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Ups and downs in the year past


By Al S. Mendoza


THE year just ended had its usual ups and downs.

The ups were we shone bright in the Spain Fiba Worlds and in cycling.

We played well in Spain to gain world recognition in basketball, and Daniel Caluag came to the rescue to give us a face-saving cycling gold in the Incheon Asian Games.

The biggest up on the world stage was when Manny Pacquiao won as expected over unbeaten Chris Algieri to retain his world welterweight crown.

In scoring a unanimous decision victory in November in the Macau Mini Massacre, Pacquiao knocked Algieri down six times.

It marked the first time that the PacMan had floored a foe six times—the most knockdowns recorded in a single fight in recent memory.

Why Algieri couldn’t be put away for good had raised doubts about Pacquiao’s punching power.

Is the sting gone?

Is Pacquiao’s power that has stopped 38 of his 57 victims reduced to powder-soft caress?

Or is Pacquiao now more humane, compassionate, as to not willfully batter his opponent to submission—a result of his being a born-again Christian now?

Anyways, Pacquiao is still good for two more years, perhaps.

But to make the remaining years of his career extra meaningful, Pacquiao must clinch a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Otherwise, Pacquiao, 36, will end up as the best fighter of his era not having been able to face the pretender to his crown.

And vice versa.

If Mayweather, who turns 38 next month, ends up retiring without meeting Pacquiao, he, too, will wrestle with the ignominy of failing to face the one fighter reputedly much better than him the rest of his life.

However, I still believe the two will soon fight, not just for prestige but, to put it bluntly, for money.

The money being dangled to them—close to $300 million—is just too huge to be ignored.

Pacquiao has said he is ready anytime, anywhere.

But Mayweather has, time and again, said yes and next thing you will hear, no.

If you say he is simply crazy, I’ll say you bet.

He has the strongest chance to defeat Pacquiao and yet, he will dodge the fight?

Only a fool can do such an idiotic act.

Anyway, let’s go to the downside of Philippine sports.

After our Asiad debacle in basketball where we finished a worst-ever 7th place, coach Chot Reyes resigned, his name disgraced.

What a shame, because he had brought the same Gilas team to the 2014 Spain Fiba Worlds after we placed second in the Fiba Asia Cup in 2013.

What followed next was Reyes saw himself replaced by Tab Baldwin, an American.

If that was not a slap on the dignity and integrity of the Filipino, what is?

I mean, why another foreigner to coach the national quintet?

We have an abundance of Filipino coaches.

Gosh! We seem to love retrogression.

No wonder we’ve been left behind by our neighbors, the reason being that we treat our very own as second-class citizens in their own country.

We never learn.

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