For PHL, an “F” in the Asian Games

I love watching concerts. From Don Moen to Duran Duran  to Dionne Warwick (ha-ha, just kidding on the last one; I’m not as old as my mom!), I’ve seen plenty. There’s one concert I strongly endorse you attend. It’s Monday next week (Dec. 6) and it’s called The GIFT OF LIFE Chorale Concert and Benefit Gala. Featuring four university choirs—from USC, UC, SWU and UV—the audience will be serenaded with Christmas carols and Cebuano favorites. Best of all, all proceeds will go to a most-worthy cause: to help “blue babies” (children with congenital heart diseases). Organized by the illustrious Rotary Club of Cebu and headed by President Joe Soberano, the ticket costs only P1,000 per person—with free dinner. Please watch. Listen to beautiful voices. Give the gift of life. That’s Dec. 6 at the Waterfront. See you there!

ASIAN GAMES. Our continent is the world’s biggest and most populated. We are about four billion-strong comprising 60 percent of the earth’s people. For two weeks ending last weekend, our continent staged the once-every-four-years sporting meet called the Asian Games. How did our Philippines do? If you ask our three gold medalists — Dennis Orcollo of billiards, Rey Saludar of boxing, and Biboy Rivera of bowling — the answer is obvious: Gold is the most precious metal… and medal.

But, as a whole, “PHL” failed. Of the 476 events representing 42 sports, we achieved a 3-4-9 score-sheet. That’s three golds, four silvers and nine bronzes for 16 medals. Given that we sent 188 athletes, that’s an impoverished finish. We scored an “F” or failure. This is worse than the Doha, Qatar Games of 2006 when we scored 4-6-9. This pales in comparison to Busan, South Korea in 2002 when we won 3-7-16. We are getting worse.

The reason? As we progress slowly, our Asian neighbors are sprinting rapidly. Take the Chinese. They’re not only dominating the Asian Games (scoring 199 gold medals, the most-ever by a country) but even topping the Olympics, besting the Americans in total medals won. Of course, their population reaches 1.33 billion. Still, they surge while we languish.

What’s most pathetic is this: we never saw TV footages of the Asian Games. The least our local networks could have done was air the Opening and Closing ceremonies—plus games of the Pinoys. There was none. We lost in China. We lost at home.

ROGER BEATS RAFA. This 2010, Mr. Nadal won three of the four Grand Slam titles: the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Mr. Federer did not win any. But, at the finale event of this season, he sought revenge. Roger defeated the world’s No.1 in this year’s last official big-time ATP match: the championship of the ATP World Tour Finals.

What does this mean? Plenty. One, it means Roger—who was trailing 14-7 in their head-to-head prior to last Sunday’s match—will gain confidence. This means RF is not bygone, past-his-prime. It means heading into 2011, he still has the game to win—going undefeated in this round-robin format event. Two, this reaffirms the dominance of both R & R. They have combined to win 21 of the last 23 majors—a fantastic statistic. This rivalry will continue.

The sad part? Like the Games of Asia, there was no Star Sports or Balls Channel TV showing. Not in this event; not the entire year with Masters Series tournaments. This was a missed opportunity for all tennis lovers.

UC VS. ATENEO. Today is an important day for collegiate basketball. It’s Cebu against Manila. It’s Junemar Fajardo, the 6-foot-10 giant from Pinamungajan, who will lead the University of Cebu Webmasters against the Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles.

On paper, it’s a mismatch. Ateneo is seasoned and is the three-time defending UAAP champions. They’re playing on home soil, in Manila. Their cheerers and blue pompoms are aplenty. But, as the cliche goes, “the ball is round.” Anything can happen in the semifinal of the Phil. Collegiate Champions League. If UC upsets ADMU, it will be historic; a win for the taga-probinsya.

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