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The highs and lows of PH sports

(Conclusion)

TABORA
15tabora copyKrizziah Tabora put the country in bowling’s international spotlight this year after capturing the 53rd QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup Champions title last November in Hermosillo, Mexico.

The 26-year-old national team mainstay prevailed over Siti Safiyah of Malaysia, 236-191, in the final to give the Philippines its eighth World Cup title.

A third seed after the qualifying games, she ousted Colombia’s Rocio Restrepo in the semifinals.

Tabora’s win distinguished herself among the elite league of Filipino world bowling champions that include Paeng Nepomuceno (1976, 1980, 1992, 1996), Bong Coo (1979), CJ Suarez (2003) and Lita dela Rosa (1978).

It also ended the country’s 14-year-old title drought in the tournament since Suarez’s victory. (Kristel Satumbaga)

JUNE MAR
San Miguel may had failed to complete a rare Grand Slam but its prized center June Mar Fajardo etched his name in the history books as one of only three men to win the PBA Most Valuable Player award four times.

June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer is guarded by rookie Jason Perkins of the Phoenix Fuel Masters (PBA Images)

June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer is guarded by rookie Jason Perkins of the Phoenix Fuel Masters (PBA Images)

The 6-foot-10 Fajardo showed no signs of slowing down during another dominating season for the Beermen and was a cut among the rest in tying fellow Cebuano Ramon Fernandez and Alvin Patrimonio for most number of MVP awards.

He also tied his idol and former teammate Danny Ildefonso for most number of Best Player of the Conference trophies with five, which came during the Philippine Cup when San Miguel became the permanent holder of the tournament’s Perpetual Trophy for completing a three-peat.

Fajardo took a step back in the Commissioner’s Cup, allowing the likes of Chris Ross, Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter and import Charles Rhodes to take most of the spotlight in San Miguel’s Commissioner’s Cup victory over TNT KaTropa.

Though the Beermen was eliminated by Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the Governors’ Cup quarterfinals, Fajardo’s ascension to a fourth MVP award was already moot and academic. (Jonas Terrado)

ANCAJAS
Jerwin Ancajas traveled the world defending his International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight title all year-round.

His itinerary looked like that of a jet-setter: Macau, Brisbane and Belfast.

Ancajas made the first defense of the IBF 115-lb crown against Jose Rodriguez of Mexico in January and was awarded a sixth-round stoppage in the former Portuguese colony.

Six months later in July, he saw action underneath the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn world welterweight title headliner in Australia where he stopped Teiru Kinoshita of Japan.

Before the Christmas fever set in, Ancajas made a trip to Northern Ireland and entered the lion’s den, the hometown of Jamie Conlan.

Ancajas, showing nerves of steel, immediately made Conlan know what his intentions were as he hurt the game and gutsy but outclassed challenger as early as the first round en route to a sweat-free knockout win.

Known for his eye for talent, Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum dispatched all-around boxing man Sean Gibbons to Manila and a juicy, one-year three-fight deal was forged. (Nick Giongco)

IMPASSE
The gripping deadlock within the PBA Board of Governors that lasted for over six weeks and threatened to reduce to ruins a 42-year-old institution over questions of emotions and law came to a breathtaking conclusion in mid-December following the resignation of Commissioner Chito Narvasa.

After governors from seven ballclubs, including the three owned by telecommunications tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan, demanded that Narvasa resign over his approval of a trade proposal between San Miguel Beer and Kia for the Picanto’s draft rights to the No. 1 pick, which the Beermen used to land 6-foot-7 Fil-German Christian Standhardinger in October, a war of attrition erupted between the seven and the five remaining teams – three under the San Miguel Corporation banner of businessman Ramon S. Ang – which backed Narvasa.

As both sides dug in, a furious exchange of scathing statements ensued before an Omerta-like code of silence was agreed upon, placing the entire volatile situation under a state of unprecedented impasse.

Hopes that a change of atmosphere for a cooler climate could dissipate the heat and resolve the disagreement failed to materialize as a program and planning session scheduled in Los Angeles pushed through but became nothing more than a four-day vacation.

Each camp took turns snubbing efforts to summon 12 team representatives to the board room, and a well-meaning team owners’ meeting resolved little save to underscore the great divide existing within the league.

Unknown to many though, backchannel talks, mentioned only in whispers, apparently were being waged away from the eyes of the media and the probing public.

A breakthrough then came halfway through December when former PBA chairman Ricky Vargas, longtime board representative of the TNT KaTropa, led a hastily-called press conference at the Smart Araneta Coliseum where three major developments were announced: Narvasa steps down by the of year, NLEX governor Ramoncito Fernandez, the incoming chairman, would step aside in lieu of Vargas without prejudice to the chairman’s post’s order of succession next season, and that media bureau chief Willie Marcial will fill in the OIC while the governors scout for a new commissioner.

That decidedly ended the crises and set the PBA off to its 43rd season. (Tito S. Talao)

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