stymie his opponent.

The action went to a full blown blast in the third round as instincts set in for “Prince”. The younger Pagara, though, was warned in the fourth round for throwing a huge right on the Nicaraguan when he was down on one knee. As the action pressed on, Pagara outclassed his opponent up until the finishing blow in the sixth round. A glancing left was followed by a huge haymaker that knocked Gonzalez out of his senses. The Nicaraguan tried to continue to fight but could not make the ten count resulting Albert Pagara’s 25th win in as many fights.

Upstart Magsayo magnificent!

In a battle of unbeatens, 20 year old Leyte-native Mark Magsayo needed just a little over two minutes to dispose of Mexican Yardley Suarez (13-1) in a IBF Youth Featherweight title defense.

Magsayo dropped Suarez twice in the first round. The latter resulting to the stoppage as Magsayo’s punished the young Mexican’s body with huge blows.

With the win, Magsayo stays unbeaten in 12 bouts with ten coming from finishes.

Jason Pagara decimates Benavides

Jason Pagara made a statement in proving that he should be the next contender for the WBO Lightweight Championship. The elder Pagara made minced meat out of Nicaraguan Santos Benavides’ body (25-8-2) before finishing his opponent in the second round.

Pagara was elusive in the first round as he weaved in and out of his opponent’s range while landing light combinations to bother his opponents vision. Irritated, the Nicaraguan tried to be more assertive in the second round but was caught with a huge overhand right that knocked him down. The 27 year old Filipino then focused on the body of his opponent as he landed a huge right near the liver of Benavides. The pain of the shot crumbled the Nicaraguan down to the mat but was able to get back up. Sensing blood, a well-timed combination landed on the chin of the Nicaraguan as referee Raul Caiz waved the match off.

With the win, Jason Pagara leaves Carson City with a 37-2 slate.

Super flyweight Escalante takes win to open card

To open the card, Bruno Escalante Jr. (14-1-1) took home a unanimous decision victory over Mexican Nestor Ramos (6-3-1).

Even if the Filipino was three inches shorter than Ramos, Escalante utilized his speed to offset the size of his Mexican opponent. Escalante was able to close in on his opponent all throughout the six rounds of the match as Ramos could not keep distance from his opponent.

After landing clean shots and combinations in 18 minutes of ring time, the 26 year old Filipino took home a lopsided unanimous decision victory (Abe Belardo: 60-54, Carla Caiz: 59-55, Ralph McKnight: 59-55)

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Marc Pingris wants Rafi Reavis to break Robert Jaworski’s record



Marc Pingris was all praises for veteran Rafi Reavis Saturday night, as the 40-year-old center made his presence felt in the Magnolia Hotshots’ 97-91 victory — their third straight win — over Phoenix Fuel Masters at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The six-foot-nine Reavis finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks — a performance perfectly punctuated by a follow-up of a Paul Lee miss with 12.5 seconds left to play that knocked out the Fuel Masters for good.

“Papasalamat ako kay Rafi na talagang kababalik lang niya pero binigay niya talaga lahat,” said Pingris after the bout, as Saturday night was just Reavis’ second outing in the 2018 Philippine Cup after recovering from a hip injury.

“Nag-usap nga kami kanina e, hindi pa siya 100 percent. So bukas, ang sabi niya babalik daw siya sa gym dahil gusto niya ibalik yung lakas ng legs dahil wala pa daw,” added the 36-year-old, who also suffered a hip injury last season.

Reavis has been playing in the league for 16 years. Seeing the work he has put in, Pingris, who finished the game with 17 rebounds, four assists, four points and two blocks, believes that the 10-time PBA champion can play for 10 more years — at least.

“You know naman Rafi eh, katulad ko rin yan eh – rebound and depensa. At tsaka sobrang vocal siya sa team eh,” beamed Pingris, who himself is a 14-year veteran. “Walang siyang inaano, talagang sinasabihan niya kung sino yung mga nagmi-mistake, kung paano kami mag-adjust, so nakikinig naman lahat sa kanya.

“Talagang nandun yung respeto namin kay Rafi.”

And if Reavis stays healthy for the next decade, Pingris wants Reavis to exceed Jaworki’s 958 games played — third most all time.

“Nasa kanya yun, basta kaya mo ba eh. As a player, kung masipag ka naman at may disiplina sa sarili mo, kaya niya yun.”

Still, Reavis has a lot of catching up to do.

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Altas surge to fifth straight win, slam Heavy Bombers



Pulling double-digit scoring outings from three spikers, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas remained unbeaten in NCAA Season 93 after a straight-set triumph over thr Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 25-17, 25-16, 25-20, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Middle blocker Ronniel Rosales topped the Altas with 13 points off 10 attacks and three blocks. Team captain Rey Taneo and Joebert Almodiel added 12 markers apiece.

The Altas dominated every scoring category, recording 44 attacks to JRU’s 26, five blocks to the Bombers’ zero, and three aces to JRU’s one.

Breezing through the first half of the season, Altas head coach Sammy Acaylar lauded his team’s consistency and hoped they continue getting better as they aim for a championship.

“So far, masasabi kong maganda ang nilalaro ng mga bata. Consistent naman ang mga galaw nila and focused sila sa mga laban,” said Acaylar.

“Pero alam nilang may ibubuga pa sila. We still need to get better and reach the championship level. Kailangan hindi mawala ‘yung ganito naming killer instinct,” the decorated mentor added.

The Altas take on a major test on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre when they face fellow undefeated squad Arellano Chiefs (4-0).

Wenjo Lahaylahay led the Bombers with 10 points while captain Patrick Rabaja managed seven.

JRU (0-5) limps into their Wednesday showdown against defending champs College of Saint Benilde (3-1).

The Scores

UPHSD (3) – Rosales 13, Almodiel 12, Taneo R. 12, Muhali 7, Ramos 5, Atentar 1, Catipay 1, Salo 1, Bation 0, Solamilo 0, Taneo S. 0, Kalingking (L)

JRU (0) – Lahaylahay 10, Rabaja 7, Sulivas 6, Salazar 4, Cebrero 1, Soriano 1, Cruz 0, Ferwelo 0, Defensor (L), Flor (L)

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Mixed Martial Arts

Rene Catalan continues rampage with TKO win



Rene Catalan continues to turn critics into believers

Filipino fighter Rene Catalan made his sixth appearance inside the ONE Championship cage at ONE: Kings of Courage, held at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia, Saturday evening. He faced 21-year-old Chinese athlete Peng Xue Wen in the opening main card bout, and leaned on his elite wushu skills to stop the young star at the 4:22 mark of the second round.

The victory improves Catalan’s record to 4-2 (1 NC), extends his winning streak to four, and gives him the first TKO stoppage of his martial arts career, as he bids to climb the strawweight ladder in search of the ONE Strawweight World Championship.

“The Challenger” came out in the southpaw stance to open the bout, throwing big hooks and a head kick that narrowly missed as he established the center of the cage from the start of the contest.

The Filipino landed a host of powerful strikes, including a perfectly-placed uppercut and a melee of punishing leg kicks, but Peng’s conditioning and composure kept him in the match as he looked to stand and trade with the man 18 years his elder.

Catalan picked up where he left off when the bout resumed in the second round, this time operating out of the orthodox stance, landing more leg kicks and continuing to deny Peng any space to work.

Despite his dominance on the feet, there was a brief moment of concern for the Filipino on the mat when he jumped into the Chinese wrestler’s guard mid-way through the second round, and immediately found himself in a triangle choke. But the Filipino kept his composure and managed to work himself free.

Once the fighters returned to their feet, Catalan poured on the pressure in search of a finish, and he got it with just 38 seconds remaining in the stanza.

“The Challenger” scored big with a liver shot, then unloaded a fierce flurry of punches that forced Peng onto his back foot. Another shot forced Peng to the mat, where a salvo of ground and pound from Catalan eventually forced the TKO stoppage as referee Olivier Coste stepped in to halt the contest.

Photo, story, and video from ONE Championship

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Gelo Alolino regrets Phoenix’s failure to close out Hotshots



Photo by PBA Images

Gelo Alolino had his best game for the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Saturday night at the Cuneta Astrodome with 19 points, eclipsing his previous career-high of 16 markers which he made last May 21, 2017 in a loss to the Mahindra Floodbuster.

But his achievement won’t be too memorable, as it went for naught following a 91-97 defeat at the hands of Paul Lee and the Magnolia Hotshots, who have now collected their third straight victory.

For the second overall pick in the regular 2016 Rookie Draft, it was all because of their failure to sustain momentum up until the game’s final buzzer.

“Sayang, nandun na. We felt na sa amin na nung dulo kaso lang ganun talaga,” rued the 24-year-old sophomore after the match, where he shot an excellent 7-of-10 from the floor.

“Breaks of the game napunta sa kabila.”

Phoenix were in contention all throughout the match. In fact, they were even ahead, 89-84, with just three minutes left to play. But the Hotshots’ comeback skills were unleashed, leading to the narrow win.

“Siyempre kami lahat nasayangan. Maganda naman yung team effort talaga namin,” admitted the 6-foot floor general of their end-game collapse, which wasted their efforts in assists (21) and on defense, where they forced Magnolia to 21 turnovers.

“Kami as players talagang gusto namin bumawi coming from a loss last game sa Rain or Shine.

The Fuel Masters have now lost their second straight outing and have dropped to 2-3. And for Alolino, all they have to do is learn as much as they can from this loss, especially now that they are about to face the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel next.

“Yun nga. Medyo masakit para sa’min ‘to,” admitted the National University product.

“All we have to do is magviview ulit kami ng tape para makita kung saan kami mas pwede mag-improve as a team and bawat isa — including me.”

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