Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ateneo vs NU (Round 2)

We had to wait one year. Now, we have finally redeemed ourselves from that shocking upset that NU gave us last season which caused us to lose the twice to beat advantage and the season as well! Finally I can stop hearing all those comments like... ' it's all because of that NU game' , 'you guys should have defeated NU', 'bakit kayo natalo sa NU?', 'di kayo pwede matalo sa NU, ah!' I can also get rid of flashbacks from that game last year where we were all very tense and pressured while the NU players were smiling and knocking down 3s one after the other.

After yesterday's practice, the captains huddled the players in the center of the court before we parted ways. A random quote just popped out of my mind while i was thinking of something to say to the guys. I told them 'Ok lang magkamali. Ang hindi okay ay magkamali at hindi matuto sa mali natin.' (It's okay to make a mistake, but what is not okay is to make a mistake and not learn from it.) Of course i had to repeat it in English for the benefit of our two American poster boys who still cannot fully understand Tagalog. Obviously, what i was referring to was our defeat against NU last year. Unfortunately, we had to learn it the difficult and painful way but at least we were able to learn from that experience and see to it that we clinch the #1 spot this year with the twice to beat advantage in the Final 4. I credit Coach Norman and the rest of the coaching staff for the great game plan! And of course the boys for executing the game plan, playing defense and keeping composure despite the roughness of the opposing team.

Now, we have achieved half of our goal, which is to end the elimination round in the top 2 position. We still play La Salle next Saturday and we have the chance to put them to a possible 3rd place by beating them (depending if FEU sweeps its remaining games). But more than that, it's a DLSU-ADMU game! Whether or not we're vying for anything, it's about pride! So don't expect us to take it easy on them. At least for now, we can sit back and watch UST, UE, FEU and DLSU battle it out for the remaining 3 slots.

I'd also like to apologize for not being able to entertain all the fans a while ago who waited after the game because I had to leave immediately. Nevertheless, I appreciate your support and i'd like to invite you all to go to the Adidas Shop in Trinoma tomorrow at 3pm for the Ateneo Team visit. We will all be there to take pictures and sign autographs if you wish! See you there!

Thank you Sir Aly Yap, Tito Philip Sison and the rest of the Ateneo Sports Shooters for these photos! And thank you also to the Blue Babble for always cheering your hearts out in every game, win or lose! It would also be great if we can support our Blue Babble team this Sunday (Sept. 7) for the UAAP cheerleading competition!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ateneo vs UP, Magic 89.9, Adidas, Hanford

The victory against UP brought us one game closer to clinching the #1 spot in the league and a sure twice-to-beat advantage in the semis. This means that we just need one more win either against NU this Saturday or DLSU next Saturday to be assured of the #1 spot. We made sure that we would come out and play hard from the very beginning but UP hung in there. We were only up by 8 during halftime until our 2nd team, composed of Eric Salamat, Kirk Long, Yuri Escueta, Mike Baldos and Nico Salva, sparked a major run that blew the game open! This allowed our very young and talented 3rd stringers to get a shot at UP. For me, this game shows the unselfishness and maturity of the team. Despite being in control of the game all throughout, nobody tried to impress people by showing that he could do it all by himself. We ended with 23 assists. I also got my career high of 10 assists and i was surprised to find out from Boom Gonzales after watching the replay that this is the highest number of assists by a player in the last 2 years. For me, I find it more fulfilling to be able to make a great play / assist that will enable your teammate to score - something that Steve Nash portrays very clearly. That's why he's my idol!

Since i don't have much more to say about the game, I want to thank MO Twister, Mojo and Grace for being such gracious hosts this morning on Magic 89.9. Glad there were no forbidden questions! I also want to invite everyone to the Ateneo visit at the Adidas Shop in Trinoma at 3pm this Sunday. The entire team will be there to sign autographs and take pictures with those who wish. There are a lot of cool Ateneo-Adidas apparels for sale that can be used during the games or even for going out. I personally have my own collection of everything from the t-shirts, jackets, shoes, etc.

Lastly, I have another bunch of Trivia questions for you that will enable you to get free HANFORD cheer shirts of Kirk Long, Simon Atkins and myself of course, hehe! Visit then go to the Customer Feedback menu. Fill up the form and answer the Trivia questions :) For full mechanics, you might want to visit

Ateneo vs UE (Round 2)

The Ateneo vs UE game (Round 2) was almost a week ago yet it still remains very fresh in my memory. I have to admit that it was a game that was 'stolen' from them. From the start of the game until the last 4 minutes of the game, we struggled and played horribly on offense! I have to admit that our defense was pretty steady limiting them to only 50 points after regulation. But our offense was really ugly, missing point blank undergoal stabs and layups, missing wide-open 3-pointers, turnovers, etc. This is precisely why UE played mostly zone throughout the 3rd and 4th quarters. Until the last 4 minute mark, luckily, our shots started to fall one after the other.

A lot of people have been congratulating me for the big 3-pointer that forced overtime. But i have to admit that it was divine intervention. It was clearly a broken down play in that last 35 seconds: i fumbled the ball, got it back, dribbled once, got stuck, gave it to Rabeh, who gave it to Nonoy, who gave it back to me, Rabeh gave me a ball screen, i got free momentarily, took an up-fake, and the defender finally jumped, and i was able to get my shot up. It felt good once i released it and i knew it had a very good chance of going in... and it did! 50-50 all. I say it was divine intervention because we were in a similar situation against FEU in the first round where we were down by 2 points i think and i took an up-fake, got Barocca up in the air then fired the 3 but it was way off to the right. I know i could have easily made that shot but for some reason it was a poor release! God works in mysterious ways sometimes, you just have to keep trying! You win some, you lose some.

Going back to the UE game, overtime belonged to my teammates! They showed that they have the composure in close games and also the character to fight til the very end. I remember I got cramps in the last 1 and a half minutes in overtime, Elmer Espiritu just made a foul-counted put back to extend their lead to 3. Again thank God he missed his bonus free throw! Then comes Ryan Buenafe who attacks the basket and gets fouled for two free throws. Keeping his composure, he makes the first but misses the 2nd. Nonoy Baclao had the presence of mind to save that ball and tap it out off a UE player to regain possession. Rabeh gets fouled and knocks down two clutch free throws to tie the game. Then, a big time defensive stop. On the other end, we go to Ryan at the top of the key again to go one-on-one with his defender and former teammate Paul Lee. This time he drives to his left, meets to of the big men of UE, takes a bump, hangs in mid-air and scoops the ball beneath the outstretched arms of the 6'2 Espiritu and 6'5 Thiele, and the ball trickles in! Ateneo up by 2. Another crucial defensive stop on the other end and the rebound was secured by Nonoy Baclao who also hit 2 clutch free throws despite shooting only 60% from the line to seal the game.

It was a game that UE could have easily put away but we were able to steal from them. One free throw could have done it all for them, or even just one defensive stop, or one of those jumpers that rattled in and out again. That's why I believe in fate! I admit we played horrible but still managed to stay focused and fight until the end. That's a very positive sign for us. Hopefully a bright sign towards the clearer goal that's ahead of us!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ateneo Baller Trivia


He was a 5'10" guard with a deadly-accurate jumpshot. He was muscular and scrappy; he seemed to be involved in some of the most physical plays since it was not his nature to back down. And he had ice in his veins. He had a penchant for hitting game-winners in the biggest contests.

During his time, the NCAA had champions for both the first and second rounds, with the two champions meeting for a best of three series for the crown. If a team won both rounds, they were automatically champion. With the first round championship on the line, he hit a game-winning jumpshot at the buzzer to give the Blue Eaglets a sure seat in the finals. At the championship game, he made a game-winning steal against the San Sebastian Staglets, in the instant the opposing guard glanced at the scoreboard to check the clock for a potentially game-winning offensive, and hit the lay-up as time expired. 70-68. He didn't bother using the backboard. He just fed the ball gracefully into the ring and the net barely moved. The blue half of the Rizal Memorial Coliseum exploded while the yellow half was stunned.

He moved up to the seniors and joined one of the most talented Blue Eagle teams of any college era. They won a couple of championships.

So, who is he?

P.S. I will give a special prize to the first one who gets it right :)

25th Death Anniversary of Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr.

Today, let us commemorate the 25th death anniversary of Ninoy Aquino. I wasn't born yet in 1983 but here's an interesting read for all of us Filipinos who might be inspired by his courage and faith. Hopefully we can find some answers to our situation today. This was taken from the homily delivered by Fr. Jojo Magadia, at the Church of the Gesu in Ateneo last Sunday.


Homily for the 25th Anniversary of the Death of Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr.
Church of the Gesù, Ateneo de Manila University, 17 August 2008

When I was telling a group of friends about this Mass for the 25th anniversary of the death of Ninoy Aquino, the common reaction was disbelief: “Twenty-five years? Already?”

Even more striking was the conversation that followed. One said, I was driving my car when I heard the news and I felt so heavy and distressed and sad, and there was this strange emptiness inside. Another said, I was just coming out of class, when word spread on the crowded corridors of our school, and many were stunned and confused and outraged. A third one said, I was at home, and a friend called me, and as I heard the news, the tears started coming for reasons I could not understand.

One after another, my friends and I recalled, how each one remembered that day so vividly, where we were, what we were doing, the thoughts and the feelings that hit us when the news broke out, what we did after, how we all found time to fall in line with the millions of Filipinos from all walks of life who paid their respects at Santo Domingo Church, how some of us joined that unforgettable twelve-hour funeral march from Santo Domingo, down España, crossing Quiapo and Luneta, and all the way to Parañaque, singing and praying, as millions more lined the streets in solidarity, chanting “Ninoy, Ninoy!”, dressed in the signature yellow.

I remember feeling so proud of being Filipino and so proud of Ninoy Aquino, and so emboldened by his death, to continue the fight, and to take part in the next three years of nonviolent struggle, and to join the Filipino people in assuring each other with Ninoy’s immortal words, “Hindi ka nag-iisa.” Yes, those were graced days of unimaginable courage, and I consider myself so blessed to have been part of that.

As I look back, I ask myself, how did Ninoy Aquino do it? How did he leave such a mark on many of us? Was it the disbelief and shock that blood was spilled? Was it the incredible audacity of a man who knew he was risking death, and yet went on with such determination? Was it the sacrifice that was so strikingly and powerfully communicated? Was it the dignity that came with courage recovered?

I suggest that there were two fundamental experiences that marked those days--REDEMPTION and CONVERSION.

First, Redemption. In the Old Testament, the idea of redemption boiled down to something quite simple. It had to do with the payment of a price, in order to release the enslaved or imprisoned or oppressed. It had to do with ransom, in order to liberate and grant freedom to one who is held captive. It had to do with setting free from a power that controls, that burdens, that possesses and imposes and dominates, that makes people unable to take their lives into their own hands, and determine their own futures with dignity. The sacrifice of Ninoy Aquino left such a mark on us because it redeemed us who witnessed the boldness and bravery of someone who was willing to give up his life for those he loves.

The Filipino is worth dying for, Ninoy said, and that anchored our actions in those days. It gave us a share in his vision, his daring, his tenacity. It gave us a spirit that was so fresh and infectious. It made us creative, thinking out of the box, in our ways of fighting the injustices of those days, to the point of being playful and even enjoying ourselves. It gave us a staying power that didn’t give in to petty discouragements, through three long years of seeming impasse. It gave us energy and faith to just hang on, no matter what and no matter how long. Ninoy’s death was our ransom, our redemption.

We were saved, because through his sacrifice, we felt a new strength. We were won over by the power of good and righteousness that Isaiah speaks of in today’s First Reading. Observe what is right, says the Lord, and do what is just, for my salvation is about to come. And Ninoy’s sense of what is right and just gave us a new vitality.

Second, Conversion. In that most touching 1973 letter Ninoy wrote to Senator Soc Rodrigo, he recounts his experience of solitary confinement. He was already in prison, when on March 12, 1973, he and the late Senator Pepe Diokno were ordered to get dressed, and thereafter, the two were blindfolded, handcuffed, and flown by helicopter to an unknown destination.

In that letter, Ninoy writes: “When my blindfold was finally removed, I found myself inside a newly painted room, roughly four by five meters, with barred windows, the outside of which was boarded with plywood panels. There was a six-inch gap between the panels and the window frame to allow slight ventilation. There was a bright daylight neon tube that glowed day and night. There were no electric switches in the room, and the door had no knobs, only locks on the outside. The room was completely bare except for a steel bed without mattress. No chairs, tables, nothing.

“I was stripped naked. My wedding ring, watch, eyeglasses, shoes, clothes were all taken away. Later, a guard who was in civilian clothes brought in a bedpan and told me that I would be allowed to go to the bathroom once a day in the morning, to shower, brush my teeth and wash my clothes [two shirts and underwear]…. the intention was to make us really feel helpless and dependent for everything on the guards.”

In those days of solitary confinement, Ninoy reached a point of desperation and desolation, as he questioned the justice of God. He told Soc Rodrigo, “I remembered your famous words: Hindi natutulog ang Diyos…but I felt, at that moment, he was having a very good sound siesta and I was afraid when he finally woke up, I would have been gone! … Would God allow me to die without seeing my family? What terrible crimes have I committed to deserve this fate? The magnanakaws are living it up and I who tried to walk the narrow path of public service with integrity am now about to meet uncertain fate? Is this justice?

And then, something happened. “Suddenly,” Ninoy relates, “Jesus became a live human being.” And he awakened to the truth that in Jesus was “a God-Man who preached nothing but love and was rewarded with death…. who had power over all creation but took the mockery of a crown of thorns with humility and patience. And for all his noble intentions, he was shamed, vilified, slandered, and betrayed.”

“Then as if I heard a voice tell me: Why do you cry? I have gifted you with consolations, honors and glory which have been denied to the millions of your countrymen. I made you the youngest war correspondent, presidential assistant, mayor, vice governor, governor, and Senator of the Republic, and I recall you never thanked me for all these gifts. I have given you a full life, a great wife and beautiful lovable children. Now that I visit you with a slight desolation, you cry and whimper like a spoiled brat!

“With this realization, I went down on my knees and begged His forgiveness. I know I was merely undergoing a test, maybe in preparation for another mission. I know everything that happens in this world is with his knowledge and consent. I knew He would not burden me with a load I could not carry. I therefore resigned myself to His will.”

This, my friends, is conversion. And it is this conversion that we were invited to in those three years of struggle against the dictatorship--a conversion that meant working and giving it our best, but in the end, knowing that we could only depend on God. It was a conversion that meant accepting our limitations, and allowing the Lord to move in and fill in the blanks, and bring all the loose ends together into some unity. It meant surrendering everything, and then allowing ourselves to be surprised by the Lord’s ways, as he would later show so wonderfully at EDSA in 1986.

For Ninoy, and for those who saw his conversion, it also meant embracing the ways of active non-violence, which called for courage and daring. It sought reconciliation, and not the defeat of an adversary. It was directed at eliminating an evil, not destroying an evil-doer. It entailed a willingness to accept suffering for the cause, should it be called for, but never to inflict it. It rejected hatred, animosity or violence of the spirit, in addition to renouncing all forms of physical violence. It demanded a fundamental faith that in the end, justice would prevail. And that is why, the conversion to non-violence also means an openness to even the inclusion of the dogs who depend on the crumbs that fall from the master’s tables, an openness to receiving the aggressor who turns away from his old ways, an openness to reconciliation and forgiveness, after repentance.

As I look at the Philippines today, I feel sad. I am sad about the brazen corruption of many who are supposed to serve in public office.

I am sad about how we Filipinos have become so tolerant of injustice and oppression, and how we do not challenge ourselves enough, and easily let ourselves off the hook. I am sad about how many have given up integrity to claim their share of the booty that the powerful dangle before them.

I am sad that so many of our people have to leave their homes and their families, in search of employment overseas, because the country could not offer them opportunity.

I am sad about the acts of violence all around, from the violence of the criminal, to the violence in Mindanao, to the violence of poverty and hunger and inequality and miseducation. This morning we received news from the Assumption sisters, asking for prayers because of the war that has just begun again in Lanao del Norte.

I feel sad about the greed of those who abuse power, and selfishly cling to it at any cost. And through all this, it is so easy to be discouraged. But if we were to give in to this discouragement, then this commemoration of the sacrifice of Ninoy will have been merely ritual, and nothing more.

Instead, today, I suggest that we are asked to step back for a moment, and look back to the life of this man, twenty-five years after the great sacrifice of his life. We are invited to consider that what Ninoy’s experience really tells us is that the struggle is really not meant to end, that the true offering of self is a daily and ongoing oblation that can only last a lifetime, and that the fight for justice must go on, ever-renewing itself, and ever re-creating itself in the face of new injustices. We are challenged to re-tell the story of Ninoy to our young, those who did not see, firsthand, those years of amazing spirit, and to rekindle in them that fire that burned so strongly in many of us.

My friends, if we are to live through all the difficulties in our country today, if we are to persevere with dignity and determination, we can draw our strength once more from Ninoy, by reclaiming the redemption he offered, and the conversion he shared. This day, we thank the Lord once more for all our Filipino martyrs and heroes, men and women, known and unknown, whose lives have been a great light and a source of hope, that feed into the work of continuing national transformation.

Today, we pray very especially for President Cory Aquino, for healing and for strength. We pray for peace in Mindanao. We ask Ninoy to pray for us and intercede for us, for we know he is with the Lord he sought to serve, the Lord in whose redemption Ninoy participated, the Lord in whose hands we entrust our lives and our loves, confident that he will bring us his peace. Amen.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ripleys, Volvo, UST

Again, I apologize for not having been able to post for a while. I've been preoccupied lately. Just this tuesday, i taped two episodes for my new show "Ripley's Believe it or Not" which lasted for about 5 hours because of all the technical adjustments we had to make. In fact, this delay caused me to arrive extremely late at the press-con for the show at the Mandarin Gateway. And i would like to thank the press for being so patient and accommodating despite that. When i first stepped in the studio, i was really amazed at the set-up! It was definitely more complex as compared to the set of Pinoy Records. Apparently, even the set had to be approved by the US since this is a franchised show. I am really excited about the show because now we could play around more with the spiels given the complexity of the setup where i could even use props while speaking. I remember watching Dean Cain host this show while i was still a kid, and now i'm actually hosting it! I'm very thankful i was the one chosen to do this project. It's going to be my first show alone without a popular co-host like Manny Pacquiao so I'm also quite anxious whether or not it will be successful. Our pilot episode will be this coming Monday, August 18 at around 1030pm before SAKSI, of course, on GMA7. So I do hope that you guys try to catch it :)

Also this week, I officially signed a contract with Volvo as their official spokesperson for their Youth Leadership Program which is part of their corporate social responsibility. This program aims to search and acknowledge the young leaders in the high school ranks in our society that have the potential to make a difference in society today. I really believe that the future of our country depends on us, that's why it's so important to have youth role models today whether in the family, inside the classroom, in our group of friends, in sports or in media. And by the way, i am the now the endorser of the new Volvo C30!

The win against UST yesterday is really important for our bid to finish in the top 2. I don't want to comment much on the game as there are many other blogs that analyze the game play by play. Overall, i am delighted with our performance but i still believe that we can continue to improve in every game as the season comes to a close. For me, i scored my UAAP career high 29 points but very quietly, most of it coming from the free-throw line in the end- game as a result of fouls that had to be committed by UST to give them a chance to cut the lead. Anyhow, I thank the Lord for the victory and for keeping us all injury-free yesterday despite the physical play and hard fouls committed by UST especially on me. But that's all part of the game, so no problem with that! My coaches constantly remind me not to be frustrated about that because everyone will surely play me very physical... and i think the referees know that too. I just hope that you can all continue to pray for a safe, fair and fun UAAP season :)


Monday, August 4, 2008

ADMU vs UST (Round 1)

When I arrived Araneta Coliseum about 2 hours before game time, I realized that we were using the same locker room as the one we used in the previous loss against FEU. I settled in a different cubicle so that maybe i won't suffer the same unlucky fate as with FEU. Sometimes we players can get superstitious. After our regular mass presided by Fr. Nemy in the locker room, players were walking out to peek at the NU vs FEU game that was on-going. I constantly reminded them to forget about that game and just focus in on our battle vs UST because i figured that FEU would win anyway. So when we were doing our final stretching in a narrow corridor, I was informed that NU was up by 1 with less than a minute to go. I thought he was playing a joke. Then i heard a roar that was pretty much unexpected in a NU vs FEU duel. I figured it must have been an NU 3-point shot and both UST and ADMU fans were extremely delighted as FEU slipped to 5-2. It was a great relief for us! Now we had a chance to take solo lead after round 1. And we did!

I vowed to the coaches that I will be more aggressive in this game not just in terms of scoring but in creating for my teammates as well. And i won't settle too much on outside shots unless it's really there. At least it paid off, i ended up with 9 rebounds and 7 assists. But it was really the team game that gave us the victory. One disappointing observation is our inability to close out teams when leading by as much as 10 during the early part of the 4th quarter. Same thing happened against FEU. But at least against UST, we were able to regain back the lead after a threatening run which gave them a 3 point advantage midway through the 4th. In the end, it was really our defense which kept us in the lead - extra credit should be given to Nonoy Baclao for his amazing blocks!

Although only scoring two points, he finished with 11 rebounds and 4 blocks (1 each on Allera, Mirza as well as the crucial ones on Ababou and Jervy). He practically stopped the entire UST! Nonoy ended up being best player, and i totally agree with that! Points do not always have to be the basis for being best player. He is truly an example of a 'team player' , knowing his role and getting the job done! Of course, I want to thank the Lord for the victory. But what i truly pray for is that everyone is kept free from any serious injury and that the officiating will be fair in every game! May the best team win.


P.S. I have to admit that we might have benefited a little more than UST in some 50-50 calls that could have gone either way. And thank you Tito Philip Sison for the photos.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Day with the Prelate of Opus Dei

If you've noticed, I've skipped an entry regarding the ADMU vs NU game last July 27. I know not everyone out there are basketball fans and some are probably just scratching their heads upon reading the technical stuff I've been blabbering about so i'll give in to your requests to write about the other parts of my life.

I enjoy watching movies in the cinemas but I can't even remember the last one i watched before Kung Fu Panda. I watched half of Mama Mia but i had to leave halfway through the movie because the cinema in Promenade was just freezing cold and i didn't want to get sick. When i heard that the team will be watching Dark Knight all together after the NU game, I was excited. It's actually the first time that we ate together and went out as a team right after a UAAP game this season. Rules have been imposed for us to go straight home, rest and study! We are students after all. Going back to the movie, i found the story a bit too complex and very dark, well bats supposedly come out at night. I remember stepping in the Edsa Shang Cinema at 630pm, and when i checked my watch afterwards, it was already 9pm! Btw, thanks to ClawDaddys for the great dinner.

On Monday, it was President GMA's big day. I actually had an invitation to attend the SONA but i opted to just catch it on TV. (Sorry no political comments on this blog! hehe) Since we had a day off from practice, I was able to have a get-together dinner with my die-hard-Ateneo Titas (Lou, Vicky, Joji, Zerny and Edy) at a Chinese restaurant in Edsa Shang followed with dessert at the lobby where i enjoyed the music very much. There was a live performance and they were singing Broadway songs. There were a lot of politicians there that night but our special guest for the night was a die-hard Ateneo Tito this time. Tito Joey is the "Manny Pangilinan" of our Chess team. A very well respected professional in the business, his passion for the school is very evident. I quote him: "it doesn't matter who the President of the country is, what matters is who the Coach of Ateneo is!"

Tuesday, a day to be remembered throughout my life. I was not only able to meet the Prelate of Opus Dei, Don Javier (who happens to be in the country for a couple of days) but i was able to kiss his ring not once, not twice, but three times! Opus Dei is a Catholic group founded by St. Josemaria Escriva that has thousands of followers all over the world. My mom is a super-numerary, and with her connections, she was able to come up with a special arrangement for me to meet The Father at the Maynilad mens center ironically beside DLSU in Taft (because I could not attend he regular session due to training sessions and games). I was also able to join a special "get together session" of about 20 people in that same center (normally there would be hundreds and thousands of people in attendance in the sessions in SMX). My mom was not even able to personally meet The Father this time around. He is probably in his late 70s but still has a very sharp memory. Despite being the highest in the organizational hierarchy of Opus Dei, he is very down-to-earth. At the same time, he is treated with utmost reverence and respect. I was at awe, he was like a living symbol of all the virtues we needed to posses in life. In the small get-together session, he spoke in Spanish while the Vicar (Father Durant) translated it to English for us. He told us that the closer we are to God, the happier we will be in life! We can achieve this through deep constant prayer with our Father in the Blessed Sacrament as well as by receiving the different Sacraments. I totally agree with him. He also shared a story about Pope John Paul II who spent most of his time in the Blessed Sacrament talking to God as his source of rest and refuge. After the short get-together, there was a simple photo-session but i just stood and watched at the back of the room. He personally called me "you, basketball player, join us!" I was very touched! He even remembered me from the time we were introduced a couple of hours earlier. His words and stories got me thinking about my own life. I was truly moved. I want Christ to be the center of my life as well. We are all instruments of the Father and it is our mission / apostolate to bring Christ to others. Amen.

ADMU vs FEU (Round 1)

I've been trying to sleep for the past two hours but there are just so many thoughts lingering in my head so i decided to just get up and create an entry. I had dinner at home right after the FEU game, studied a little for my quiz tom (even if my brain's not absorbing anything) and went to bed at around 930 because my body can't take it anymore. But then i woke up at around 1am and can't go back to sleep despite listening to Chinese songs through my iPod which normally puts me to sleep. Now here i am wide awake with so too many thoughts about the loss and the past week. I don't even know where to start.

I'll start with the most recent game against FEU. July 31 is the feast of our Patron Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who is the founder of the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits. Obviously, it's a school holiday. In the past years when we have games during his feast day, we emerge victorious. I woke up this morning with a heavy feeling for some weird reason. But of course I had to exercise my mind to stay positive and i played really hard during the game even if i only scored 7 points, my lowest output this season. I have to give credit to their tight defense, which they mixed up well too, but I also felt that i settled too much from the 3-point line. We knew FEU will come out with energy and inspired because of the shooting incident (We continue to pray for the recovery of Mac Baracael and may the truth be revealed) but i felt that we could match their energy, which we did throughout the game where we led all throughout until the last 40 something seconds. For one, we could have taken them out of the game when we led by as much as 10 in the 4th quarter. But they never gave up and we weren't able to convert down the stretch. I won't complain about the calls of the referees although there were a couple that didn't go our way especially in the 2nd half, including the crucial one where I believe it was Adolfo who slapped my wrist upon releasing a possible game-tying 3-pointer. I was sure he hit my hand and not the ball because my hand was pushed back which forced my shot to end up short. (See this great captured shot by Nono Felipe

But it's already expected that calls won't go your way if your team is starting to pull away (might be a natural instinct to keep a game close to maintain the excitement) so it's important to really bury the opposing team when the opportunity arises. I couldn't resist a grin when i saw the "BIG 3" referees all at the same time in one game (Manalac, Mendoza, Tolentino). Hey, but they weren't too bad for the most part of the game, quite an improvement! I think we have to credit Commissioner for that! But it was Eric Salamat's disappearance in the 2nd half that really handicapped us in the end game. Apparently, he was kneed in the jaw. We know what Eric brings to the team, his defense, his dare-devil drives and his ability to create and to organize the offense. There is still no word whether he will be available but please pray for his recovery. Anyway, this is a learning experience for us! Better to experience a loss early and learn how to deal with it rather than sweeping the league then losing at the end and not being able to bounce back, sounds familiar?

P.S. Hats off to Rabeh for a splendid performance! 33 points, 20 rebounds.