Ants Marching

Sports over the weekend…

In gist, a world power falls, two jins return home limping without a medal, an underdog defends their Olympic volleyball crown, a crayon in rampage dehorned the defending champions, a team that played their full potential against their rival a week ago brings down another nemesis, an eagle clipped the wings of another bird of prey, and a German winning his seventh championship despite finishing only second in the race.

There is a god!

To prove that, he answered the prayers of all non-American basketball aficionados watching the Olympics.

To the highly religious, I apologize. I shouldn’t be asking for bad fortune against a neighbor. But someone has to bring them back down to earth, where they actually belong. They are just mere mortals pretending to be celestial beings.

In short, I am just a happy person. Then again, God may not be a good reference to what I am going to divulge next.

This is an Olympics of firsts. This is probably the first time that the rest of the world (other than the former Soviets) wanted the USA men’s basketball team to lose. Yes, it’s like them against the world.

With the pressure mounting, apparently they did. They have enough losses this year to last them a lifetime.

This is also the first time Argentina entered the gold medal match in basketball in the Olympics. Nevertheless, beating the overrated Americans is already an achievement in itself.

Ahead by 13 going into the final quarter, all the Argentineans need to do was just hold on for ten more minutes. Just like what the Archers did against the more talented Ateneo last Sunday.

And hold Argentina did with the help of Walter Hermann, who scored six crucial points in crunchtime with the Americans breathing down heavily on their necks.

When the buzzer sounded, Argentina was whooping it up in the middle of the court, feeling like they have already won the gold, making Olympic history, repeating what they did to Team USA in the last World Basketball Championships, winning, 87-80.

As of presstime, I still have no news of what happened to the gold medal match. On the other hand, the Americans salvaged whatever dignity they have left (if they do have one to begin with) and grabbed bronze against Lithuania.

Jin-ny weasles

Thus ends our Olympic campaign, although technically we still have one athlete (Eduardo Beunavista in marathon, but come on, our chances of winning a medal here is the same of us having a cyclist in the Tour de France) still to strut his stuff.

Donald Geisler wasn’t able to finish his match due to injury, while our last glimmer of hope, Marie Antoinette Rivero, succumbed to a much stronger Korean opponent. She wasn’t able to recover after suffering a knockdown in the first round.

Whoops, they did it… again

Two sets down against the tall and mighty Russians, the Chinese women’s volleyball team resurrected themselves to win the gold medal, defending the title they won four years ago in Sydney. With that victory, I’m hoping that it would make a difference in the overall medal tally, which is a pretty close fight between China and USA.

I admit, this has been one of the more competitive Olympics in recent history. Barcelona and Atlanta weren’t like this when USA ran away with most of the gold medals. Makes you want to question United State’s sports program and where their priorities are.

Must be because of the coming elections. Then again, their elections coincide with every Summer Olympics.

B-U-L-L-D-O-G, B-U-L-L-D-O-G, B-U-L-B-U-L, B-U-L-L-S-H-IT!

With the way things are going, the National University men’s basketball team is going to the dogs. Coach Rico Perez should bench Rey Mendoza some more. They might win one more game.

If you think Ateneo was bad last Sunday, this was worse. Seven points at the end of the first quarter. By halftime, University of the East was already ahead by 14, 39-25.

The Warriors are no Archers, but then again, the Bulldogs are no Eagles. UE was coasting most of the game that I didn’t bother watching as I tried to finish the CHALK! UAAP/NCAA special issue from cover to cover before the FEU-UP game could begin.

Some game highlights did make me look away from the Ateneo-bigoted publication. Luis Lopez, a nameless Warrior, was assessed for his fifth personal foul in the 8:14 mark of the third quarter. Quality minutes, indeed.

Realizing that he has more potential to be a boxer, Dave Catamora gave the diminutive Marcy Arellano a well-placed left hook to the gut that somehow the numerous ABS-CBN cameras didn’t manage to pick up. What’s worse, the UE bench got warned during the lull in the action.

They will be loved

Going into the season, the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons were already considered good as dead.

Rob Bornancin, realizing that a UP diploma is worth less than a Philippine peso back in Brazil, decided to continue his studies in Singapore instead.

JR Reyes, the gay that he is, couldn’t make up his mind on which team to play. There was a time when he was playing for three squads: the Maroons, the Welcoat Paintmasters in the PBL, and Graham Lim’s National Team. Then there was none.

Jonjon Tabique, who according to my friend, is someone who couldn’t get any gayer as a Bedan could get, has already shed all of his hair with all of the chemotherapy he has already done.

Just when their luck couldn’t get any worse, Ira Buyco would have to look like Rip Hamilton (but couldn’t play like one) if he wants his nose intact. Kenneth Robin has to sit out the rest of the season. And somewhere along the way, UP men’s basketball coach Lito Vergara had to be hospitalized.

Fast forward to the end of August, the Crayola-monickered squad are actually fighting for a Final Four slot. Their latest victim: the Far Eastern University Tamaraws.

FEU was already comfortably ahead when lolo Josant Cervantes showing how magulang he is, gave Tamaraw rookie JR dela Cruz an arm at the back of the latter’s neck as if to say, “Welcome to the big league, boy.” As if by reflex, the neophyte bovine returned the favor with an elbow replying, “I ain’t backing down from you, old man. Wanna try my kung fu?”

This proved to be counter-productive for FEU as after the incident, the Diliman-based team trimmed the lead down to four by the time the third period ended. And of all people, the person responsible for reclaiming the upperhand for UP was lolo Cervantes when he scored a three-pointer coming from a Jireh Ibañes pass midway in the fourth quarter.

And the Tamaraws, a good shooting team percentage-wise, were firing blanks from all parts of the court. As Elaigh put it, “They suffered the ‘Green Archers curse’.”

And nothing could be worse than the ‘Green Archers curse’. Imagine a day when Macmac Cardona’s teardrops don’t fall, Joseph Yeo’s three-point attempts hit nothing but air, TY Tang’s hitting the side of the backboard, Jerwin Gaco missing a dunk, Michael Gavino couldn’t make a pointblank layup, Mark Benitez couldn’t tip the ball into the basket, JV Casio’s freethrows clank the rim, and the only goal made by the Archers was when Junjun Cabatu released a jumper way, way after the 24-second buzzer sounded.

Twenty-eight fouls in a game? That’s an average of seven per quarter. And we are just talking of FEU here. Friends, we’ve just discovered why UAAP men’s basketball games take forever to end, the long commercial breaks notwithstanding.

And the winner is… ABS-CBN. They wouldn’t want it any other way. The longer the games, the higher the ratings. Makes sense, right?

Was so stunned with the loss that I oversaw a very good angle for an article: Maroon five winning by five for their fifth straight victory. My dream lead down the drain. Argh!
And oh yeah, the FEU cheering squad didn’t do their “Danger” cheer.


They're going down!

They should rename their school to A Dilbert University. You know what school I'm referring to. I only had four and something hours of sleep, thus making me crankier than the usual.

I just did this as my duty as a groupmate for our Editorial Management project. Since my groupmates have class, they asked if it would be all right for me to interview coach Luigi Trillo. I dutifully went to A-damn-son despite my lack of sleep ( I stayed up to see the USA men's basketball team get humiliated by Manu Ginobilli and Argentina).

Not in the mood to assert myself, I obediently hung out near the guard's post in the gate as I wait for the Falcons finish their practice. Good thing I brought a book with me and started whiling my time away for three chapters or so.

After thirty minutes, a car passed in front of me, and the guard approached me and said that Trillo just left driving the car that just passed. Thanks for ruining an already haggard day.

Chalk up one more reason not to enroll in that 'art school'.


Emilio Aguinaldo College-Manila was a little more accomodating, but a really bad host... of the Universities and Colleges Athletic Association. They don't even keep scores of the games held there!

Sucks to be them...

Almost first

It had to be against Far Eastern University.

University of the Philippines continue their UAAP men’s basketball rampage as the Maroon five just had their fifth win courtesy of the Tamaraws, 61-56, last August 28 at the PhilSports Arena. And for a while there, everybody thought that FEU would claim first spot from Ateneo de Manila University for at least one day.

It all started near the end of the third quarter when JR dela Cruz gave Josant Cervantes a wayward elbow as retaliation for the hack the former received at the back of the neck. This exchange somehow rejuvenated the UP crowd and the Maroons as well as they clawed back from a deficit as high as 14 to underhanded the favored Tams.

At the same time, FEU was surprisingly missing their freethrows. After getting only one in the first half, they went 7/18 in the final two quarters to aid the Diliman-based cagers with their upset.

Despite being usually reliable from beyond the arc, Far Eastern missed all of their 12 three-point attempts. In contrast, the referees were calling it tight against the defending champions as UP made 21 out of the 36 freebies given to them.

“Our goal was to limit FEU to less than 60 points,” the victorious Lito Vergara said. They did that and they still had three to spare, almost duplicating the final tally that they had the first time they met this season.

RJ Rizada had his better day as he finished with a double-double of 16 points and ten rebounds. Mark Isip scored all of his 15 points in the first half only to go blank in the other. And this had to be Arwind Santos’ worst game of the season chalking only five points on 2/9 shooting despite grabbing eight boards.

On the other hand, the other Santos, Abby of UP, fared better with 14 points and nine caroms. Josant Cervantes, playing with a sprain and all, still had 12 points with 12 rebounds. Marvin Cruz and Toti Almeda also both reached double digits with 11 and ten, respectively.

Although the Morayta-based squad started listless, they still claimed the first quarter with Isip’s buzzer-beating three-point play, 17-13. In the second period, they continued playing as a team, scoring mostly from handoffs and drop passes. They tasted eight-point leads, 29-21, when Dennis Miranda zoned in and found a wide open Isip free under the basket, less than two minutes left, and again when Miranda received a fastbreak pass from Rizada, pump faked, and laid it in.

FEU had their highest margin of 14 midway in the third canto courtesy of Rizada’s trip to the line, the only time a Tam made both his charities in the game, 43-29. From there, State ignited a 13-3 run to end the quarter.

The Maroons finally got the upperhand back with Cervantes’ trifecta coming from a Jireh Ibañes assist, 51-50, six and a half minutes to go in the game. After an exchange of freethrows, Nestor David and Almeda both scored to send the Tamaraws deeper, 56-51, with the two-minute warning getting close.


Country grammar

Receieved this message over my mom's phone...

"General assembly for today cancelled. Please wait for further announcements."

Could someone remind everybody that to cancel is to 'call off completely', while to postpone is to 'hold on a later date'?


On tv last Wednesday...

Woke up just in time to see the end stages of the Dubai leg of The Amazing Race. Twins Kami and Karla, the most hated pair this season, did finish last but were fortunate enough not to be eliminated. If they win, I tell you, that show is scripted and a lot of things are going on that are edited out.

So far, Brandon and Nicole, my team for the season, are doing well finishing second behind the other guy-girl couple of Colin and Christie. I do hope that they win. No team that I like has won the race so far.

This has become a habit. Meet John Doe, he appears in Star World every Wednesday at 11am, just right after The Amazing Race in another station. Although in the same genre somewhat of CSI or Roswell, it had me at ‘Hello’ when its opening sequence three episodes back was in a blackjack table in a casino and Doe was explaining the probabilities of one getting his desired card.

Being color blind, it made John Doe look at things at a more logical and analytical way undistracted by unnecessary details. All right side of the brain, yes.

For someone who loathes anything that has numerical figures, this sure was a welcome sight. Mathematics applied in everyday situations, something that math professors have overlooked time and again. To them, writing and talking to the blackboard is already considered as passing of knowledge.

Three episodes later, seems that there is more to him than analyzing the logic of things in a crime situation. And I am with him in finding out who he really is.

Being in Star World, there is a big chance they are already seasons behind, and there is a chance that I missed some episodes. If there is in anyway I might know what happened before without accidentally bumping into what would occur in the future, please tell me.

As what they usually say…

No spoilers please

Finally got to see a more or less complete episode of WWE Raw after missing it for some weeks now. It is nice to get reacquainted to an old buddy.

The show started with Triple H on the ring and William Regal near the entrance. They were arguing something about Eugene and his part in the schemes of things. Later on, things started to heat up to the point that one challenged the other with a match that very same night.

And it was indeed bloody. Not letting Triple H do his usual pre-match routine, Regal attacked Hunter at the ramp up to the announcer’s table. After both combatants reached the ring to formally begin the match, H gave Regal a hard punch with his brass knuckles that bloodied the Englishman.

While Helmsley was reaching for his favourite weapon, the sledgehammer, from under the ring, Regal recovered and did a number on his adversary. Grabbing the knucks, William Regal was about to hit The Game when the latter underhanded him with the hammer, knocking Regal unconscious.

It was around this time that things got messy the ringside officials were getting confused which is staged and which is real. This was apparent when one guy in black went in the ring to restrain Triple H, but got the ‘they’re still okay’ sign from the referees, who were outside at that time. He stopped and went down the ring while Hunter continued to beat the life out of Eugene’s trainer.

Medics finally arrived to put Regal on a stretcher, while Mr. Stephanie McMahon was gloating up and down the ramp. Not yet over with his assault, H taunted the helpless William Regal some more and pushed the stretcher down to the groans of the crowd.

Pleased with what happened, Raw GM Eric Bischoff ‘rewarded’ Triple H with a Summer Slam match against Eugene. Heel he is, and heel he forever will be. At least, he is not going after World Champions anymore.

As a precursor to their Summer Slam bout, La Resistance and the unlikely duo of Tajiri and Rhyno had a non-title match. The latter came out smoking, beating the hell out of the Quebecans, thus winning handily.

Hopefully, this angle ends on Summer Slam. It’s obvious that the writers have no other storylines to offer midcarders Rhyno and Tajiri (both coming from Smackdown!) that they turned them into a tag team. Either they are just there as fodder for the more legit partnership of La Resistance (whose anti-American angle has become so passe) or they might become the unlikely tag team champions, just like what they did with Rico and Charlie Haas in Smackdown!

In other Summer Slam matches, it would be Batista, Chris Jericho, and Edge for the Intercontinental belt. We’ve got a heel and two faces. Who would be the other de facto heel for that match since you can’t have two faces uh… face each other?

What happened last night was still inconclusive. In the Highlight Reel, the fans were booing Edge for being a loser. After attacking Jericho, Edge went for the steel chair but stopped himself from hitting his fellow Canadian and instead helped Y2J up his feet, which Jericho responded with a wallop of his own.

In their six-man tag with Chris Benoit against Evolution, Jericho accidentally hit Edge, thus further cementing their ‘rivalry’ for Summer Slam. Speaking of that bout, I’ll get back to that.

Matt Hardy proposed in front of the whole world his marriage to Lita. Not to be outdone, Kane did his own proposal with a Till Death to Us Part match in Summer Slam, the first ever Till Death to Us Part match. Whoever wins gets Lita’s heart and uh… unborn baby.

They didn’t have this during Macho Man and Elizabeth’s days obviously. Neither during real life couples Stone Cold Steve Austin and Debra’s nor Jerry “The King” Lawler and Terri Runnels’ time.

Returning to Lita, I don’t know if it is just prosthetics or is she actually is getting uh… meatier in some parts of her body, particularly the arms and the belly? It’s easy to see who would win this one. It’s just WWE’s way of ‘showibizing’ romantic success stories within their talents. Matt and Lita have been an item for more than a year now.

Smackdown! cards in Summer Slam include Undertaker versus John Bradshaw Layfield for the WWE crown, and the return of Kurt Angle in action against “Latino Heat” Eddie Guerrero.

And then, there is Randy Orton and Chris Benoit for the World Heavyweight Championship. Something tells me that they are pushing Orton to be the next champ.

There are the signs. He RKO’d Benoit in their six-man tag to end the Raw episode. At 24, he would be the youngest World Champion ever, further cementing his claim of “Legend Killer” and “Living Legend”. Besides, it has been a month now since Evolution held any title. The ultimate heel, Triple H, wouldn’t want any of that.

I wouldn’t mind that. Orton is one heel I would want to cheer.

I know that WWE news reach the Philippines one month late, so please be considerate and avoid posting spoilers. I would appreciate that.


Last night...

I need to get my Olympic fix!

Nothing's on tv last night. Just the USA-Angola men's basketball preliminary game. Contented myself to an endpart of pre-US Open tennis tournament, which men's world number 1 Lleyton Hewitt handily won, and a series of UFC matches in the WOWOW channel with Fear Factor host Joe Rogan as octagonside reporter.

Tama ba namang Taning ng Imago ang nightcap ko?

More about the ADMU/DLSU men's basketball game...

Chris Tiu ain't worth it

It was just one of those moments when nothing was going Ateneo's way. They were slowly catching up with the Archers, when time and again, LA Tenorio stole the ball away from TY Tang and was already on his way for a fastbreak play.

Tenorio handed the ball to Chris Tiu with the next De La Salle cager out at the Araneta Coliseum parking lot. He had a clear path to the goal. All he had to do was lay the ball in. He did... and he missed... badly.

I guess he should stick with endorsing Eskinol Master. Speaking of... that tv ad sucks big time. I mean, he just called time so that he and he his teammates could apply Eskinol before the final buzzer sounded. Ergh! And to think I look highly at Advertising Majors. Where do they get the people to conceptualize this? And they're complaining we couldn't even penetrate the advertising awards festival in Cannes.

And to think the De La Salle alumni were chasing him to complete the Greena Archers Chinese Mafia (Tang, Tiu, and Joseph Yeo were the Xavierian triumvate).

The Ateneo flop

There was this one play in the fourth quarter when Macmac Cardona drove to the basket and he was double-teamed by two Eagles. As if done with perfect choreography, both his guards fell to the floor once he dipped his shoulder their way, clearly emphasizing to the refs that he charged.

Already hoarse, I shouted to one in particular, "Come on ref, that was a flop! How could Cardona, who's so reed thin, drop two defenders with his shoulders? That was pure acting! Anyway, ABS-CBN needs new talents. Why don't you two apply since you and Lopez are of the same bloodlines?"

All by myself

It was an experience watching an Ateneo-De La Salle game alone. Ever since 1999, when I get a chance to watch Ateneo-De La Salle basketball games live in the venue (I have only missed two since my ID 99 days), I have at least one known companion with me. Or at least what I could recall from the top of my head right now.

It's just me and faceless Lasallians cheering our hearts out, wanting to achieve one goal, and hoping to witness the same outcome: a victory for De La Salle. As usual, we were outnumbered three-to-one. Must be because it's finals week up there in the Taft campus.

Saw some people, like that one from DLSU Pep Squad that Elaigh and I rode the PUJ with at Chino Roces Ave. from the DLSU-FEU game. Then, there was this alumnus who acknowledged me after the game (despite me wearing blue). Must be because of my raucous cheering.

Let's do the ripple!

Finally! The 'first wave' curse has been broken! Actually, it's more like a ripple. It was just the Upper B people doing a half-hearted wave. Must be because most are starting to believe with that superstition. But then, we won. So everything's back at square one.

Voice economization

I wonder how the Pep Squad do it. What kind of salabat do they drink that enable them to cheer their throats out and still be heard at our side of the gallery?

My voice was out midway of the first quarter. Was using my so-called 'diaphragm voice' so I could just holler, "Go La Salle! Go La Salle! Go La Salle, La Salle, La Salle!"

Note to self: must learn voice economics. Adrenaline would keep you perked up in the first quarter, then it dies down in the middle periods, and you would have your second wind in the final canto. But adrenaline could just bring you so far.

In other games...

University of the Philippines won over Adamson University for their fourth straight victory. Something tells me the problem lies between Ramil Tagupa and Falcon coach Luigi Trillo. Or was it because Mark Abadia got thrown out?

Forgot the score.

We start our rivalry early

Saw the AHS/DLSZ UAAP junior's basketball game after the big boys left the building. Almost had a double-whammy. De La Salle Zobel lost, 58-62.

Was just contemplating the fate of Jai Reyes, a bomber of a player. Could fire three-pointers at will. There was this some time ago a player named Gonzales (not Wesley) won the game for the Eaglets over the Tiger Cubs in a UAAP junior's basketball finals.

If I have it right, he was already fourth year high school back then. He should be third year college by now. Just wondering why he isn't in Ateneo's Team A. Found out in a thread in the UBelt forum that he is 'too small' to be included in the Eagles' main roster. Besides, his services isn't needed as of the moment with LA Tenorio, Magnum Membrebe, and the other guards playing major minutes.

And they pride themselves of their basketball program. Saying that a big bulk of their lineup comes from Ateneo High School. I like their grassroots sports (read: basketball) program. But what happened with their supposed grassroots program now that they have 'foreigners' in their roster? And they sideline good players just because they couldn't be accomodated anymore.

Hope this doesn't happen to Jai Reyes.


Burn Ateneo, burn!

I have a new superstition with ADMU/DLSU games: wear BLUE... and lots of deodorant. Seems that dark-colored shirts and the supposed Araneta Coliseum airconditioner does not mix once it fills up. Now that I mentioned it, man, it must stink in the other side of Araneta... literally and figuratively. Hehehe...

Finally, I could gloat. This was long been anticipated. Tally: 72-61. In favor of the Archers. Self-explanatory.

What they could do, seems that we could do just better. They beat us by three in the opening weekend, we defeated them by 11 this time. They trounced us by a mile in last year's first round encounter, yet we pummeled them by 24 a millennium ago, opening day UAAP 2000 to be exact. I still remember the score: 94-70.

I tell you, the Ateneo Blue Eagles were in timespace warp during the first half. 15 points? And you have a team of explosive scorers at that. And don't give me that we-don't-have-Larry-Fonacier excuse. He's just part of the big scoring machine.

Starters Paolo Bugia, Magnum Membrere, and THE LA TENORIO all went blank in the first 20 minutes of the game. JC Intal was the only decent Eagle that time with seven.

And for some strange reason, after going 4/4 in the first few minutes of the game, Green Archers coach Franz Pumaren decided to bench my_id0l Macmac Cardona. Oh well, he wasn't really needed that much since the Archers stormed to a 29-point spread by halftime.

But then, it wouldn't be an Ateneo-De La Salle game without the flair and drama. They had to turn it into one as the Katipunan-based squad had a serious rally in the third quarter... with the help of the referees of course.

Then again, the Eagles just dug themselves a six-foot hole right in the middle of Loyola cemetery that they couldn't get out of. Sure, they were tense moments in the final minutes of the match, but my_id0l was there to save the day.

So, at the end of the game, Macmac finished with a game-high 24 points on 11/15 shooting with nine rebounds, three assists, and season average five turnovers. Mark Benitez proved he's no ampaw anymore by chipping in ten markers and eight boards. Joseph Yeo was his usual erratic self missing a three-pointer, five two-point attempts, and three freethrows.

Intal was the bright spot for Ateneo with a double-double of 21 points and ten caroms. Tenorio made it up in the second half with 12 points and five assists.

Stat of the day: Ateneo had 28 turnovers compared to the Archer's 17.

Nevertheless, there is still one big chink in De La Salle's armour: freethrows. 15/29 as a team for 52%. Even Shaquille O'Neal could do freethrows better than that.


FEU takes control of East; notches Final 4 slot

In the annual battle of Recto, where both campuses are just literally a stone’s throw away from each other, Far Eastern University dominated this one against University of the East, albeit a close one, 64-62, in the UAAP men’s basketball eliminations last August 21 at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The Tamaraws were underhanded by the smaller UE squad in the closing stages of the game. Nevertheless, veteran smarts made FEU stay afloat for their eighth win in ten games. With this victory, they are able to claim a Final Four slot and are just half a game behind pacesetting Ateneo de Manila University.

The Warriors reclaimed the lead back with just a minute to go when Marcy Arellano dropped the ball to Romel Dizon for a layup, 62-61. However, the grizzled warriors of FEU coach Koy Banal did not give up that easily as RJ Rizada handed the ball to the wide open Dennis Miranda for a midrange jumper with just :24.7 remaining.

“Nakakalambot ang ganong laro,” recalled Banal, who had his second cliffhanger in three days. “Kelangan namin ng ganong laro. Pampatibay.

“As usual, old reliables namin like Denok, RJ, Jobim (Garcia), and Don (Yabut) were there to defend (the Warriors),” Banal added.

Miranda led the way for the Tams with 18 points on 7/12 shooting with six rebounds, two assists, and a block. Arwind Santos had the better of his matchup against Niño Canaleta finishing with 12 markers and 15 boards.
Canaleta had 13 for the Warriors along with four blocks. Paolo Hubalde topscored for UE with 19.

The Tamaraws were the kings of the board as they completely conquered the rebounds department, 56-32. They were also the more aggressive team in pushing the ball with 16 fastbreak points, beating the Warriors in their own game who only had eight.

FEU would next face the surging Maroons of the University of the Philippines this August 28.


I'm alive!

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