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Last-quarter storm

  • Written by Ed Andaya
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 327

THE year 2016 is more than  half over but avid  sports fans like you and me  still have enough  reasons to be excited in the remaining four months in the calendar.

This isn’ t to say the first eight months were less than exciting.

Hidilyn Diaz's  silver-medal winning performance in  the recent Olympic Games in Rio Janeiro -- a  first for the country in 20 years -- and  Manny Pacquiao’s  dominant win over American  Tim Bradley in what was billed as his farewell fight in Las Vegas provided the exceptional sports highs thus far.
        
But surely  there are more  good  things to look forward to in the coming months.
   
September
   
42nd World Chess Olympiad, Baku,  Azerbaijan. Scheduled Sept. 2-14.
        
Two  years  ago, the Philippines played in the Olympiad without its top player, Wesley So, who has  defected to the United States due to differences with  top sports officials. The country is in bigger bind this year.
        
Why we’re  excited: If  the chess gods smile on us, the Philippines may yet find itself playing against the United States. That means So could  be playing Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre on board three. -- a   mouth-watering  scenario every Filipino fan should be excited about.
   
AVC Asian  Club Volleyball Championship. Scheduled Sept. 3-11.
        
With Foton  representing  the  country,  women's volleyball will be in the limelight again and nobody is complaining.
    
Why we’re excited: Although Foton isn't expected to win, hosting such  prestigious event will  fast track the country's return to international prominence.
   
FIBA Asia Challenge. Sept. 9-18. Tehran,  Iran
    
So why aren't you excited  yet?
    
The country’s  future stars now playing under new coach Josh Reyes will have the formidable  task of  carrying the country's colors in  the 10-day competition.
        
Why we’re excited: This is a good chance to watch the future stars of local  basketball and a perfect opportunity to see how Reyes, the  son of former coach Chot Reyes, would  perform.
   
UAAP Season 79. Starts Sept. 4. Araneta Coliseum.
        
In less than a week, it’s  the UAAP's turn to keep sports fans glued to their seats. The country’s top collegiate league promises another full season of intense and action-packed games from the country's talented young players from the leading school-teams.
   
Why  we’re excited:  Defending champion Far Eastern University remains as the team to watch but the rest of the seven teams  have improved their line-ups to make another ambitious run at the title.
   
NAASCU Season 16. Started Aug. 25.
    
Billed as the 'Other League', the NAASCU entered its 16th season with more teams (14), more events (10) and more TV exposure (Solar Sports).
   
Why we’re excited: With three-time champion Centro Escolar University taking a leave of absence, the road to the title becomes a little easier. But with all 14 teams parading much-improved players (including foreigners), the games will be tighter and more unpredictable. Now that's a good reason to watch.
   
October
   
10th FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship. Scheduled Oct. 18-23.
        
Women’ s volleyball fever reaches new heights with the hosting of this prestigious competition featuring the world' best -- and most beautiful -- volleyball players.
 
Why we’re excited: When she came to the country for the 2000 FIVB Grand Prix,  Brazilian femme fatale Leila Barros was an instant superstar. Filipino men, considered as the most romantic in the world, wanted to marry her. If local organizers are to be believed, there's more Leila  Barros  coming to make our hearts beat again. Now aren't you excited yet? Be honest, please.
   
November
   
Manny Pacquiao comeback fight versus  American champion Jessie Vargas. Las Vegas,  Nov. 5.
   
Seven months after announcing his retirement in April and winning a Senate seat in May, Pacquiao is returning to the boxing ring to fight WBO welterweight champion Vargas.
 
Why we’re excited: If Pacquiao fights, the whole world stops to watch.
   
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) elects new officers on Nov. 25.
 
If  you’re an athlete, sponsor and even plain sports fan, this is one event we’re   waiting, especially since it's a once-every-four-year event, just like the Olympics.
   
Why we're excited: Under President Duterte, change is here. And the sports world desperately needs change in leadership if we really want to be at par even with our Southeast Asian neighbors. It's time to infuse new blood  and remove -- even forcibly -- over-staying and under-achieving officials. The  handwriting on the wall is clear:  #PepingOut.
     
December
        
It's Christmas time.
        
Why we're excited: It's the season to be merry.

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