Jerusalem is PSA’s choice for the month

Melvin Jerusalem pumped life back into Philippine boxing with his Easter Sunday feat in Nagoya, Japan.

While the country was observing Lent, the pride of Bukidnon went about business on enemy territory and successfully wrested the WBC minimumweight belt from Japanese holder Yudai Shigeoka on ‘Resurrection Day.’

Jerusalem, 30, knocked down Shigeoka twice en route to a split decision verdict that made him a world champion a second time and brought a breath of fresh air after a string of disappointments for Filipino fighters.

Back on top after a short-lived reign as WBO 105-lb kingpin last year, Jerusalem capped a productive month for Philippine sports with his glittery triumph in Japan and with it, earned the nod as the Philippine Sportswriters Association’s top achiever for March.

Lady boxers Nesthy Petecio and Aira Villegas also sparkled in their ring assignments while tennis ace Alex Eala added a trophy to her collection to join the country’s only reigning boxing title-holder in the march of outstanding performers.

Petecio, silver medalist in the Tokyo Olympiad, gained a crack at a targeted medal upgrade in Paris as she booked another stint in the Olympics by beating Turkey’s Esra Yildiz via SD in the women’s 57kg class of the World Qualifying Tournament in Italy.

Villegas followed her fancied teammate by making it to the women’s 50kg division via a unanimous decision win over Bulgaria’s Zlatislava Chukanova.

Tokyo bronze medalist Eumir Marcial, another Paris-bound boxer, treated fans to a seventh-round TKO of Thoedsak Sinam as he made his first pro fight at home at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

Teen star Eala won her second doubles title in the pros in the ITF W75 Croissy Beaubourg in France.

Eala, 18, teamed up with Frenchwoman Estelle Cascino in pulling the rug from under top seeds Jessika Ponchet of France and Maia Lumsden of Britain, 7-5, 7-6 (4).

More Pinoy bets found success in other fronts.

Angelika Abatayo (girls singles), Rosita Bradborn (women’s singles), Elmer Abatayo and Rodel Labayo (men’s pair) and Sharon Hauters, Hazel Hagonoy and Ainie Knight (women’s triples) anchored a four-gold, one-silver and three-bronze haul for the Philippines in the Asian Lawn Bowls Championships in Thailand.

Sixteen-year-old Woman National Master Ruelle Canino made waves in chess, reigning in the ‘Battle of the Women Masters’ with a total of 8.5 points at the expense of Woman International Master Jan Jodilyn Fronda (8) and Woman Grand Master Janelle Mae Frayna (7).

Siblings Sydney Sy-Tancontian (women’s senior +80kg) and Chino Sy-Tancontian (men’s senior -98kg) and Ace Larida (men’s-88kg senior) struck gold in the Dutch Open International Sambo Tournament in the Netherlands, where the delegation had a 3-1-1 harvest.

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