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  1. Former choir member Tiffany Teo determined to fulfill destiny as martial arts champ

    From our friends at ONE Championship...

    If a teenaged Tiffany "No Chill" Teo could see her adult counterpart, she would be unrecognizable.

    As a young girl, the Singaporean martial arts standout was heavily involved in choir activities, which she participated in for a decade.

    "I was a nerd when I was a kid. I was not very active," Teo shared in jest.

    Today, Teo is the polar opposite as she traded in her songbooks and rehearsal rooms for a pair of four-ounce gloves and the gym.

    Teo went from a quiet, unassuming choirgirl to becoming a renowned strawweight martial arts prospect with an impressive record of 7-0.

    The winding road to ONE Championship began in the oddest of places - in front of the television screen. Teo?s interest in martial arts, Muay Thai specifically, was stoked by popular reality show The Contender Asia.

    Motivated by the aforementioned television program and a brief stint in Taekwondo, Teo made her way to a Singapore gym to start training in the "art of eight limbs" nearly eight years ago.

    What started out as a way to stay in shape quickly turned into requests for Teo to test out her skills against real competition.

    "I had no plans to compete," she revealed. "My coaches kept asking. They wanted me to go to Thailand. I thought it was a crazy idea. 'You want me to go face a girl that has been doing it all her life?'"

    Teo turned down the opportunity test herself in Thailand, and, after training for two years, she put Muay Thai on the shelf completely as she packed her bags and headed to the United States to study Psychology at the University of Buffalo, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

    However, school was far from enough to keep Teo from wondering "what if" in terms of martial arts competition. As each day passed, the fire in her to compete grew stronger.

    With a full life prior to heading to the United States, there was simply no time for her to train, but after concluding her studies, the window opened again.

    Teo returned to Singapore and dove head-first into the amateur martial arts scene after just a month of training.

    What was meant to be a one-time experience that she could cross off her bucket list soon turned into something more serious, all because she lost.

    "I hate losing," Teo bared. "I decided to re-evaluate what I did wrong, and I wanted to continue."

    A far cry from her days in the choir, Teo's journey to perfect her craft in martial arts progressed quickly.

    After immersing herself with Muay Thai and boxing, Teo dabbled in the famous grappling discipline of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

    Before she knew it, the Singaporean was on the road to a full-fledged professional mixed martial arts career.

    "I fell in love with martial arts. There is more to it than throwing strikes and grappling with your training partner on the mat. It empowers me every single day," Teo stressed.

    From the amateur to the professional ranks, there was one battle that Teo fought for every single match that she was booked for: winning the approval of her parents.

    "They did not like the fact that I am competing," she said. "Since day one, they asked me why I wanted to do it. 'You cannot be a normal person with a nine-to-five job?' They have let it go, but I know they do not like it. They wanted me to settle down and live a normal life."

    After having her hand raised in seven professional bouts inside the cage, Teo has received the biggest opportunity of her perfect martial arts career as she is scheduled to clash with "The Panda" Xiong Jing Nan for the inaugural ONE Women's Strawweight World Championship.

    Both women are set to collide in the main event of ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE, which takes place at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia on 20 January.

    The 28-year-old Singaporean title contender can make history on that fateful night, but she knows that it will not be easy.

    "It takes a lot of discipline and hard work to be a world champion. We see how people change after they become the champion, so I feel like you need to stay humble, grounded, and continue to work hard," she stated.

    Although Xiong is widely-regarded as one of China?s finest woman warriors, Teo is confident in her ability to win as she is preparing for all possible scenarios for her first-ever martial arts world title contest.

    "I feel a knockout or submission is possible. She is pretty wild with her punches so the opening for a knockout is there, and an opening for a takedown is there if she is committing to her punches," she explained.

    "At the same time, she is tough. She might not get knocked down or knocked out, and she ...
  2. My Memorable Basketball Moments for 2017

    It is officially a new year, and yes Praxedes, we somehow survived the annual mandatory blood alcohol poisoning that is part of the rituals of ringing out the old and ringing in the new.

    Below, numbered for enumeration and not for order of importance, are my memorable basketball moments for 2017:

    1. Kevin Durant made the move and won his championship ring.

    There are those who think Durant ought to be commended for finally coming to terms with the fact that he and Russell Westbrook will never win an NBA world title together in Oklahoma City.

    There are also those who think Durant should never ever be allowed into the Hall of Fame because he took the easiest way out of that little conundrum by signing with the Golden State Warriors, effectively ensconcing the NBA title in the West for all time, or at least the next decade.

    Durant did what he had to do, and did it at a time when he can still win multiple championships in Oakland. Yes, if he was as great as he thinks he is then he should have stayed in Oklahoma and proven it.

    But then again, he doesn't owe anybody any explanation or excuse about making a move that is simply a no-brainer if he wants to have the one thing that all the true greats have, a championship.

    Unless LeBron James is cloned in Cleveland then the NBA has become boring for the next decade or so.

    2. Ginebra retains its Governors Cup title.

    Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco played to a record crowd of over 54,000 fans at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan in the Mother of all Game 7's as the Gin Kings retained their PBA Governors Cup championship.

    Greg Slaughter, who sat out the 2016 title run due to injury, finally got his first PBA championship on the hardwood floor.

    Meralco put up a heck of a fight, but in the end the superior size of Ginebra proved just to big (literally) an obstacle to overcome.

    If the Game 7 box office and television share was any indication, Ginebra is still the lifeblood of the PBA.

    3. Lyceum went from shit to sweep in the NCAA.

    Talk about the Lyceum Pirates in the NCAA and you'd normally get word associations such as "cellar dweller", "league doormat", "whipping boys". At least until this season.

    This season the Pirates completed an historic 18-game regular season sweep of the NCAA, including two tough games against reigning champion San Beda.

    Granted they eventually folded when it mattered most, getting swept 2-0 in the Finals as the Red Lions went on to continue their NCAA Dynasty.

    Still, no one can ever take away what Coach Topex Robinson, CJ Perez and the rest of the Pirates achieved this season. That si probably a record that will stand for the better part of this century.

    4. Christian Standhardinger, through no fault of his own, is now June Mar Fajardo's teammate.

    Mention Christian Standhardinger and what automatically comes to mind is the controversial trade that allowed the already powerful San Miguel Beer franchise to draft him with the Number 1 pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft.

    No one except the most hardcore of hoops fans even heard of Standhardinger before this year.

    He is a strapping and active 6-foot-8 Filipino-German forward who spent his college years in the US NCAA.

    Then Gilas head coach Chot Reyes summoned him for national team duty and he answered the call.

    Although he was classified by FIBA as a naturalized player and not a local, he saw action with Gilas and showed Pinoy fans why Reyes wanted him.

    Fast forward to Draft Day 2017 and Kia gives up the rights to the Number 1 pick in favor of some role players, allowing the Beermen to nab Standhardinger.

    He now gets to play alongside four-time MVP Fajardo, although not right away since he still has an active ABL contract to play out.

    5. Chito Narvasa resigns as PBA Commissioner following the Standhardinger controversy.

    Kia, as mentioned above, gave up the chance to get Standhardinger in the draft essentially for three role players: JR Reyes, Ronald Tubid, and Filipino-American Rashawn McCarthy. Uh, who? Yes Praxedes, that was what everybody thought as well.

    Anyway, where were we? Ah yes, Narvasa.

    This trade would not have been consummated had Narvasa not approved it as Commissioner.

    This then led to a "schism" of sorts within the PBA Board, with five team allied with the San Miguel Corporation on one side, supporting Narvasa, and seven teams led by the PLDT Group on the other side asking for Narvasa's head on a platter.

    Although Narvasa held out for a while, he did eventually give up and resign.

    Truth be told nobody would ever in a million ...

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