2014 World Cup to start on June 12, FIFA says

RIO DE JANEIRO – The 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil will start on June 12 with the championship match on July 13, FIFA’s secretary general Jerome Valcke said on Wednesday.

Valcke said the exact match and venue schedule will be announced after FIFA’s executive committee meets on October 20-21.

“We are still working on the match schedules and venues, and these will be ratified by the World Cup organizing committee and the FIFA executive committee in October,” Valcke said before adding that the 2013 Confederations Cup, the World Cup dress rehearsal tournament, will run from June 15 to June 30 in 2013.

Valcke was highly critical of Brazil’s preparations for the World Cup when he spoke in Moscow last month, but FIFA president Sepp Blatter said new confidence had been established between FIFA and the local organizing committee.

Table tennis weekend tourney in Bacolod

BACOLOD City – The Lopue’s Table Tennis Association (LOPPTA) will mount a two-day table tennis age-group tournament July 30 to 31 at the LOPTTA Table Tennis Center in Lopue’s San Sebastian Annex on Araneta-San Sebastian Streets here.

Sixty-five players confirmed their entry to the tournament.

Tournament director Michael Yanos said 12 young paddlers will see action in the 12 and under boys division while 16 will participate in the girls’ category.

In the 10 and under division, 11 entries have registered in the boys category while 10 were recorded in the distaff side.

For the boys-8 and under, Yanos said five entries had registered.

Some players from Ajuy in Iloilo would be joining the tournament for goodwill and friendship matches.

Yanos said the event is part of LOPTTA’s goal to promote table tennis in Negros Occidental, gather top paddlers in the province and discover future talents in this sport.

Yanos also said in events with more than 12 players, the elimination rounds will be played in a round-robin format while the semifinals and championship be played in a single knock-out system.

For events with 12 players or less, the elimination rounds will also be played in a round-robin format. The top two players after the elimination will proceed to the semis and play in a double–elimination system.

Canadian pugilist says he will make Banal cry on Saturday fight

CEBU City – Flamboyant Canadian warrior Tyson Cave is looking to impose his will on AJ Banal and hand the Filipino his second career defeat Saturday night in the World Boxing Organization (WBO) Asia-Pacific bantamweight title tussle “Pinoy Pride 7-Battle in Mactan”.

Cave said he doesn’t plan to slug it out with Banal. Instead, he will use his crafty unorthodox style to dissect the 22-year-old former world title challenger and break him down.

”I don’t knock people out. I do more than that. I make people cry in the ring,” said a confident Cave in the press luncheon at the Maya Mexican Restaurant.

“If I’m done taking AJ’s belt, then I’ll be back here as the Filipino Tyson,” Cave said.

Banal is one of the Philippines’ most promising and hard-hitting young fighters but Cave is unfazed by his opponent’s credentials, frequently calling out Banal and goofing around.

Palami: Beating Kuwait easier said than done

MANILA – Barring strong Tropical Storm “Juaning’s” soaking the Rizal Memorial Football Field Thursday, the Philippine Azkals would likely face a different kind of storm against the Kuawitis who swept them with a mighty 3-0 kick last week in their home turf. The Kuwaitis, who have reached the World Cup semis once, most probably won’t […]

Sharapova looking to renew rivalry with Serena

STANFORD, California – The prospect of renewing her long rivalry with Serena Williams has provided Maria Sharapova with added incentive to win this week’s Stanford Classic.

The Russian and the American are both on comebacks from health problems and could meet in the quarter-finals at Stanford as they launch their U.S hard court seasons in California.

“I love playing against her,” Sharapova said. “We’ve had very, very tough matches against each other.

“I don’t have a great record against her and I would love to change that. There is no doubt I would love to play her this Summer at some point.”

The pair have played each other eight times, with Williams winning six and the Russian twice. Sharapova beat Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final but the American has won their last five in a row.

“Rivalries are exciting for me and for the sport,” Sharapova said.

“That’s what women’s tennis really needs and men’s tennis doesn’t lack. To be able to create those types of rivalries in the women’s game is important.”

Asia’s rising stars at Aboitiz Invt’l in Cebu

MANILA – Asia’s rising stars, headed by Filipinos Artemio Murakami, Carl Ocampo and Miguel Tabuena, will converge in Cebu for the latest Asian Development Tour (ADT) event next month when the Aboitiz Invitational presented by ICTSI is staged at the Cebu Country Club August 31 to September 3.

The US$ 65,000-tournament is making its debut on the ADT this year, where it will become the seventh leg on its 2011 Schedule.

Murakami and Ocampo, along with Brunei’s newcomer Faiz Damit, graced the press launch in Cebu Tuesday to promote the Aboitiz Invitational, which was launched last year as a domestic event on the ICTSI-Philippine Golf Tour.

As the Aboitiz Invitational will be one of the final tournaments of the season on the ADT, it will play an important role in determining the top three players on the Order of Merit.

The leading three money-earners will gain an automatic card on the elite Asian Tour for the 2012 season.

The Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) has an impressive portfolio of businesses, which include power, banking and food.

Others who graced the launch were Htwe Hla Han, senior director of Tour Development Asian Tour, Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. general manager Colo Ventosa, Cebu Country Club general manager Clifford Celdran and CCC golf director Frederick Chiongbian and Aboitiz Equity Ventures chief reputation officer Sebastian Lacson.

Marcial impresses int’l audience in Europe

ASTANA, Kazakhstan – With just a single fight thus far, the pocket Philippine boxing team already made heads turn in the ongoing AIBA World Junior Boxing Championships here. Fifteen-year-old Eumir Felix Marcial had a victorious debut as he utilized his right jab and moved around the ring effectively in beating aggressive opponent Henrik Hovannisyan of […]

No changes in Azkals’ formation vs Kuwait

No changes in Azkals’ formation vs Kuwait

PHILIPPINE Azkals team manager Dan Palami said expect the same game plan that the team used in their 3-0 loss to Kuwait in last Saturday’s first leg in the 2014 World Cup Asian qualifiers.

The Azkals, who will welcome back team captain Aly Borromeo and Stephan Schrock after serving their one-game suspension, will once again face Al Azraq in the second leg of the Asian qualifiers on Thursday at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

Palami said, in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum, they did a good job defensively against Kuwait Al Azraq in the first half of the first leg but lost steam in the second half.

“We played well in the first half. We were just too adventurous in penetrating their defense while sacrificing our own defense,” said Palami. “We can’t deviate from that game plan (on defense).”

Palami said Borromeo and Schrock’s return will boost the midfield position, which was a non-factor against the Kuwaitis in the first leg.

“They killed us in the midfield. Certainly, it will be a different story on defense and offense,” said Palami.

The Philippines needs to win by four goals to beat Kuwait by an aggregate score on Thursday to advance to the next round. A 3-0 score will force extra time and a penalty shootout will take place if there’s still a deadlock on aggregate.

Palami said that the hometown crowd will definitely be a big boost for the Azkals in their daunting task of upsetting Kuwait, which played in the 1982 World Cup.

Donaire, Top Rank agree on 4-year deal


NONITO Donaire Jr. and veteran boxing promoter Bob Arum are back in each other’s arms after the reigning unified bantamweight titlist, on Monday, agreed to sign a new four-year deal with Top Rank, Inc.

Cameron Dunkin, Donaire’s manager referred to the new deal as ‘very healthy.’

“Nonito’s going to be around with Top Rank for a while,” said Dunkin first reported by The Ring, the so-called ‘Bible of Boxing.’

Cracks within Donaire and Arum’s relationship began to show in March after the Filipino fighter decided to sign with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, Top Rank’s rival promotional outfit.

Donaire, the reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight champion, said his old contract with TOp Rank was over after his second-round knockout win over Mexican Fernando Montiel in their bantamweight unification bout at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

Dionisio back to pistol shooting event


MANILA – Six-time Filipino world speed shooting champion Jethro Dionisio is back to his favorite caliber .38 pistol and is eager to get back his status as the top gun in the practical shooting scene.

Dionisio, “The Jet” to the practical shooting world because of his fast hands, and 15 other Filipino marksmen are entered in the 2011 World Shoot championships scheduled October 2-9 in Rhodes, Greece where they will try to put the country’s name back at the top of the draw- and-fire world.

“Yeah, I’m happy to be back to my first love, practical shooting and try to once again carry the country’s colors in international competitions,” Dionisio, acknowledged as the world’s ‘fastest gun alive’ in 1990, 1992 and 1993, said on last Friday’s SCOOP Sa Kamayan weekly session at the Kamayan Restaurant-Padre Faura.

“Shotgun was removed from this year’s Southeast Asian Games (SEA) list of events, so I decided to concentrate instead on pistol. Luckily, I made it to the Philippine team to the World Shoot,” Dionisio said during the forum, sponsored by Coca Cola Export, FILA, TV-5 and UNTV.

Dionisio was forced to transfer to Olympic shooting after the International Practical Shooting Confederation canceled the speed challenge in its calendar of events following the Filipinos’ seeming unbeatable run in his favorite event.

Caguioa stars, voted as Player of the Week

Caguioa stars, voted as Player of the Week MANILA – He’s been missed for a time – his sparkplug plays and sure shots being searched most of the games that he’s out due to injury. But no matter what, Mark Caguioa’s scintillating performance and indomitable spirit is coming to the fore anew – and just […]

GM So, Paragua campaign in Russian World Cup

GM So, Paragua campaign in Russian World Cup MANILA – Filipino GMs Wesley Barbasa So (Elo 2658) and Mark Callano Paragua (Elo 2545) of the Philippines will compete in the 2011 World Cup (Formerly FIDE World Chess Championships) on August 26 to September 21 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. So and Paragua, playing under the banner of […]