Monthly Archives: October 2017

What’s the stand on Standhardinger?

The smallest stood the tallest. Lewis Alfred “LA” Tenorio scored 26 points en route to pocketing the Finals MVP trophy as he led the Ginebra Gin Kings to their 10th overall title last Friday. I watched the YouTube highlights and, like in any winner-take-all and with 54,086 watching inside the Philippine Arena, that Game 7 was electrifying.

Greg Slaughter, our fellow Cebuano, was, literally and figuratively, a tall factor for Ginebra. I chanced upon meeting Greg at the Mactan airport last August when his team played the Alaska Aces at the Hoops Dome. Despite his superstar status, Greg has remained very friendly and polite. We chatted about his PBA stint and recovery from injury.

In the 7-game Finals, Greg averaged 11.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. And after leading UV and Ateneo to collegiate titles, it was his first PBA championship.

CONTROVERSY. Today at the Robinsons Place Manila, it’s the PBA Draft. It’s that once-a-year gathering when the 12 teams choose new players. The main squabble involves Christian Standhardinger. He’s 28 and was born in Munich to a German father and Filipina mother, Elizabeth Hermoso. Out of the 44 players who have offered their services to join Asia’s first pro basketball league, some popular cagers include Jeron Teng, Kiefer Ravena and Raymar Jose. But the undisputed No. 1 pick, given his height and international exposure, is the Fil-German. Standhardinger, who stands 6-foot-7, is expected to follow in the giant footsteps of Slaughter and June Mar Fajardo.

The PBA has 12 teams and, in the spirit of fair play and “giving chance to others,” the weakest team gets to pick first in the Draft. This is common sense. This team is Kia Picanto and they’re expected to choosae Standhardinger, right? Wrong. In a baffling move, they’ve exchanged places with San Miguel Beermen (the second-to-the-last to pick) so that SMB will pick the Fil-German in exchange for a slew of non-superstar players. This prompted Fred Uytengsu of Alaska to complain, “It clearly doesn’t make basketball sense for the weaker teams, unless there is another consideration.”

In simplest terms, why would a team that has the chance to employ the best give up that opportunity? Can someone please enlighten me?

Bobby Motus, my fellow sportswriter from The Freeman, in his usual funny but on-target manner, said it best in his column the other day: “We are all aware of that abnormal trade proposal dropped at the PBA office where KIA will give up their first pick to San Miguel for three practice players. Hoooowaw! Upon getting the one-sided proposal, the PBA league commissioner should have immediately thrown that into the shredding machine and then to the incinerator instead of letting it sit and say that many factors are being considered before deciding on it. And did he say something like everything is all for the good of the PBA? Yeah right.”

But life, as we know, is never fair. And the PBA is following the path of the NBA. Imagine Standhardinger joining Fajardo? Like the Warriors, OKC, and the Cavs, SMB is becoming the super “super team” of the PBA. Too unfair? 

 

World Series

Of the countless sporting memories that I’ve kept, one moment is forever entrenched in my brain’s hard drive. It was that moment when I caught a baseball in a Major League Baseball (MLB) game. This happened back in 1993 when our family vacationed in California.

The baseball fanatic that I was, I convinced my dad Bunny and brother Randy to watch the Oakland Athletics face the then-defending champions, the Toronto Blue Jays. We were seated behind home plate and after a foul ball was struck, I dove forward and scrambled with a couple of other spectators to emerge holding the baseball. That memory I’ll never forget.

Los Angeles Dodgers. That’s another team that my dad and I watched during that trip. I won’t forget catcher Mike Piazza hitting a homerun when the Dodgers played the Colorado Rockies (then a brand-new team).

Why this baseball talk? Because the biggest stage will happen tomorrow. It’s the World Series. If golf has the Masters, the NFL has the Super Bowl and tennis owns Wimbledon, it’s the best-of-seven series called the World Series for baseball.

I was hoping that the New York Yankees would defeat the Houston Astros. They were down 0-2, won the next three games in Yankee Stadium, only to lose the final two games to Houston.

Tomorrow starting at 8:09 a.m. (Phil. time), it’s the Houston Astros vs. the LA Dodgers. It will be a 2-3-2 hosting arrangement. The first two (and last two) will be at the Dodger Stadium while the middle three games will be played in Houston.

As a sport, I find baseball to be both exciting and boring. It gets thrilling when a homerun is smothered or a diving catch is witnessed or an excellent pitching strike is recorded. But in between those mini-moments during the 3-hour long contest, it’s all strikeouts and missed swings.

Why is baseball America’s national pastime? Based on TV ratings, it only ranks third to American Football and the NBA. But it’s such a beloved game because it dates back a long time (in the late 1800s) and because parents and children play throw-and-catch in their backyards and playgrounds.

With the Dodgers and Astros, it will be their first ever World Series meeting. The LA Dodgers is one of the world’s most popular teams (they just outpointed the Lakers in a poll this year) and they’ve accummulated six World Series trophies.

The Astros have never won a title. They reached the World Series in 2005 but lost to the Chicago White Sox. And while the Dodgers was founded in 1883 in Brooklyn, New York (before moving to LA in 1958), the Astros have a less historic resume. They started in 1962 with the name that will let you smile: Houston Colt .45s. Now we know where Colt .45 originated from.

A few interesting facts about the 113rd edition of the MLB championship. Both teams did not lose at home throughout the playoffs. The Dodgers won 104 regular season games (vs. the 101 by the Astros) and they have the homecourt advantage. The two teams did not play each other in the 162 games of the regular season.

In this Texas vs. California battle, my pick is the team from Hollywood.

Cebu vs. Visayas

One school, founded in 1919, will turn 100 years old in two years’ time. The other, named after our city and province, used to be called “Cebu Central Colleges” before carrying its present initials: UC.

These are two proudly-Bisaya institutions with a combined population of over 150,000 students, making them a couple of the largest educational systems in our 7,107 islands.

Founded by Don Vicente Gullas, the University of the Visayas used to called “Visayan Institute.” Its buildings were ravaged by World War II but instead of closing, it flourised; in 1948, it became Cebu’s first university: UV.

The two sons of Don Vicente and his wife Josefina (fondly called “Inday Pining”) took over the headship of UV. They are Talisay City Mayor Eddie Gullas and his brother Jose “Dodong” Gullas. I have been privileged to have collaborated with the two Gullas leaders and they are some of the finest gentlemen that you can meet. The year 1919 is a much-anticipated year for the Gullas family. They will be celebrating two 100-year-old celebrations that year: The Freeman newspaper and UV.

Atty. Augusto Go founded his school in July 1964. It began as Cebu College of Commerce then changed its name to CCC. Then, 25 years ago, it transformed into what it is today, the University of Cebu. Like the Gullas brothers, Atty. Gus Go is not only a visionary and iconic Cebuano businessman, he is simple and kindhearted.

Why this talk of UV and UC? Because after several months of Cesafi basketball action, it will either be “Cebu” or “Visayas” who will be triumphant. At 4 p.m. today inside the Gus Go-owned Cebu Coliseum, the season-ending Game 3 of the men’s collegiate finals will be played.

UV and UC both can claim to early victories this week. The UV Baby Lancers defeated the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles to win the high school crown. For UC, Atty. Go celebrated his birthday with an astonishing gift from his school: the top 12 examinees of the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineer exams all came from UC.

Who will win today? The fairytale ending would be seeing Coach Yayoy Alcoseba’s Webmasters dethroning the defending champions. UC has not won the title since the PBA’s upcoming 4-time MVP June Mar Fajardo donned the blue-and-yellow uniform.

But UV will be the favorites. They led all teams in the preliminary rounds and were heavily-favored before getting shocked with UC’s Game 1 victory. But with their win in Game 2 last Friday, the momentum is back. Who will win tonight? Only one will carry the trophy.

University of Champions? University of Victory?