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    From Rizal pitch to Vegas, PH heroes out to bring pride on weekend to remember for sports

    Dec 7, 2012

    INDOORS, under the sun, or under floodlights, on home soil or overseas, Filipino athletes showcase their talent on a busy weekend for Philippine sports.

    Eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao leads the sports heroes seeing action on a jampacked weekend of sports, sharing the limelight with the Philippine Azkals, last year’s Asian Tour No. 1 Juvic Pagunsan and Angelo Que, red-hot local cage squad Talk N Text and crowd darling Barangay Ginebra, and Pinoy marathoners trying to defend home turf against another Kenyan invasion. will provide scores and round-by-round updates as they happen from venues such as the Rizal Memorial Stadium to as far as the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

    With a chance to move closer to the title match of the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup, the Azkals host the Singapore Lions in the first leg of the semifinals at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.

    It is the second straight time the Philippine national football team has reached the last four of the region’s most prestigious football competition, and now the Azkals hope to do one better than 2010 as they go for a spot in the final.

    Tickets are selling like hotcakes, but the Azkals faithful and some curious casual football fans can still see the action on cable as well as free TV as the Philippines looks to score a third victory in as many encounters with Singapore this year, and the right to face the winner of the other semi between Thailand and Malaysia.

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    On the fairways of Amata Spring Country Club, focus is on American star Bubba Watson and South African rival Charl Schwartzel, but trying to steal the show are Asian stars including Pagunsan and Migs Tabuena although the Filipinos have slipped behind early and will have their work cut out for them in the weekend.

    Pagunsan and three-time Asian Tour winner Que at posting time looked set to make it to the weekend play in the US$1 million tournament, although three others were projected to miss the cut.

    Before sunrise on Sunday, top homegrown long-distance runners led by former Southeast Asian Games champion Eduardo Buenavista will battle defending champion James Tallam and other Kenyan runners in the Milo Marathon National Finals starting and ending at the MOA grounds in Pasay City.

    But the main event is set before noon on Sunday, when Pacquiao tries to clear all doubt about his dominance and current form by taking on Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time.

    The first encounters saw Pacquiao settle for a draw and two victories by decision, and now the flamboyant Filipino southpaw from General Santos City hopes to end the tetralogy with a convincing victory.

    Action from MGM Grand will be shown on pay-per-view, cinemas at the malls, and the usual free live match at the corner basketball court sponsored by politicians. Free TV will surely be an excruciating experience, but of course live updates and expert analysis will be posted on Ringside Chatter and Manny Matters on

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    Finally, before the day ends, Barangay Ginebra and Talk N Text collide in a tantalizing showdown between crowd darling and league leader at 6:30 p.m.

    In the curtain-raiser at 4:15, second-running San Mig Coffee battles midtable squad Meralco. 

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