Monday, September 29, 2008

A King Archer's Final Bow

Chris Tiu got his wish; he made his exist with a trophy. On the flip side, JV Casio fell short, ending his UAAP career empty- handed.

Chirs Tiu and JV Casio definitely made opposite exists. But it doesn’t mean it made JV Casio any less than the player he is.

Good players win games. Great players win championships. JV Casio sure did win big and bagged championships. He doesn’t need another trophy to prove how great he is. He already had two and made it twice in the Mythical 5. But truly remarkable players aren’t just shaped by victories. They are honed and made strong by heartbreaking defeats.

As JV Casio played his last game for DLSU, he showed the crowd- from Taft and Katipunan, alike- another side of him that made him a more remarkable athlete: He knows how to accept defeat.

It was his last game. He was giving his all to defend his school’s glory. Four straight 3-point shots- no miss. A stretch of 15 points down to three. And then, the foul. His fifth foul.

After leading a run that gave half of Araneta a spark of hope, and the other half a spoonful of doubt, he was called for an offensive foul and graduated form the game. He could have lost it there. He could have retaliated. He could have cursed the refs. He could have. But he didn’t. He walked off the court, with disappointment written all over his face, but still, with the grace of a true champion. The only time I saw him threw his fist was when he was standing, eyes filled with pride, singing the Alma Mater.

For all the “it’s not how you shoot, but when you shoot it” game reversing and even game winning shots, for giving your best every time you step on that court, for proving all those who had been judging the Archers wrong, you made me proud to belong in the school whose name you’ve been wearing across your chest for years.

JV Casio personifies how every Archer should be.

He makes every Lasallian proud to be a part of his team.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Destiny vs. Domination

It was what's written in the stars versus the biggest and strongest team. No need to mention which prevailed over which. It was decided yesterday: The Ateneo Blue Eagles were proclaimed 2008 UAAP champions.

Analyzing the season was pretty easy.

Ateneo was destined to win. It was their time and they deserve every minute of their earned glory. Earned. That's actually the magic word.

The Blue Eagles did not rely on fate and luck, alone. They worked hard. Trained hard. And they came out as the strongest team in the league. So what could you do to beat a dominating team destined to win a championship?


It's not up to you. It's up to them.

All season long, we witnessed an Ateneo vs. Ateneo bout. Yes, they were up against themselves. It was playing well against playing poorly. When they played well, no team could stop them. When they were having a bad day, that's the time the other teams get the chance. And after 17 well- fought games, only FEU was able to beat them- once.

There were a number of crucial elements stitched altogether that helped Ateneo claim the crown. But if i were to choose one, it would have to be this:

They were MEN playing with a MISSION.

No guessing games. No pep talks. No defining moments.

No measuring. No quantifying.

When the season started, the only had one business in mind: win the championship. All the rest, they accomplished before they came out and began crushing teams.

They prepared well; they believed firmly. So when they face the team with probably the most number of championship experiences, they didn't choke. They didn't take a step back. They finished what they've started. The buzzer sounded. The game clock froze. And seconds after that, Chris Tiu was already making the sweetest kiss in his Collegiate career: a kiss on the trophy, which he, and the rest of his team, worked extremely hard for.

La Salle lost to a better team, definitely. But i don't want to make excuses.

La Salle lost.

Ateneo won.

Last year was our time.

This year, it was Destiny vs. Domination, Ateneo vs. Ateneo. La Salle and the other 6 teams weren't even part of the equation.

This year is for Ateneo.

Next year is up for grabs.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Twins from Different Mothers

"Rain falls. Lines snake. Seats are filled. Lights ignite. Voices rise. Sneakers squeak. Tensions rise. Buzzers sound. The magic begins. This is La Salle-Ateneo. There is nothing else like it in Philippine sports. It is classic and modern, old and new, timeless and current. It goes beyond win-loss records, graduation and even generations. No one, but no one, gets to switch sides. You are Ateneo or La Salle forever. And there is a little La Salle and Ateneo in all of us.”

-Ruel S. De Vera (Editor, Inquirer Magazine)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

They come in THREEs

How many times have I mentioned that I made the right decision dropping UP and Ateneo, and taking my slot in DLSU, for the simple reason that being the basketball fanatic that I am, College life wouldn’t be as exciting as it is now, had I made a different turn.

I know, that must have been the pettiest reason to give. But hey, I couldn’t ask anything more for the kind of education I received, and still is receiving, the round the clock neat bathrooms, the state of the art facilities, the fabulous people and the formation the institution had instilled upon me. So being a perennial top notch contender in the UAAP is just a bonus and probably is the best among all the other perks of being a Lasallian.

When I entered College, I actually made some sort of small wishes.

The first on my list is for the Archers to win a UAAP championship within my four years stay in school, which was astoundingly granted last season, after beating the not- for- long undefeated UE warriors.

My second wish- well, this one’s not related to basketball- is to see Bro. Armin in the flesh, wearing jeans and sneakers. I have seen him lots of times in the campus but he’s always wearing his long, white, im- obviously- a- brother uniform. I just wonder how well he would carry “normal” clothes.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m a huge basketball fan, so I’m definitely aware of the intense rivalry between DLSU and ADMU. I actually thought of “wishing” for a La Salle- Ateneo championship, but I dispatched the idea, thinking it was sort of impossible to happen in four years.

However, after a championship loss to FEU, an OTT punishment of suspension, and a fairy tale comeback with a trophy to signify redemption, I could not believe I am actually about to witness a La Salle- Ateneo championship match- in seven days.

I haven’t said this in any La Salla- Ateneo bout, but this championship is an exception:
I don’t care who wins. Really. The match- up is enough treat for an avid fan like me.

Still, you know, I’m not the type who would turn down a blessing.

The heavens haven’t been kind enough to grant me the Bro. Armin’s casual look wish, anyway. But they already showered me with a surprising championship victory and a classic, definitely must- witness La Salle- Ateneo championship match. Somebody just happen to tell me they come in threes. So, perhaps, the third one would be the sweetest championship victory against the Eagles. Who knows?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Greatest Fear

Out of the blue, perhaps for an ice- breaker, my professor asked us what our greatest fears are. A handful said it was losing a loved one. A girl in the second row answered being alone, while a friend beside her said it was what’s unknown that scares her. Others answered different things, but they all revolved around darkness, and what lies behind it, loss, and loneliness.

Fortunately, I wasn’t called that day. Had I been picked, I wouldn’t have known what to answer. But I guess I already knew, even then, what I was most afraid of. I just happen to not be brave enough to put a face to it.

Actually, the ice- breaker incident I wrote about happened exactly a term ago. Bringing it up was my excuse to share about the things that freak me out.

Like any other anti- horror movies gal, I’m afraid of the dark. I used to watch this cable show, “Are you afraid of the dark?”, and regret it, everytime, after hearing that tic of the light switch at bedtime. I remember shutting my eyelids so tight so I wouldn’t witness that moment when everything would just turn black in a heartbeat. It’s funny, though, because I see the same darkness, anyway. Perhaps, seeing nothing with eyes closed is different from seeing nothing with eyes wide open.

Flying cockroaches, yes, they freak me out, too. I can stand seeing one at the bathroom floor or under the table, as long as they’re on their feet. Why did God even give them wings?

Climbing really steep stairs make me nervous, as well as hearing my brother raise his voice. There are a whole lot of other things that scare the hell out of me. I can go on and on and the list could be endless. People say life is short, and we have to find ways to fight our fears. I believe that. I’ve also tried doing that. But there is this thing that frightens me, and I don’t know whether I can fight it. I don’t even know if I want to.

Keng’s story is not, and had never been, a secret. My friends, and his, too, know about what happened that fateful day when everything about him changed- except that version of him when he’s with me. I know he’ll never be the same after that, and I don’t’ ask him to be. When I look at him and see how deep the cut still is, I’m just thankful I knew him before any of that ever happened. It somehow made it easier for me to understand.

More than the loss of a loved one, Keng also lost his faith in the goodness of people. I can’t blame him. He was hurt, in the worst way possible, and being defensive was the only way he thought he could protect himself. He found it difficult to trust and let his guard down, except when I’m around. He still trusts me about everything and with all his heart. That scares me. No, losing that scares me.

Sometimes, I get carried away and say mean things to him. Sometimes, I push him away, even when him leaving is the last thing I want. There were times I would be the wicked girlfriend, and he would take all the blame even though I was at fault. I hurt him, I know. Oftentimes, unintentionally. Sometimes, necessarily.

Still, I end up hurting him when he doesn’t deserve a drop of pain.

I dread I might say words or do things that would break his heart, and he would stop trusting me. That’s my greatest fear. I don’t want to end up like everyone else, standing behind the protective walls of his heart, seeing a smile even when he’s crying inside. I don’t want to lose our connection, when all he needs to do is give me that look whenever something reminds him of his dad or when he wants to talk about him.

I’m scared of hurting him.

I don’t ever want to be the kind of person that hurts him.

The E-mail I Didn't Dare Reply To

(September 1, 2008)

Finals week was over but, unlike to most of my schoolmates, it didn’t signal the end of stressful and occupied days for me. I still have to go on reviewing my fresh copies of Financial Accounting volumes 1, 2 and 3. By the way, I have copies of its 2005 and 2007 editions. But since standards are continuously changing and Conrado Valix seems to have endless ideas for its cover art, he releases new editions yearly.

Weirdly, I actually enjoyed going over the first edition. Financial Accounting was my first taste to the grueling life of the Modular program. Call it beginner’s luck, but I was actually good at it. Modesty aside, my grades were all above 91 for the sub-modules that comprised the subject. That gave me confidence. It was sort of the ratification I needed from heaven to know that I was at the right place.

After a couple of hours and 3 accomplished chapters, I took a break and decided to grant myself one hour to surf the net. I have sets of un- uploaded pictures and unposted blog entries, anyway. So I sat in front of my computer, and just like any other surf time, I first checked my mail.

Click. Type. Type. Click. Click. Click. And then, freeze.

The first mail on my inbox was from Sir Arnel Uy. It wasn’t about thesis; it was about something, for me, is more indispensable than that.

He sent an informal e-mail asking students to make a reply containing the name, ID No., and a yes or no regarding one question.

I received the e-mail four days ago today. But until now, I couldn’t bring myself to make the answer. Of course, the first 2 parts were no- brainers, but the last one. God, that one question.

We were supposed to inform him whether or not we intend to take up law in the future.

The word was “intend”. Meaning, just a plan, an option, and I still couldn’t answer. I knew right there it was because I didn’t take it that way.

After I read the question, I forgot about the reply I was supposed to make; I forgot that it was actually sent to probably a hundred other students and my answer wouldn’t make a difference; I forgot it was just Sir Uy asking. I drifted with the words, mainly because I was caught by something I’ve been trying to avoid. I drifted and I got drowned by the emptiness in my head.

If I would just base my answer on my wants and aspirations, it would be a yes. But since there are other things that are weightier that those, the answer became thorny.

Someday, I would have to make the decision. Whether it would be a yes or a no, what’s important is for me to finally have an answer. Right now, I’m leaning towards the yes part. People say I was born to be a lawyer. They may be right, but 20 years is a long time. I might have used up all the idealism and determination in my veins, and the convictions I was born with might be rotten.

There are a handful of pros and cons in this case. Both the prosecution and the defense stand a chance on winning. But hey, the judge says she isn’t ready. So until that day when she finally gives the verdict, the bloody world of law school would be hanging.


In 5.5 Seconds

(written after screaming and jumping at the sound of the buzzer. perhaps, 2 weeks ago.)

Have you ever wondered what could have been if you had the power to turn back time?

What would you choose to be done? Or be undone?

In an hour, you could have attended the class you missed…

In a minute, you could have picked up your wallet you left at home this morning…

In a second, you could have hopped in the train you missed…

A few days ago, 5 men were given this rare opportunity. They lived 5.5 seconds of their lives twice. On their first roll, they blew it. On their second, though, they made the shot, won the game and saved a lot of hearts from breaking.

My point here isn’t that DLSU beat UST.

Neither it is that they were, in one perspective, able to turn back the hands of time.

My shallow and obvious point is: in life, we have our share of second chances. They may not be as literal as seconds ticking back in the game clock, but we all have our second trys.

Unfortunately, we usually just let them pass by.

For those young men in the court, it was an unheard buzzer that game them a second shot. For some of us, it could have been a call from a friend you had argued with, an extension of a deadline, an unheard of holiday that gave you more allowance to meet obligations.

It could be as plain as a repeat of a supposedly one night concert you missed or as unbelievable as a miracle of a loved one’s healing.

We all have our second chances. Some take them; some don’t recognize them; some are too tired to give it another shot.

We all have our second chances. But chances are nothing but a rerun of questions we once upon a time already answered. It’s just like our mom trying to ask us the same thing when she knows we’re lying, giving us the chance to spill the truth after we lied.

We all have our second chances. But the questions is, “Are we playing it smarter the next time around?”

For the Archers, the answer was a roaring yes.

For the rest of us, though, is it going to be a yes, too? Or a blank face? Or a hell no?

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