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PWR Live: Survival Kit

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With PWR Live just days away, we here at Smark Henry and Tiebreaker Times have come up with a guide for those who of you who’ll be watching PWR for the first time this Saturday!

WELCOME TO THE PWR LIVE SURVIVAL KIT!


What, exactly, is PWR?

PWR is short for Philippine Wrestling Revolution, a professional wrestling promotion based in the Philippines. It started when a group of wrestling enthusiasts came together to find an avenue for them to train and practice wrestling. That group became the foundation of Philippine Wrestling Revolution, with many from that small band of men currently an active wrestler for the promotion right now. Despite being a fledgling promotion, PWR has continued to rocket in popularity among Philipine wrestling fans. Their fourth show, Wrevolution X, filled the arena with an audience of nearly 500 people. Compared to the juggernauts we know, that may not look like much, but it’s proof that there is a thriving market for local wrestling here in the Philippines.

Mr. Sy shows off the PWR Championship at Wrevolution X

PWR’s main authority figure is Mr. Sy, a bespectacled man who walks down to the ring in designer suits and makes matches. Currently, PWR has two title belts — the PWR Championship and the PHX Championship. The PWR Championship was introduced earlier this year at Vendetta, with the inaugural champion being crowned last show at Wrevolution X. The PHX Championship is a new championship that will be introduced at the upcoming show, with an 8-man tournament being held to determine the inaugural PHX Champion.

Who are the wrestlers? What are the implications of each match?

The Main Event: Destiny vs. Vengeance as “Classical” Bryan Leo makes his first title defense against Jake “The Senyorito” De Leon

PWR-Live-Leo-vs.-JDL

Bryan Leo is red-hot with momentum, coming off of the most dominant night in Philippine wrestling history at last May’s Wrevolution X. Not only did he successfully erase Mayhem Brannigan’s year-long pursuit in a bruising Iron Man Match to open the evening, he successfully proved he is the smartest man in PWR today by successfully cashing in on his promised title shot against a weary, battered Jake De Leon in a shocking end to the night.

Leo rubbing it in JDL’s face after winning the championship at Wrevolution X

De Leon on the other hand is furious to avenge his championship loss. He rightfully believes he is the best wrestler in the country today, as indicated by his stellar win-loss record. He’s won more matches than anyone else in PWR’s young history. “The Senyorito” knows he can go toe-to-toe with Bryan Leo as the only man to have ever beaten him in a straight-up mano y mano match—a feat even the previously-undefeated Mayhem couldn’t do.

This will be an intense, brutal fight.

Can ‘the Senyorito’ connect with the Alipin Drop on the champ?

We saw hints of Jake De Leon’s dark side in his victory against Bombay Suarez to win the PWR Heavyweight Championship, showing his hunger and desperation to be the company’s standard bearer. For all his crowd-pleasing simpatico mannerisms, De Leon is a fighter to the core who will scratch and claw his way to victory when needed. His trademark Alipin Drop will be his weapon of choice, and we expect him to pound the champion’s body with high-impact slams and Payrolls in an attempt to wear him down for the finish. Experts have described his superkick as the best in the Philippines, and we’re sure the JDL will be more than happy to throw a superkick fiesta for the reigning champion.

Bryan Leo’s signature move: The PCW

Bryan Leo, meanwhile, has proven time and again that he is a master strategist; for all the shortcuts he takes—particularly his reliance on his Royal Flush teammates to bail him out of trouble—he is a consummate student of the game, and is certainly orchestrating an intricate game plan to foil JDL’s challenge. Nobody knows more moves than Bryan Leo; while he prefers to use his Royal Flush Down to end his matches, his bag of tricks is overflowing with moves to punish his foes, including his vaunted Painful Classic Wreckage uranage slam, and a devious new submission hold he calls The Fold.

Will JDL get his revenge or will Leo continue to fulfill his destiny?

The PHX Championship tournament begins!

PWR-PHX-Championship-Tournament

Unlike traditional “secondary” championships like the WWE’s Intercontinental Championship, where said titleholder plays second fiddle to the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, or “cruiserweight” or “light heavyweight” divisions that imply championship races for smaller (and implicitly inferior) men, the PHX Championship sounds like it will be billed on par with the PWR Championship, with next-level hybrid athleticism and skills to showcase a different flavor to its matches.

The challengers

The match-ups
In a drawing, here are the first round match-ups for the PHX Championship tournament:

Mayhem Brannigan: Coming in at 148 lbs. of twisted steel and sex appeal, Brannigan is a notorious rebel you’ll easily recognize due to his Hannibal mask. Don’t let the small stature fool you, he’s a vicious wrestler who can hold his own against larger guys. Look for him to get back on track at PWR Live as he aims to progress in the PHX Championship Tournament, fresh off a loss to Bryan Leo at the previous show.
Signature Moves: Rock & Roll DDT

Miguel Rosales: Rosales is one half of the Fighter 4 Hire team that was originally brought in by Mr. Sy as his bodyguards. However, they were fired after running amok upon being eliminated out of the Triple Threat Elimination Tag Match at Wrevolution X. They’ve been nowhere to be found ever since, but Mr. Sy has nonetheless booked both Bax and Rosales as two of the eight competitors in the PHX Championship tournament.
Signature Moves: The Hit, The Last Hope

Ken Warren: Also known as the Human Trending Topic, Warren is an arrogant, self-centered young man who spends most of his time on the Internet. When he’s not wrestling in the ring, you can often find him thinking out loud on his social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. He also seems to be fond of hacking PWR-related pages, so it’s a miracle he hasn’t touched this primer yet. Coming off three straight losses, look for Warren to attempt to go back to winning ways in the PHX Championship Tournament, starting with Joey Bax from the Fighters 4 Hire.
Signature Moves: Wi-Fi, Caps Lock

Joey Bax: Bax is the other half of the Fighter 4 Hire team that was originally brought in by Mr. Sy as his bodyguards. However, they were fired after running amok upon being eliminated out of the Triple Threat Elimination Tag Match at Wrevolution X. They’ve been nowhere to be found ever since, but Mr. Sy has nonetheless booked both Bax and Rosales as two of the eight competitors in the PHX Championship tournament.
Signature Moves: The Hit, The Last Hope

Chris Panzer: Panzer is a half-American, half-Filipino, all-heart sensation hailing from Detroit, Michigan. He’s one of the most known faces from PWR, with a very vocal group of fans (known as the Panzer Army) supporting him at every show. If he looks familiar to you, you may have seen him before in a local commercial. He’ll be competing in the PHX Championship Tournament, going up against the dynamic SANDATA.
Signature Moves: Panzerschreck

SANDATA: SANDATA, and Peter Versoza, are known for their crowd-pleasing leaps and exciting in-ring moves. Despite their different backgrounds (Versoza hails from the North, while the masked SANDATA comes from down south), they’ve managed to come together as one of the most dynamic and exciting tag teams in PWR. They’ll be exploring uncharted territory at PWR Live, with both men featuring in singles action as part of the PHX Championship Tournament.
Signature Moves: Garrote (SANDATA)

Peter Versoza: Versoza, the other half of the North-South Express, are known for their crowd-pleasing leaps and exciting in-ring moves. Despite their different backgrounds (Versoza hails from the North, while the masked SANDATA comes from down south), they’ve managed to come together as one of the most dynamic and exciting tag teams in PWR. They’ll be exploring uncharted territory at PWR Live, with both men featuring in singles action as part of the PHX Championship Tournament.
Signature Moves: Karne Norte (Versoza), Petegree (Versoza)

Ralph Imabayashi: This half-Japanese, half-Filipino dynamite is one of PWR’s most exciting wrestlers, often pulling off a variety of moves that you wouldn’t believe someone his size could do. Like Mayhem Brannigan, Imabayashi is a big punch packed in a small package. Look for his picture perfect Sonic Crusher (you may know this as Randy Orton’s RKO), which is always a delight to watch. Imabayashi will be competing in the PHX Championship Tournament as well, squaring off against another exciting wrestler in Peter Versoza.
Signature Move: Sonic Crusher

Who will advance to the next round and represent what Philippine wrestling is all about? The first stage of the PHX Championship tournament starts Saturday night!

What can one expect from a PWR show?

The balcony section at Makati Cinema Square

PWR shows are held at the Makati Square Arena, which is located on the top floor of Makati Cinema Square along Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City. Unlike the stadiums you see on WWE RAW and Smackdown, Makati Square Arena is a smaller, more intimate place to hold a wrestling show in. There’s only two levels of seating here — a ringside area and a balcony — but PWR has slowly filled the arena up show after show. The most recent show, Wrevolution X, had the balcony packed with fans!

Don’t let the venue fool you, though. Despite being small, it creates a very intimate atmosphere since everyone is so close to each other. The intimate atmosphere is very reminiscent of ECW’s Hammerstein Ballroom, or NXT’s Full Sail University. Fan chants spread like wildfire, and PWR fans are among the loudest fans there are. You’ll often find them fervently cheering their favorite wrestlers on, with some groups being very loud supporters of their chosen guy. Chris Panzer, for example, usually has the Panzer Army furiously egging him on.

Most of the fan chants are what you’ve probably grown accustomed to in wrestling, so you can easily join in on the symphony that is the PWR fanbase. Of course, there’s a couple of Filipino twists, but you’ll find that out when you’re at the show.

Like this one time when fans started a “FIFTY SHADES!” chant, because well, CHAINS!

Another that’s worth mentioning is that PWR goes to great lengths to involve the fans. Halftime shows involve raffle contests that give away cool wrestling collectibles (pro tip: keep your tickets!), and ringside brawling is commonplace. There’s a good chance that wrestlers will start brawling right in front of you in the audience area, at which point it is very much okay to mark the fuck out. Wrestlers are also very nice, often hanging out after the show so you can take pictures with them. It’s a very immersive fan experience to be at a PWR show, and this is what makes it easy for fans to keep coming back.

Support your wrestlers, buy their merchs!

Of course, what’s a wrestling show without any merchandise? Make sure to bring your wallets, folks, because there’s sure to be something that catches your fancy. Shirts, magazines and collectible cards are easily available, and you can even have wrestlers sign them after the show. There’s also a store selling drinks in the venue, to keep everyone hydrated as the show goes on. Heck, they even stepped it up last show by having a burger joint sell their craft to fans. You’ll have no problem keeping your stomachs and bladders full throughout.


Tickets are currently available for pre-sale at the Rumpus Room and the Appraisery, both located in Cubao Expo. If that’s out of your way, tickets will also be available before the show begins on Saturday, August 15. We’ve heard that lines tend to get long before the show, though, so if you’re planning to get them on Saturday you might want to head there a little earlier.

For any announcements and/or questions, it’s also best if you follow the PWR Live event page. They often make announcements regarding the show there, so that’s the best place to check for the latest news and updates regarding the show.

Read more at Smark Henry: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to PWR, It’s On: Classical Bryan Leo vs. The Senyorito Jake De Leon II, and Now Rising at PWR: The PHX Championship

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FEU

Rose Vargas all set for UAAP return after four-season absence

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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.

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Basketball

23 for 2023 cadet CJ Perez honored to help out Gilas

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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.”

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ABL

Blistering Mikey Williams takes home Heritage Import of the Week honor

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Photo from ASEAN Basketball League

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.

Parks averaged 17.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists for the week that saw Alab lose to the Slingers at home last Wednesday before bouncing back on the road against the Mono Vampire last Sunday.

Urbiztondo, on the other hand, had norms of 14.5 points on a hot 9-for-17 clip from downtown.

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Football

Brazilian football legend Zico to visit Manila

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Contributed photos

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.

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