We were all witnesses

(Photos in this post were nicked from various news sites. Credits to the owners)

THERE was that most subtle of moments when you felt the tide turn in the NBA Finals, when the end officially began for those Golden State Warriors. It wasn’t in the sucker nut punch Draymond Green delivered to LeBron James in Game 4, the one that got the Tasmanian devil forward suspended for the pivotal Game 5 of the series.

It came in between those games, during a press conference where James, probably already stewing at the need to field postgame questions after his Cleveland Cavaliers had just tumbled into a 1-3 series death sentence, was asked to comment on Klay Thompson’s assessment of the skirmish and the trash talk that followed.

“I don’t know how the man feels, but obviously people have feelings and people’s feelings get hurt even if they’re called a bad word,” Thompson said. “I guess his feelings just got hurt. I mean, we’ve all been called plenty of bad words on the basketball court before. Some guys just react to it differently.”

When it was James’ turn to take the podium, a reporter kept him up to date with Klay’s remarks. James clarified the question and the reporter paraphrased it into Thompson saying LeBron’s “feelings just got hurt.”

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A sportswriter’s guide to the May 9 elections (Scouting the presidentiables)

STILL undecided?

Well, you me both. A couple of nights ago, after reaching the required degree of inebriation needed to prompt political talk, my college pals and I delved into the May 9 national elections and engaged in a spirited debate over their choice of president (I have none yet so I picked their minds on their choice to help me with my decision). Quite interestingly, our discussion drew several basketball parallels (like I said, we’d had a few bottles by then) giving me an idea for this post.

I have been receiving several inquiries from sports fans as to who I would suggest that they vote for president on May 9 ever since I came out with a piece defending Duterte’s supporters (not Duterte, let’s make that clear). I never replied. I don’t have a choice yet so endorsing a candidate would be frivolous until I am decided on a bet. But the basketball parallels we drew gave me an idea on how to help these queries.

I’m going to do some sort of a scouting report on the five presidential candidates so you guys get the chance to think about each candidate. Fair warning: My grasp of politics is on the layman’s level and a lot of the political nuggets here will be based on my personal research on each of the candidates.

Here’s how this scouting report will go. I will give you, to the best of my understanding, a nutshell of what a [name of bet] presidency could possibly look like and pair that bet off with a counterweight vice president (let us assume that all these bets have flaws that need a complementing VP). Then, to further illustrate my point—and this is my opinion only okay?—I will run these choices side-by-side with a sporting question: If you were to form the Philippine national basketball team, who would you pick to lead the squad? And then I’ll give you the basketball equivalent of each bet.

Shall we?

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Deconstructing Duterte’s Superstardom (Or, DDS)

OF COURSE, the peso drop can be attributed to the rise of Rodrigo Duterte as the leading presidential candidate for May 9. (For the already jittery, relax, there is this piece of contradictory optimism.). Of course there are hidden Duterte accounts, according to perennial whistleblower and Manila Peninsula’s favorite guest,  Antonio Trillanes IV.
This is, after all, election season. Black propaganda is as common as empty campaign promises. And with Duterte’s remarkable rise in the surveys, it was but natural that Every. Presidential. Candidate. would try to pull him down. Fair enough. But you wonder if the spook tactics are a bit too little, too late.
After all, black propaganda, at this point, seems to have little chance of slowing down the meteoric rise of Duterte in presidential surveys. There is palpable truth to this.
The biggest and most comprehensive anti-Duterte campaign is being waged by Duterte himself. He’s backing himself into impossible corners, PR nightmares and indefensible inaccuracies, leaving himself with one out each time: If you don’t like it, don’t vote for me. Simple.

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Here’s why you should watch Pacquiao-Bradley 3

THOMAS Aquinas—part-time saint, part-time philosopher—posited that God can be proven by  the argument of first cause. If I recall my theology or philosophy classes right, this is also called the cosmic or cosmological argument: that the existence of things cannot be an efficient cause of itself.

So for example, a Fraudulent Forger appears in a basketball league. One cannot simply assume that the Fraudulent Forger popped out of nowhere on its own. Something caused its being there. And Something Else prodded that Something to cause Fraudulent Forger to exist in the league. There is no reason to subscribe to Pop Theory; things do not pop out of Nowhere for no Cause or Reason. Everything starts from Somewhere.

Apart from a yawner of a bout against undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr. last year, the reason why people are mostly lukewarm about Manny Pacquiao’s fight against Timothy Bradley Jr. is because of his comments on same-sex marriage, which caused a firestorm—to say the least.

But applying the Aquinas argument shows that we are actually ganging up on the wrong person. Manny Pacquiao, the eight-division champion and the country’s most successful athlete ever, is not the person we should blame for the LGBT controversy.

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Don’t dream it’s over

IT WAS fun, while it lasted, wasn’t it?

We watched as the UST Growling Tigers shattered preseason expectations and burst out of the UAAP Season 78 gates like a team in a hurry to stake its claim to greatness. We held our breath in disbelief as the Tigers validated the surprising start with victories over powerhouse squads like FEU, Ateneo and La Salle. When they came out with the share of the lead after one round, we all had the same question in mind.

Are these Tigers for real?

And then they answered our doubts with another gallant performance that sent them to the No. 1 spot going into the playoffs.

We were having the UAAP season of our lives.

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Oh y’know, just an open letter to the UST Tigers

Dear UST Growling Tigers,

In just a few hours, you will face the most formidable foe you could possibly go up against for the UAAP crown. Make no mistake about it. This foe is tenacious, unrelenting, talented and well-coached.

I don’t mean the FEU Tamaraws that you swept in the elimination round. I’m referring to the other FEU Tamaraws, the ones who experts preordained UAAP champions even before the first whistle was blown, the first ball was jumped.

These Tamaraws are legit champs-in-waiting. Logic says you will get swept in this best-of-three Finals series, so go ahead, double-book those promises for ringside tickets to Game 3. Basketball sense says even if you force it to a KO match, you’re the one who’s going to get K’d the fuck O, so save up your preciously sparse allowance and don’t bother printing those champion shirts. Optimistic projections say you just might take a one- or two-point lead with a second remaining in Game 3, but even then, Mac Belo, hello.

Anybody with a tiger’s whisker worth of basketball IQ knows that this is a battle that cannot be won. And it would be crazy to believe that you could actually end this series with a trophy-hoisting frenzy in the center of a confetti-drenched court.

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