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Double celebration!


‘Ahas’ Nietes, Perlas Pilipinas deliver big time.

MALACCA, MALAYSIA – After six long years, a women’s basketball team was able to win a gold medal for the Philipines in the SEABA Women’s Championship.

The Perlas Pilipinas team became the latest gold medalist in the tournament after pulling off a gripping 77-73 win over Malaysia Saturday at the Bukit Serindit Indoor Stadium here.

It was the fifth straight win in as many games for the Filipinas, who have already secured the gold medal regardless of their game against Thailand on Sunday.

Even if the Philippines loses to Thailand, only Malaysia could catch up with the Blackwater Women – backed team at 5-1.

By virtue of the win over the other rule, the Philippines will still be declared champion.

“This is a defining moment for Philippine women’s basketball. I’m happy for the girls. I’m happy for our supporter, Blackwater, and I’m happy for the country. We did it,” said Perlas Pilipinas coach Patrick Aquino.

Allana Lim led the way for Perlas Pilipinas with 16 points while two other mainstays, Afril Bernardino and Ambi Almazan finished with a double-double performance.

Bernardino tallied 14 points and 10 boards while Almazan had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Perlas Pilipinas, which equalled the feat of the 2010 Philippine women’s team coached by Heidi Ong.

But the Philippines had to survive a late rally by Malaysia, which held the Filipinas without a field goal in the last three and a half minutes.

The Philippines saw its 15-point lead dwindle as Malaysia unloaded an 11-0 run.

The host came within 77-73 in the closing seconds and even got a big break when Raiza Dy missed from pointblank range. But the Malaysians turned the ball over, allowing the Filipinas to secure the win.

Behind Lim and Bernardino, who hit eight points apiece in the first half, the Blackwater Women-backed Perlas Pilipinas was able to take its first sizeable advantage before settling for a nine-point halftime lead, 43-34.

CARSON, California – Wearing his usual all-purple boxing get up which he said brings good luck, Donnie ‘Ahas’ Nietes never needed such as his skills alone led him to tally a masterful decision win over Mexican Edgar Sosa Saturday night at the StubHub Center here.

A tentative start by both boxers up until the first half of the second round led to few boos from spectators which prompted Nietes to throw a vicious 1-2 combination and a stunning right straight that wobbled Sosa towards the end of the second canto.

From then on, the 34-year-old Nietes threw jab-straight combos with pinpoint accuracy and potent left hooks and crosses that staggered Sosa in rounds 5, 10 and 12 in the main eventer of the card dubbed “Pinoy Pride 38:

Philippines versus Mexico.”

“Alam ko makuha ko na sa sixth round pero gusto ko kasi maka-abot ng 12 rounds para talagang malaman ko pa kung gaano ang makakaya ko sa flyweight,” said Nietes who snatched the vacant WBO intercontinental flyweight belt.

Making his flyweight debut, Nietes tallied similar 120-108 on all three scorecards, proving that he is a force to be reckoned with at 112lbs. after eight years of being world champion at 105 and 108lbs.

“I agree Nietes was ready to knock Sosa out in the middle rounds but he was very professional by not going for the kill when he hurt Sosa badly,” said Sosa’s trainer Jorge Barrera, older brother of boxing great Marco Antonio.

“I was happy with the performance of my boxer and he really gave his best but Nietes was so good he made my fighter look bad tonight,” added Barrera.

Rated number one flyweight contender by the WBO, Nietes (39-1-4, 22 knockouts) said he wants to challenge Chinese sensation and second-ranked Zou Shiming who is expected to enter the ring a heavy favorite in his November outing opposite third-ranked Kwanpichit Onesongchai of Thailand in Las Vegas.

But ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer expressed reservations about a fight versus Shiming eventhough their preferred foes and flyweight superstars Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez of Nicaragua and Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico recently moved up in the superflyweight class.

“It will be a popular fight because Shimming is an Olympic champion. But he really wanted to fight Estrada and he is the reason why Donnie moved up in weight. I still don’t know but I expect Estrada to return to flyweight if he doesn’t get big fights at 115,” said Aldeguer.

The win improved Nietes’ record to 39-1-4 with 22 knockouts while

Sosa, who entered the match as the WBC #5 challenger, drops to 52-10 with 30 knockouts.

In the undercard, one-time world title challenger Arthur Villanueva stopped Mexican foe Juan Ramirez with a booming right cross to the jaw at the 2:20 mark of the second round to keep his WBO Asia-Pacific 118lb crown.

Unbeaten featherweight prospect Mark ‘Magnifico’ Magsayo had his work cut out for him as he gave Mexican challenger Ramiro Robles all he could handle en route to a hard-earned but well deserved 12-round unanimous verdict.