Monday, November 29, 2010

The Notebook - Ginebra vs B-Meg

Random notes from the Ginebra-BMeg game:
  • 14,000 ++ attendance - good job Ginebra and B-Meg Fans!
  • I guess Eric Menk really likes the machete/kachupoy look. And it worked like a charm - conference-high 20 points, 7 rebounds, Best Player of the Game
  • B-Meg's guard-centric roster reminds me of Suns "Small-Ball" team during late 90's when Danny Ainge was their coach. Imagine, Suns had Jason Kidd, an up-and-coming Steve Nash, Kevin Johnson and Rex Chapman all playing at the same time.
  • A little disappointed that Ronald Tubid completely shaved his beard. Ayaw daw niya maging Freddie Hubalde (But Hubalde was a former PBA MVP). And I really thought the moniker "Ronaldo de Balbas Sarado" would work:(
  • So I have no choice but to refer to Tubid as "Ronald Ahit Rubie, Ahit Pogi Tubid"
  • Realized that you don't need to soar in order to be dubbed as athletic. Peter June Simon's athleticsm is not in how he dunks, which he used to do and probably still can do, but in how he jumps for first, second or third attempts at the basket.
  • Still impressed with Jimbo Aquino.
  • Retro Nights still ongoing - Menk 20 pts, Caguioa 18 pts, Roger Yap 10 pts 6 rebs 12 assists!
  • And Richard del Rosario said I turned 52 years old yesterday. Not true.
  • Thanks again to everyone who greeted me yesterday. Maraming Salamat!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Phil Jackson - Musings of a Sage

Amusing how Phil Jackson creates a stir and knows exactly how a hornet's nest responds.

See I'm just guessing here (Unless Erik Spoelstra, Stan Van Gundy AND Jackson are on your speed dial list, you're guessing too). My theory is Jackson is being Jackson, an 11-time champion coach who wants to make life for other coaches this season a little more complicated. The sage is not a saint. Chances are, he'll only be gracious once ring #12 is secure. After all, one doesn't win 11 rings by winning the Mr. Congeniality award 11 times.

In the wild, Jackson is a lone wolf and he lives to agitate the pack. He quotes Tolstoy. He's worked with Jordan and Kobe. He's won with Jordan and Kobe. He smirks like he knows something the rest of the planet doesn't. If I were an NBA head coach, I'll do anything to wipe Jackson's Gandalfish grin off his face. So many real head coaches have tried to do just that. The overaged hippie, one title away from a fourth three-peat, is still beating them all.

Wouldn't hurt to further shake-up an already combustible situation in Miami with a sly comment. Wouldn't hurt to open Stan Van Gundy's old wounds. Ordinarily, Jackson would've dismissed questions about the Heat with a usual "I'll worry about my team, let them worry about theirs" response. But the Heat is no ordinary team. As an adjunct, the Orlando Magic aren't ordinary contenders either. Is it too early to play mind games? For Jackson, chances are, it never is.

So Jackson adds more fuel to the fire. Propriety dictates that coaches refrain from commenting on the situation of other coaches. Former NBA Head Coach and long-time television analyst Mike Fratello condemned Jackson's remarks. Stan Van Gundy described Jackson's opinions as "ignorant". And Spoelstra has less time to worry about some shrewd old man in LA and more pressing problems to address in his own backyard.

I agree. Jackson isn't privy to the chasm in Miami so he can't know everything. I can't agree however to describing his comments as "ignorant". I'm just theorizing like everyone else is. But as NBA history has shown, Jackson's wild hunch (I'll consider Popovich's and Sloan's too) might be more bankable than another coach's educated guess. MH

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mico Halili's Blog Entry Number One

Although basketball is a much tender game to play than baseball, neither in my small experience is half as tense as rooting. The basketball player, my kind at least, was much too busy running around stopping leaks, or turning on faucets that didn’t work, for tension to build very much…there is always something to do, something to keep you busy…the fan meanwhile, can do nothing.
- Wilfrid Sheed

I am a fan. Not an expert. Not a critic. Not a genius. Not a skeptic. Not a psychic. Not a coach. Not the one who claims he can break a full-court press. Not the one who dares to take the winning shot. Not the cure for all the ills in sports. Just a fan. Of course, in this day and age, as part of a generation trained to multi-task (and speak its mind), a fan can actually be all of the characters I just mentioned. And then some.

So I simplify. I am a fan because I grew up as one. Cheered when Toyota won. Cried when they lost. Even if I had no clue how games were played. I started my sports vocation younger than most. The PBA and Transformers (the original cartoon, not the Michael Bay mash-up) on television, for instance, was always a toss-up. Unthinkable for my age group. So I clapped for Abdul-Jabbar, applauded the Raiders' Silver and Black, admired Paras as a UAAP/PABL beast, celebrated when Ateneo won in '88, followed Rolando Navarette's ups and downs and dropped homework to watch Anejo versus Purefoods without fail. And the addiction never waned. Not for an instant.

Watching sports as a serious hobby turned into covering sports as serious work. Well, not so serious work. But I took it seriously enough to make it last this long. 15 years in the sports biz have taught me this: credibility means the world. I also learned how perspective keeps one's head in place.

When one goes from covering games to taking part in games, suddenly knowing the startling difference between a) losing a twice to beat advantage in the Final Four as part of a team and b) simply watching - from a very safe distance - another team squander such an edge, a fan develops a kind of sports-conscience. The pain of losing is no longer a sorry sight on television. It's no longer just a reason to be grumpy the next day. The pain is inexplicable.

Fans and the players they support can have the same grotesque wounds, share the same heaven-sent jubilation. Players invest time in training. Fans invest their adulation. I don't doubt this. Still, when fans cross over, finally get to experience championship moments and blown 20-point leads from the unforgiving geography of a team bench, their views change, in my case, views were enhanced tenfold.

The fan becomes an open-minded observer. A keeper of stories. A purveyor of winning ways and losers' attitudes. I've seen some of the cheats. I've known some of the greats. But the aforementioned sports-conscience programmed in my brain prevents me from judging athletes without a fair trial, protects me from supporting teams with blind allegiance.

Nevertheless, I am still a fan. I know the frustration. I can identify with the excitement. Hence, I understand passion even if displayed sans perspective. Sports is like that. People watch a Sunday showdown in Araneta from 20,000 vantage points. The worst we can do is rip each other to shreds. The best we can do is enjoy a pulsating overtime game as a community. Hopefully, we respect each other's opinions the way the Red Sox and the Yankees, Ali and Frazier, Mac Cardona and Larry Fonacier, Magic and Bird, Duke and UNC, Toyota and Crispa, The Big J and El Presidente openly or not-so-openly respect each other.

So I'm an observer. A professional storyteller of the games we love, if you will. And this is where I'm coming from. A spectator who sees what you see but may not share in the extremes you suffer/enjoy. I am not a genius. Far from it. I am still a fan. Albeit with a distinct point of view. MH

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Busted! Sunday Inquirer Magazine reveals my favorite PBA Team.

Game Time
by Ruey de Vera
Sunday Inquirer Magazine

FOR Mico Halili, the game is a way of life, and his is the bright, confident voice that propels the Philippine Basketball Association on countless
TV screens nationwide. The 35-year-old SolarTV sportscaster has devoted the better part of his professional life to describing the poetry and power of Philippine basketball. He deploys vibrant wordplay at every opening and you have him to credit for ingenious monikers such as “The Fast, the Furious and the Fearless” for Barangay Ginebra’s fearsome trio of Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand and Ronald Tubid, respectively.

“The best part of my job is that it seldom feels like a job,” Halili says...

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