Saturday, 18 June 2011

Mayweather fails to appear for deposition - lawyer

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – A lawyer for Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao says rival Floyd Mayweather Jr. failed to appear for a court-ordered deposition in Pacquiao's defamation suit against the American fighter.

Attorney Daniel Petrocelli said Mayweather didn't show up on Friday to provide sworn testimony, a day after federal Magistrate Judge Robert Johnston ruled that he had to appear.

Mayweather's attorneys had argued that he needed to concentrate on training for his September 17 fight against Victor Ortiz.

Pacquiao sued Mayweather over statements from Mayweather and others in his camp accusing Pacquiao of taking performance-enhancing drugs.

The two, considered the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, have repeatedly failed to reach terms to meet in the ring in what could be the richest bout in boxing history.

On May 31, Pacquiao settled his defamation lawsuit against Oscar de la Hoya and his Golden Boy promotions chief Richard Schaefer.

Under the terms of that settlement, de la Hoya and Schaefer issued a statement and apology to Pacquiao, saying they "never intended to claim that Manny Pacquiao has used or is using any performance enhancing drugs, and further state that we do not have any evidence whatsoever of such use."

Pacquiao has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and in his original 2009 lawsuit he claimed that Mayweather, his father Floyd Snr and uncle Roger along with de la Hoya and Schaefer "conducted a campaign in a set of interviews to make people think he used them."

Pacquiao's lawsuit is not Mayweather's only pending legal issue.

He also faces felony charges stemming from a domestic dispute and misdemeanor harassment and battery charges in separate cases.

Azkals up close: Jason Sabio

MANILA, Philippines – An athlete by heart and a self-confessed Twitter addict – that's how one can describe the Philippine Azkals' Jason Sabio.

Sabio revealed that he has always been an athletic guy and one can imagine him playing any sport.

Despite this, he fell in love with football the most.

“I started playing football with my best friend in middle school in the States in Alabama,” he said.

Sabio was raised in the United States but his parents are both from the Philippines.

At the peak of the Azkals’ fame, Sabio sat down with and shared things about his personal life and his moments as a member of Philippine National Football team.

Personal Information

Name: Jason Abbott Abantao Sabio
Age: 24
Birthday: June 30, 1986
Birthplace: Manila
Position in the Azkals team: Defender
Start of football career: Started playing football at age 11

Where's your mother/father from?
My dad’s from Marikina and my mom’s from Koronadal in South Cotabato, Mindanao.

What leagues have you played in?
I’ve played in Division 1 in the States, and also in National Premiere Soccer League, which is also a semi-professional team in the States.

What made you decide to join the Azkals?
I‘ve always wanted to represent the country, my birth country and I thought it would be an opportunity because I love soccer, I love football, I love Filipinos.

If you weren't a football player what would you like to have been?
Actually after I’m done with my football career, I’m one year away from finishing law school so I’m going to be a lawyer.

What was your most memorable game?
Most memorable game has to be Bacolod, the first game against Mongolia, February 9, playing in front of 20,000 fans and in live television. It’s one of the best moments of my life.

What’s your pet peeve? The thing that you hate the most?
I hate jumping to conclusions.

What’s the best you like about football?
The best thing about it is it’s a team sport. It’s not just individual so you must work together and you’re only as strong as your weakest link so you have to try to help each other achieve your success.

Pinay wins business challenge award in Netherlands

NETHERLANDS - For the second time, a Filipina took home the grand prize in the BiD Network Women in Business Challenge, a yearly competition for women entrepreneurs from around the world held here.

Hailing from Bukidnon, Philippines, Nathalie Arsonillo bested 140 businesswomen from Asia, Africa and South America with her organization Sustainable Growth for Rural Venture Inc. (SUGRUVI), which aims to better the lives and income of cassava farmers in her home province, particularly the Matinsalog-Manobo tribe.

Her goal to bring mobile cassava processing units to remote mountains in Bukidnon, in order to minimize spoilage and increase farmers' profits, earned the nod of judges from Dutch Bank ING, and business organizations United Success and iCCO.

“I’m very happy but this is just icing on the cake. My coming here and their efforts to connect me to future investors, I would not get it if I’m alone or if I’m just staying in the Philippines. I made a lot of contacts, I met a lot of people so the future looks great, not only for me but also for all the cassava farmers in the Philippines,” said Arsonillo in Tagalog.

The overwhelmed Arsonillo received 5,000 euros worth of business coaching from and membership to United Success, a women-only business network helping women entrepreneurs all over the world. She would also receive assistance in finding possible investors.

Advancing the lives of cassava farmers

A banker for 11 years, Arsonillo left her job at an international bank in the Philippines in 2008 to start SUGRUVI. Whenever she comes home to Bukidnon, she frequently sees cassava being grown in small patches in the province. She learned that cassava is not only for human consumption but for other productions as well. She thought of uniting cassava farmers into a community making cassava produce.

“Aside from being food on the table, cassava is also being made into noodles, one of the main components of glue, made into chalk, textile and many others. It has a lot of uses and now, one of the big markets for it is the production of ethanol. It’s like corn but only cheaper,” explained Arsonillo.

They partnered with a rural bank and sought other financing schemes to buy the good variety of cassava and distribute it to the farmers for free. She approached San Miguel Corporation to sell cassava chips but the company did not respond very early. For two years, the cassava farmers booked high costs, but no income. Because cassava rots in 48 to 72 hours, the farmers had little time to make them into something useful, thus lowering their income considerably.

“What we want is to make a transport unit that will go from the center to the mountains so the processing will take place there. This will avoid spoilage, lower transportation and labor costs and increase the productivity of the farmers and the organization,” she continued.

Fortunately, after two years of waiting, San Miguel started ordering from SUGRUVI. This inspired Arsonillo even more, as well as the farmers in her organization. She is proud of her kababayans' solidarity as they produce the amount of order that their clients demand.

SUGRUVI now has 278 members, 48% of whom are women and 23% are from the Matinsalog, Manobo tribe.

Social and environmental impact

The BiD Women in Business Challenge, now on its second year, was established to focus on women who are already in business but want to expand. According to Thierry Sanders, director and founder of BiD Network, 27% of all the business pitches they are receiving each year come from women entrepreneurs. Since there wasn't any international competition for these women, to help them assist in the expansion of their businesses, BiD Network pioneered one for them.

“There’s a lot of women entrepreneurs out there and they just need to put their business plans together, find a coach and get financed. They have great business ideas,” said Sanders.

Last year, it was Marianne Olano from Naga City who won the grand prize for her business Baycrafts Jewerly.

“The most important thing we are looking for is an entrepreneur who has growth ambitions. They must have social impact and we are looking for environmental businesses as well. So if you can have that combination of 20% of income growth, social impact and environmental impact you're in the right spot and you're looking for finance because we can help you look for finance,” continued Sanders.

According to Sanders, they do not entertain businesses which have lower that 20% predicted growth income in one year because these will not generate jobs that are needed in the community. He cited the statistics in the United States where 90% of jobs generated in the last 20 years were from companies which had start-up of $250,000 and more than 20% yearly growth.

All the five finalists, including four from Peru and Uganda, got business coaching from BiD and ING especially in areas like finance and investor match-making, marketing, women leadership, overcoming cultural barriers and finding export partners.

They were also advised to find business partners or investors who have solid background to build trust and track records, in addition to having perseverance.

Going International

SUGRUVI is currently only producing for domestic distribution but Arsonillo said that their end goal would be to go international. A few Dutch companies have already expressed interest in looking at their products and using tapioca starch instead of corn starch.

“The cassava chips are still on the starting level but starch is the end of the line. When the selling prices are high, the buying prices are also high so hopefully we can go and reach that goal (of going international),” said Arsonillo.

There is also a possibility of acquiring mobile units and other kinds of technology for their cassava processing. Some investors are also willing to buy SUGRUVI shares, prompting Arsonillo to turn the organization into a corporation.

“We waited for a long time but we didn’t think expect that it will this worth it,” she ended.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Floyd jabs at Pacman: I'll only fight 'all-natural boxers'

MANILA, Philippines – Controversial boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. threw verbal jabs yet again at Manny Pacquiao by saying he'll only fight "all-natural" boxers.

"I really feel bad for the fans that have been waiting for the Pacquiao fight for so long," the undefeated boxer told

"It's just, if I fight a fighter, I want to make sure that fighter is 100% all-pure and all-natural."

Mayweather, who faces Victor Ortiz in September, said refuses to stake his 41-0 record against Pacquiao because he claimed that the Filipino boxing superstar refused to take random blood testing.

"He just doesn't want to take these same test[s]. I work too hard to take a chance of losing to a fighter that's cheating," he said.

But Mayweather, who still has a pending defamation suit from Pacquiao, was careful from accusing Pacquiao of performance enhancement drug (PED) use.

"I'm not saying that Manny Pacquiao is cheating," he said.

"That just goes for any fighter. Any fighter that's getting in the ring with Floyd Mayweather must take the random blood and urine tests."

Mayweather, also known as "Pretty Boy Floyd," apparently failed to hear Pacquiao's willingness to undergo the tests.

"Pumayag naman ako pero hindi 'yung talagang maraming dugo na kukunin. Kung anong dugo ang kelangan sa drug test, ganoon lang karami. Fourteen days [before the fight]," Pacquiao earlier told ABS-CBN News' Dyan Castillejo.

(I relented to his demand as long as they take just enough blood needed for the test… Fourteen days before the fight.)

Negotiations broke down between the camps of Pacquiao and Mayweather in 2010 when the American boxer demanded an Olympic-style drug testing.

Pacquiao later relented and agreed to drug testing provided that he will be given a 14-day cut off.

Mayweather, however, repeatedly declined to fight Pacquiao despite getting offers as high as $65 million.

Air Pacquiao? Manny to meet up with Nike boss

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino ring icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is set to meet with the head honcho of sports apparel giant Nike while on vacation in the United States.

The pound-for-pound king will be taking his family for a vacation in Southern California, Top Rank boss Bob Arum told

But Pacquiao will also meet with Nike’s founder and chairman, Phil Knight.

“Manny is going to Oregon, up to Nike headquarters to meet the big boss, Phil Knight and all the other top people with the company,” Arum said.

Arum said that Nike is planning to create a “huge Pacman product line.”

The promoter added that the product line will be similar to what Nike did for Michael Jordan and the Air Jordan line.

World tour

Meanwhile, Arum is already planning the global media tour for Pacquiao’s next bout – a November 12 meeting with Mexican foe Juan Manuel Marquez.

“We will start at the end of August in the Philippines. We start in Manila and then we will be going over to Singapore, where they have huge interest in Manny,” Arum said.

The promotional tour will also make stops in the Middle East, including Abu Dhabi, before going back to the United States.

“We will finish the media tour, appropriately enough, in Mexico City,” Arum said.