Clean Living

Pinoy cockers reign supreme again

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The smashing victory of local cockfighting idol Patrick Antonio and Rey Briones (Spartans DR-1); noted breeder Boy Jiao and former Rizal Gov. Ito Ynares (June 14 NCA Big Event Ynares Arena 220K Pot) and newcomer Rikki Reyes (@PR Knights Rian WRN) in the just-ended World Slasher 8-Cock Derby highlighted once more the superiority of our locally bred fighting cocks over their counterparts from abroad, notably that of the American cocker-breeders.
Before a jampacked crowd, the Pinoy champions posted identical 7-1 win-loss records at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, besting a tough and battle-tested field of 174 entries.
“It’s time that we abandon our colonial mentality that imported cocks, especially those coming from the United States, are far better than our locally bred chickens,” said Briones, who won the Slasher Cup-2 championship in 2003 with his signature Red Spartans, Grey Spartans and LSK Spartans.
A former colleague at the Evening Post, Briones surprised many old timers in the sport when he wound up champion that year, finishing in a tie with veteran Matt Bitanga with seven wins in eight fights. “I didn’t expect to beat the elite field,” Briones said humbly.
But the most unexpected triumph in this year’s Slasher Cup-2 was that of Danilo “Boy” Jiao, a simple, soft-spoken and honest person, who typifies the true Filipino sabungero.
A breeders’s breeder, Jiao had only a scary three points after the elimination and semifinal rounds. Still, his partnership with Ynares paid off handsome dividends as they swept their remaining matches.
But you believe that Jiao does not consider cockfighting as gambling but more as a wholesome sport? “I don’t bet much,” he said. “I simply savor the pleasure of breeding winning gamecocks,” added Jiao, who mastered the art of breeding in the United States where he worked with topnotch American cocker-breeder Ed Flynt while taking up a course in agriculture at the Moore College in Oklahoma. He is best known among cockfighting aficionados for breeding the touted “BJ Greys.”
On the other hand, Reyes is a relative newcomer in the Slasher Cup scene.  But he has made a name for himself in this international cocking festival, considered as the world’s toughest and most prestigious 8-cock derby in the world.
In sharing the Slasher Cup-2, Reyes fielded his own breed of RDR Greys and RDR Blueface Hatches. He was financed by Ortee Reyes and Val Samson.
Of course, Antonio needs no further introduction. A multititled cocker-breeder, Antonio is top gun of the highly regarded Team Sagupaan. A Party-List representative of Agbiag, Antonio has already won a total of five Slasher Cup titles since 1997.  He topped the first leg of this year’s Slasher Cup last January, winning it via a clean (8-0) sweep.
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In the early 1960s, the much-feared imported gamecocks from the US came from the farms of  legendary Duke Hulsey, Johnny Jumper, Oscar Aikins, Dan Gray, Bob Howard, Joe Goode and Ray Alexander. While their Filipino counterparts were Dr. AP Reyes, former owner of the Sta. Ana Race track in Makati; shipping magnate James Chiongbian, DO Plaza, Ricardo Silverio, the Cojuangcos of Tarlac, the Lacsons of Bacolod City and the Montinolas of Negros.
Next to basketball, cockfighting is the country’s most popular pastime. According to the surveys, between 8 and 10 million people (mostly males) are avid followers of sabong.
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