Hello there, sports fans!!! After a month’s hiatus, I’m back! Like the sun after the dark of night, I’m back. Like a wave after the ebbing tide, I’m back! Like Gen Douglas McArthur wading to the shores of Leyte, I’m back! Like a plebe ordered by his upperclassman to resign, hell, no, sir! I AM BACK!!!
And what a great time to be back! Late last year, we witnessed the glitz and glam of the UAAP cheerdance competition. We ooohed and we aaahed at the non-stop drama as Ateneo emerged as the UAAP men’s basketball champions. We marveled at the shocking San Beda upset win for the NCAA cage crown. We cried for joy at the 2-win streak of the latest edition of the Gilas Team. We got our almost daily dose of unpredictable NBA action. And we gave a collective sigh of relief as the PBA teams finally got their acts together. And yes, there seems to be some development in regard the move to oust Peping Cojuangco from the POC!!! Indeed, the sports gods have been kind enough to favor us couch potatoes with a feast of tricks and treats to whet our insatiable sports appetite. Bon a petit!
The changing of the guards at the UAAP cheerdance competition was unexpected. The National University juggernaut had dominated for the past 4 years; and they were gunning for a golden opportunity to tie UST’s unequalled string of 5 spectacular championships from 2002 to 2006. That said, the NU Pep Squad came ready to shock-and-awe as the first presentor at the full house MOA Arena.
But the jinx of the first performer seemed to have cast a spell on the erstwhile-invincible troupe. From dauntless to doubtful, the NU performance tumbled with a spate of errors. From masters to mere mortals, they meekly exited the mat. Giving the rest of the teams the confidence and the audacity to perform with wild abandon. Unheralded Adamson, whose best finish by far was last year’s 3rd place finish, joins the prestigious ranks of UAAP Cheerdance champions.
Then, we feasted over the much-ballyhooed UAAP men’s basketball finals between arch-rivals Ateneo and La Salle. Indeed, it was a treat not for the faint of hearts. It was Ateneo’s system against La Salle’s mayhem. For foreign flavor, it was Ateneo’s Baldwin against La Salle’s M’Bala, It was the blue sky against the green forest. The crowd was loud, and the cheering merry. In the end, Ateneo got the crown, while La Salle could only frown.
And we still hadn’t had enough. In the rival NCAA cage league, a rampaging Lyceum quintet, unbeaten for 18 games in the elimination round, found themselves facing the grizzled champs, San Beda, for the title. Needing just 1 more win to clinch a glorious season, the Lyceum Pirates found themselves banged, bamboozled and badly beaten. The San Beda Red Lions, proud champs in 10 of the last 12 championships, banked on their championship experience and a solid defense to etch out a monumental drama-of-an-upset. From cheers to tears, the Lyceum Pirates simply unraveled. For the Red Lions, it was steady pacing, patiently learning and peaking just right on time for the games that really mattered.
The newest edition of the Pilipinas Gilas scored 2 dazzling wins over Japan and Taipei to land in a tie with favored Australia in the ongoing Fiba World Cup Asia qualifier. After an inglorious run in Beirut where the team got blown out embarrassingly by South Korea, the twin wins are an encouraging morale booster for the country. Here’s hoping that the year 2018 gives Gilas the right breaks.
The PBA season is underway. It is hoped that the snaffu that led ultimately to Commissioner Chito Narvasa’s unceremonious resignation will simmer down quickly. Indeed, it was a tumultuous off-season for the PBA, after Narvasa approved what was clearly a one-sided trade for prized rookie Christian Stanhardinger. But there are new players and new alignments that make this season quite interesting. Despite the brouhaha, we just have to move on, folks.
And finally, in the wonderful world that is the NBA. There is never a dull moment, what with the new format for the All Star Game this week, and the mammoth overhaul of the Cavs’ line-up after a spate of losses early this year.
For the All Star Game this weekend, Lebron James and Steph Curry were named the 2 All Star Game captains in the new format after getting the most votes in their respective conferences. And – using ordinary pick-up style gym match-ups – the 2 captains get to choose who they want to play with in their respective teams. This refreshing format will see exciting new line-ups where fans’ conference loyalties are thrown out the window.
Going back to the regular season, the merry mix-up of marquee players, plus the arrival of this latest batch of upstart rookies, makes for more excitement. There is unpredictability, there is great innovation, there is dazzling speed and fearsome flight in every game they play.
And so, to my fellow couch potatoes, there is so much for us to look forward to this year. So bring out your popcorn and pour out the beer. Bring out the pompoms, the bullhorns, the gear. Keep the folks happy, so they won’t mind your mess. Make yourself comfortable, and don’t mind the rest. For the best is yet to come. And yes, you do have fresh batteries for the remote, do you?