The Lakers, unanimously expected by all to be back for the Finals this year, proved their grit and will power over the Phoenix Suns with a 111-103 win. Away from their crowd, and under pressure from those of their foes, the Lakers instead turned the pressure on the Suns, and emerged as the rightful team to be on the Finals. Kobe Bryant proved he wanted this chance more than anyone, by delivering 37 crucial points, including near-impossible clutch shots that even Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry had to concede and admit the Black Mamba was the undoubtedly best in the game.
And earlier this week, the Boston Celtics staved off an Orlando Magic rally to be the first team in NBA history to come back from a 0-3 deficit. They won two straight games after their dismal Game 3, but the Magic simply could not break down the green brick wall. Brilliant performances from the newly re-rostered Big Four (Pierce, Garnett, Allen and Rondo), sealed the deal for the Celtics, who are back to the Finals for the 21st time since their dynasty was built.
The rivalry has been revived.
While the Lakers were expected to still be playing in early June of this season, the opinion about the Celtics was not as conclusive, or convincing. They were never the favorites to make it even to the conference finals. And if ever there were any who thought they will reach the Finals, they were not as many as those who believed either the Cavs or the Magic would be the one facing the Lakers. It was only when the Playoffs started that the Boston Celtics suddenly became the Boston Celtics. The three teams they vanquished–the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Orlando Magic–would easily be the toughest three consecutive teams any franchise can face in the Playoffs in ANY order.
And the Celtics conquered.
Now, the Lakers and Celtics are meeting again in the NBA’s grandest stage for a shot at history. If LA wins the championship, they will be one championship shy of tying the Celtics for most number of championship wins, and a chance to vindicate their loss to Boston in the Finals two years ago. If Boston wins, they’ll win one more trophy to add to their still unbeaten record, and close out this decade with a championship for the 18th time.
We will reserve our predictions for later. For now, let’s give the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers their much needed four-day recharge. Come Thursday (Friday here in the Philippines), the greatest rivalry in NBA history will tip off and shoot it out for the title of 2010 NBA Champions.
Just in case you still have no idea what big, dramatic changes can happen once your backs are on the wall, go ahead and ask the Phoenix Suns and the Orlando Magic.
A few days ago, their respective rivals, the LA Lakers and the Boston Celtics were being hailed already as the eventual foes in the NBA Finals–a revival of their storied rivalry. Phoenix, which was down 0-2 in their series, and Orlando, aiming for the impossible with a 0-3 ditch, were already being dismissed as footnotes to what was shaping up as the second face-off between the Lakers and the Celtics in the league’s grandest stage in the 21st century.
Well, the Suns and Lakers just proved all speculations against them premature.
As of this writing, the Suns have tied their series against the Lakers at two games apiece. The Magic, on the other hand, are attempting a first in NBA history–a comeback from a 0-3 deficit. And with two straight wins already, Stan Van Gundy’s crew are robbing the Celtics their prized momentum. Phoenix, on the other hand, may have finally found their rhythm against the defending champs, and they’re expecting one win at home, steal one game on the road, and try to seal the deal for them.
But, lest we forget, big dramatic changes can also sway on LA and Boston’s side.
If it were that LA and Boston were just pushover teams in the league, then we can go ahead and underestimate them. If it were that LA and Boston did not earn their way to the playoffs convincingly, then we can just forget about their bid for a Finals appearance. If it were that LA and Boston were not vanquishing their respective foes in championship caliber fashion, then let’s give Phoenix and Orlando their tickets to their first-ever meeting in early June.
That is, if it were the case.
Boston will be playing Orlando at the TD Bankworth Garden. If that does not mean anything to you, maybe “homecourt advantage” rings a bell. LA has the same ace card as well over Phoenix. The only problem is that Boston’s homecourt advantage is just one game. If this one slips away from their hand, then they have a big problem–a game seven at Orlando’s home base. Boston would rather be staying in their hotels at home, rather than boarding the next flight to Florida. LA still has two games at home to spare, something that they will be surely defending with their lives.
Don’t expect anything to come easy for these four teams, especially at this point in the Conference Finals.
I have been staring at the computer screen for fifteen minutes now, and I don’t even have the slightest idea on how to open this obituary for a man whose influence on my life was an indelible one. I find my fingers frozen on top of the computer keyboard, wanting to go ahead and type away. But for lack of sleep, and abundance of good memories, there’s simply no one way to start off a tribute post for Pr. Orlando “Jojo” Liwanag.
We have all been praying for this day to finally come for the last four years that he was in deep comatose. The alternate to this prayer was that he would eventually wake up from his deep sleep and recover the athleticism, energy, and passion he had. God knows best, though, and His response to our prayers was one that befitted the faithfulness and service that Kuya Jojo rendered.
Last night, at around 11:30 PM, Kuya Jojo finally finished his race, leaving behind a legacy of dedication, commitment, loyalty, and unfeigned love for God, his work, and his family. He now enjoys a much deserved eternal rest in the arms of his Lord. Knowing where he is now gives you the comforting assurance that, indeed, he is in a better place.
That he will be remembered for a lot of wonderful memories is a gross understatement. His trademark “hawi ng buhok,” the way he would bully players in basketball, the usual seatplan he follows in church, and his unique way of “pang-aalaska” are but some of the candid snapshots that Kuya Jojo shared with all of us. Going through the pile of photos of him through the years, you can probably count in your fingers the number of photos he had solo. He was always with someone else in pictures. Not even cropping his image off the crowd is effective to capture him all by his own. He was simply every where, with everyone.
Yet, he had an ironic way of keeping things low key. He was our senior pastor’s best example of a church leader who never basked in the limelight of attention. His way to success wasn’t on the platform–it was always through the backstage. He was a coach, a cheerer, a compelling force that will either push you or pull you, which ever way he can nudge you off your mediocre ways. And once you’re there on top of the mountain, he’s oftentimes nowhere near you in the summit. He’s contented to admire where you are from the foot of the mountain, looking for another person that he can carry to the top.
Every time we got some big events accomplished he would always give me the high five. I served under him as youth president and director for three years. And each time we got things rolling, his hand was raised up, waiting for my palm to hit his’. That was his way of saying “ayos ka, bata!”
Last night, while I stayed behind with his body down at the waiting area, I lifted his lifeless arm, held out his twitched palms, and give it a gentle high five.
This time, it was my turn to tell him, “ayos ka, kuya Jo!”
Aside from our regular “Blog Pulse” column, I’m jump starting a new opinion-based series, this time through survey. Since the possible answers are beyond the normal count, I figured it’s best to come up with a survey question, instead of limiting the possible responses. With only one simple question, all you’ve got to do is post one single response, either here in the blog or in my Facebook page. And the survey question is…
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE OR KNOW, IF YOU ONLY HAD ONE CHANCE TO LOOK INTO THE FUTURE?
Post your responses here as comments, or in the Facebook wall post where this blog is linked. We’re hoping to get 100 responses with this QuickSurvey. After 100 responses, we’re giving you the top answers from all our respondents.
When a bunch of graders in the US were asked how they would define “love” in their own terms, here’s what some of the sweetest replies came out:
– It’s when your grandma suffers from arthritis, and she can’t paint her nails anymore. Then grandpa comes along and does the painting for grandma… even if grandpa’s got arthritis too!
– It’s when girls wear perfume, and boys wear shaving cologne, and they go out to smell each other.
– It’s when daddy buys mommy a brand new car, and mommy buys daddy a brand new vacuum cleaner for the car.
– It’s what makes bland ketchup sweet, because it’s on the burger that daddy bought for you.
– It’s who’s left inside your bedroom after all your birthday presents have been opened.
– It’s what made my crush wear the baseball cap that I told him looks nice on him.
– It’s when mommy cooks fried chicken for me and my sister; and then, when I look inside the fridge, there’s no more chicken there for her and dad.
1. May isang babae na nagumpisal na siya ay nagkasala sa kayabangan. “Tuwing kasi titingnan ko ang sarili ko sa salamin, father, tingin ko sa sarili ko maganda ako.” Taas kilay na sinagot siya ng pari sa kabilang panig ng kumpisalan, “iha, that is not a sin… that’s a mistake!”
2. Matapos mamatay at pumunta ng langit, nagtanong ang isang lalaki sa Panginoon tungkol sa kanyang asawa. “Panginoon, bakit maganda ang misis ko?” tanong ng lalaki. “Para magustuhan mo sila, siyempre.” sagot ng Panginoon. Nagtanong ulit ang lalaki, “eh bakit parang sobrang ganda naman ng misis ko, Panginoon?” Sumagot ulit ang Panginoon, “Para mahalin mo siya!” At sa huli nagtanong ang lalaki, “eh bakit parang mahina ang ulo niya, Panginoon?” May ngiting napasagot ang Panginoon, “Para naman mahalin ka niya!”
3. Naaksidente ang isang pastor at ang taxi na kanyang sinakyan. Sabay silang namatay nung driver. Pagdating sa langit, pinakita sa kanila ang kanilang mga mansyon. Napansin ng pastor na mas maganda yung mansyon nung driver kesa sa kanya. Nagtanong siya tuloy, “Panginoon, parang mali ata… bakit naman yung sa driver ng taxi mas maganda kesa sa mansyon ko?” Sumagot ang Panginoon, “Ikaw kasi pag nagpapahayag, lahat ng tao, natutulog. Yung driver, pag nagdadrive, lahat nananalangin.”
4. Dahil sa hang-over nung isang gabi, hilu-hilong nagsimba ang isang lalaki, at dahil sa haba ng sermon, nakatulog siya eventually. Pinagmamasdan siya ng pastor, at para hindi masira ang mensahe nagsabi siya ng malumanay na, “Kung kayo’y pupunta ng langit, tayo kayo.” Siyempre, lahat tumayo, maliban sa lalaking natutulog. Pagkatapos, pahina na biglang pasigaw ang pastor na nagsabing, “Lahat naman ng pupunta sa impyerno, TAYO!” Lahat siyempre umupo, at ang lalaking natutulog ang biglang napatayo.
Nang makita niyang siya lang ang nakatayo sabi niya sa pastor, “Di ko alam kung anong pinag-uusapan dito, Pastor, pero mukhang tayong dalawa lang ang magkasama ata!”
Nito lang isang araw, may lumantad na witness na di-umano’y kasabwat sa isang grandiyosong plano para dayain ang halalan. Ayon kay “Robin” milyun-milyon raw ang perang bumuhos at ibinayad sa kanila upang makapandaya lamang sa mga PCOS Machines at mga balota na gagamitin sa halalan. Pinangalanan pa niya kung sinu-sinong mga kandidato ang nakaltasan ng boto at nakinabang ng dagdag na bilang dahil sa kanilang modus operandi. Sa huli, nagsabi pa siya na una’t huling paglantad na niya ito, dahil na rin sa takot niya para sa kanyang buhay at sa kanyang pamilya.
Subalit, sa kanyang paglantad, walang ipinakitang maliit na hibla ng ebidensya si “Robin” para patunayan ang kanyang patotoo. I may not know much about evidence gathering, but I’m more inclined to think that this guy is just looking for media attention, and not really revealing the truth about the alleged fraud that happened during the elections. A police friend of mine even commented that the guy has nothing to be afraid of as of the moment: after all, he hasn’t presented any strong evidence that can corroborate his claims, or that can alarm the politicians being accused in this case, to the point of them trying to shut up the witness. Sa madaling salita, kung wala ka namang ipapakitang hahabulin sa ‘yo, sinong dapat mong katakutan.
But what is scarier are the actual proofs that I have seen, pointing to possible fraud in our PCOS machines that were used in the elections. Last Monday morning, defeated Manila Mayoralty candidate Lito Atienza, together with his team, gave out photocopies of four to six election returns from Manila which are dated earlier than May 10. These copies point out that it was possible that the votes have already been entered into the machines as early as February and March of this year, and not the ones during election day. Other scrupulous data reveal that there were three clustered precints which had all the figures in them exactly the same. From the number of votes cast, number of votes for each candidate, all the way to the number of registered voters are exactly the same. But the barangay number and clustered precint are different.
The only problem here is that if there was fraud during the automated elections, then we have a bigger problem–election failure. And barely two months before a new president is to be declared, the COMELEC is still trying to resolve this big issue of credibility in the system they just used.
I just wished the people in authority to address this alarming issue, or even the people who had the power in their hands to make sure all these will come to pass smoothly and tamper-proof, were thinking very carefully at the repercussions that these anomalies can bring to our nation as a whole. I’m more inclined to think that, indeed, there were come hocus-pcos that happened last May 10.
It’s just that instead of giving us answers, we now have more questions than when everything was done manually.
As promised, I have updated the look and functionality of our blogsite by changing our theme to Enterprise, one of WordPress’ newest themes. What I like about this theme is its drop-down menu function, as well as its customizable background and header, and a separate menu exclusively for categories.
The tough task, however, is updating my blog pages and categories. Since I promised on coming up with a parent page for all the blog series, I had to create new child pages, and one by one copy and paste the links of my blog series posts into one page. So far, I have managed to come up with two series on the Blog Series page: the “Oo Nga Naman” and the “Wedding in the Making.” It’ll take more time to organize the other series. As for the short series that has less than 5 series posts, I won’t be making any more pages for them.
So far, I am liking how this new theme has given me better options of improving the functionality of my blog site. Now that I am using tags, I’m sure more people looking for insights, information and inspiration will be frequenting our site.
Do bear with us please as we continue to improve the new look and functions of our blog site. Will keep you all posted as soon as all the site reconstructions are done.