Tuesday, July 22, 2008

23rd B-day @ Fiama (July 19, 2008)

The last time I remember having a celebration with friends for my birthday was when I turned 16 years old. I still remember that we had it at the 5th floor in Discovery Suites in Ortigas right after watching an Ateneo - La Salle game. I was still in high school then. I never celebrated in the last couple of years because my birthday falls right smack in the middle of the UAAP season. I was supposed to have a party at home in 2006 but i remember having to cancel it on that same day because my grand mother passed away all of a sudden on my birthday. That was really a sad moment for our family!

I initially didn't plan to have a party this year but because of the way our games schedule opened up, I decided at the last minute to just do it! We played UP on Saturday then the next game would be against NU on Sunday of the following week, a pretty long lay-off! Perfect for us to unwind and just have fun without having to worry about practices, besides, we will have enough time to recover from the long night out.

At first, I was thinking of having separate dinner get-togethers for my different groups of friends: my high school barkada, Ateneo Management Engineering block, JTA-France group, basketball team, etc - and of course my dearest cousins. But since we don't exactly have the luxury of time for all, I just decided to have one big party that can accommodate everyone. And the easiest and most economical way would be to treat them to a classy, private bar/club called Fiama along Jupiter St. in Makati, where we can just hang-out, mingle, drink and enjoy the music. It was actually pretty cool because they blocked off the entire 2nd floor just for my party with a sign that said "Private Party for Chris Tiu". Although I didn't feel comfortable having that sign with my name around, it was practical for my guests. Because everything was last minute, i didn't have time to prepare a guest list and there were some gate crashers who just took advantage of the free flowing drinks and of course my beautiful guests! I mean, i don't mind if my friends brought along some of their other friends. But there was this group that was totally not connected with anyone in the party and was persistent in hanging around. In fact, they were asked to leave but they still came back upstairs! I didn't wanna cause any commotion so i just left it at that.

Because I sent invites very informally through text and yahoo groups just a day or two before the event, some just on the day itself, i wasn't exactly sure who would show up. I expected around a hundred people to attend but it seemed to me somewhere between 150 to 200 in total. I was so touched to see almost all my friends there from high school up to the present. Drinks were free for my guests, courtesy of myself, my dad and Fiama. But at around 1am when i saw a number of people i did not know in the crowd, we decided to stop the open bar and just shift to a cash bar instead. It looked to me like everyone was having fun, people were even "bringing in" their other friends which i didn't mind at all. At least I know they were enjoying! I think the news spread too fast that even some of the La Salle Archers' players showed up to my surprise! I invited TY Tang, whom everyone knows is one of my best friends, but he didn't even show up because of course the party was composed mostly of Atenean students and alumni, and he might not feel very comfortable knowing that he played and graduated from the Green side and I totally understand that! But what surprised me was that other non-invited Archers wanted to be labeled Blue... well at least for that night! :) So i openly welcomed the 4 of them in, together with their other friends :)

My friends told me that they had a great time and that we should do it again! I told them that it was my first time to have a party like this but i don't mind doing it again and again and again after we are crowned champions after the UAAP season! Hehe :) I like to thank all those who attended, with special mention to MVP for showing up as one of the earliest birds... I mean Eagles... haha corny! And of course thank you to our team manager Paolo Trillo for arranging everything and making it a successful night!

Check out this slideshow created by one of my best buddies Borly who was also the official photographer that night!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

ADMU vs UP (Round 1)

The outcome of this game would determine the mood of our party that night! Everybody was expecting a blowout but we knew that UP would not give up just like that. You gotta give them credit, they fought til the end! Actually we wanted to take full control of the game from the beginning in order for our other shock troopers to be given ample playing time because we will be needing them come the later part of the season. UP just kept coming back with little spurts of their own. It was not until the last 2 minutes of the game that Chris Sumalinog and Zags Gonzaga were fielded in.

We really have a deep bench this year and it's difficult for Coach to include everyone in the rotation, close to impossible. They will get their time eventually. I started that way too when I was a rookie and some part of my sophomore year. I believe we have the deepest bench in the league, if we were to compare each player man for man from player 1 to 16 in each UAAP team, i think we would be the strongest together with FEU. Too bad only 5 players can play at a time! Just within Ateneo, it is already extremely competitive to be included in Team A. Many players from the Juniors, provinces, and other aspirants have to end-up playing in Team B or in the college intramurals instead (IAC). While in the other UAAP teams, I heard that they would be content just to be able to complete the 16-man roster.

Anyway, Ryan Buenafe again showed his ability to score and foul-bait! Everyone else was pretty steady. Officiating was not bad, except for this facial blow given by Woody Co against Ryan which was only given a warning. Commissioner Narvasa sending signals that he is tough and firm, which I like even if it caused us a bench technical for having too many staff members on the bench. Nothing much to be said! It's now time to party :)


Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Hi everyone! I was out all day today and I just got home from the grand birthday celebration of MVP (Manny Pangilinan) who happens to celebrate his birthday one day earlier than mine. There were about 300 to 400 guests I would estimate and that's already considered to be an 'intimate' party. The Talk and Text team was there, so was San Beda and of course the Blue Eagles. There were a lot of celebrities who took part in the program as well, which was held at the Captain's Bar in the Mandarin Hotel. But the best part of all was that everyone came totally dressed up to the Las Vegas theme with the guys wearing suits and the women wearing bright shiny dresses of course with the 'bling bling'!

Anyway, I just created this very short post to THANK everyone of you for your congratulations greetings as well as your birthday greetings! I really sincerely appreciate all your support and kindness :) I just had to approve all 98 comments waiting to be moderated upon logging in! I have a long day ahead tomorrow so i will try to get back to your comments when i can.

And to all those who texted me, I apologize if i cannot reply since my phone is flooded with messages but i really appreciate all your greetings! :) For all the Blue Eagles' supporters, all i ask is that you continue to pray for me and the success of our team this UAAP season :) GO ATENEO!

And for the record, i do not have any other accounts like Facebook, Friendster and Multiply, this is my one and only authentic online social network account.


Monday, July 14, 2008

ADMU vs UE (Round 1)

Actually the moment i woke up today before the game, I somehow had a good feeling about the outcome of this important duel against UE. I thought that i was going to play better than i did because i felt refreshed but i didn't need to be extra aggressive today thanks to the support coming from my teammates. Even before the game started, we received word from a reliable source in the dugout that Paul Lee will not be playing. We cannot deny that he is crucial to their team but either way, we all agreed in our customary pre-game huddle amongst the players that we will come out with intensity and come out to kill!

I feel that we can match up with UE pretty well given the fact that they have lost their long, athletic wings like Borboran and Canizares as Espiritu is forced to play the power forward position most of the time with the loss of Gregorio. And since Nonoy wasn't in foul trouble today, he was able to somewhat neutralize and even overpower Espiritu. They have a deep rotation when it comes to their guards but so do we. We have Jai, Yuri, Kirk, Eric, Ryan, and myself. We haven't even been using our secret energizers in Oping Sumalinog and Zags Gonzaga. In fact, we pose mismatches against the defenders of Ryan Buenafe, who is much bigger and heavier than most wingmen, and just so talented and smart. Many people actually don't believe that he was born in the year 1990, i think his brain was made in the 1970s.

No question that it was Rabeh's inside presence that gave us the lift today especially down the stretch with his 18 points and 17 rebounds. Most of his points did not come from set post up plays for him but from drop passes and offensive rebounds. So we have to credit his efforts in crashing the boards as well as the unselfishness of our teammates to get him the ball at the right place at the right time. I'd give most of that credit to Ryan. But overall, defense was key. For a team that averaged 80+ points in their last two games, we held them below 60. I have to say it was team defense but i want to give special mention to Nonoy Baclao who showed no signs of an injury. He had a couple of blocked shots but his defensive presence and ability to change shots really made a difference even if those are not reflected in the stats sheets. That's what i call heart! Eric also adjusted to playing the point guard position, organizing the offense, during the most part of the end game.

Now, back to the referee-ing issue. Those who were in the stadium watching live saw the inconsistencies of the calls. Of course its hard to tell just by watching TV, plus we have very diplomatic analysts who really gave fantastic insights and thoughts about the game. Great job TJ and Boom! It's just not in our culture here in the Philippines to have analysts like Charles Barkley who blatantly shows dismay or disapproval over certain calls by refs or poor decisions by the players. As captains, we were the designated spokespersons of the team in cases which need some clarification and I'm sure everyone in the stadium also noticed my continuous complaining to the referees because i felt that we were always being prevented from pulling away every time we would start a run (not just in this game). But nevertheless i apologized to Commissioner Narvasa while i was standing in the middle of the court and he was signaling me to keep quiet or else the big "T". We must respect proper authority regardless of your temper, that's what I was taught since my elementary years in Xavier. I try to be unbiased in my judgement, so i gave them the benefit of the doubt. But just so that i can sleep well tonight, i made sure to watch the game again using my mom's newly procured Pioneer DVD recorder which can record from TV directly to a Hard Disk or to a DVD. Pretty high tech... and costly too! But it has great features like the slow motion feature which i use a lot to make sure that i see everything in detail. So here's my assessment of the referee-ing: 1) They called hand checks consistently both ways. 2) They made some honest mistakes (i believe) with some out of bounds violation calls, both ways again. But, 3) the offensive foul calls were pretty inconsistent, definitely NOT to our favor. Whether intentionally or not, i do not know.

If you remember after the half-time break, they called the two captains (Marcy and I) to the middle or the court to tell us to relay to the players not to "flop" or act on contacts or they will call a blocking foul. I think they forgot about that conversation immediately.

Anyway, I was talking to Eric while taking a shower in the very filthy ultra locker room and we agreed that this win truly gave us more confidence with the potential of this team.

I want to thank everyone for supporting the team and PLEASE keep praying for us, that the game will be played on a level field for all teams (if you know what i mean) and that we will come out victorious after the season! One big fight!

Sometimes i wish we could have female referees! haha!
And thank you for the greeting Ms. TIUva-TiuTiu although you didn't have to put my age there :) and sir aly yap, great shot!


Friday, July 11, 2008

ADMU vs ADU (Round 1)

After being eliminated by Adamson in the Fil-Oil Preseason tournament, we finally redeemed ourselves. With their new head coach Leo Austria (my teammate Bacon's father), Adamson has improved drastically despite their very young line-up. They have mastered their half-court execution and have tightened up their defense as well. With this in mind, we made sure that we will not take this team for granted. I believe that we were able to execute Coach Norman's game plan both on the offensive and defensive end. I wish i can talk about it but the season is still far from over and we will still be meeting them in the 2nd round so i'll have to save it 'til then. Overall, we had a rusty start caused by a number of turnovers and missed shots (very make-able shots at that). They stayed close because of their defense and 2nd chance points. But towards the end our shots started falling and our defense held up. We played a lot of 2-3 zone in the 2nd half and they weren't able to adjust partly because of their lack of consistent outside shooters, except for Gonzalgo.

I personally didn't like my game because i missed a lot of easy outside shots and i wasn't able to create enough for my teammates. I ended the first half with 2 points and two missed free throws as well! I was really disappointed at half time but i continued to stay positive and aggressive. Luckily, shots started falling in the 2nd half. Thankfully, the other guys stepped up today. Jai was steady organizing the offense with limited turnovers (maybe none). Eric and Ryan helped in the scoring. But more importantly, they drove and created for the big guys. Jobe was also a force underneath grabbing 12 rebounds. I love his baseline turnaround jumper. Nonoy as usual was very steady on the defensive end, blocking and changing shots. He also showed his ability to score on the offensive end. Surprisingly Nonoy was not in foul trouble this time around. It was Galinato from Adamson who got 2 extremely early fouls that forced him to the bench - I'm not so sure about the 2nd cheap touch foul though but i'll take it. Thanks Nabro! Nico Salva had his breakout game today with 3 of his favorite up and under stabs.

Before the game, the referees gave Jobe a warning to play honest clean defense as a result of his scuffle with Maeirhoffer in the previous game. (Maeirhoffer was given a warning too) Today Jobe was slapped with an intentional foul and after watching the replay again and again in slow motion, there was really nothing. Jobe also confided to me "hindi ko siya tinira". That call was merely an anticipated call. Referees often have that tendency to anticipate a call because it is already imprinted in their consciousness. I personally believe that it is unfair to call a flagrant foul on a player just because he is reputed to be a "bad boy" when in fact a clean foul was given. They should just call it as they see it with no biases!

I want to thank the Lord for the victory today, which I think made my mom's birthday really special! Of course we capped it off with a nice family dinner at this Japanese restaurant called Kikufuji at Pasong Tamo. Anyway, sunday is only two days away and it's important for us to stay fresh especially against a pressing UE team. This will be a good test of our character. I'm sure UE will want to get back at us after beating them in the NSL Championship.

I hope to see Rabeh smiling after that game :)

Oh, and I'd like to thank the Ateneo Sports Shooters for the photos @ www.fabilioh.com


Monday, July 7, 2008

ADMU vs DLSU (Round 1)

It's already 1:30 am and I'm still not sleepy despite that hard fought game! Must be the adrenaline! So i guess I'll just write my 3rd straight entry.

I think the game was definitely worth the hype! I heard one lower box ticket was going for around P6,000. Yes I also have problems searching for tickets for my family and some friends. In fact, I was still worrying and stressing about the tickets the night before the game because we players only receive 2 patron and 2 upper box A tickets EACH, which we still have to pay for. In other words, we're all on the same boat searching for desperate means to get tickets. But definitely, I won't spend P6,000 for a lower box ticket or even Patron for that matter. Haha!

But come to think of it, P6,000 might just be worth it in this particular duel! Not only was it a nerve-wrecking game, but the ticket price included a glimpse of two international superstars namely Gilbert Arenas (a.k.a. Agent Zero) and Manny Pacquiao (a.k.a. Pacman). Hmm, until now, I wonder what IS my monicker!?

Just before the game began, Agent Zero went inside our locker room to take photos with us. I was surprised that he was only about 2 or 3 inches taller than myself but his shoulders were extremely broad! Soon, our locker room was packed with photographers, media people, Adidas staff, security as well as kids who wanted to get photos and autographs of Arenas. He also gave us a very meaningful pep-talk about teamwork... "It's the individual player that sells to the people, but it's the team that wins championships..." He also spoke about Kevin Garnett and how he moved to a team which was able to support him and eventually grab a NBA title. I was actually worried after Arenas left the dugout because everyone just got so excited and might have lost focus on our game. I was excited myself because I was able to get an authentic Arenas autograph on one of my Arenas t-shirts.

Just before entering the court, i bumped into my partner Pacquiao and his sizable entourage! He wished me good luck, together with Jinkee and some others before i was pushed away by his huge body guards. Among the hundreds of "good lucks" i receive before an ADMU-DLSU game, this one just seemed like it did have a special impact to me! It was probably just a little different because it came from the world's #1 Pound for Pound boxer and someone who came out in the same TV Commercial as Kobe, Sharapova, Tiger Woods and Federer among others. So i rush out into the hard court with the usual sea of green and blue filled all the way to the bleachers. It wasn't too difficult to get warmed up!

At the start of the game, the analysts on TV mentioned that Ateneo got like 2 bonus points because of the technical foul that was given to the DLSU Coaching staff for not wearing their IDs. But guess what, those two shots were, for me, probably the most difficult free throw shots i've taken in my career so far! I felt more pressure while walking to the line to take those two shots in front of 22,000 people including Manny Pacquiao and Gilbert Arenas. The score was 0-0, time hasn't ticked, nobody else on the line. So many things were going through my head. What will Arenas think of the UAAP if i miss two wide open free throws? Or what will Pacquiao (a world class athelte) think of his co-host, some incapable guy who can't even dominate the college leagues? Sometimes i just think too much! I found myself literally shaking before those two free throws!! Thank God I was able to clear my mind right before shooting. Thank you Lord, for guiding them in! What a relief! But seriously, I think Pacquiao's presence really motivated me and pushed me to be extra aggressive today because I didn't want to disappoint Him! haha sounds cheesy? I guess that explains the 19 free throws I attempted, partly because the calls of the refs were extremely 'thin' today! Most calls made us just scratch our heads like the technical foul at the start of the game against the DLSU coaches for not wearing IDs and the one at the beginning of the 4th quarter against Coach Norman whom they thought was complaining and making hand gestures to the referees when APPARENTLY he was screaming and pointing at Ryan Buenafe who was not in proper formation. Hahaha!!

"A win is a win" as Coach Norman would put it, no matter how close. I'm proud of the rookies as well as the veterans who stepped up. It's not easy to play your first UAAP game in a DLSU-ADMU atmosphere. I remember my first DLSU ADMU game, I only stepped on the court for the last 17 seconds of the first half, in which i didn't even touch the ball. At least Coach Joel Banal still made an effort to put me in no matter how short. RYan Buenafe impressed a lot of spectators with his composure despite the pressing defense of DLSU and his ability to create his own shots. Vince Burke showed some shooting touch as well. Nico Salva showed his athleticism but I'm still waiting for the guy to have his breakout game! Nonoy, as usual, was picked on by the referees but came back much stronger in the 4th quarter. Rabeh also picked up some cheap fouls from the refs in the first few minutes but kept his cool and hit big shots down the stretch. He is slowly learning to make good decisions on the post, knowing when to shoot and when to pass out. Jobe played tough today and showed that he CAN be a bad boy which we need in the team because we're all too nice on the court. Eric, my buddy, started a big run that gave us some breathing space. And of course, my co-captain Yuri showed his defensive skills and his ability to organize the offense especially during end game situations. Great game plan by the coaching staff as well. At the end of it all, I want to thank the Lord for giving this victory to us! Still a long way to go... I just pray for fair calls this year and an injury-free roster, may the best team win!

Thanks for all your support! See you at the games!


Random Appearances

This past week, I've been seeing myself a lot in the papers, magazines, ads, etc. Of course, the UAAP season is kicking off that's why we have all these press releases coming out. I'm slowly getting used to seeing my face around but until now i'm still not totally comfortable about it. I open up the Star on Sunday and I see my huge face that's like a whole page for CLEAR shampoo. Then, someone hands me a CHALK magazine and again I see my face together with JV Casio. As much as i hope you guys support that CHALK issue, my favorite teen magazine is still MEG! So I hope you guys will continue to support MEG all the way!! :)

5 months ago, I promised my good friend BOOM, who happens to be an analyst for the UAAP games and a DJ on Magic 89.9, that I will guest on his radio show but my schedule has been crazy and it was not until I bumped into Boom in the UAAP Press Conference last Monday that I will guest on his show before the UAAP opens. And I did! I have to admit that I was a bit nervous at the start of the show because it was only my 2nd time to do a live interview on radio, especially with a station that is widely-listened by citizens from various ages and classes. It was a great experience and I had lots of fun despite being asked very sensitive and intriguing questions :) I was also touched that some students from UST went all the way to the station to say hello :)

The following day (Friday), I didn't expect that I was going to appear on SIS to welcome my co-host Manny Pacquiao and congratulate him. Although I had many things lined up for the day, I rushed to the studio to make it to the show. And guess what, I arrived even later than Manny! My GMA manager Noel was already freaking out because they had to stretch the show which was way past its airing time. Finally i made it just in time for the last 2 gaps where I was told to sit beside Manny, Jinkee and their lovely baby Princess, to give a message to Manny and answer some questions from the hosts. I'm sure millions of Filipinos would love to be in my position and be able to congratulate the #1 Pound for Pound fighter in the universe today!

Btw, I was just offered to host another show for GMA7 but I don't think I can disclose it just yet. We're still trying to work around my schedule especially since UAAP is now on-going. I hope you guys will support my new show too, if ever! :)

Pacquiao vs Diaz

Hey everyone, quite an odd time to write my next entry, just after the Ateneo -La Salle game. There's just so many things i want to write about from the time i wrote my last entry until now. I guess I'll start with the events that happened this past week before I share my thoughts about the game.

Pacquiao vs Diaz - This is the one fight I really wish I could experience LIVE. I've been to Manny's last two fights in Vegas (thanks of course to GMA7 and Manny for the tickets) and it was real crazy! Very similar to Ateneo, La Salle games except that the Filipinos and Mexicanos are not divided into two sides. Beer is also allowed in the arena so don't be surprised to see a lot of first fights in the stance between drunkies. I was lucky enough to get close up seats so i could clearly see and 'feel' the blows being taken by Manny, especially in the fight against Marquez. I remember getting leg cramps just while standing and sitting because of the excitement and the nervousness I guess.

Pinoy Records actually asked me to do some features in LA after supposedly watching Manny's fight this time around against Diaz but my schedule did not permit me to leave. It was just a week before the opening of the UAAP and I would have to miss practices and battle jetlag. I would have loved to go this time around! Imagine you get to watch a fight and at the same time, you get to see almost the entire Boston Celtics who just won the NBA championship! PLUS, the entire US Olympic Basketball team was also in town and checked in at the Wynn in preparation for the Beijing games.I'm so jealous because my friend Joanna was actually able to see, take photos and get autographs of the different NBA stars like Kobe, Lebron, CP3, Dwight Howard, etc. AND this is actually a historical victory for Manny being the first Asian to win 4 weight class divisions. Oh well, priorities first :)

What's sad is that I wasn't even able to watch the match on TV live. We were in the middle of our team building session in Subic that weekend and MVP (Sir Manny Pangilinan) just received a text and announced to us that "Pacquiao knocks out Diaz in 9th round" and everyone started cheering! Luckily, my mom taped the match so i was able to watch it when i got home. The fight was too one sided though. Manny was just too explosive and fast for Diaz. He controlled the entire fight. He attacked whenever he wanted without having to worry about counter punches. Diaz just stood his ground and took the hit.

One of the very rare occasions were we can cheer for our country. I mean we don't have anything like the World Cup where in the entire nation stops just to watch a match. The closest thing we have is probably the Olympics but then again it is not very accessible to all. When there's a Pacquiao fight, everything just seems to stop! Everyone's just glued to their TV sets or radios. You can really feel the people coming together, cheering for a common cause and celebrating a joint victory for all! How often do we feel that sense of pride for our country?! I think that's exactly what we lack. Everybody is trying to bring each other down for one's own ambition. I have to say... Manny is truly a national hero!