Thursday, September 24, 2009

Red vs. Blue

We'll be seeing a new set of colors this year, as the 72nd UAAP Senior Men's Basketball Championship will be a contest between the defending champs, The Ateneo Blue Eagles, and the 2007 finalists UE Red Warriors. This was after the Red Warriors' come-from-behind victory over the FEU Tamaraws this afternoon. The Tamaraws had a great elimination round, finishing second in the team standings, only to suffer from the third placer UE. The Tams were plagued with another game fixing controversy that involved superstar point guard Andy (Mark) Barroca. This led to the team's decision to pull out Barroca from the team just to avoid the controversy to spread deeper into the team's chemistry. Well, so they say.

FEU ended up losing twice to the pesky Red Warriors, who struggled early in both their games, but ended up triumphant. All these were due to the heroics of their mighty P.E.P. squad, veteran Paul Lee, high-flying Elmer Espiritu, and most improved Pari Llagas. Coach Lawrence Chongson's debut mentoring of the Warrior was a success.

We will see another epic battle between these two strong teams. The Warriors have to content with the Ateneo's powerhouse cast led by last year's MVP, the towering Rabeh Al-Husseini, alongside defense minister Nonoy Baclao, the quick and cunning Eric Salamat, the sophomore phenom Ryan Buenafe, and the sweet-shooting El Capitan Jai Reyes. The supporting cast who are equally talented like Kirk Long, Nico Salva, Bacon Austria, Emman Monfort, Openg Sumalinog and Justin Chua are sure to provide the needed bench support. The Warriors will have to check on how they can overcome Ateneo's extremely deep bench.

It's a battle between the two contrasting colors of our nation's flag. The champs will take home the highly-coveted UAAP crown and another year of bragging rights before we once again wait for the following year's new surprises in rising stars and future league leaders. What's good about a non-La Salle finals is that it's easier to get tickets. But we terribly miss our beloved arch-rivals. Coach Franz, hurry up and get back in shape!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mom's Collection

I have always been fascinated, and a big big fan of my mother's green thumb. I took a souvenir photo of one of her newly-blossomed flowers. :)
I'm not sure what this flower is. If there is one Botanist who will read this entry, kindly comment and tell me what this flower is. Thanks!

Noynoy for President

And so it is final: Noynoy is going to run for President in the coming elections.

As I have always been saying, coming from a Great but allegedly corrupt Presidency, the Filipino populace now is looking not for another great leader, but a leader that is clean and honest, with the highest form of integrity among the candidates, and with a heart of true nationalism. So far, I think Noynoy fits the bill.

However, there is still so much to be done for him. First and foremost, he should learn to control his destructively tactless youngest sister, Kris Aquino. If past Filipino Presidents were blamed for having problem First Ladies/Gentlemen, this time, Noynoy's First Lady won't be much of a problem. It will be his sister who will be the biggest problem. Kaya Kris, if your want your brother to win in the coming elections, SHUT UP.

A Noynoy-Mar tandem for me is perfect combination. One has the charisma, the other has the substance. Together they can bring about genuine change in the current Philippine political and economic state. They just have to make us believe. Mar, for Christ's sake, please, no more of that stupid "padyak" political ads!

I am still undecided on who to vote for in the coming elections. My shortlist is down to only 4 candidates, and one of them is Nicanor Perlas. :) I'm serious!

UAAP Weekend: Surprising Results

Last weekend feature three classics of te UAAP season 72...

UP vs. Adamson: Arvin's final Game

First was UP's last game versus the Adamson Falcons. It was more of a no-bearing game for both teams as they were just battling the 6th spot in the elimination round. What made it a game to remember was it became Maroons point guard Arvin Braganza's last game of his UAAP career. A game that his father had wished to see but failed to do so...

Last week, in the second meeting of UP against Ateneo, Arvin's father watched in the sidelines as his son's opponents broke away early in the game. He collapsed in the midst of the second (or was it third) quarter, and was immediately attended to by the standby doctors. He was able to move that day, and somewhat signalled that he was going to be okay. He was hurried to the hospital that day, along with UP's skipper Arvin who left in the middle of the game. It seemd like everything was going to be okay, but then I was shocked to have read the news that hours later after that collapse, Arvin's dad passed away. It was very difficult for Arvin, especially that he was about to get married the following Friday...

So that game last Saturday, where he played his last as a UAAP cager, he dedicated it to his father, who was, until the end, his number one fan. Unfortunately, his efforts were not enough to bring the Maroons to win number four. The lackluster defense, alongside the killer threes of the Adamson sealed the league with a double-digit win over the Maroons. But I'm sure Arvin's dad would have been proud of his dear Arvin, for he has played hish eart out in his final game as a Maroon, and proved that he can deliver through adversity and much pain. To Arvin, as part of the UP community, my condolences to you and your family.

Ateneo vs. FEU - Surprise Comeback

The second game was a nail-biter! It was Ateneo and FEU's battle for the highly coveted top see in the UAAP final four. They both want to evade the tremendously deadly UE Red Warriors team as they posted third place in the final four. FEU was defeated by UE once, so they would try their very best to stay away from UE's path.

FEU led by as much as 18 points late in the Third Quarter! I was about to turn off the television in disgust, until I saw Emman Monfort's three-point prayer in the dying seconds of the third quarter. That gave FEU a 15-point margin entering the fourth. With that, I stayed on to watch, and voila! In just a few minutes in the fourth quarter, FEU's 18-point lead disappeared! Eric Salamat, Ryan Buenafe, Nonoy Baclao and Rabeh Al-Hussaini brought their "never say die" attitude in the fourth, giving Ateneo a scoring streak in the fourth! Nonoy Baclao sealed off FEU Center Reil Cervantes as he blocked Reil's turnaround shots! Andy Barroca had a hot start but finished off cold and damp as he was not able to make a conversion in the dying minutes of the game. FEU needed to win this game by five or more points in order to be in the number one spot, but the Reil Cervantesmis in the free throw line during the final seconds gave Ateneo a 74-73 win over the Tamaraws. Now, they will face the streaking UE Red Warriors, while Ateneo will battle the silent but deadly UST Growling Tigers. It really feels different to not having La Salle in the final four. The Blue Eagles surely miss their beloved arch-enemy. Better luck next year boys.

Cheerdance Surprise!

Another surprise show was the Cheerdance Competition, where, for the first time in years, neither UP nor UST won the top award! FEU Tamaraws won the championship, followed by Ateneo and UP. UST came out fourth.

Many UP alumni and alumnae went ballistic over the results. Some would even say that the judges did not appreciate art, grace, and real cheerdance when they see one. My take on this is that it is sometimes good to not win a game. This often gives the team a wake-up call in its strive for excellence. When you are already on top, much is expected. UP has already set the bar in terms of making the moves and doing the grooves in cheerdance. This year, they came short of expectation. They had a repertoire and other symbolisms that only UP students and alumni could understand. If UP was one of the judges, they could have won the competition since it concentrated on UP culture, school spirit, student activism, and other pressing issues of a UP student, then and now. But still, we have to consider that some of the judges are not from this country, and they might not have a single idea about UP's idealism and culture. That's how this competition works. They might have done an excellent routine in a deep and Isko perspective, but of course, judges would look at it differently. And on this note, they failed to please the judges.

In fairness to both Ateneo and FEU, their routines were okay, their gimmicks were good enough. This is just a reflection that the UAAP Cheerdance Competition is no longer a bi-polar competition between the Maroons and the Tigers. All schools have stepped up, the competition has become more exciting. What UP can do is to stop sulking and sourgraping about this year's results, but look forward and strive harder for next year's competition. I'm confident that being Iskos and Iskas, they know well how to handle adversities, pick up the pace, and move on. Next year is a totally different year. We will return to being champions. :)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

"Lalaban Tayo" no more...

I thought I shall never see a modern-day Filipino statesman. Today, we just witnessed Mar Roxas announcing the "heaviest decision" he has ever made in his entire political career, and that is giving in for fellow Liberal Party member, Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III. Whatever his reasons were for his sudden backing out, what matters is that in the eyes of the Filipino people, he chose the harder side, the more righteous, and that is to give way to a colleague whose popularity has risen after the demise of her of her mother, former President Cory Aquino.

Initially I was a silent, informal supporter of the Mar-Roxas-for-President-moves. He was one of the most ideal Presidentiables, backed with exceptional credentials and political blood. A few wrong moves here and there somewhat tainted my support, one of which was his public cursing at the current administration during a rally in Makati. Another is his public display of affection for TV announcer Korina Sanchez. Okay, they have every right to be happy, but please! You're almost 50 for the love of... Oh well. Love knows no boundaries.

I was about to abhor Mar for his ill-advised "Lalaban Tayo" and "Padyak" commercials over radio and television, but with this most recent development, I am back to admiring this guy. The fact that he is about to give up the power that he has long cherished is simply astounding. Admirable.

I have never seen genuine statesmanship like this in my generation. With this, we can see his true intentions for genuine change, and that it was his primary aim at Presidency. He gave up his ambitions for this objective. He already has a stable and solid political machinery. I hope he lends this to Noynoy, should he decide to run for President. I heard he is backed by very bright, optimistic, service-oriented supporters so probably he could get things done.

Just like in the United States, the Philippines needs change. In order to have this change, we need people who shall initiate change. Today, Mar has started a change. A change in the political landscape. A change in the seemingly rotting political system. A change that no other politician dare touch. I sure hope this change does not end here. I also hope this is no gimmick. Let this change start and spread now. Mar did the right thing and he'll be remembered in history books for all eternity.

Cheers to Sen. Mar Roxas for showing the younger Filipinos how it is to retreat and accept, how it is to be a true gentleman and a true statesman' and for showing the older ones that there is still a light in this very very long tunnel.