More last goodbyes
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson () - January 17, 2010 - 12:00am

In last Friday’s column, we ran an obituary to honor those who passed away in 2009.

Today, we pay tribute to two gentlemen whose contributions to Philippine sports were major. Founding PBA commissioner Leo Prieto died last April and six-time world bowling champion Paeng Nepomuceno’s father and coach Angel, last October.

Prieto served eight years as PBA commissioner and got the league off to a rousing start in 1975. As coach of the fabled YCO basketball club, he piloted the Painters to a string of national titles, including seven in a row in 1957. Aside from basketball, Prieto also had a passion for football and horseracing. He formed the Boys Football Association – which is still going strong – and was president of the Manila Jockey Club.

One of Prieto’s achievements was coaching the Philippine basketball team to seventh place in the 15-nation Melbourne Olympic tournament in 1956. The Philippines beat Thailand, 55-44, Japan, 76-61, France, 65-58, and Chile, 75-68, while losing to eventual gold medalist USA, 121-53, Uruguay, 79-70, Chile, 88-69, and Bulgaria, 80-70.

Bill Russell and K. C. Jones led the USA assault. Beating fourth placer France in the preliminaries was a highlight and pushing bronze medalist Uruguay to the limit was another feat. Defeating Chile in a rematch for seventh spot after losing to the same team in the preliminaries ended the Philippines’ campaign on a high note. Prieto’s cagers were skipper Tony Genato, Caloy Loyzaga, three-time Olympian Ramoncito Campos, Bonnie Carbonell, Piling Barretto, Eddie Lim, Charlie Badion, Mon Manulat, Nano Tolentino, Martin Urra, Antonio Villamor and Leonardo Marquicias with Francis Wilson and Mario Ballesteros as alternates.

Prieto was 88.

Nepomuceno, fondly known by friends as Pappy, died on the eve of All Saints’ Day at 81. It was Pappy who guided Paeng throughout his storybook bowling career – from when the Hall of Famer was only 19 in winning the first of his four World Cups in Tehran in 1976.

But Pappy wasn’t only involved with his son. He also coached Bong Coo to the Masters championship at the FIQ Asian Zonals in Perth, Australia, in 1992 and Dianna Tanlimco to second place at the World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1988. He guided Crystal Soberano to four gold medals at the Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta in 1987. Linda Reyes was another Pappy protégé and won six consecutive Masters titles under his tutelage in the late 1970s.

Others who passed on last year were Heisman Trophy winner Doc Blanchard, 84, one-time Time Magazine cover girl and 1952 Winter Olympic two-time gold medalist Andrea Mead Lawrence, 76, Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, 88, 1988 US Olympic women’s basketball gold medal team coach Kay Yow, 66, one-time women’s golf glamour girl Betty Jameson, 89, seven-time baseball All-Star and Joe Dimaggio’s brother Dom, 92, and 6-9 former University of Cincinnati center and two-year NBA veteran Paul Hogue, 69.

* * * *

PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad confirmed the other day that talks to merge the 27-year-old league with Liga Pilipinas are ongoing. An initial meeting to discuss the parameters of a possible “working relationship” was held in Makati last Monday with PBA chairman Lito Alvarez presiding and Trinidad with SBP executive director Noli Eala and SBP technical manager Perry Martinez attending.

The next meeting is scheduled on Jan. 25.

 Trinidad said if not for the PBL”s resiliency, it would’ve folded up with the recent exit of Harbour Centre, Hapee Toothpaste and Magnolia.

“We’re a survivor,” said Trinidad. “Any other league would’ve collapsed. But we’re still alive. We’ll be ready to open our new season on Feb. 13. We’re sticking with our age limit of 25 but we’re opening our doors to ex-pros from the PBA and ABL for as long as they’re within the age limit.” Trinidad said the PBL will be bannered by at least five teams.

Trinidad is the PBL’s eighth commissioner after Joe Pavia, Moying Martelino, Andy Jao, Ogie Narvasa, Philip Juico, Charlie Favis and Yeng Guiao. Trinidad became the PBL commissioner in 2000.


National poomsae coach Igor Mella said recently that certain new rules approved by the World Taekwondo Federation since the 2008 Beijing Olympics will mean more objective scoring and more exciting matches in the sport.

Some of the new rules that Mella mentioned were the scrapping of the 12-point ceiling and the seven-point margin to automatically stop a bout, the disqualification of a fighter with an accumulation of four-point violations, the awarding of three points for a kick to the face regardless of impact, scoring two points for a turning kick to the body and the use of a video replay to settle a controversy.

“We’re seeing more exciting action with the new scoring rules,” said Mella. “There is less subjectivity now, particularly in scoring a kick to the face. I remember that when the 12-point ceiling was still in effect, Tshomlee (Go) lost by a point after an 11-all tie in a crucial international match and it was unfair to end the fight with a lot of time left. At the Laos Southeast Asian Games, the results showed we’ve adjusted well to the new rules. Even without poomsae at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, we’re optimistic of improving on our performance of four years ago in Doha.”

Poomsae, where the Philippines’ women team is the world champion, is not included in the taekwondo calendar in Guangzhou this November. Only the sparring events will be held with 16 gold medals at stake, eight for men and eight for women. Each participating country is allowed to send in a limit of six entries for men and six entries for women, taking away the incidence of one nation dominating the competitions.

At the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, taekwondo hotbed South Korea claimed nine gold medals, five of eight in the men’s events and four of eight in the women’s. Additionally, South Korea bagged one silver and one bronze. There were 10 South Koreans in the finals and only middleweight Park Kyeong Hoon failed to hit paydirt.

The other countries that took gold medals were China with three and Iran, Jordan, Chinese-Taipei and Qatar with one apiece. The Philippines collected two silvers and three bronzes.

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