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Friday, July 17, 2009

Pacquiao is 2009 ESPY Awards’ Best Fighter

He is considered the best pound-for-pound boxer but how does Filipino phenom Manny Pacquiao stack up against equally successful mixed martial arts fighters?

Well, the “Pacman” rises above the best MMA fighters, judging from the final results of the 2009 Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly awards or ESPY.

The 30-year-old Pacquiao won the “Best Fighter” plum in the prestigious awards handed out by famed American cable TV network ESPN to honor the year’s outstanding athletes in major sports.

Pacquiao beat out MMA stars Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva and fellow boxer Sugar Shane Mosley for the prestigious award.

The pride of General Santos City earned the nod of ESPN’s online voters for his sensational dismantling of erstwhile IBO light-welterweight boss Ricky Hatton last May, and his demolition of Oscar De La Hoya five months before.

Machida was nominated for his knockout victory over erstwhile unbeaten Rashad Evans, which clinched for him the light-heavyweight title at UFC98; Silva for his wins over Patrick Cote, Thales Leites and James Irwin; and Mosley for his stunning TKO victory over Mexican Antonio Margarito.

Pacquiao’s jaw-dropping KO of Hatton was also in the shortlist for the “Best Play” award but lost out to the Ben Roethlisberger-to-Santonio Holmes last-minute touchdown catch in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl XLIII win over Arizona.

Others which vied for “Best Play” were Washington Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin’s goal opposite the New York Rangers during Game 5 of the Stanley Cup playoffs and Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree’s game-winning catch against the Texas Longhorns.

As ESPY’s Best Fighter, Pacquiao joins an elite line-up that reads like the who’s who in world sports that includes Michael Phelps (Best Male Athlete and Best Record Breaking Performance); LA Lakers (Best Team); Lorena Ochoa (Best International Female Athlete and Best Female Golfer); Usain Bolt (Best International Male Athlete); LeBron James (Best NBA Player); and frequent winner Tiger Woods (Best Golfer).

Pacquiao’s ESPY award came on the heels of his earlier achievements as one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time Magazine and as a top 10 member of Forbes’ richest athletes in the world. – GMANews.TV

2009 ESPY Winners

Best in Sport
Best Female Athlete: Nastia Liukin, Gymnastics
Best Male Athlete: Michael Phelps, Olympic Swimming
Best Moment: US Swim team wins thrilling finish in Olympic relay
Best Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Best Coach/Manager: Phil Jackson, Los Angeles Lakers
Best Game: Steelers vs. Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII
Best Championship Performance: Michael Phelps, Olympic Swimming
Best Play: Roethlisberger to Holmes Super Bowl Winning TD
Best Upset: US Soccer shocks Spain in the Confederations Cup semifinals
Best Breakthrough Athlete: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Best Record Breaking Performance: Michael Phelps, Olympic Swimming
Best Sports Movie: The Express: The Ernie Davis Story
Best Male College Athlete: Tim Tebow, Florida Football
Best Female College Athlete: Maya Moore, Connecticut Women’s Basketball
Best Male Athlete with a Disability: Jason Lester, Ironman Triathlete
Best Female Athlete with a Disability: Erin Popovich, Swimming
Best International Male Athlete: Usain Bolt (Jamaica, Sprinter)
Best International Female Athlete: Lorena Ochoa (Mexico, Golf)

Individual Sports
Best Baseball Player: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
Best NBA Player: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Best WNBA Player: Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks
Best NFL Player: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Best NHL Player: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Best MLS Player: Landon Donovan, Los Angeles Galaxy
Best Male Action Sports Athlete: Shaun White, Skateboarding/Snowboarding
Best Female Action Sports Athlete: Maya Gabeira, Surfing
Best Bowler: Norm Duke
Best Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Best Fighter: Manny Pacquiao, Boxing
Best Male Golfer: Tiger Woods
Best Female Golfer: Lorena Ochoa
Best Jockey: Calvin Borel

Special Awards
Arthur Ashe Courage Award: President Nelson Mandela
Jimmy V Award For Perseverance: Don Meyer, Northern State University coach
Best Comeback: Dara Torres, Olympic swimmer.


In the end, talent and pride prevailed over character and attitude.

San Miguel Beer outplayed Barangay Ginebra in the grandest stage of a title playoff -- Game Seven -- fashioning out a convincing 90-79 victory to bag the Motolite PBA Fiesta Conference crown before a roaring crowd of over 20,000 at the Araneta Coliseum.

"Ginebra will always be a never-say-die team. They have that great character and attitude. But when we're tested after the Game Five loss, we showed our talent as well as our pride as a champion team," said San Miguel coach Siot Tanquingcen moments after the championship.

The Beermen emerged triumphant after a fortnight of fierce battle, dethroning the Kings as Fiesta Cup champs and, in the process, ending their chase for a first title since their 2004-05 Fiesta Conference conquest.

Gabe Freeman, the tournament Best Import awardee, proved too hot to handle in this eventful evening, bulldozing his way to game-highs of 29 points and 18 rebounds.

Then there were Jonas Villanueva, Marc Pingris, Danny Ildefonso, Mike Cortez and Mick Pennisi also rising to the occasion as the Beermen frustrated the Kings and their throngs, thus, notching the franchise's 18th championship overall.

Tanquingcen kept his mastery of friend and mentor Jong Uichico in playoff battles in earning a third personal championship. The youthful SMB tactician won his first two titles with Ginebra.

"Nagkataon lang yon," said Tanquingcen, downplaying his fourth win in as many playoff tiffs with Uichico.

"It took us quite sometime to close it out and I would like to apologize, knowing the high expectations of the management and the fans on us," Tanquingcen also said. "I had to admit we really have a powerhouse team. But when tested, it took us talent and pride to get the championship."

The Beermen made it a come-from-behind victory, clinching it with victories in Games Six and Seven.

Villanueva, the season's Most Improved Player, came through with 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in Game Seven and went home with the FERN-C Finals MVP trophy. He wound up with averages of 11 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists in the series.

With the win, San Miguel preserved its great ride in the classification round leading to outright entry into the Final Four.

Ginebra, second placer in the prelims, also gained automatic semis entry and proved to be a worthy finalist. But two missed shots at closing out the series had them yielding the coveted crown.

Freeman frolicked in the do-or-die setto, coming through with his 22nd triple double in the tourney.

David Noel, meanwhile, floundered in the face of tough adversity, struggling with a 3-of-11shooting and committing a game-high six turnovers.

SMB took control right in the opening quarter and held on to the finish in frustrating Ginebra and its die-hards.

The Beermen opened a sizable lead, 24-11, right at the onset of the game as Freeman asserted himself early, making nine points and five rebounds in the opening quarter.

The Kings came to within one at 35-36 but Freeman, Ildefonso, Villanueva and Mick Pennisi worked on a 9-2 closing run to take the half at 45-37.

It took the exploits of Jayjay Helterbrand for the Kings to prevent the Beermen from pulling away in the first 24 minutes of play. Helterbrand was seven-of-eight from the field for 15 points on top of four rebounds and the same number of assists in the first half.

It was an action-packed first half that saw the Beermen outrun the Kings, producing 10 points off the breaks, two more than that of Ginebra. (NC)

The scores:

San Miguel 90 - Freeman 29, Villanueva 15, Pingris 12, Ildefonso 10, Cortez 9, Pennisi 8, Washington 5, Hontiveros 2, Racela 0, Pena 0.

Ginebra 79 - Helterbrand 25, Menk 12, Tubid 10, Reavis 9, Noel 8, Lanete 6, Wilson 5, Baguio 4, Mamaril 0, Salvacion 0.