Saturday, May 25, 2013

Of Beauty Queens and Basketball

 The” Santacruzan at Araneta” last Saturday, May 18, was a welcome delight and sidelight of our trip to Araneta to buy tickets for the Alaska-Ginebra PBA finals the next day. It’s not often these days that we get to see Santacruzan with real beauties as “Reynas’. It was in fact Gabo’s first experience to watched it.

The parade started near the ticket station so we got an excellent view of it. It’s rare that we get to see an assembly of beauties, parading slowly one by one as they made their way to the streets of the Araneta Center. And there they were: Bb. Pilipinas Ms. Universe beauties, pompous and regal in their queenly gowns, waving, smiling, and gamely acknowledging the excitement of the crowd. And guess who was the queen of them all, the Reyna Elena?  She was no other than Ms. Janine Tugonon, the reigning Bb. Pilipinas Ms. Universe and Miss Universe Ist Runner Up. She was charming and radiant, indeed a true Filipina Beauty. We were just almost two arms length from them so it was indeed an exciting experience to see them up close and personal. Gabo had a field day shooting shots at almost all angles. The last of the pack was the Reyna Emperatriz, equally charming and glamorous and patiently waiting for her turn to walk as the parade came to a slow pace because of Janine. She must have been a beauty queen in her time. I would have wanted to know her but her escort forgot her name.

On our way to the MRT station for our trip back to Makati, Gabo wondered why the Santacruzan (whom he knew only from their Hekasi classes in school) featuring Bb. Pilipinas beauties was held at Araneta. “Gab, you know, the chairman and the person behind the Bb. Pilipinas Universe organizing committee is Ms. Stella Marquez Araneta, a former Ms. Universe herself and the wife of a scion of the Araneta clan, the owner of Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Araneta Center complex.” There.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why Ginebra Lost: Gabo’s Post Game Analysis

It’s all over but the shouting. But Gabo’s story, our story actually, begs to be told.

We, (meaning I, Gabo and Rago) were there. We were witness and had been part of history. Midway into the game, the electronic scoring panel told it all. “Congratulations for the new all time record crowd of 23,436. Maraming, maraming salamat po”. So that was what the long, long lines we saw  out there indicated, mused Gabo. The shouting, the roars and the jeers, the cheering and shrieking and the placard and balloon waving were also an expendable experience. In the end, the releasing of the balloons, kept at the ceiling and just waiting for its rightful moment, put the exclamation point at end game. It may not be the end result my kids had wanted. And we in fact endured just to watch this game. It was quite an ordeal lining up the previous day and the morning after to buy tickets(Ticketnet blocked the online ticketing) and lining up again for more than hour in the heat of the afternoon sun before the gates were opened, and finally rushing back to catch the last MRT trip to Makati where we parked, all for my kids love of basketball. It was however well worth it.

I came to the game positively looking for a Ginebra win, coming from 2 games down. I thought this time, they will come to their senses and steal this one though I said the Aces will close it in Game 4. Gabo and Rago (who turned out also to be pro Ginebra), were all excited, shouting to their hearts out but that would only last for the first 3 quarters. Leading most of the way and trading shots after shots every time Alaska threatens to come close, the Kings ably held on a precarious one point lead, 72-71 by the end of the 3rd quarter. But suddenly, early on in the 4th, Alaska broke loose and Ginebra was left out cold, forgetting how to shoot and score. It was a monumental lapse. With 5 minutes to go and Alaska now starting to pad their lead to double digit, the Alaska red shirted fans started to jubilate, smelling the sweet scent of a title victory in the making. The screen for the first time focused on the already joyous owner, Fred Uytengsu, both arms up in the air for an early celebration. Now, the Alaska fans have started to shout,” Ginebra, gising na”. The loyal Ginebra fans, who consisted almost 75% of the Big Dome, were eerily silent.

All this time, Gabo was disappoinetd and ejected. “It was the fault of the coach. The coach lost it”. That was how he saw it. I saw it too. And I felt very disappointed by what we saw. How could the Ginebra coaching staff miss it? Early in that fateful 4th quarter, when both teams were neck to neck, coach Al Francis Chua pulled out at the same time both LA Tenorio and their import Macklin. Instead, they inserted the benchwarmers, the diminutive Lagabala and the seldom used Tala. Only Caguioa was left as certified scorer or shooter but obviously, coming in from injury, he was not his old self. Earlier, LA Tenorio was hitting treys in all angles and slashing through the defense, showing why he was the Best Player of the Conference. When he came back, he turned cold. On the other hand, Casio was shooting hot in and out and Thoss, the Finals MVP, was wrecking havoc inside. If LA and Macklin were called back to the bench to rest, the pacing was poor. It took the sting out of the Kings. No amount of time outs from the Ginebra bench could overturn the tide. With still over 2 minutes to go, they seem to gave up the fight. I thought, this is not the original Ginebra spirit; the Jawo spirit that never gives up till the final buzzer. This is the spirit that endeared them to the fans and the reason why it is the most popular team in the PBA. Their battlecry: “ It ain’t over til’ it’s over”. In the end though, as a tribute to the Ginebra loyal fans, amidst the raucous Alaska celebration, they roared out their patented deafening last hurrah, “Ginebra, Ginebra”. After that, they started to line out of the Big Dome.

We could have left before the final buzzer but Rago wanted to see the final moment- the releasing of the balloons. So we lingered as the court was swamped by a sea of red shirted Alaska fans.
When we arrived home near midnight, Gabo’s report to his mother was , Mama, the coach lost it.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Take your Pick: Ginebra or Alaska

Photo  grabbed from PBA Latest Rumors

This year’s edition of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup is a blockbuster with the finals between two title hungry teams providing the fitting climax to an exciting finish. Record crowds, those who are lucky to get tickets, are flocking to Smart Araneta and/or MOA Arena. Crowd darling Barangay Ginebra vs. the resurrected Alaska Aces. It’s a battle between two drinks, Gins vs. Milk.

The moment Ginebra reached the semis, my eldest kid cum sports home analyst, Gabo, gave me his marching orders. If Ginebra goes all the way to the finals, we should likewise flock to Araneta or MOA. He is pro Ginebra. I was also once upon a time a certified Ginebra fan, an original. But that was during the Jaworski-Arnaiz era. When they faded in the scene, I drifted to any team I saw that excited me. My fascination with NBA also affected my interest in PBA. The level of play, the athleticism, how the game itself is played- it’s another world out there. But these past few years, I admit, I’m for San Mig Coffee and primarily because of James Yap.

Honestly, during that semis, I told Gabo, the dream finals would be the sister teams Ginebra vs. San Mig, both certified crowd drawers. I think the PBA gods would always pray that Ginebra at least could make up to the semis. And to reach the finals up to the deciding game would be God’s graces. But my mind says, it’s going to be San Mig vs. Talk and Text. I was wrong in both counts. And now, in this series, while Gabo is with Ginebra, my younger kid, Rago, and I root for Alaska. And I will make again another prediction. In this best of 5 finals, it’s Alaska in 4.

We’ve been monitoring Ticketnet on line for this Sunday Game 3 showdown but it  has been closed for this series. This morning, we were informed that they are not opening on line tickets and that if we want to purchase tickets, we should go to Araneta and line up. And we did just that this afternoon but had to settle for a general admission ticket, the only seats left available.

So, we'll be at the bleachers tomorrow night. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Gabo's NBA Playoffs Prediction

Gabo is Sportydad's 13-year old kid. Like father like son, we're both hooked to sports, basketball especially. He knows his NBA. So I asked him to make his choices before the 2nd round of the playoffs. I am amazed by the depth of his analysis. Here's what he wrote (in his own words).

Original Image Source:
Image edited by Gabo

Let's start in the Western Conference Match-ups 2nd round.


OKC is the defending champions in the West while Memphis reached only 1st round after Clipper beat them in 7 games last year. Now I expected that the Clippers would advance but I was wrong. OKC will win in 6; Russell Westbrook is out for the OKC while Memphis lost their Rudy Gay during the regular season but the Thuders still have this young athletic forward namely, Kevin Durant. I think this will be a thriller match-up.


GSW has a dominant young guard by the name of Stephen Curry, while the Spurs has their old big 3, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. I guess GSW will still dominate because not only Steph Curry is making points but his teammates also even if David Lee will miss this match-up because of an injury. Warriors in 7 even if it is in the home-court of the Spurs.

Then let's move-on to the Eastern Conference Match-ups 2nd round.


In this match-up, the Heat will win in 6 or 7 thriller games. Wthout D-Rose, the Bulls can still fight with their guard Nate Robinson and forward Luol Deng plus a great coach Tom Thibodeau. The Bulls will fight but they will be dropped as Lebron will be named the MVP of 2013 regular season and D-Wade as his side-kick.


NYK will take this slow but sure, because I think the Pacers are still young for the Conference Finals but I know that they will reign but in their time. Knicks in 5 games, because of their dynamic duo Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith , the 6th man of the year. IND will still have this match-ups close because of their young scoring guard, Paul George and a unstoppable big-man in the paint, Roy Hibbert.

Eastern Conference Finals

My prediction is MIA-NYK. This will be a tough match-up, because both of the teams have their guard-forward duo, Lebron vs Melo and Smith vs D-Wade. Now I think the other players should shine like Chris Bosh in the Heat and Raymond Felton for New York. Miami will beat the New York Knicks in 7 close games. Both teams are offensive minded so expect  high-scoring games.

Western Conference Finals

I predict that this will be a young team match-up. OKC-GSW, both teams are just new qualifiers in this Western Conference. With Westbrook missing this play-offs, Durant will still dominate because Durant has a scoring talent never seen before while GSW has a secret weapon, who is it? Its Stephen Curry. This young scoring machine is a player with quick release shot that is hard to guard. I predict though that OKC will beat them in 6 games.


My prediction is OKC-MIA again. OKC will fight until the last game. Wesbrook is a big loss for the OKC and they are hoping for the return of their dominant guard. The MIA will win again  in 5  games. Miami Heat will have this under control with Lebron and D-Wade plus a Chris Bosh in the paint . The Heat will still be the champions as the Lakers whom I chose to be in the finals at the start choked to the Spurs.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Full Monty- The Musical Stage Play

 Catch its final run tomorrow, May 5th. Go to for tickets.

The moment I read the news that full Monty will be played on stage at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium at RCBC Plaza in Ayala, there was no doubt in my mind that I would watch it. In fact, I was already excited about it. I have reasons to feel that way and look forward to it. I have watched the movie version more than 10 years ago at Greenbelt cinema and it was one of the most entertaining movies I’ve ever seen. How I ended up watching the movie was itself a story.

I was then lobbying around the old Greenbelt I, just killing my time. To watch a movie would have been a perfect alternative but there was then no “good movie” on showing. But when I read the plot of the movie posted in the trailer, I was struck. I should see this movie and so I did. Notably, the movie was later recognized and known after it was already shown.

Full Monty was a story of displaced “steel workers” in England desperately struggling to find jobs and make life again. They had good lives before while working in the steel mill but the steel industry in England crushed; and so did their lives, their living and their families. It was a true to life reflection of where I came, of my life as “steelman.” It was a similar story of what happened to our dear National Steel Corporation in Iligan. It was then the biggest steel company in the Philippines and we were privileged to have a good and prospering career, and life was beautiful. But it also crashed. The scenes of the movie, the deserted steel men community the smoke stack, the silent steel mill plant, etc. were the same scenarios we have in Iligan. And so, while the movie was entertaining, I was also waxing nostalgic. And by the way, that was the only time I learned what Full Monty meant in British.

That is why, my excitement on the stage play centered on these fundamental things. First, how the stage play could capture faithfully the vivid scenes and plot of the movie, and the final scene everybody is waiting for: how the Full Monty will be executed to a live audience. Because we watched the play on its first night, we were the first to know.

My expectations were more than satisfied. You could empathize with their plight, their struggle to keep their families intact and happy, their bond and friendship and perhaps most important of all, their spirit to keep their self worth amidst those difficulties. The acting, everybody was excellent. To me, Jamie Wilson, being a veteran stage/theatre artist, was indeed a stand out. Even Sitti, whom I know of as the sultry Casanova now going jazz singer did her fair share. Marco Sison, popularly known as a balladeer in his time also gave notice to his other acting talent. But perhaps the greatest revelation was Mark Bautista who played the lead role. We know him as a product of a singing talent search and later on going showbiz. But I was surprised how this Cagayan de Oro native dished out his lines in impeccable English, making his stars truly shine.

And how did they execute the final Full Monty scene? Oh, they really did well in building up the excitement of this climax, making the audience even participate. It was indeed a play of lighting effects but surely not the way I imagined or expected them to do it. In the end, we, the audience were still talking about it as we were waiting for our rides to go home.

Congratulations to the producers, directors, cast and support staff.