Sunday, April 22, 2012

Johnny A: Still on top of his game

I CAUGHT the first set of Johnny Arcilla’s win againt Jurence Mendoza, and boy, was it something. Like a puppet master, the country’s number one had the youngster at the end of his strings, running on all directions.

After another winner that had the country’s top junior netter looking, Mendoza’s shoulder sunk and he threw a look at the no. 1 men’s player as if to say, “someday, i will beat you.”

But that day wasn’t last Thursday, and Mendoza joins a long list of Arcilla’s victims in Cebu. If my every failing memory serves me right, Johnny A has only lost twice here since 2007—once against then no. 1 PJ Tierro in Mandaue and the second against Japan’s in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania group 1 tie in Lapu-Lapu City last year.

And other than those two, Johnny has shown why he is the country’s number one, getting past all comers and then some. I remember, in one final, he played through a bum groin and still won.

Last year, a determined PJ Tierro took the first set in the finals via tiebreak and was ahead, 2-0, in the second but Johnny, being Johnny, found his rhythm to take the next two sets to win his third straight title in Cebu.

And, unless I jinxed him by mentioning this, he should be a win away from winning his fourth Cebuana Lhuillier title here.

Johnny sure loves Cebu.

SAD OLYMPICS. It’s less than 100 days to go before the Olympics, but sadly, with the way things are going, it doesn’t look like we will end our gold medal drought this year. Only one boxer qualified—Mark Anthony Barriga—and it’s not because of the lack of preparation. Abap, one of the NSAs supported by Manny Pangilinan, got the support it needs but the darn draw went against us during the Asian qualifiers, as we got the heavyweights in the early rounds.

And the boxing team had all the preparation it needed, thanks to the support of Abap, but are we losing our touch in boxing? Even in the Asian level?

Is it time, again, to rethink how we do things? Perhaps, and, it’s back to the usual “back to square one” calls after every 0-0-0 haul in the Olympics. But what is different this time is that this happens before the game starts.

So, when will we ever win our first Olympic gold? Or, in the case of the last three Olympiads, will we ever win another medal?

Aside from focusing on the current Olympic sports, should we take charge in lobbying for billiards’ inclusion in the quadrennial games?

That way, we more than have an even chance in gunning for the gold medal.

It’s either that, or we hope the amateur boxing world turns upside down and we’ll have the Manny Pacquiaos and Nonito Donaires gunning for gold.

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