LOOK: Alyssa Valdez is one of the judges of Bb. Pilipinas 2018

Volleyball superstar Alyssa Valdez will help select the new set of queens of the country’s premiere beauty pageant.

Valdez is part of the panel of judges of this year’s Bb. Pilipinas, where 40 candidates vie for six international crowns.

In a stunning twist, Valdez’s teammate in Creamline – Michele Gumabao is competing for the coveted Bb. Pilipinas crowns.

Aside from Valdez, Ateneo de Manila’s basketball star Thirdy Ravena is also one of the judges as well as actor Gerald Anderson, Miss International 2005 Precious Lara Quigaman, and news anchor Ces Drilon.

The grand coronation night is on going as of press time.

Next Man Up: Be the next FOX Sports Writer

If you have the writing skills, then we got the break you are looking for.

FOX Sports Philippines is looking for young and aspiring sports writers to join our elite editorial team.

If you have the confidence and the work ethic to back it up, send us your CV and sample works to FoxSports.Philippines[at]fox.com with the subject – Next Man Up: [Name] – [Sport/League you want to cover].

If you think you are the one we are looking for, it’s time to step up.

Gumabao slays Bb. Pilipinas National Costume Competition

Former De La Salle University stalwart Michele Gumabao is nailing her first-ever pageant stint, proving that she is worthy of a crown in the 2018 Binibing Pilipinas.

Gumabao, who fashioned an elegant black mermaid style terno by designer Nat Manilag, made it into the Top 10 Best in National Costume Saturday at the Kia Theather in Cubao, Quezon City.

Here’s the full list of finalists:

Binibini 33 – Stephanie Joy Abellanida
Binibini 04 – Ana Patricia Asturias
Binibini 18 – Rosantonette Mendoza
Binibini 19 – Michele Theresa Gumabao
Binibini 11 – Aya Abesamis
Binibini 31 – Jehza Huelar
Binibini 20 – Catriona Gray
Binibini 30 – Sarah Margarette Joson
Binibini 29 – Samantha Avestruz

The coronation night of the country’s most prestigious pageant will be held on March18 at the Araneta Coliseum.

Sporting retail giant INTERSPORT lands in the Philippines

Sports aficionados who know the European landscape would be familiar of the sporting goods giant INTERSPORT brand. But now, in 2018, that group has finally landed in the Philippines, having its grand opening last February 22 at Vertis North in Quezon City. 

The event was attended by sporting personalities including college basketball star Thirdy Ravena and Philippine Volleyball superstar Alyssa Valdez.

On 9 September 1968, INTERSPORT International Corporation was founded by ten national wholesale companies of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Today, the brand is a global leader in sporting goods retail, with a turnover of more than 10 billion Euros and over 5 800 stores in 45 countries, as it formally opens in its 46th country, the Philippines.

On February 8, 2018, INTERSPORT Philippines opened its very first store in Ayala Vertis North Mall, in the bustling heart of Quezon City, through local franchise partner, Planet Sports Incorporated.

As stated by Visionary CEO, Anton Gonzalez, “The sports retail game in the Philippines is changing rapidly, and the Global Pinoy of today demands and deserves only the very best in product quality, value and expert service”.

INTERSPORT is a multi sports specialist, with sharper focus toward running, swimming, basketball and performance training.

“We are committed to offering customers the best products by the best brands. At INTERSPORT, It doesn’t matter what you do, or how fast or slow you do it, the benefits of an active lifestyle are free for everyone to enjoy. Sports offers a multitude of benefits to people of all ages and all walks of life. From beginners to athletes, there’s the right physical activity for everyone,” added Mr. Gonzalez.

Check out @Intersport Philippines on Facebook, and @Intersportphil on Instagram for updates on events, activities, promos and product-related releases.

Forget tourism: Pyeongchang’s legacy probably debt and anger

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) The equation was supposed to be simple. To build a world-class ski destination, simply add the Olympics and wait.

But even as South Korea basks in the glow of daily competition and global attention, hope is fading that Pyeongchang will do what was promised during its successful 2011 Olympics bid and turn an ignored, impoverished backwater into a premier Asian ski hub.

With the close of the games this weekend approaching, some worry that the Olympics will instead saddle the region with a legacy of massive debt and the perpetual maintenance of a handful of hugely expensive venues that no one knows what to do with.

When it came to landing the Winter Games, the things that had always isolated the area – heavy snows, long winters and sharp mountains that rise nearly half a mile above sea level – were a blessing. But when the visitors leave, many of the province’s problems will remain.

It will still have a tiny, rapidly aging population that’s second to last in the nation in average income and without any real industry after the collapse of the mining and coal sectors that many once relied on.

”There is a high possibility that the 2018 games will lead to long term financial strain, if not bankruptcy, on the local government,” Joo Yu-min, a professor at the National University of Singapore, wrote in a book last year about South Korean mega-events. ”The benefits for local residents are also questionable.”


Pyeongchang always hoped for the kind of transformation that happened in Seoul 30 years ago during its memorable Summer Olympics. But the nation’s capital in 1988 was ripe for change in a way that Pyeongchang is not.

South Korea’s population had exploded since the Korean War left the country in rubble in 1953, and the 1988 games allowed Seoul’s infrastructure to finally catch up. Large public parks sprung up along the city’s Han River. New highways, bridges and subway lines proliferated. Gleaming high-rise buildings rose from the bulldozed ruins of old commercial districts and slums.

The idea was for the country’s first Winter Games to also boost development and mark the area as a world-class tourist destination.

South Korea spent about 14 trillion won ($12.9 billion) on the games, well above the 8 to 9 trillion won ($7 to 8 billion) initially projected. Big, modern resorts now nestle among the mountains, and there are new roads, highways and trains. One whisks people from the Seoul area, the country’s population hub and international gateway, to Pyeongchang in about an hour and a half.

Western sit-down toilets have replaced squat toilets, and traditional floor seating was swapped for chairs and tables in many restaurants. English-language menus and wheelchair accessibility were added. Beds replaced pallets in some motels. Many owners spent their own money along with modest amounts of government subsidies; there have been grumblings that there wasn’t enough official support.

Of course, the same trains that speed people to the area in the morning can take them back again in the evenings, robbing locals of a big slice of the tourism money they were promised and leaving the mammoth resorts empty. And a lot of the valuable land around the venues and resorts has reportedly been snapped up by well-connected family members of the country’s powerful business monopolies.

Gangwon, the province that governs Pyeongchang and nearby Gangneung, a seaside city that hosts skating and hockey events, will be stuck with managing at least six state-of-the-art Olympic facilities after the Winter Games. The International Olympic Committee warned in August that the venues could become white elephants.

The scenic Jeongseon Alpine Center, built where a forest of rare trees once stood, was supposed to be demolished after the Olympics and restored to its natural state, which could cost more than $90 million. But Gangwon officials are now trying to persuade the national government to let at least half the course be developed into a high-end leisure destination.

”I hope that the course stays,” said Maeng Won-yeong, 65, one of dozens of area residents whose homes were moved to make way for the course. While it wasn’t easy seeing his neighbors leave or a beautiful forest knocked down, Maeng said Jeongseon, a former mining town, desperately needs a tourism boost.

Gangwon has pushed, unsuccessfully so far, for the national government to pay to maintain new stadiums that will create an estimated 9.2 billion won ($8.5 million) deficit each year. Gangwon official Kim Yong-chul said there could be ”an outline of an agreement” with the national government on helping with maintenance costs by the end of the Paralympics.

”The national government,” Kim said, ”has the responsibility to step up.”


In a country that has never had a strong winter sports culture, it seems unlikely that money from local visitors – let alone waves of rich foreigners – can offset the venues’ high maintenance costs.

Some locals feel that the money could be better spent on social welfare.

Kim Jin-hee, a 49-year-old who runs a small coffee shop in Sabuk, another town in Jeongseon, can’t find a special needs school, either in her town or in the surrounding area, for her 9-year-old son, who struggles to communicate because of a severe brain disability.

She finds it absurd that a province that can’t provide the most basic services for its citizens has splurged this much on sports. ”I really have a lot of complaints about that,” Kim said.

Another problem with the push to put Pyeongchang on the map as a winter sports destination may come from within.

Beset by North Korean missile tests and threats and recent political and social crises and massive street protests that helped drive the former president from office, many don’t see winter sports as that important.

”It’s not a big national moment or a big marker of identity for South Korea,” John Delury, a Korea specialist at Seoul’s Yonsei University, says of these games. ”The fact that no one is really excited about the Olympics is a sign of maturation.”

Never mind dreams of a tourist boom, said Sangho Yoon, a senior researcher at Seoul’s Korea Economic Research Institute. The province, he said, could be headed for 10 to 20 years of financial trouble once the games leave town.

”We will never be able to justify the spending,” Yoon said. ”The costs that Gangwon Province will shoulder will be greater than whatever bump it gets in tourism.”

The region’s only shot at becoming a true international destination for winter sports is to embrace niche markets, like travelers from Southeast Asia and the Middle East intrigued by skiing but lacking home venues, Yoon said.

Instead, he said, Pyeongchang officials seem focused on promoting the region to existing winter sports markets in North America and Europe.

”How many New Yorkers will say, `Hey, let’s go to Pyeongchang and ski?”’ said Yoon. ”Zero.”

Foster Klug is South Korea bureau chief for The Associated Press, and Kim Tong-hyung is a correspondent in Seoul. Follow them on Twitter at (at)APKlug and (at)KimTonghyung.

Kim Jong Un impersonator brings joy to PyeongChang Winter Olympics

There was a very familiar face in the crowd at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. Kim Jong Un. Was he really there? Daniel Ratanapintha investigates.

The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games has been dubbed as a groundbreaking event to break down barriers between DPR Korea and Korea Republic. We speak with Kim Jong Un impersonator, Howard, who this week reminded us that through the common bond of humor, much like sports, we can see we’re all cut from the same cloth.

For the most part, these games have shown how far relations between the people of DPR Korea & Korea Republic have come; especially considering the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul that saw strong political tension during the games. Therefore the significance of the two Korean athletes marching under one unification flag during the opening ceremony speaks volumes to the progress made thus far, despite ongoing political issues.

Rather it was the remarkably well choreographed displays of support from the “army of beauties” that has caught the imagination of the world. As social media went wild, many took issue questioning the legitimacy of their support, given how they’re under a 24-hour watch just like the DPR Korea athletes.

So what’s better than 239 hand-picked North Korean ladies cheering for their nation?

It has to be the moment when all 239 of them were left flabbergasted by the sight of their supreme leader appearing before them.

That man of course, simply known as Howard, is a Chinese-Australian impersonator who has been playing the role of DPR Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the last five years.

Howard who doesn’t speak Korean is actually from Melbourne and was already ejected from the games after teaming up with a Donald Trump impersonator before he was stopped in his tracks for a second time when he tried to approach the 239-strong cheerleading squad.

‘Kim’, approached the cheerleaders and was met with giggles from the women mostly in their 20’s, several of whom were somewhat bewildered, but most saw the funny side of their ‘Dear Leader’ giving encouragement during a game of hockey. Unfortunately he was quickly apprehended by the minders of the group and forced back to his seat.

Reporter: After you were stopped alongside Donald Trump initially, were the security surprised to see you again?

Howard: First of all the guards from the stadium on the opening simply took us back to our seats and it was different guards who detained me at the hockey arena. Some of them actually did find it amusing.

Reporter: Do you feel comedy can be one of the best ways to address politics with this expression of free speech?

Howard: Yes Satire is the most feared weapon against any dictatorships, or any politician. That’s why Australia has such a healthy democracy because the politicians are constantly in fear of their consistency and not the other way around.

Reporter: What was going through your mind as you approached the North Korean cheerleaders?

Howard: They were very cute and that I really would like to root all of them. Some of them were surprised, shocked and some giggled or laughed with their hands over their mouths.

Reporter: I saw you were quickly taken away by their ‘political minders’, what happened when the South Korean police arrived?

Howard: They quietly disappeared back into the arena.

Romero: Change in POC leadership is long overdue

With the continued decline of Philippine sports, Rep. Mikee Romero (1Pacman Party-list) yesterday reiterated his call for the overhaul of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) leadership so that the dream of winning the ultimate prize – an Olympic gold – will be finally realized.

“With the sad state of Philippine sports, change in the POC leadership is long overdue,” said Romero who is vice chairman on Youth and Sports Committee in the Congress.

Since the POC General Assembly has approved the election on Friday, Romero said he’s praying that all national sports association (NSA) heads, especially those aligned with POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, Jr., will be enlightened that this is the right time for a fresh start.

Despite the many chances, Romero said the current leadership has failed to give the athletes the support they needed to be competitive enough that’s why countries like Singapore, Vietnam and even Myanmar have overtaken the Philippines.

“We need new direction, new energy, and renewed focus. The longest-serving POC president has put the country’s sports program to its lowest ever records. It is time for a fresh start,” said Romero.

Romero cited that under Cojuangco’s watch – 13 years in power – the country has produced only one Olympic medal – a silver courtesy of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz in the Rio Games.
In the Asian Games – also in the span of 13 years – the country collected a measly eight golds, 13 silvers and 29 bronzes.

The Philippines won a record 113 golds in 2005 due to a hosting advantage but the entire sporting community was shocked with the country’s anemic showing in the 2007 edition of the biennial meet that saw the country win only 41 golds.

Ten years after – in the Kuala Lumpur Games – the Philippines struggled and netted only 24 golds.

Romero described the current POC leadership as pathetic because its record is an insult to the blood, sweat, and tears to the athletes, coaches, and their families who have invested a lot in their quest for an Olympic gold.

In order that the “people’s money” will not go to waste, Romero is demanding a full special audit of all the funds the Philippine Sports Commission gave to the POC and all the NSAs since 2005.

Romero warned that if there is a systematic and orchestrated misuse, pilferage, and malversation of those funds, then the charge that fits all that is plunder.

PH skater Michael Martinez fell short at Pyeongchang 2018

Jhon Mark Trinidad

Pinoy figure skater Michael Christian Martinez wrapped up his 2018 Winter Olympics campaign at Pyeongchang, South Korea with an early exit at the men’s singles event.

For the short program part of the contest, Martinez performed his routine in the tune of Vanessa-mae’s “Emerald Tiger” at the Gangneung Ice Arena. The commentators described his performance as “safe”. Nonetheless, the first Southeast Asian male figure skater at the Olympics wowed the audience with his strong presence and flawless spins.

Martinez accumulated a total segment score of 55.56 points including 26.04 points for technical elements and no deductions. He placed 28th out of 30 Olympic skaters where Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan reigned supreme with a dominating 111.68 points. The Filipino Olympian scored better than Spain’s Felipe Montoya (52.41 points) and Ukraine’s Yaroslav Paniot (46.58 points). Unfortunately, Martinez already bowed out of competition and lost his chance to win the country’s elusive first Winter Olympics medal as the bottom six of the short program will not advance anymore to the free skate program where he originally planned to skate to the songs “El Tango de Roxanne” and “Tango de los Exilados”.

Martinez is still the country’s pride as his second consecutive Winter Olympics appearance has unusually placed the Philippines, a tropical nation, at the international map of figure skating. Surely, his heroics will inspire the Filipino youth to venture to the sport of figure skating.

On a positive note, the Olympic dream continues for the Philippines as Asa Miller will do his best to represent the country at the men’s slalom and men’s giant slalom events under the sport of alpine skiing on February 18 at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre.

From comfort to high-tech: Food a serious quest at Olympics

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) First, U.S. snowboarding star Chloe Kim tweeted about being ”down for some ice cream” while competing in Pyeongchang, then about being ”hangry” because she hadn’t finished her breakfast sandwich.

Clearly, food is a big deal for Olympians, and it’s usually much more complicated than ice cream and sandwiches: the very specific, highly calibrated fuel they put in their bodies – for energy, for health, for warmth, for a psychological and physiological edge – is an important part of what makes them excel.

Korean food is some of the world’s finest – savory, salty soups with fish so tender it falls off the bone; thick slabs of grilled pork and beef backed with spicy kimchi that many Korean grandmothers swear cures the common cold. But it’s very different from what many foreign Olympians are used to.

”What I recommend for athletes right now in competition mode is to be as safe as possible. This might happen once in a lifetime; you don’t want to blow it with just having an upset stomach because you’ve eaten something that’s different to what your body’s used to,” Susie Parker-Simmons, a sports dietitian for the U.S. Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said in an interview in Pyeongchang. ”I say, as soon as the games is over, go at it; enjoy, be adventurous.”


The U.S. team has its own chefs and dietitians, as well as two ”nutrition centers” here. And then there’s the food at two athletes villages, where nearly 3,000 athletes from 90 different countries – most of whom strictly follow unique food routines – get fed.

The goal is to provide lots of everything.

The two villages each have massive, 4,000-square-meter (43,055-square-foot) dining rooms where nearly 500 chefs and cooking assistants provide a combined 18,000 meals per day. Each dining room is open 24 hours a day and offers about 450 different types of food in buffets that include Western, Asian, Korean, Halal, Kosher, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, David Kihyun Kwak, the director of food and beverage at the Pyeongchang Olympics, said in an interview.

To determine what to serve at Pyeongchang, Kwak’s team analyzed food data for the past five Olympics and also worked closely with other nations’ nutrition specialists.

The amount of raw ingredients used each day to feed the athletes is staggering: 700 kilograms (1,540 pounds) of beef, 450 kilograms (992 pounds) of eggs, 350 kilograms (771 pounds) of lamb, 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of bacon, 170 kilograms (374 pounds) of chicken, 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of rice, 3,800 kilograms (7,495 pounds) of fruits and vegetables, about 15,000 pieces of bread and 800 pizzas.


Most Olympic athletes don’t eat outside of the villages because of worries about the purity of ingredients, Kwak said. The United States did tests before the 2008 Beijing Olympics that found some local chicken contained enough steroids to trigger positive test results.

Experts examine ingredients closely for possible contamination that could threaten athletes’ health or disrupt doping tests. South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has sent more than a dozen food safety specialists to take ingredients samples to buses equipped with fast-testing laboratories to look for potential problems before the food even gets eaten.


Finland’s Riikka Valila, the oldest women’s ice hockey player in Olympic history at 44, likes the food options here but misses the ”really good bread” back in Finland. She said some of her teammates on gluten-free diets have brought food from home.

The Americans shipped over 85 pallets, each about 6 feet tall and 3 feet deep and wide, filled with pastas, sauces, peanut butter, grains and plants like quinoa, and spices, Parker-Simmons said.

There’s food meant to help with performance and recovery, but there’s also ”psychological food,” which Parker-Simmons explains like this: Say an athlete training her whole life for the Olympics fails. She takes it hard; she stops eating. This is when the dietitians will turn to something special – a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, maybe, or Cheez-Its.

Vincent Zhou, a U.S. figure skater, said he needs a lot of carbs, ”before, between and after sessions,” to fend off fatigue. ”It hasn’t been very difficult finding comfort food,” he said.


The work to optimize nutrition can seem as thorough as the work to perfect the sports skills.

Dietitians have to regularly test cross-country skiers, for instance, who have the highest energy expenditure of any sport in the world, Parker-Simmons said. An average-sized woman will need 4,000 calories or more per day to train and compete; a typical man needs about 7,000 calories, she said. Ski jumpers, on the other hand, sometimes have to drop 10 kilograms below their natural body weight, while keeping up their muscle mass and energy.


Foreign fans, of course, have their own food worries and routines.

South Korean officials have tried to provide menus in English and other languages to thousands of local restaurants. And the Korea Tourist Organization has published a brochure, complete with a hotline in English, Japanese, Korean and Chinese, that outlines ”must eat” dishes and where to find them.

Some tourists embrace the exotic.

”I was impressed with the little fish, the eyes and everything,” Julie Thibaudeau, 53, from Quebec, said as she celebrated her son’s gold medal in mogul skiing in a local Pyeongchang restaurant. ”I tried, and it was salty, but it was good. And after that I had a good glass of … beer.”

Others play it safe. Very safe.

”We found Papa John’s (pizza) today, which was literally life-changing because … we haven’t eaten a lot for the last few days,” Rachel Basford, 31, a teacher in Shanghai who’s from Kent, England, said while drinking in a fried chicken restaurant. ”I’m not that adventurous when it comes to trying local foods. I just like to eat British food in various places around the world.”

Asked if she planned to try Korean food she said, with a laugh: ”No. Absolutely not. We’re going to Seoul tomorrow so there’s the McDonald’s at Seoul Station, so that should be good.”


For the athletes, sheer abundance can be a danger.

When U.S. figure skater Adam Rippon got to Pyeongchang a coach told him about the last Winter Games in Sochi, when one of her athletes became very excited about all the food available even as his performance in training tanked.

The coach finally understood what was happening when the athlete donned his costume for the short program: ”He’d been in the cafeteria the whole time; he’d gained seven pounds before the competition,” Rippon said with a laugh. ”And my coach is sitting next to me, and he was like, `ha, ha, ha, ha,’ and he turned to me and said, `You’d better not get fat while you’re here.”’

Chloe Kim, by the way, finally got her ice cream – and a gold medal. She could be seen eating her treat while being swarmed by reporters.

AP writer Kim Tong-hyung contributed to this report.

Follow Foster Klug, South Korea bureau chief for AP, at www.twitter.com/apklug , and Kim at (at)kimtonghyung

TBTh : Classic sports-influenced PH adverts

Since it’s Thursday, we throwback once again with five memorable sports-influenced advertisements from the past.

Let’s get straight into it:

Metrobank ET featuring PBA star Paul Alvarez (1991)

Such was the pull of basketball during those years that a product (in this case, an automated teller machine service) utilized the star power of a basketball player to promote its new banking service.

Cash, banking, automated teller machine -> basketball.

It really does make complete sense!

Alaxan featuring Manny Pacquiao (2010)

Pac-Man at the height of his powers. It refers to one of his training methods where he undergoes a series of pain control training as part of his preparation for upcoming fights.

It ends with Manny showing his multiple titles that at the time were really under his possession.

Moral of the promo: No pain, no gain for Manny Pacquiao. So don’t fear pain.

Gatorade “Striker” featuring Emelio “Chieffy” Caligdong (2011)

It was a time when the Philippine national football team was at its peak of its popularity.

Around a year after that fortuitous and watershed victory of the squad against ASEAN powerhouse Vietnam in Hanoi, the Azkals were sharing the spotlight of the sporting landscape.

One of the leaders of that team was lethal striker Chieffy Caligdong who inspired spectators and future footballers because of his talent and goalscoring ability during crucial matches.

San Miguel Beer featuring Danny Seigle, Danny Ildefonso, Olsen Racela, Nic Belasco, Samboy Lim, and Hector Calma (2000s) 

A promo highlighting the passion of the Filipinos for basketball it prominently featured the current San Miguel PBA team of the time with cameos of their legends.

Arguably one of the most epic sports-centric advertisements.

Milo featuring Bea Lucero, Mon Fernandez, Christine Jacob, Monsour del Rosario, and Lydia de Vega (2004)

This advert contains a powerhouse cast of Filipino sporting icons, especially Ramon “El Presidente” Fernandez and Lydia de Vega.

This 4oth anniversary edition of Milo definitely takes the cake for this edition of classic TVC’s.

That’s it!

Hope you enjoyed. Game ON!