Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Hatfield leaves Ginebra anew

MANILA, Philippines - Ginebra forward Rudy Hatfield is out again after resurfacing from a long vacation and playing three conferences in his return stint with the Kings.

Hatfield bid the team goodbye after they came up short in their title quest in the PBA Fiesta Conference against the Talk n Text Tropang Texters, which took its second straight crown with a 4-2 series victory.

“It’s an agreement when he came back. We know he’s leaving after the second conference,” Ginebra coach Jong Uichico told The STAR.

The Ginebra management sought a new deal but Hatfield opted to assess things first with his family in the United States.

Hatfield’s departure will surely leave a big void in the Ginebra frontcourt especially with Rico Villanueva also in the injured list, recuperating from an ACL surgery.

Uichico, however, hopes they find the right import for the third conference in Curtis Stinson.

The 6-foot-2 guard, a Bronx, New York native, played college ball for Iowa State and has been a fixture in the NBA D-League since 2007. He’s a two-time D-League first team and D-League MVP this season.

Curiously, Uichico saw positive things in their loss to Talk n Text in their title showdown, making him hopeful of another shot at the championship.

“For one, we saw that our young guys can compete. I know now that I can give them playing time that they really deserve,” said Uichico of players like JC Intal, John Wilson and Rob Labagala.

Uichico’s also comfortable with the fact that they’ve always been contending for the crown.

Fil-Am Muslims say extremism fading

NEW YORK - When Osama bin Laden was found and killed in Pakistan last week, America hoped that the death of the Al Qaeda’s infamous leader is the beginning of the end of terrorism.

Filipino-American producer and writer of “American Muslims” – a new TV series in production that promises to show a realistic picture of Muslims - Steven De Castro said, bin Laden’s message of terror is dying out and his death came at the time when the Muslim world is beginning to seek democracy.

De Castro said, “bin Laden’s idea is already being killed, his idea that you need to engage in violence in order to overthrow dictatorship.”

Filipina Muslim Queen Potru Ranka Manis said: “If he believes in killing his fellow men, that is not Islamic. He might be born in that religion but his practices is not Islamic at all.”

Political analyst Ramon Mappala said: “So, there will be a change of leadership, but not as probably as popular or as charismatic enigmatic, or charismatic as bin Laden because he himself was a US creation.”

Visiting Philippine Representative Aliah Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte said, while the Philippine government sees the death of bin Laden as a step forward in fighting terrorism, some Filipino Muslims in Southern Philippines protested the brutal killing of the bin Laden.

Dimaporo said, “I would say that they would feel negatively about the death of Osama bin Laden, the very outward expression of joy of people around the world because of his death, so I’m very cautious to give any opinion on that because I understand the sentiments of the people from the South.”

Some Filipinos in New York say, Osama bin Laden may be gone, but the fear he created in the minds of Americans still lingers.

Fil-Am actor makes it to 'Hawaii Five-0'

MANILA, Philippines - Another Filipino makes it big in Hollywood.

Filipino-American Mark Dacascos plays Wo Fat in the hit US TV series Hawaii Five-0, a remake of the popular 70's TV show.

Aside from the series, Mark also joined Dancing with the Stars, and is more popularly known as The Chairman in Iron Chef America.

Mark says that although he still has not met his family here in the Philippines, he hopes to get in touch with his Filipino roots soon.

"My father is Filipino. We have family somewhere in the Philippines. I was born in Hawaii so, unfortunately, I haven't connected with them yet but hopefully I will someday. But my aunt and uncle, they dance Filipino dances, they were professional dancers. My father teaches martial arts, arnis, eskrima and kali," he said.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Pinoy football XI nears UK league promotion

LONDON, ENGLAND - As the 2010-2011 football season draws to an end, it is crunch time for many teams across the world.

The case is no different for the United Kingdom's first amateur Pinoy football squad, the Philippine Football Club (PFC).

The team of British-born Pinoys kept alive their hopes of promotion to the Premier Division of the West Hertfordshire League when they defeated Martin Baker Rovers Reserves, 3-1, in a tense Division One encounter last Saturday.

The league has already been won by Park Street Village, but second place and the final promotion spot is still up for contention.

With one game remaining, PFC currently sits in second place with 35 points after 17 matches. The London-based side need a win to guarantee promotion, but standing in the way are rivals Aldenham, who are also in the running with 34 points.

The 2 clubs will face each other at Aldenham's home ground on Saturday, May 14, in a season-defining clash that will determine who moves to the Premier League and who stays in Division One.

PFC lost their previous encounter with Aldenham 2-1, but have been in good form recently and will go into the match with confidence.

PFC player-manager Keith Townsend recognizes the magnitude of the fixture but does not feel the pressure to change anything.

"Going into our last game, we (the team) won't change our usual routine or habits. The game itself is obviously important and a win will ensure we are promoted to the Premier Division of the West Herts League, but I don't feel that this will phase the team," Townsend said.

"I will pick my starting 11 based on recent form and those who I think will have an impact. I will run the team through its instructions and during the warm up I will give each player their individual tasks. I feel that each player responds positively to being given individual instructions and in my experience you don't change a winning formula," he added.

Townsend and other PFC players have been running the club since losing 3 key figures at the start of the season, within the space of a few months. First to go was club founder Leo Jensen, followed by coaches Norman Parkin and Steve Conroy.

"The entire squad knows what's at stake and after some of the obstacles we've had to overcome this season, I think that win or lose, the team has shown it's true strength, determination and character to get to where we are," Townsend said.

"Getting promoted to the top tier of the football league would mean a great deal to myself, the team and everyone involved with Philippine FC. It would be a chance to demonstrate our ability against the best teams in the league and would also result in the greater development of the players," he added.

"I'm lucky to have 19 talented players in my squad that can play in more than one position. They are all willing to contribute to the team's success, but my biggest problem is that I can only field 14 of them on match day," he said.

Although unlikely, PFC and Aldenham could both still be pipped to the final promotion spot by the 4th-placed Hemel Hempstead Rovers Reserves. They are currently on 33 points and will face Division One champions Park Street Village in their final game on Wednesday.

Park Street Village hold a 100% record this season and are expected to beat Hemel Hempstead Rovers.

However, if the unexpected were to happen, followed by a draw in this weekend's game between PFC and Aldenham, Hemel Hempstead will be promoted because of superior goal difference.

If Park Street Village beat Hemel Hempstead this Wednesday, PFC will only need a draw in their game. Despite that, Townsend insisted that they are going for the win and all 3 points.

PFC left back Cliff Gay-ya is optimistic and echoed the sentiment of the squad.

"We are capable of this and I believe we will do it. It's good for us individually, but more importantly as a team mentally. It will instil confidence and help us to become collectively stronger," Gay-ya said.

"We can evaluate where we are when the season is over, but we have to remain positive and concentrate on securing promotion. I am confident we can do that," he added.

If PFC will triumph in their final game against Aldenham, they will enjoy 2 successive years of promotion in the West Hertfordshire League. The team won promotion from Division Two last season in their maiden year playing together.

Despite the prospect of moving up another division, club representative Jesse Arroyo kept things in perspective.

"If we do not get promoted, it allows the team to build a stronger bond and improve our playing style in a division that we already know," Arroyo said.

"PFC's players have already made a name for themselves in the divisions we have competed in, but the hard work comes with maintaining the winning mentality because once teams know your playing style, it is easier for them to plan tactics."

Visit the Division One West Hertfordshire League standings.

Arum: Pacquiao is unconquerable

MANILA, Philippines – Promoter Bob Arum couldn’t be more proud of his Top Rank ward Manny Pacquiao after the boxer nabbed his 14th straight win recently.

In an Examiner.com report, Arum said that no other boxer could ever beat Pacquiao—at least no one among the Filipino pug’s contemporaries.

"Nobody is going to beat Pacquiao. Other fighters are hopeless against him,” Arum said.

"He takes everyone out of their game plan. Nobody can perform against him," he added.

Pacquiao outpointed American foe “Sugar” Shane Mosley in their 12-round fist fight held last Saturday (Sunday in Manila), wowing more than 16,000 people who watched inside the MGM Grand venue.

Arum said he is already sketching his plans out for the superstar’s next fight, which will probably take place this November.

Arum said he is considering Juan Manuel Marquez as Pacquiao's most likely opponent.

“We have Marquez, he has a great fighting ability,” he said.

Paqcuiao and Marquez first clashed in 2004, ending their fight in a draw.

The two fighters faced each other in a rematch in 2008. Pacquiao won via split decision to take Marquez’s World Boxing Council super featherweight title.

Marquez, meanwhile, has publicly stated that he will fight Pacquiao a third time.

In another report, Arum has also named Timothy Bradley or Zab Judah as probable opponents for Pacquiao. The promoter is also looking into a rematch between Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto.

A fight between Pacquiao and his greatest rival Floyd Mayweather, Jr., however, remains unlikely due to Mayweather's legal woes.

DFA: No Filipino caught in crossfire in Syria

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Embassy in Damascus said there are no Filipinos caught in the crossfire during protest actions there.

“The Embassy contacted its area coordinators, its volunteers from the Filipino community and other sources in Syria to verify the report. These sources all informed the Embassy that no such incident happened,” Philippine Ambassador to Syria Wifredo Cuyugan said.

He is referring to news reports that 2 Filipino household service workers supposedly died during a protest action last April 29. The 2 were supposedly hit by a stray bullet.

“In addition, there are inconsistencies in the alleged report. There were no demonstrations in Damascus on April 29. Damascus and its neighboring governorates suffered its worst hailstorms that day—therefore, no significant protests took place in the capital or anywhere near it,” he stated.

He also said employers immediately inform embassies in case of any untoward incidents.

Last April 26, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) declared a crisis alert level 2 in Syria in light of the continuing political tensions.

There are around 17,000 Filipinos in Syria.