ITS VICTORY over San Mig Coffee in Game 1 of the PBA best-of seven semifinal series has moved Rain or Shine owner Raymond Yu a step closer to achieving his goal this year.
After winning his first-ever PBA championship last season Raymond said he can now dare to dream another notch higher.
“Our next goal is to win an All-Filipino title,” Raymond said over lunch at Mario’s recently. “This is also coach Yeng Guiao’s personal wish. He has several championships tucked under his belt but the All-Filipino has been elusive. All the titles he has won are import-reinforced.”
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Raymond said the lunch meeting should have been scheduled earlier, right after the Rain or Shine championship, but company problems cropped up at about that time.
The “Habagat” came unexpectedly and there was an anticipated rise in demand for the champion’s product.
“We had just launched our new product, Rain or Shine Fresco, and the dealers were eager to find out how our championship would translate into sales, but Habagat brought with it days of rain. Nobody paints when it’s raining.”
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As I unrolled a calendar he gave me, Raymond pointed to the photograph of a balding man with the menacing glare. He was dressed in a dark business suit and he occupied the biggest space in the picture.
“We owe a big part of our championship to this guy,” said Raymond pointing to the man. “He made good his promise when he joined our ballclub.”
There was no ceremony, no lengthy speeches during the contract-signing between Welcoat and Yeng in 2010, but Raymond said Yeng dropped a powerful and inspiring line addressed to him and co-owner Terry Que and their families who were also present.
“Boss, I will give your team a championship!” Yeng said.
“And this he accomplished even without a superstar in our team,” Raymond said.
“Correction. We did have one superstar. That’s him,” Raymond said, pointing to the photo of Guiao, who will soon be running for congress in Pampanga.
Raymond said he is keeping his fingers crossed that even if elected, Guiao will still be able to coach and give Rain or Shine more championships.
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I got lucky at the AKTV Christmas party held recently at Prime Upscale Club in Tomas Morato. Not because I won any major prize, but because I was seated next to a scribe who had just returned from the United States to cover the Pacquiao-Marquez fight in Las Vegas and the Donaire-Arce showdown in Houston, Texas.
No doubt about it, said the scribe, Nonito Donaire Jr. is the heir apparent to Manny Pacquiao, who lost in such a woeful manner to Juan Manuel Marquez. Pacquiao, he claimed, was not fully focused on boxing like his opponent “El Dinamita.”
“For four months, JuanMa had nothing on his mind except boxing and how to beat Pacquiao. In contrast, Pacman had so many things to focus on like religion and politics, among others.”
If Donaire is Pacman’s heir apparent, I said I still have to see a worthy opponent. “After Vic Darchinyan, there seems to be no other,” I told the scribe.
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The scribe said Donaire’s last opponent, Jorge Arce, is a legend in Mexico and a candidate for boxing’s Hall of Fame.
“He’s good but people think he’s washed out even though he’s young because he has fought so many fights,” he said.
Even the Japanese veteran Toshiyaki Nishioka is a vaunted fighter, according to the scribe.
“Here’s what happens. Early in the fight, Donaire’s opponent gets to sense how powerful his punch is so they try to avoid getting badly hurt. That’s why winning against these guys is a walk in the Park for Filipino Flash.”
The scribe also said he is inclined to believe that Rachel Donaire, Nonito’s wife, is “infanticipating.”
“Judging from the way she looked in Houston, she must really be pregnant. Rachel has gained weight and even the shape of her face has changed. It has become rounder.