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Cheering your opponents?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

From replies by Ultras Kaya members, the discussion about non-fans cheering for
a particular team in an international competition made rounds in social media.
There was an intriguing thread at a soccer-related Facebook group that I am a part of which made me deliver this blog post. A fellow journo, TV5's Ryan Fenix, posted his preview of the Global-South China AFC Cup tie with a question pointing to the Ultras Kaya, the booster group of Global's UFL rival Kaya. Some Ultras members answered and, as expected, said no. The discussion on whether the Kaya fans in general should cheer for Global has since been a convo in other FB groups (Fenix later deleted the thread in the said group). The question: Should fans of a team cheer for its rival in an international club competition?

While PBA teams take part in international club games, the highest being the FIBA Asia Champions Cup, I haven't heard of a team's official persuading the fans of the other teams to cheer for the club. Meanwhile, this is the first time a UFL team made it to the AFC Cup, the Asian equivalent of the UEFA Europa League. So you can't blame some goal junkies persuading the soccer fans, whether Global fans or not, to support Global. However, Global is not the Azkals (although we all know that the core of Global composes of past and present national team players). Everyone can unite if it's the national team playing, but a club tournament is a radically different thing.

You can't force a Purefoods fan to cheer for Ginebra. Likewise, you can't force a Systema fan to cheer for IEM (while women's volleyball is the more hyped game, men's volleyball has just built a professional league rivalry in the Systema-IEM rivalry). The same goes in this scenario. You can't force a Kaya fan to cheer for Global, especially when you consider him as "hardcore". But then again, Global is in the AFC Cup and Kaya is not, so I can't blame everyone for the persuasion and the stand.

However, I liked how the owners of Global's rivals, Kaya, Loyola, Stallion, Socceroo, and Green Archers, showed up in that match, which South China won, 6-1. After all, they shed off the domestic rivalry and supported Global in its maiden voyage in the continental level. There is still too much to learn in the Asian game, for the athletes and the fans. But the future is bright for Philippine soccer, and not even a certain issue about fans will stop the progress.


Is Manny Pacquiao really PBA material?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Nuki Sabio/PBA (file photo)
It all started days before the PBA Draft, when a champion boxer decided to take his talents (at a too old age for a rookie aspirant) to the league. Then, he accepted the role as the playing coach of a new club. As expected, he would be drafted by the said club, although another team almost swung a trade for him. His busy boxing career limited his rookie season to only one preseason and four regular-season games.

In the recent game, he scored his first-ever pro basketball point, and his team won against a squad which achieved a grand slam last year. One of the opponent's players, apparently reeling from the huge upset loss, uttered offensive remarks against the said boxer, calling him a joke. You know the two players I'm talking about, and that's where this blog post will focus on.

If not for Daniel Orton's post-game rants, we would have forgotten already that Manny Pacquiao is in the PBA. Well, I can't blame you if you can't recall anything because he only played in a total of FIVE outings averaging 0.4 ppg (0.3 ppg in the regular season). However, the question that has been asked all around the basketball world was raised up to a higher level when Orton called Manny the baller a joke. A fellow sports media practitioner, Chino Trinidad, who follows Pacquiao's boxing and now his basketball career too, expressed his sentiments regarding that, and he boldly claimed that Manny is not a basketball material at all. So, what's my stand about this?

Well, everyone has the right to declare for the PBA Draft. I said in a previous write-up a year ago to give Manny a chance to show his inner baller. By logic, I can declare for the draft too. But that doesn't mean someone is good enough to join.

Everyone has limits in his play, and I acknowledge that. When I played in the Master Game Face Media Challenge on my birthday, I could not even hold on to a Kevin Ferrer pass, something I can do if my friends will pass me that kind of pass. Meaning, Ferrer is on a different level in the passing end than my friends, and so is our receiving skills. Remember, K-Fer can declare for the PBA Draft this year, although I believe he will play his final year at UST. So that's a PBA-level pass.

If I acknowledge my limits, so should Manny Pacquiao. I'm sorry, Manny, but I have to agree with Sir Chino. OK, you can play basketball (even Floyd Mayweather can play basketball as per his IG videos), but with the way you're playing in the PBA, that's not what we expect from a PBA-ready rookie. I can boldly say that Manny Pacquiao is not a PBA material.


Throwback: 2004 in the NBA
Tayshaun Prince and Kevin Garnett found themselves back at their respective original teams by the trade deadline, and I quickly remembered the year when they became legends in their own rights. The year was 2004.

I was already the sports editor for our high school paper at that time, and I was thinking on where to go in college. UP was already in my mind then. But 2004 was a different story in America, especially in the case of Garnett and Prince.

Garnett won the MVP in that year with Minny. He averaged 24.2 points, five assists, 1.5 steals, and career-high 13.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks a game in the regular season, leading the team to a 58-24 record. In the playoffs, he was also consistent, averaging 24.3 points, 14.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.3 blocks, and 1.3 steals a night for the Timberwolves, who made until the Western Conference Finals. It's just tough luck that they had to face a star-studded Los Angeles Lakers in that semifinal series.

On the other hand, Prince's number may not look like that of a superstar in 2004. He only averaged 10.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.8 block, and 0.8 steal a game. The less than one steal and block per game may seem ironic to you as many know Prince as a good defender. Those stats would improve to 1.1 and 1.3 respectively in the playoffs, and Prince, who also averaged 9.9 points, six rebounds, and 2.3 assists a game in the postseason, became a vital cog in the Pistons' playoff run. Prince became very significant when he blocked a breakaway layup by Reggie Miller in the East Finals and buckled Kobe Bryant in the league finals. In that year, Prince and the rest of Detroit became "kings" of the NBA.

Garnett and Prince may not be the same as before, but seeing them back at the teams they steered to huge successes in 2004 made me remember how they did them.


Nike releases All-Star series

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New York City’s infectious energy and fast pace connect the city’s five boroughs – providing a perfect backdrop for this month’s festivities. Nike Basketball drew inspiration from the distinctive architecture that dots New York’s skyline for the new collection featuring the Kobe X, KD 7, Kyrie 1 and LeBron 12.

Key elements of the city’s iconic architecture inspire the signature shoes of Nike Basketball’s premier signature stars, including Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James.

Woven together with a clean, modern color palette and graphics, the shoes pull inspiration from technological advancements fitting each star athlete.

Kobe X

The 1964 New York World’s Fair showcased groundbreaking ideas, experimental thought and optimism. It drew people from around the world eager for a glimpse of the future and featured an iconic Unisphere. 

Kobe X details

The Kobe X is an expression of that same sentiment, bringing Nike’s best inventions together in one future-forward shoe. The Kobe X’s dynamic traction, hybrid cushioning system and modern aesthetic may inspire a new standard for performance footwear where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Kobe 10 and Nike Basketball products including shoes, t-shirt, shorts, socks and hat.

KD 7

The Brooklyn Bridge was an architectural marvel when it was completed in 1883. Its steel-wire suspension system was both functionally forward-looking and visually arresting.

KD 7 Hyperposite heel detail

The KD 7, Durant’s seventh signature shoe, embodies a similar hybridization with its Hyperposite heel and responsive Zoom Air cushioning. It is light and tight, performance optimized in a clean aesthetic for stability and flexibility. 

KD 7 and Nike Basketball products including shoes, t-shirt, shorts, socks and hat.

Kyrie 1

A city in constant motion, New York completed its legendary City Hall Subway Station in 1904. It was one of the world’s first subway systems known for its speed and efficiency traversing the boroughs. The subway station’s beauty turned heads with its unique tile design across strong, structured arches until its closure in 1945.

Kyrie 1 details

Kyrie Irving represents a new-age speed with an old-school flair to his game. Don’t blink because he’ll pass his opponents in a flash just like the “ghost” City Hall Subway Station. The City Hall Subway stop remains intact, but flies by in an instant outside the windows of the 6 Train. The Kyrie 1 is built for Irving’s game-changing speed and deception with its 360-degree dynamic traction, Zoom Air and lockdown fit.

Kyrie 1 and Nike Basketball products including shoes, t-shirt, shorts, socks and hat.

LeBron 12

The Flatiron Building is a quintessential New York showstopper. Architects nestled this jewel into a tight city block defined by the converging geometry of Fifth Avenue and Broadway.

LeBron 12 details

LeBron James and his 12th shoe, the LeBron 12, embody a bold aesthetic and indisputable strength similar to the Flatiron Building. The LeBron 12 leverages distinct materials for structure, and boasts a purposeful design with unexpected geometric angles.

LeBron 12 and Nike Basketball products including shoes, t-shirt, shorts, socks and hat.

The collection featuring the Kobe X, KD 7, Kyrie 1 and LeBron 12 is available globally at and select retail locations. The Kobe X and KD 7 are available on Feb. 13. The Kyrie 1 and LeBron 12 are available on Feb. 14. 

The collection also features matching t-shirts, hats and socks connected to each of the four shoes. Additional information on All-Star can be found at


A call to unite

The future volleyball stars are on the line with the current volleyball fiasco.
I took part in my church's annual prayer and fasting week, and I really wanted to focus more on God. So I did not know how to react when I found out about the reason behind the hashtag #POCWalangKwenta on Twitter, which trended in just a few hours. It turned out, the Philippine Olympic Committee at that time was likely to take away the accreditation of the Philippine Volleyball Federation as the national sports association for volleyball. The reason: the PVF was divided into two factions with somewhat not-in-sync principles.

I was supposed to do this article right after the P&F week, but as my sportswriting job becomes tougher by the day, so does my time to write this one. Then, POC "killed" PVF despite the two factions reuniting and formed its own NSA. The reason: the POC thinks the reformed PVF is a "brand-new" organization, which I find very weird.

If I decided to make this post before the P&F week, I would have uttered some tirades to the POC, but God told me during the P&F week to honor Him in words. After all, the POC is the one in charge of the athlete's participation in international competitions. So all I want to say in this post is that everyone should team up in fixing this volleyball issue. The sport has enjoyed a rise to popularity because of the Shakey's V-League, and it continued through the resurgence of the UAAP and the NCAA and the formation of the professional league PSL. So it really did not sink in to my mind immediately that a simple issue like an organization's misunderstanding could lead to putting everything in naught.

Imagine: the PVF already put up a national team in both gender groups. But with the PVF "gone", the Amihan and the Bagwis teams were automatically dissolved. What I did not like about POC's action was that it tried to form its own national squad and "assigned" the coaches... without knowledge by the coaches themselves! Eventually (and as expected), many snubbed the POC tryouts. The POC should have informed the coaches first of its plan instead of rushing everything up.

But again, all I want is for everyone to unite in keeping volleyball alive in the country. The future of the sport depends on today's actions. I would be honest in saying that PVF should be reinstated, but the POC has the final say on that. So all I can say is that the conflicts should be resolved, collaborations (and maybe even friendships) should be reconciled, and that the top volleyball officials should be one in fanning the flames of passion.

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