Manny Pacquiao, Louis Gamban and other left-handed Pinoy athletes that we love
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 13, 2020 12:19 PM
It's that time of the year once again!
Every August 13th, the spotlight shines on some of the rarest, most-unique group of people in the world: the left-handed.
Did you know that only ten percent of the entire human population is left-handed? Well now you do!
To celebrate International Left-Handers Day, we decided to show love to some of our favorite left-handed Pinoy athletes!
There's likely no Pinoy athlete more popular than Manny Pacquiao. The southpaw boxing icon is the sport's only eight-division world champion and is currently the reigning WBA (Super) Welterweight World Champion. Even at 41 years old, Pacquiao remains one of the best in the world and is still being sought out as an opponent by some of the sport's biggest names. Throughout his career, Pacquiao's left hand has been his most devastating weapon.
Pacquiao's popularity transcended sport, as he's had his (left) hand in other ventures such as acting, making music, playing professional basketball, and even politics.
Much like his mentor Manny Pacquiao, reigning IBF Super-Flyweight World Champion Jerwin "Pretty Boy" Ancajas is a super-southpaw. The 28-year old Pacquiao protege has racked up an impressive 32-1-2 professional boxing record and has held the IBF's 115-pound title since 2016, with eight successful defenses.
When it comes to Pinoy basketball, arguably the most notable lefty is none other than Allan Caidic. Caidic is a 5-time PBA Champion, the 1990 PBA Most Valuable Player, and a PBA Hall of Famer. Caidic was one of the league's most prolific scorers during his time, dropping 79 points in a game back in 1991, with 53 of those points coming in the second half. Caidic also finished that game with a mind-blowing 17 threes made.
No wonder he was known as "The Triggerman".
While Allan Caidic may be the most notable lefty from previous Pinoy basketball eras, the first one that comes to mind in today's game is the "Hefty Lefty" himself, Jason Perkins. The six-foot-four Fil-Am forward is a two-time UAAP Champion and a PBA Rookie of the Year. Perkins is currently one of the main pieces of Phoenix in the PBA.
Juan Gomez de Liaño
Jumping to the collegiate basketball ranks, no other left-hander has made more of an impact than University of the Philippines guard Juan Gomez de Liaño. Juan GDL's silky-smooth jumper and shifty slashing style has drawn comparisons to another left-handed hooper in NBA MVP James Harden. More importantly, he's helped UP basketball back to prominence with three consecutive Final Four berths, and a trip to the Finals back in Season 81.
National Team mainstay Jovelyn Gonzaga is one of the country's top opposite hitters, and her weapon of choice is her left hand. The proud Ilongga is currently playing for both Philippine volleyball leagues, and has racked up individual honors in both, including MVP, Finals MVP, Best Hitter and Best Opposite Spiker honors.
Nobody would argue that Aiza Maizo-Pontillas is a legend in Philippine volleyball. The Iloilo-native began her journey to stardom in the collegiate ranks, helping UST to women's volleyball titles back in Season 69 and Season 72. After a stellar UAAP career that saw her win Best Attacker, Best Server, and Best Scorer honors, Maizo-Pontillas transitioned to the local club scene and also became a National Team standout. Throughout her decorated club career, Maizo-Pontillas has won numerous championships and has taken home even more individual honors including multiple MVP and Finals MVP nods.
The UAAP Season 82 volleyball tournament may have been cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that time period was enough for University of the Philippines rookie Louis Gamban to make an impact. In the season opener, the first-year hitter was firing on all cylinders as he put up 10 points to help UP take down Ateneo for the first time since UAAP Season 76. Gamban put up 12 points in their loss to UE in their next game, before the season abruptly came to an end. If Gamban's first two games are any indicator, the left-handed hitter should be a name to watch out for in the coming UAAP seasons.
Filipino-American MMA fighter Mark "Mugen" Striegl might not be a household name for Pinoy sports fans yet, but expect him to become one soon. The 32-year old southpaw has had stints with PXC, ONE Championship, and the URCC, where he was the promotion's featherweight champion. Striegl is also a 2019 SEA Games gold medalist in Combat Sambo. Earlier this week, it was reported that Striegl is headed to the UFC and will be debuting later this month.