Life as it happens. Time as it passes.

Archive for August, 2010

30,000 HITS!

Thank you so much for everyone who made this record possible for our blog! It’s nice to know that there are a lot of folks and friends out there who still pass by here to capture some insight and information about life’s many whatevers!

The last few months have been all about college basketball for our blog, and I guess that helped spur our viewership. I also started putting in some tags to our blogs, making more accessible and “search friendly” for all our readers.

Hopefully, we can get to do more for our viewers and readers in the weeks, months and years to come!

Keep it coming for us here, guys!


UP Incurs Loss No. 12

The UP Fighting Maroons incurred their 12 straight loss against the UST Growling Tigers last Saturday, 68-66.

With their season soon to wrap up, and still needing that elusive first win, UP’s last two games will be against the UE Red Warriors and the FEU Tamaraws. The game against UE should be UP’s last shot at winning one game, but with UE’s performance already improved, that prospect is even treated as a difficult one.

Still, UP will have two more games to salvage the season from becoming another losing sweep.

The Maroons endured a winless season just four years ago, which was followed by two seasons that managed only to post three regular season victories under the lead of Coach Aboy Castro, who took an indefinite leave from the team two games coming into the season. Replacing him was Boyet Fernandez, the bemedalled coach coming from the pro league, but has yet to enjoy one college basketball win as a tactician for the Maroons.

Questions about Fernandez’ stay in UP until next season is a big mystery as of the moment. Rumors are also brewing that some of the players of the team have yet to gel with their interim mentor, and thus the disappointing output so far.

For now, the Maroons’ biggest target is to keep their team off the prospect of another winless season.

Napag-uusapan Lang Naman 11

I am one among the millions of Filipinos who, until today, are clueless as to what to make of the recent Grandstand carnage last Monday evening. Perhaps, owing to the fact that this blog is my personal venue for my own take on the event, I can let you into some of my own view on the tragic hostage drama, and let’s see how far we can go.

But just as I was browsing the net and reading the recent editions of the broadsheets, in order for me to settle with a comprehensive perspective of my own, I encountered a video on Chico Garcia’s blog, embedded from YouTube, which eventually concluded my search, and prompted me to start writing this blog. I hope you will be patient enough to read this piece first before you scroll down and view the video.

To begin with, this is not a moral debate. Yesterday, I was being tempted to tread that path, but as the day went on, the urge just died naturally. I kind of realized that that path won’t lead to anywhere. So I dropped the idea of weighing the rights and wrongs of the events.

I am writing this take based from three different situations, but all with a common denominator: from parenthood.

During the early moments of the hostage drama, it was already reported that Rolando Mendoza’s son, was coming home from Abra to help resolve the situation. The son, himself a police officer, wasn’t coming home as a fellow law enforcer, or a subordinate policeman in the ranks–he was simply coming home as a junior, as a son. In some days, divorcing your role as a child, and your calling as a policeman is easy. This isn’t one of those days.

And then, after the tragic ending came, with Mendoza being killed in the process, I receive a call from my best friend, telling me that Mendoza was the dad of one of his college barkadas. It was just two weeks ago that they were celebrating their 10th year of friendship since freshman in college. Now, all the jovial memories were quickly obliterated by mourning and grief in the part of that young lady–a daughter, who’s only wish that things never ended for his dad the way it did.

Finally, I have here this video that I saw from Chico’s blog. I won’t let you in to what’s it all about–I’ll let you experience the bittersweet feeling that  experienced as I watch the clip from start to finish.

After watching this video, try now to synthesize all of what I gave you as views on the tragic hostage drama, mix it with your own view. And then, if ever you arrive at that moment of closure, ask yourself:

How much do you give worth to your life?

UP Misses First Two Assignments as Round Two Opens

The UP Fighting Maroons just suffered their eighth and ninth straight losses as round two of the UAAP opened last Saturday. The losses came from the Ateneo Blue Eagles and the La Salle Green Archers. UP is now 0-9, and are definitely out of contention for their would-have-been Final Four appearance this year.

What’s even worse is that veteran player and team captain Woody Co, together with Mark Lopez both incurred season-ending injuries in their last game. The best option right now is for the team to avoid a losing sweep of the season. It would be the second time in four years that UP will endure a winless season in the UAAP.

The next five games of UP will be against FEU, NU, UE, Adamson and UST. UP’s coach Boyet Fernandez keeps all hopes high that the team will get that elusive first win before season ends, despite losing their team captain and bench guard to injuries.

UP’s last entrance into the final four was thirteen years ago, and their last championship at the UAAP was ten years earlier than that. Since the final four format was instituted, UP, together with NU and Adamson has never been into a championship appearance, something that, for Adamson, might just happen this season.

Win or Lose, We Stand By our Team–UP Fighting Maroons

It helps to read fellow-UP alumni’s positive remarks about the UP Fighting Maroons, despite their standing right now in the UAAP. While it cannot be denied that there are those who are dismayed about the performance of the Maroons so far, there are still a GREAT NUMBER OF FANS who are undaunted with their support for the team, win or lose.

You can check out this facebook fan page to see just how supportive the UP community can be.

Sometimes, because we have suffered so many heartbreaks and losses in the recent seasons, we forget that we have our own fair share of basketball history.

Just so everybody knows, the first ever collegiate basketball champion in our nation’s history IS UP! And we didn’t just win the first season–we went on to win the first three! Come to think of it–the first ever three-peat championship in college basketball history IS also UP!

All in all, UP has won 6 college championships–4 in the NCAA, and two in the UAAP.

And come to think of it… nobody really talks as much about the champions of the 15th season, or the 36th season, or whatever season it was, compared to was the FIRST EVER champion of college ball.

Stand up proud UP Fighting Maroons! History takes your side on this one.

Who Will Save UP?

As the second round of the UAAP commences on Saturday for the UP Fighting Maroons, an all too familiar question is asked: who will step up for UP?

There seems to be no one way find out who. The veterans of the team have yet to prove that they have what it takes to carry the load of the team, get them through the tough task of closing out a game, and secure a win for them. As for the rookies and the sophies, there seems to be no one person that will create the spark in the offense, and get things clicking in all cylinders. And then there’s the question of how the coach will orchestrate his team’s play, especially the upcoming first game against a heavy Ateneo Blue Eagles.

But one thing is for sure–a win is badly needed right now.

The UP Fighting Maroons have a good chance of triggering a winning run in the second round if they start improving from their stats. For the first round, there were only three UP players averaging double digits in points per game. Since his injury, Woody Co dropped to 8.5 ppg, a far cry from his solid performance in games prior to his injury. Alvin Padilla, Mikee Reyes, Carlo Gomez, and Mark Juruena, must improve in their scoring if they want more minutes on the floor to sharpen their performance better. More efficient scorers mean more points for the team.

But scoring is just one part of the entire formula to winning–they will have to be better on the defensive end. The big bane for UP is that they have been the team losing with the most number of margins. twice they’ve been beaten by more than 20. The lowest margin they’ve lost was 4, which was by NU, the game they actually had a lead of 22 going into the third. The monumental collapse in the defense allowed the Bulldogs to rally behind their key scorers and reverse the tide. That game would have been secured in UP’s pockets if only defense was strong enough to hold NU at bay.

UP seems to lack a legitimate point guard. Mikee Reyes isn’t spending more time on the floor, and the ones carrying the ball, like Mark Lopez and Alvin Padilla aren’t natural guards. A good ball handler can help minimize the turnovers of UP, which averages 11 per game among its top players who turn the ball over. The other thing about point guard efficiency is that plays can be carried out effectively, and it will spruce up their efforts to close out games better. Effectively carried out plays can help UP avoid any last minute salvaging to do. The thing about crunchtime for the trailing team is that they will spend more time on the defense than the offense. This pretty much happened for UP during their game against NU. The solution for defense is stronger defense. If they take on any team with a solid defensive mindset, UP can win.

I once asked a former UP Maroons if there is any hope for the team this next round, and the only word he could say is the same that I could only muster– SANA.

UAAP S73 First Round Wrap Up

The first round of atrocities in the UAAP have just wrapped up. Here are the standings so far after 49 games:

1. FEU (7-0)

2. AdU (5-2)

3. ADMU (5-2)

4. DLSU (4-3)

5. NU (3-4)

6. UST (3-4)

7. UE (1-6)

8. UP (0-7)

Let’s take some time out to analyze how it ended up this way for the teams:

FEU (7-0)

We knew this was coming for the Tamaraws, especially when they handed the Eagles their first loss. That one would have gone forgotten–until La Salle followed suit to defeat Ateneo. That was in itself a statement that the Eagles are no longer in the lofty position they used to enjoy. The Tams have taken it from away from them, and are expected to keep it that way after round two. It won’t get any easier, though–this second round is all about seeding and survival, and so FEU will be the team to catch up. After all, there’s nothing higher than the top.

AdU (5-2)

The Falcons made sure they lived up to their tag name “Soaring”, now that they’re up to the number two spot, tied with a fellow avian in ADMU. They will surely make it to the Final Four this year, and with how things are going for them, even the Finals isn’t a far reach anymore. The timely stepping up of their veterans in their games helped a lot in improving their standings. Indeed, they will not be denied this year.

ADMU (5-2)

The loss of their key players from last year’s champion team has unraveled the Eagles into where they are now. Still, they are as formidable as ever. They are the team that won with the largest margin in a game, against their neighbor UP. Only one of the two losses they incurred so far are inexplicable, the one that La Salle handed to them. It’s been so good so far for the Eagles when it comes to being a final four contender. As for that three-peat, Ateneo has some serious matters to tackle to make it to the Finals.

DLSU (4-3)

Surprise, surprise, college ballers! La Salle is on the top half of the list! Thanks to the renewed and recharged roles of their key veterans under the new leadership of Coach Dindo Pumaren, the Archers are on slot number four, a place that was being reserved for some other team than them. But since they won their opening game against UP, going on to defeat their rival Ateneo, and a couple more, La Salle ahead of the other half of the pack. The only danger is that if they slip, they might be the first to be ousted of their spot in the standings. And they shouldn’t underestimate who are the other four hungry for their share.

NU (3-4)

They definitely have graduated from being the league’s whipping boys. The new leadership of Eric Gonzales is working for the team. Emmanuel Mbe has done wonders for the team’s chemistry, and it might just be that they can catch up with the rest of the team ahead of them. It’s the “work harder” part of their game that they should really work harder on.

UST (3-4)

They’re relatively better than the other teams, considering their loss of their big time players and scorers. The rookie-laden UST has actually proved that age doesn’t matter, and neither does experience. They’ve win a couple of games, and lost the others in close calls. If there is any consolation to their performance, they can get better actually. The next seven games are crucial for them, since they’re just two games away from making it to the top half of the standings.

UE (1-6)

We knew UE would slide down, but not THIS down. Apparently, their loss of their big Warriors from last year’s roster has cost them a lot. And while Paul Lee is leading the way, it seems he’s doing it on the floor alone. Their single win came at the expense of UP, the cellar-dwelling team so far. That actually tells you how possibly weak UE has become. But seven games can still make a difference, and UE can still hope for the best.

UP (0-7)

I’m tempted to go lengthy on this one–and who wouldn’t? After being the most talked about team to finally make it this year, the UP Fighting Maroons are nowhere to be found in the winner’s radar. And their last loss to NU wasn’t exactly how they wanted to end the season–a monumental collapse that saw their 22 point edge over the Bulldogs disappear to become a 4-point defeat. And I really don’t know what to do with all the woes they are experiencing right now–the switching of of coaches in the middle of the season, the unusual sponsoring from big companies, the US trip that supposedly “gelled” the team”, the inconsistency of the veterans, the failure of the sophies to step up, and the rookies who have simmered down from their hype. The UP community is ailing and reeling over this one, and that’s one thing you can never blame them of. For now, the hope is that the Maroons won’t get swept again for the second time in four years.

UP Still Winless After First Round

When UP lost to UE, and skidded to 0-5, I somehow lost the drive to blog about them anymore. If you can’t forgive me for being such, then I can’t do anything but to comfort myself with the fact that, just as I am entitled to my own opinion, I am also entitled to my silence.

After that fifth loss, I changed my expectations for the Maroons. I am not expecting a final four appearance this season anymore. In fact, I kind of accepted already that, with their loss to NU yesterday, courtesy of a monumental collapse in the third period to give up a 22-point lead, and lose by 4, UP would go on to sweep the first round with not a single win. I was at the edge of getting disappointed, but then after a while the frustration dissipated just like that, as if it didn’t matter anymore.

The only thing I am now expecting from the Maroons is to, at least, get their acts together.

To say that they have a lot to prove in the second round is a gross understatement. Every other team will be doing the same, since the second round is all about seeding and survival. The top four teams right now will be tougher to dethrone from where they’re seated when round two starts. UP, which was toyed almost at will by the current top four, definitely has their backs against the wall, if  not inside it. Nothing will come easy for UP, especially now. If they’ve done the difficult things, and still end up zero in wins, they maybe up to doing the impossible.

I’m still a UP fan, through and through. It’s just that there has to be some space for truthful acceptance in addition to optimism. And so I ask, just like any UP Community member:

When will we win?