Blog Posts by Bob Guerrero

  • Smart Araneta Coliseum chosen as International Premier Tennis League venue

    The author with Bhupathi. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

    UPDATED - The Philippines' most iconic sports venue is set to host the world's greatest tennis stars come November.

    Mahesh Bhupathi, the founder of the International Premier Tennis League, informed Yahoo! Philippines on Friday that the Big Dome has been chosen to host the inaugural weekend of the IPTL on November 28, 29, and 30.

    Andy Murray of Scotland is slated to play for the Philippine franchise, known as the Manila Mavericks, against the other leading lights of tennis in a unique, round-robin team format.

    Veterans like Goran Ivanisevic, and Patrick Rafter will also take part alongside top ladies players like Ana Ivanovic and Dane Caroline Wozniacki.

    Bhupathi says Murray is sure to play in Manila alongside Victoria Azarenka, Carlos Moya, and Fil-am Treat Huey. Filipino fans will see them duke it out with Caroline Wozniacki, Richard Gasquet, Lleyton Hewitt, and Tomas Berdych. Ivanovic and Gael Monfils will also come to Manila.

    According to Bhupathi, the doubles specialist who won

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  • My thoughts on an enthralling FIFA World Cup

    The German crest. Note three stars.

    It's been an unforgettable two weeks for me and my footballing friends. The FIFA World Cup of 2014 has been one of the best in recent memory. Here are my thoughts just before the quarterfinals kick off.

    This Cup has been really special. It's not always this good. In so many of these tournaments there are a few sparkling games plus a lot of turkeys. 0-0 or 1-0 matches marked by dull defensive tactics and few goals.

    But not this year. There have been no shortage of high-scoring, heart-stopping games in this competition. Netherlands-Australia and Argentina-Nigeria, which both finished 3-2, come to mind.

    In the France – Nigeria second round match the 2014 edition surpassed the goal harvest of South Africa's World Cup (145), an astonishing feat considering there were then still eleven matches to be played. The record since the tournament went to 32 teams (171 goals in 1998) is suddenly under threat.

    Why so many goals? There is no shortage of theories. One is that the warm tropical climate

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  • Feijen claims World 9 Ball crown as Pinoy Haya falls short

    Feijen. Image courtesy Richard Walker and the World Pool-Billiard Association.

    For the second year in a row, a European is atop the pool world. Last year it was Thorsten Hohmann of Germany, and in 2014 it's Niels Feijen of the Netherlands.

    On Friday Feijen downed Austria's Albin Ouschan 13-10 at the Al-Sadd Sports Club in Doha, Qatar to win the WPA World 9 Ball Championship. He is a previous world champion in straight pool (14.1 Continuous.)

    His victory is worth US$30,000, while Ouschan settles for US$15,000. Ouschan reached the title match by defeating Chang Yu Lung of Chinese Taipei 11-7.

    Ouschan is the brother of Jasmin Ouschan, a former 10 Ball world champ in the women's division. But his bid to bring another trophy to the family cabinet fell short.

    The final was close and in the balance when Feijen left a nine on the table leading 9-7. The Austrian converted the tough ensuing nine ball for 9-8.

    But the Dutchman took the next two with a combination of shotmaking prowess and solid safety to get to the hill. Ouschan broke and ran out to peg back a rack for

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  • Unheralded Haya is last Pinoy in World 9 Ball Championship Final Four

    Haya. Image courtesy Richard Walker and the World Pool-Billiard Association.

    His technique is not anything you'd see in an instruction manual. The stroke is a bit jabby, the elbow isn't aligned with his eyes nor his shoulder, and there is plenty of movement when he shoots.

    But Elmer Haya's unorthodox style has carried him to within two matches of a world title here in Doha, Qatar.

    The 37-year old from Molave, Zamboanga del Sur (but who also lived in Butuan City), knocked out fellow Filipino Johann Chua in the quarters 11-7 to set a semifinal date on Friday with Niels Feijen of the Netherlands at the 2014 World Pool-Billiard World 9 Ball Championship.

    Leading 8-6, Haya flubbed a long one ball to allow Chua to pull to within one rack with a 3-9 combination. Haya won the next rack for 9-7 but stumbled again in rack seventeen with a missed two ball.

    Chua then nailed a sensational jump on the two only to be blocked on the three. His attempt at a counter-safe failed and Haya ran out for the hill. In the next rack Chua once again jawed an extremely thin cut on the

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  • Biado, five others survive Pinoy purge in World 9 Ball, Kiamco cries foul

    Biado. File photo courtesy Takao Takayama of onthehill.co.jp.

    While the Philippines' best faltered one after the other, five proud Filipino shooters lived to fight another day.

    Carlo Biado, a former national 8 Ball champ, Antonio Gabica, last year's runner-up, veteran Ramil Gallego, and youngster Johann Chua are suddenly the hot favorites among the Filipinos in the 2014 WPA World 9 Ball Championship. It was a tough round of 64 in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday for the Philippines as the favored Pinoys fell to the wayside.

    Dennis Orcollo was bundled out of the tournament after an 11-8 loss to Japanese veteran Naoyuki Oi. Lee Vann Corteza, after struggling to reach the knockout stage through the loser's bracket in his group, was stunned by local bet Waleed Majed 11-6 and is now just a spectator.

    Jeffrey De Luna was another Filipino unable to make the round of 32 as he was upset by Canada's Jason Klatt, 11-6. A former winner of this event, Filipino-Canadian Alex Pagulayan was also relegated to the stands after stumbling to the youthful Austrian, Mario He

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  • Twelve Pinoys reach World 9 Ball Championship round of 64

    Orcollo. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

    The dream of another Filipino world 9 Ball champ is very much alive after the double-elimination group stages of the 2014 World Pool-Billiard Association World 9 Ball Championship in Doha, Qatar.

    The dozen Pinoy hopefuls, including top bets Dennis Orcollo, Lee Vann Corteza, and last year's runner-up Antonio Gabica have broken into the single-elimination stage of this year's competition at the Al Saad Sports Club. The twelve, counting Filipino-Canadian Alex Pagulayan, are the most players from any nation in the knockout stage. Chinese Taipei has seven, the second-most.  The round of 64 lags off on Wednesday.

    There is a bit of a cloud on the horizon though: ten of the twelve are in the upper half of the bracket, with only Gabica and Ramil Gallego to be found in the lower half. That makes an all-Filipino final almost impossible, but increases the odds of having one Pinoy in the championship match.

    Leading the charge is former 8 Ball world champ Orcollo, who has a tricky opening match

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  • Pinoys off to hot start in World 9 Ball Championship

    Orcollo. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

    Philippine pocket billiards stars once again sparkled at day one of the WPA 9 ball World Championship at the Al Saad Sports Club in Doha, Qatar on Saturday.

    This year no less than eleven Filipinos are looking to repeat the feat of the last Pinoy champ in this event, Franciso Bustamante, who picked up his only world title here in 2010.

    128 players are vying for the crown, and they are all split into 16 groups of eight who will play a double-elimination group that will produce eight players who will then proceed to single-elimination bracket of 64 shooters. Matches are race-to-nine in the first stage then race-to-eleven in the knockout stages. The entire tournament is alternate break. The final match on Friday is an extended race-to-thirteen.

    Last year Pinoy Antonio Gabica made it all the way to the final only to get mowed down by an in-form Thorsten Hohmann, 13-7, to allow the German to gain his second world title.

    A year on, Gabica looked sharp in taking out two-time World

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  • Philippines represented at International Premier Tennis League gala

    Lumen with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Image courtesy IPTL.

    “We rarely get to see live world-class sport in the Philippines, so this team will garner tremendous support.”

    These were the words of Filipino broadcast executive Francis Lumen two nights ago when he attended an evening cocktail party of owners and players who will participate in the inaugural International Premier Tennis League starting in November. The get-together took place in a hotel near Wimbledon in London.

    Lumen was representing the Manila franchise of the league, which will host teams from Dubai, Singapore, and Mumbai in late November. There will be a whopping US29.7 million in prize money for the league, which features four sides playing in a round-robin format.

    Playing for team Philippines will be none other that Scotland's reigning Wimbledon champ, Andy Murray, who expressed his enthusiasm for the IPTL, a brainchild of Indian doubles legend Mahesh Bhupathi.

    Lumen with mural of Murray. Image courtesy IPTL.

    “It's good that all the players have had a chance to meet the owners of the franchises of the IPTL. It's great to

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  • Silver-winning PH U14 Girls football team: heart, smarts, pave way to glory

    Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

    The country's littlest female footballers made history on Sunday when they took silver in the ASEAN Football Federation Under-14 girls championship. Although they lost the final 2-1 to Thailand in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, the Philippines may have paved the way for women's football to flower all over the country with a gutsy performance.

    In last year's U14 championship the Philippines finished fourth out of six teams. This year in an expanded competition they got second out of seven sides after group stage wins against Singapore (6-0), Vietnam (1-0), Cambodia (5-0), and a semifinal triumph against Myanmar's girls by a 2-1 scoreline.

    Just as in 2013, the Pinays won the Fair Play award as well.

    Coach Let Dimzon, also FEU's ladies team coach, relied on a central midfield composed of veterans from last year's campaign, namely Joyce Semacio and captain Tenelyn Otom. Semacio, from Davao, scored four goals, assisted on a bunch of others, and got the tournament's Most Valuable Player

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  • Engineered for Silverware: How Global won the 2014 UFL League

    Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

    Last Thursday Global clinched the 2014 UFL League title with an emphatic 7-2 victory over Pachanga PLDT Home Fibr. The result puts the side on 53 points on the table with three matches still to play. Global's closest rival, Kaya, is on 46 with two games to play and thus can no longer catch them under the UFL's pure triple-round robin league format with no playoffs.

    At the final whistle the joyous Global players showered water on each other and took pics of themselves with “The Lady,” the UFL league trophy. Notably, one player not cheering was Daisuke Sato. The emotional Filipino-Japanese wept openly as his team mates celebrated.

    Global have regained the crown they last won in 2012, only this time more emphatically. Then they triumphed via goal difference against Kaya. This time Dan Palami's men bulldozed the competition to submission to seal the deal with 270 minutes of action to spare.

    Palami told me before the game that his side had scored 86 goals going into the contest with

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