Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Repost From Patricia Bermudez-Hizon Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

The Draft Class Of 2010

By Patricia Bermudez-Hizon – August 31st, 2010
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The Score by Patricia Bermudez-Hizon
Special to Yahoo! Southeast Asia

The recently concluded PBA Rookie draft was all about dreams coming true, triumph and despair. For 19 of the players that got selected, this is just the beginning. For the other 41, this isn’t necessarily the end.

Top overall pick Noy Baclao is still in disbelief that he had been blessed with such an opportunity. Coach Yeng Guiao of the Air21 Express said that they really see a lot of promise in Baclao and is looking forward to whipping the team to a championship contender. They also have 2nd overall pick, former UAAP MVP Rabeh Al-Husseini and Smart Gilas teammate Rey Guevara in their old.

Talk and Text initiated the first trade move on the floor, asking Alaska to give up sweet shooting Larry Fonacier which they did to get the rights to pick 4th overall. The Aces used it to get the high leaping Elmer Espiritu. At 5th, Fil-am shooter Josh Vanlandigham was selected by Rain or Shine.

Air 21 picked Fil-Canadian Sean Anthony from McGill University in Montreal at 6th. He had his grandparents, cousins, and uncle Dodo Dee who is the husband of Presidential sister Viel Aquino-Dee. Before the day ended, he had already been traded to the Powerade Tigers (formerly Coca Cola Tigers) for the team’s 1st round draft pick in 2012. In the same agreement, Air21 also traded Ren Ren Ritualo to the Tigers for the 2nd round draft pick in 2012.

When John Wilson was called up to be Ginebra’s pick at 7th overall, Siot Tanquincen also went up onstage as Coach Jong Uichico’s new assistant. Despite being a former NCAA MVP, many still question why Ginebra drafted yet another guard. But it has been said before that Ginebra is looking to prepare for the team’s future with majority of their players above 30 years of age already. With an equally impressive showing in the collegiate and amateur ranks, Ginebra also selected Jimbo Aquino at 8th overall.

Predicted to go late in the 2nd round, Parri Llagas proved many wrong by being 9th overall, selected by the B-Meg Derby Ace Llamados. “I’m very surprise they chose me, but Coach Gallent knows me well. I’m a workhorse”, shared Llagas. Coach George Gallent was accompanied his new assistant coaches Richard del Rosario formerly of the Elastopainters, and Art dela Cruz, who used to be with San Miguel.

To cap off the first round, the Aces decided to trade the option to the new Meralco Bolts franchise for the young and promising Bon Bon Custodio who was picked 8th overall just 2 years ago by the Beermen and was traded to the Sta. Lucia Realtors last season. The Bolts’ young coach Ryan Gregorio went with Fil-Am Sean Weinstein who played as a pro in the Israel Premier League’s Maccabi Netanya team for two years. Weinstein impressed in the rookie camp with his steadiness, maturity and intensity.

11 picks were scheduled in the 2nd round with the 11th overall given to Meralco as a concession approved by the PBA Board. The Bolts stayed on stage waiting for Commissiner Chito Salud to announce that they selected Bam Gamalinda of San Beda.

People scratched their heads when Ginebra got another guard with their 2nd pick in the 2nd round. Though Rob Labagala has been known to play hard which got him the opportunity to play in the Asian Basketball League and could be valuable when they play 5 guards.

Coach Gallent picked Val Acuna who is also an ABL veteran, at lucky 13th overall. Another former Atenean who got drafted in the 2nd round, Ford Arao breathed a sigh of relief when he was called. Fortunately for him, the Meralco Bolts are relying on the draft to build their lineup.

Former Gilas player RJ Jazul fell deep in the draft after many thought he’d go in the first round. But to get him, the Rain or Shine Elastopainters had to trade a future draft pick to the Alaska Aces. Another Philippine Patriots veteran and former UST Growling Tiger Khasim Mirza went to the Bolts who selected 16th.

The only pick that the Barako Coffee Masters had was 17th overall which they got from the Ogie Menor trade. How funny that another former Red Lion would benefit from this. They went with Borgy Hermida.

Air21 had initially decided to pass on their 18th, but before it could be announced, Governor Ramos rushed to the official’s table to clarify that they had just traded the right to Powerade who selected Jai Reyes from ADMU. It was actually funny that Powerade then passed on the right to pick 19th but maybe this was part of the whole Ritualo-Anthony deal with the Express. Air 21 didn’t even bother to exercise their right to pick 10th in the 2nd round.

With only one chance remaining, the batch of applicants just prayed hard that their name would be called. For Marvin Hayes, prayers were indeed answered. Coach Tim saw that Hayes is definitely a hardworker and was pleased with how the day turned out for them. Next on their to do list is Disneyland.

The PBA will start season 36 on October 3, complete with teams parading with muses, dance numbers, and a stellar opening game between Meralco and Ginebra.

Reposted From Patricia Bermudez-Hizon Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Repost From Patricia Bermudez-Hizon Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Legends Are Made Of These

By Patricia Bermudez-Hizon – August 28th, 2010
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The Score by Patricia Bermudez-Hizon
Special to Yahoo! Southeast Asia

They came, they saw, they conquered. The NBA Legends came to the Philippines not knowing what to expect, and left with an image of a basketball-super crazed country with a lots of great talents, and millions of passionate fans. They were treated like rockstars as they will forever be legends!

The NBA Asia Challenge 2010 carried with it a promise of bringing world-class hard-court entertainment to the Philippines with a cast of super NBA stars namely Gary Payton, Chris Webber, Mitch Richmond, and Glenn Rice mixed with local cage luminaries Allan Caidic, Ronnie Magsanoc, Atoy Co, Benjie Paras, Alvin Patrimonio and Vergel Meneses. Young NBA D-league stars and the future legends of the PBA also mixed it up in the sensational hardcourt showdown that did more than just amaze.

After almost a week’s worth of promotional activities from press and media days, to doing an NBA Cares book reading session, mall events, sponsor visits, and just interacting with the Filipino fans, the NBA legends got it on!

Payton boldly said their Red team would win because they had 2 great shooters in Rice and Caidic. Knocking down 5 booming treys in last year’s NBA Asia Challenge gave Caidic such notoriety that since day 1, the visitors have been buzzing about the Triggerman. In fact, during the welcome party for the NBA, when Caidic was introduced to Payton, he got so excited that he got all the other legends who were on the other side of the room to come over and meet the man with the guns.

And come game night, the Triggerman was not at all gun-shy dropping one three pointer after the other! A definite show stopper, Caidic had a shooting clinic with 17 three point bombs and ended up with 52 huge points in the Red Team’s 177-167 victory. There was hardly any defense displayed apart from the giddy locals trying to disrupt their favourite NBA legend, to heighten their once in a lifetime experience.

Also stealing the show was the 59 year old Fortune Cookie Atoy Co who last played at the Big Dome 5 years ago during the storied Crispa-Toyota reunion! He had a hard time getting his groove but getting the NBA legends, even from the other team, set him up enthralled the crowd. He put his hand up victoriously when he made his first basket after some 38 attempts (okay so that’s not accurate but he sure took a whole lot of shots)!

Former NBA Rookie of the Year and one of the best power forwards in the NBA in his time Chris Webber said he had a great time playing his first game in two years, hoping that the fans had as much fun as they did and expressed his high respect for Philippine basketball. “Truthfully I really wasn’t surprised with how good Filipino players were. I’m going back and will tell everybody about my experiences here. Triggerman was incredible. I wasn’t surprised with the talent of these guys… They’re all so good. You got guys out there dunking and jumping, from Spiderman to Trigger man to everybody. Everybody really showcased their talent… Fortune Cookie I tell you, to be able to play the game at his age is a blessing and an honor. To see Fortune Cookie out there shooting and he’s still going.. One time he shot and said ‘check up Chris’ I said, okay (insert laughter here). Fortune Cookie’s the man too.”

An Olympic Gold Medalist, NBA Champ, also a former ROY and one third of the famous Run TMC with Tim Hardaway and Chris Mullin, Mitch Richmond also echoes that he had a blast. “It was just fun to get out here. This is an honour to actually play in this building where Ali and Frasier started the ‘Thrilla in Manila’. I never thought I’d actually get to see it let alone play in it. This is a historical moment for us and we can tell our kids now”.

Known for his tenacious defense hence the name “the Glove” Gary Payton was all about entertaining. Because of a torn calf muscles which he’s played through almost his entire career, he saw limited minutes. But of all, he was the one going overtime in terms of interacting with fans with his colourful and vocal presence. Yes there was a bit of trash talking going on, and there was also a part where he took the camera from the sideline cameraman, and stole a shoe from one of the kids playing a game during breaktime and threw in his own shoe in the mix. He was hilarious!

In the press conference, he admitted that he was surprised at how knowledgeable Pinoys are about basketball when someone answered his supposedly difficult trivia question about Glen Rice and his scoring record in an NCAA tourney. Even Rice said he doubted someone would know the answer. “But someone quickly came up and said 184 points in a single tournament, and I was impressed. I think you guys know more about us than our own family does.”

Known for his pinpoint sweet shooting and accuracy, being 8th in NBA history in 3pt field goals made, you know that Glen Rice does not play. He did say that he was in it to win it, and come 2nd half, he found his rhythm but enjoyed feeding the ball to Caidic even more. They had a three point shooting contest where Caidic won 5-7, but that Rice said “from here on now, you’re gonna get a show”. And a show it was.

“All I can say is Trigger, Trigger, Trigger.. He’s the man!” Rice also added that come playoffs, “Trigger, make sure your phone can be reached”.

Reposted From Patricia Bermudez-Hizon Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

A Repost From AFP

Hackers attack Philippine government website

A woman browses the offical website of Philippine President Benigno Aquino with a header "You are my Boss" in Manila on August 17. The Philippines on Sunday ordered all government offices to tighten Internet security after its main information website was brought down by hackers.
Slideshow: Faces of Asia PH

MANILA (AFP) - – The Philippines on Sunday ordered all government offices to tighten Internet security after its main information website was brought down by hackers.

"We are alerting all government agencies to review and improve security of their websites in view of the hacking of the website this afternoon," presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma said.

"We are adopting best practices to lessen the vulnerability of our websites to hacking and other cyber crimes," Coloma said.

The information agency website was inaccessible for several hours in the afternoon with the words "Hacked by 7z1" appearing if searched on Google.

Coloma did not say whether the hacker attack was related to widespread public anger in Hong Kong over police bungling of a hostage crisis that left eight tourists dead on Monday.

President Benigno Aquino's personal Facebook account, which is linked to his official website, has been flooded by hate messages over the incident, with many coming from disgruntled Hong Kong residents accusing his police force of incompetence.

Aquino censored his Facebook page after Internet users ignored his appeal to stop bashing his government over its handling of the hostage crisis, banning slanderous and defamatory comments and posts.

Coloma said only slanderous postings and profanities were erased from the Facebook page.

"But those expressing their feelings -- even if they are negative -- are not being erased from the website because cyberspace should be democratic and different views are permitted," he said.

Reposted From AFP

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Repost From AFP

Scores turn out to bury Philippine hostage-taker

TANAUAN, Philippines (AFP) - – Scores of mourners attended the burial Saturday of the sacked policeman who hijacked a bus in Manila, triggering a hostage crisis in which eight Hong Kong tourists were killed.

Even as the government tried to distance itself from the incident, hundreds crowded into a church for the funeral mass of former senior inspector Rolando Mendoza's home, to remember him for his police honours and not for Monday's tragic events.

"There are so many mourners because he was a good man. You never heard about him doing anything bad," said warehouse worker Mark Torres, a family friend attending the vigil in Tanauan, a small city south of Manila.

Francisco Misaba, a district watchman, said he had been assigned to manage the traffic because of the large number of people attending Mendoza's requiem and burial.

"There will be plenty of people attending because he had a lot of friends. Just about everyone in the district was his friend," he said.

Mendoza's family has refused to grant press interviews. But at the vigil, held in Mendoza's home, they put his numerous citations on display alongside many floral wreaths sent by fellow policemen.

Later, as Mendoza's body was placed into its grave, his son, Vismark, who is also a police officer, openly wept, sobbing, "I will never see his smile again."

No officials attended the event and the only uniformed policemen at the funeral was Mendoza's son but many media outlets, including Hong Kong photojournalists, were present.

Mendoza, a decorated officer who had been sacked over extortion charges, took a bus-load of Hong Kong tourists hostage in Manila on Monday, demanding to be reinstated.

This led to a 12-hour siege of the bus and muddled police negotiations that ended in bloodshed, with Mendoza and eight of the tourists shot dead.

The bungled rescue has enraged Hong Kong and embarrassed the Philippine government, which has called for an investigation.

Further embarrassment came on Friday when the Chinese embassy condemned the draping of Mendoza's coffin with a Philippine flag as if he was a hero.

The Philippine government said the flag had been placed there by Mendoza's family and had been later removed by a city official.

Torres said he could not explain Mendoza's violent actions, adding that he had never heard of any misdeeds committed by the former policeman.

"I don't think he went insane. He just believed what he was fighting for," he told AFP.

"I can't really say that he was justified, because people died. But we can't say he was totally wrong, either."

Misaba said: "We don't understand why he did this. All we know is that he is now dead."

Presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma said the results of an investigation would soon be presented to Hong Kong authorities.

"We are doing everything to ensure that we have comprehensive, thorough and accurate findings," he said in an interview on government radio on Saturday.

He said it was too early to say if any of the eight hostages had been killed by gunfire from the police rescue team.

Coloma said he hoped that a planned rally in Hong Kong on Sunday to demand justice for the victims would not affect the estimated 200,000 Filipinos working there, most of them as domestic helpers.

"Hopefully it will not reach that point and that in the coming days the anger will cool down and we can both move on," he said.

Coloma advised the Filipinos in Hong Kong, who normally gather together in huge numbers on Sunday, their day off, to take precautions in the meantime.

"Probably the best thing to do is be prudent, be careful when talking. They can tell if their physical presence in their gathering places might provoke an untoward incident," he said.

Filipino union leaders have reported reprisals against the community by Hong Kong employers incensed at the hijacking.

Reposted From AFP

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Repost From Mynardo Macaraig Of AFP

Police: Hijacker’s bullets likely killed Hong Kong tourists

By Yahoo! Southeast Asia Editors – August 27th, 2010
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By Mynardo Macaraig
Agence France Presse

MANILA — Philippine police said the hijacker of a busload of Hong Kong tourists likely shot dead all eight victims, and that the rescue team did not hit any of the captives in the chaotic end to the standoff.

Police announced the preliminary results of their findings amid growing pressure from furious authorities in Hong Kong and China for the Philippine government to quickly give a full account of Monday’s 12-hour ordeal.

“We can say that with a certain degree of certainty,” national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz told reporters Thursday when asked if the bullets that killed the tourists came from the hijacker’s weapons.

Cruz said the initial finding was based on witness accounts and testimony from the police involved in storming the bus, as well as the bullets found on the vehicle.

However he said the police investigation was still ongoing and that final conclusions had not yet been made.

“We need further evidence from the trajectory exam and the ballistics exam,” the senior officer said.

“The crime lab is having a hard time comparing the specimen recovered from the bodies because there are mere metal splinters, but we are doing everything we can and in due time we can release the result of these ballistics exams.”

Ex-policeman Rolando Mendoza took the busload of Hong Kong tourists hostage in Manila in a desperate bid to have himself cleared of extortion charges and get his job back.

After a long stand-off, a police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team attempted to storm the bus but its members were held at bay by Mendoza who police said used the hostages as human shields.

The Philippine government has admitted many mistakes were made in handling the hostage crisis, which was aired live around the world on television.

There has been a strong backlash from people in Hong Kong and China, and any evidence showing police bullets had hit the tourists would inflame the situation.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to join a rally in Kong Kong on Sunday to demand justice for the hijack victims, organisers said.

The Philippines had also planned to send a delegation to Beijing and Hong Kong for a fence-mending visit, but the Chinese government said it wanted an explanation for the police actions before allowing any diplomatic courtesies.

“We think the most urgent task is to get as clear an investigation result of the incident as soon as possible,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said when asked about the proposed visit.

The Philippine foreign ministry then announced it would not send its delegation — led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and Vice President Jejomar Binay — until its investigation had been completed.

Amid the cascading fallout to Monday’s events, the Philippine military said one if its elite units, with better training, was offered to the police to help end the standoff but it was never used.

“At the start of the hostage situation, we immediately contacted our police counterparts and we offered services coming from our special and elite unit,” military spokesman Brigadier General Jose Mabanta said.

“However, we were told that we just have to be on standby alert so apparently as we all know, it was never used.”

Mabanta said the military’s Light Reaction Company had been trained by US Special Forces to handle different kinds of crises, including hijackings and hostage situations.

The police SWAT team that eventually went in appeared to be woefully ill-prepared, and President Benigno Aquino admitted the personnel had not received adequate training or equipment.

The SWAT officers took about an hour to get into the bus after initially trying to smash its windows with sledge hammers.

Reposted From Mynardo Macaraig Of AFP

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Repost From Gina Abuyuan Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Hong Kong-Philippines relations on edge?

By Gina Abuyuan – August 26th, 2010
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By Gina Abuyuan
For Yahoo! Southeast Asia

It was past 7 p.m. when Ligaya Mata, 48, a Filipino domestic helper based in Hong Kong for the past 21 years, turned on the television and saw what was to be the most horrifying 40 minutes of the 11-hour siege that happened Monday.

“I regret I did not turn it on sooner,” she says. “But I caught it.”

She and her Chinese employer, a journalist, sat through the coverage stunned and speechless. “Pag may nilalabas na hostage sa bus, hiyawan kami ng amo ko (Each time a hostage was brought out from the bus, my boss and I whooped with joy)! We finally ate dinner at 10 p.m.—but could not sleep.”

Strained Relations
Ligaya is one of the 140,000 Filipino residents in Hong Kong who are more than worried about what effects the recent hostage tragedy will have on Filipino-Chinese relations.

“Nalulungkot ako (I’m very sad),” she says. “Hong Kong is like a second home to me. Mabait ang amo ko sa akin. Maganda ang trato nila sa amin—tao ang trato sa amin dito, hindi katulong (My boss treats me well. Our Chinese employers treat as well—they treat us as people, not just the help).” Ligaya adds that she and her boss even take their meals together—a rare thing in Filipino households, where the help have their own quarters to dine in.

Her daily afternoon trip to the market already has her anxious. “May mga galit na sa atin (Some Chinese are already expressing their anger openly).

Nararamdaman ko mga irap nila, iba ang tingin (I could sense their sneers, they looked at me strangely),” she relates.

Making Up
The growing anti-Filipino sentiment among Hong Kong nationals is understandable: eight of their people were killed in the hostage tragedy caused by an enraged ex-cop, Rolando Mendoza, who had hijacked their tour bus just before lunchtime Monday, August 23. Dismissed on alleged drug-related crimes and extortion, Mendoza demanded reinstatement into the Philippine National Police.

What ensued was a botched up SWAT operation that has the whole world outraged at the incompetency and ineptitude of the Philippine government and police force.

Mendoza died by gunshot that night, as well.

“Ang katiwalian ng ating kababayaan, damay kami (the crime of one of our own countrymen affects us all),” Ligaya rues. “So many lives lost…How will you make up for that loss?”

TC Chu, a 50-something former property consultant and longtime Hong Kong resident, has one suggestion: “(Make a proper) inquiry or commission. Everyone will get more and more upset if (the Philippine government) just cover (things) up and don’t admit it. Emotions will run high, that can be expected,” he says. “I just hope no one tries to take ‘revenge’—that’s the worst thing that could happen. But please, no more cover ups.

“This could’ve happened anywhere—in Washington, or in the U.K. It was just bad luck that it happened in the Philippines. But to a certain extent, things like this will happen to a country when it doesn’t have good governance.”

Albert Cheng King-hon, outspoken political commentator, former radio talk show host, and columnist for the South China Morning Post, adds, regarding the potential strain on relations: “It has nothing to do with the people, we have no problem with the people, but the Philippine government is totally incompetent. Millions of people saw the unprofessional, amateur, stupid police (operation) that meant senseless deaths.”

Meanwhile, Filipinos like Ligaya will make their careful way through their lives in Hong Kong. “Tignan natin sa Sunday, sa simbahan, kung magbago ang pagtrato sa amin (I’ll observe this Sunday, in church, if people will treat us differently). Nagagalit ako, nasasaktan ang puso ko. Nakakahiya sa ibang bansa (I’m very angry, my heart hurts. What a disgrace this was to the whole world).”

Reposted From Gina Abuyuan Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Repost From Thea Alberto Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Jackie Chan expresses grief over hostage drama

By Thea Alberto – August 25th, 2010
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By Thea Alberto
Yahoo! Southeast Asia

(UPDATE) As Asian action star Jackie Chan expressed grief over the tragic Quirino Grandstand hostage drama that killed several of his compatriots, Filipinos lauded him for being open minded about the incident.

Because despite reports of discrimination against Filipinos in Hong Kong, Chan assured that his country won’t encourage hate.

“HK is a nation built by a lot of different people..don’t worry! We do not hate!” said Chan in his Twitter account.

“Humans should be united and not kill or hate each other,” Chan added.

Several Twitter users appreciated Chan’s effort to maintain peace between Hong Kong and Philippines.

User lislmae said: I love you so much Jackie Chan! There’s a reason why you’re one of my heroes. And you proved it again now.

Rizmofey meanwhile said: with much appreciation from Us Filipinos. Thank you Mr. Jackie Chan. God bless.

Itsmetinks thanks Chan using Venus Raj’s popular expression: Jackie Chan deserves a MAJOR MAJOR Thank YOU!

Adyocampo said: Jackie Chan extends a hand of friendship to Filipinos. AYOS!

Malacanang itself thanked Chan for his gesture.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, who knows how to speak Chinese, said ‘Thank you’ to Chan in his language.

In his Twitter account, Chan said he heard about “the terrible news” upon returning to Hong Kong from Korea.

“I come back to hk & I hear terrible news about what happened in filippines [sic]. A lot of things don’t happen to your own country you don’t pay attention,” Chan said in his Twitter page.

Chan noted the hostage taking could have happened elsewhere but it was heartbreaking that it had to happen to Hong Kong citizens.

“This kind of things always happen around the world [sic]. It happened to hk’s people, the whole hk is talking about it. It’s really sad,” Chan said.

Chan also acknowledged that authorities were in a difficult position during the hostage crisis.

“If they killed the guy sooner, they will say why not negotiate first? If they negotiate first, they ask why not kill the guy sooner? So sad,” he said.

On Monday, Rolando Mendoza, a disgruntled ex-policeman took hostage a busload of Hong Kong tourists.

The day-long crisis ended after police killed Mendoza.

Chan, a native of Hong Kong, starred in several Hollywood films, including blockbuster “The Karate Kid.”

Chan also visited the country August 2006 and met with representatives from the Philippine National Red Cross, UNAIDS, and World Wildlife Fund.

Reposted From Thea Alberto Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Repost From Thea Alberto And Janie Octia Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Venus almost had Ms. Universe crown

By Yahoo! Southeast Asia Editors – August 24th, 2010
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By Thea Alberto and Janie Octia, Yahoo! Southeast Asia

After making it to the Ms. Universe Top 5 list, Ms. Philippines Maria Venus Raj placed 4th runner up with Mexico’s Jimena Navarrete emerging with the title .

Following Ms. Mexico is Jamaica’s Yendi Phillips as 1st runner up, Australia’s Jesinta Campbell and Ukraine’s Anna Poslavska as 2nd and 3rd runners up.

Candidates from Ireland, Albania, Puerto Rico, South Africa and Guatemala make it to the top 10 while candidates from Belgium, France, Russia, Colombia, and Czech Republic make it to the top 15.

Raj, 22, from Camarines Sur donned a silver dress for the evening gown competition which she described as “comfortable.”

Malacanang congratulates Venus Raj

Malacanang on Tuesday congratulated Venus Raj for making it to the top 5.

In a text message to reporters, Presidential Communications Group Development Secretary Ricky Carandang said Raj’s success brought a “bright spot.”

“The success of Ms. Raj is a bright spot in an otherwise sad day for our country,” Carandang said.

Raj’s victory came a day after the deadly Quirino Grandstand bus hostage taking which left at least eight Hong Kong tourists killed.

Reposted From Thea Alberto And Janie Octia Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Repost From Ion Danker

Pacquiao’s precious words of wisdom

By Ion Danker – August 21st, 2010
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World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao on Yahoo! SEA. (Getty Images)

Arguably the world’s best boxer and Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao had these words for aspiring young athletes: Focus, love your sport, train hard and don’t forget to pray.

The 31-year-old “Pacman”, as he is more popularly known, dispensed these words of wisdom during a visit to the Vanda Boxing Club on Havelock Road on Friday morning.

Pacquiao is the current WBO world welterweight champion and he is the first boxer in history to win seven world titles across seven weight categories.

Widely recognised as the world’s best “pound-for-pound” boxer, the Filipino multi-millionaire also revealed how Singapore can produce a boxing champion of its own.

He told Yahoo! Singapore, “Singapore should organise weekly boxing matches, like every Sunday, and this is where you can develop and find good fighters.”

Having started boxing at the age of 13, Pacquiao – who was forced to abandon elementary school because his family was too poor – knows all about the challenges young fighters face today.

“When you start boxing, you must love it and know it’s for you. You also need to focus and having discipline is the most important.”

In town for the first time at the invitation of the Singapore Tourism Board, the soft-spoken and affable boxing icon won the hearts of fans and athletes alike when the took the time to sign autographs and pose for the photos.

16-year-old Irish boxer Joe Ward, who’s in town for the Youth Olympic Games , said it was a dream come true to meet his hero.

“I never imagined I would be meeting Manny in Singapore, it’s really awesome to be here with him.”

His compatriot, Ryan Burnett, 18, hopes to use some of Manny’s moves in the ring: ”I’ve been watching him on TV, and hopefully I can fight like him in the YOG.”

Pacquiao, who was recently elected Congressman for the province of Sarangani in the recent Philippine national elections, also said that he probably has only two good years left in boxing.

“I am not going to stay long in boxing because I am getting older and I’ve already fulfilled my dreams. I also have a big responsibility being a public servant so probably after two years, I will retire from boxing,” he said.

Has running for Presidency in the Philippines ever crossed his mind?

“I never thought about it because my mind now is to serve the people and help them, and also to be a champion in public service,” said the father of four.

However, fans need not be disappointed just yet.

Listed by Forbes magazine as the world’s sixth highest-paid athlete with a total annual income of S$54 million, Pacquiao is due to return to the ring in November to take on Mexican Antonio Margarito for the World Boxing Council super-weight title.

Watch how the fearsome ”Pacman” retained his WBO World Welterweight title earlier this year by crushing Ghana’s Joshua Clottey.

Turning his thoughts over the possibility of a much-anticipated fight with unbeaten American Floyd Mayweather Jr, Pacman said, “I don’t think he wants to fight and I am not sure why he doesn’t want to fight.”

The boxers were initially scheduled to clash in March but the bout was called off after disagreements over Olympic-style drug tests.

However that has since been resolved and Pacquiao’s camp is still awaiting a response from Mayweather on when and where they can fight.

Pacman shares his thoughts on the much awaited fight.

The Today newspaper reports that if the mega-fight does go ahead, Singapore could be the host of potentially boxing’s richest-ever fight, with each boxer expected to earn at least S$80 million each in purse money.

“I want to fight Mayweather because people are excited about it. I will ask (promoter) Bob Arum if this is the match that can be staged here,” he told the paper.

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Reposted From Ion Danker