It’s hard to write about a game such as last night’s due to the sheer variety and depth of emotions that come with its recollection. For the most part I was calm, primarily due to the fact I don’t buy in to the ‘laban’ and ‘puso’ shtick. My love for my country has nothing to do with basketball and even less on the outcome of a game. I love my country and (deserving) fellow Filipinos, and I’m pretty much sure the the players of Gilas do as well. This is default and non – negotiable, so the idea of it indirectly being questioned every time I read ‘puso’, as if to say we do not have heart if we do not win offends me. If we lose a game we may not be as skilled, as tall, as fluid or whatever, but it’s certainly not because we lack heart. If anything we might have too much heart. Let’s talk basketball tangibles – shooting, assists, defense, and the like. But don’t talk to me about not having heart. Never ever doubt heart.
They play like a bunch of hacked together talents – Which means they are either under coached or have just not had enough time to play together. They do not have any plays and rely mostly on exploiting match ups. Failing that it’s basically excursions by their best player, whoever that may be at the time, which explains why their point guard will occasionally be scoring. This will work in the short term primarily because our PGs are far too small to defend anyone properly, but as with any coach will tell you a driving point guard is a recipe for disaster because it leaves their team open for transition.
The most telling sign of their lack of cooperation is their inability to help their best player get an open shot. At the latter part of the game when they needed points most, Jarvis Hayes was their man. Unfortunately the rest of the Qatar team didn’t seem to see it that way and wouldn’t help him out. There were no diversions, no sets or picks made for him and he had to deal with the long arms of Gabe Norwood or sometimes even multiple defenders, a tall order for any scorer.
Once again I have been very privileged to have been able to see yet another NBA superstar, and this time no less than the biggest star of them all, with 2 rings, 4 MVPs, 2 Finals MVPs, and 2 All-Star MVPs, 2 Olympic golds, 2 Bronze, 1 Fiba gold, current NBA Champion and current MVP LeBron James.
The day started out at Shangrila Makati where all of us media listened to a ten minute interview between him and Boom Gonzales.
Media were unfortunately unable to ask questions ‘due to time constraints’, which was unfortunate not necessarily because I had anything to ask, but because Q&A sessions are almost always a riot. When Kobe came there was a guy who was taking so much time leading up to his question remembering stories of his being a fan of Kareem, Magic and the old Lakers, that I could swear he forgot his question so he ended up rambling about his College days. Continue reading “WIItnessing History – LeBron's Manila Visit 2013”
Kevin and Bobbito, the guys behind ‘Doin It In The Park!’ and who were sent in by Nike Phils. to show their film recently have finally written about their trip here, and as I expected they were stunned by how much we had embraced the game.
Let me try to take you back to many years ago. See that picture of a basketball court on top of this blog? I can’t remember exactly when but years ago on that same court I was playing pick up on a typical sunny weekend afternoon. It was way too hot to be out of the shade but there I was anyway along with a bunch of other basketball ‘adiks’ like me, getting a game in before there’d be too many people trying to play on two courts.
I don’t know exactly what made it happen but during a lull in the game I looked up at the blue, cloudless sky. There were a few branches from the trees in the way but for the most part it was a perfect sky. On a perfect afternoon. On the perfect time of day with me doing the most perfect thing I can think of: playing pick up ball.
And it hit me that right there, right then I did not want to do anything else anywhere anyhow anywhy. I was playing pick up and everything else in my world could go straight to hell and I couldn’t give a fuck (and a lot of it was at the time).
I remember thinking: Right now on that rough cement court I loved the game and as I was playing it I was loving my life. I loved the sound our sneakers made. I loved the sweat dripping off my chin. I loved the near smooth basketball even if everyone was avoiding the responsibility of buying a new one and it was getting smoother each week. I even loved the sweaty idiots I was with, many of whom I would never have reason to talk to if it weren’t for the fact they loved the game too.
I loved the game with every stitch and every pore and every atom in my body and to this day the distant sound of a bouncing ball or the whistle of a referee from a nearby school would send me reminiscing about all those battles, all those relationships, all those hours sitting by the court itching at a chance to play.
It’s my life. It’s why I made this blog. It’s the very core of who I am. My memories of pick up ball are both beautiful and bitter sweet. Why bitter sweet? I’ll let you know in a second.
Unbelievable the way Nike comes up with fantastic commercials. So much so that sometimes it does get predictable. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to get a talkie this time, featuring KD and the new KD VI.