CLEAN SLATE: Durable Nixon Mas, spark plug Francis Escandor

I am a bit surprised and actually feeling proud that former University of Mindanao and Davao City standout Nixon Mas has made his mark these days by winning two medals in the 22nd Asia Masters Athletic Championships.

Nixon, fondly called Nikoy by fellow Davao City athletes, won the gold in the men’s shot put with a distance of 13.17 meters and a silver in the discus throw at 42.82.

It was actually former FIFA international referee Jun Mendez, who is now based in the U.K., that quickly shared the news on his FB.

Nikoy and another throwing champion, Benedict Tenorio (whose first name I was trying to recall until editor Neil Bravo tipped me on it) were regularly practicing at the old PTA field (now the People’s Park). Nikoy was a varsity for University of Mindanao and Tenorio for the Rizal Memorial Colleges.

Each afternoon, after their classes, we would find these two outstanding athletes, both So Kim Cheng (SKC) Sports Awardees practicing along with other school-based athletes.

We observe them from a distance, usually from the Adolfo Canteen, or from where coach Jose “Sensei” Te will be sitting on his rattan chair. We must be at a safe distance, you know, maigo palang mis sa bola ug discus, ma ospital gyud diretso sa Limso Hospital.

After their sterling contributions to their schools and the City of Davao, we lost contact with both athletes and the last time we heard, they were recruited in Manila to become national athletes.

And just recently, Nixon Mas is back in the sports pages with wins in the Asian Masters. Masters na kay 50 naman, LoL.

I am also happy to know that Nikoy has been working as strength and conditioning coach of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the PBA, for Philspada and the national squads funded by the Philippine Sports Commission.

“Lingaw lingaw lang gud,” Nikoy told Edge Davao.

But we are really proud of this outstanding feat.

It brings back lovely memories of how they made Dabawenyos proud of their sports achievements in the 1990’s.

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Francis Escandor

I just learned that former Davao basketball standouts Nonoy and Arvin Bonleon had a hand in the early training of a young Francis Escandor. Turns out that Francis’ mom is a relative on the Derla side of the Bonleons, who is very well known in the basketball community.

In the later years, I know that coach Ronel Leuterio also had the opportunity to teach the son of Royal Mandaya Hotel big boss Glenn Escandor, whose company has been backing amateur basketball development for years that started with the late good Colonel, Emil Escandor.

The young Francis has hugged the headlines these days by being the spark plug in La Salle’s victory against UP to even the series at 1-1 in the ongoing UAAP.

If you noticed, our editor in chief Neil Bravo has been closely following the development of Francis, obviously learning at the outset of the potential of this young Dabawenyo should he join the big leagues.

During our days of covering the DASIA Security and Royal Mandaya Hotel Employees Basketball Tournament, his dad Glenn is one of the hardworking players you can find. Not because he has the privilege of possessing the ball, but because he just worked hard on the court, making good of the minutes allocated for him. When the news of Francis doing good for team La Salle, I told myself, he must have got that hard work ethic from his Dad. You see, in Davao basketball, everything is serious, sobra pas PBA ug NBA actually basta liga na.

Truth is, it is very heartwarming to know that Dabawenyos are making waves in Manila.

Francis Escandor is one Dabawenyo athlete worth following.

The last time I checked, he was the best player for La Salle in the Aspirants Cup, logging in 15 points, five out of 10 from the field, five out of nine from the three-point arch and hauling five rebounds.

The good Colonel, Up There, is sporting a wide smile knowing his grandson is making everybody proud in the Davao sports community.

And you are right Neil, if given the minutes, this young Dabawenyo is just like a spark plug and he deserves to be in the center stage.

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For comments, email mpb_sports@yahoo.com.

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