Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Humbling Experience

We just played against a local professional team here in Serbia and lost by 30 points. I can't pronounce nor remember the team name. All i know is that they are one of the top teams here in Serbia and made it to the 'Super League' in Eastern Europe. They were just so tall, smart and fundamentally sound. Moreover, they play as a team so well. They set great screens and they move really efficiently. The wingman i was guarding was 6'6 and with African origins. He was their import. And when he was substituted, i would guard another guy who was about 6'4. I'm officially 5'10. Their centers stood at around 6'10 and are quite athletic for their size. Anyway, the style of their games is just so different from the way we play back home in Manila and the way the Americans play in the NBA. Pass, pass, pass, shoot! No non-sense dribbling.

Before coming here to Serbia, we played Talk and Text for an exhibition game and beat them by 20 points. We felt that we were improving, but when we played here... it was just a wake up call and a realization on the level of basketball internationally.

Honestly, we didn't play to the level we're supposed to be playing because probably, we were in awe and impressed but I think if we played our game against this Serbian team, we would have lost by just around 10 to 15 points. Still bad i know! The tactics we observe from the teams here are really so fundamental but we take them for granted. Very unselfish basketball despite clear advantages for them in terms of match ups. The guy i was guarding could have easily posted me up (which most coaches in the Philippines would have done) but they respected their system. Very disciplined! Too bad for us we had to play them in our first game here in Serbia. I heard the rest of our games coming up won't be as strong as that team but still very very tough. We have 7 games in 8 days here. So another game coming up.

Before going to bed last night, i was talking to my roommate JV and we agreed that this was truly a humbling experience for us but fortunately, we have a long term program and a great coach who, we believe, can bring out our potentials to the fullest.

P.S. I'll try to find a way to post pics from here because i don't have my laptop, just a public computer.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hi from Serbia

When i tell people that i'm going to Serbia, i always get a reply 'where is that? why are you going there?' Well , it is the hometown of our head coach Rajko Toroman and he has organized several exhibition games with professional teams here. Formerly known as Yugoslavia, it was split up to form the Republic of Serbia and Montenegro in 2003. In 2006, both Serbia and Montenegro declared independence.

It is our 2nd day here in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. Glad to have arrived in one piece despite the extremely tiring jetsetting, a total of 24 hours which included stops in Hong Kong and Frankfurt. Weather is beautiful ranging from 10 degrees to 15 degrees and relatively quiet and laid back for a capital city. Our hotel is called the Srbija Hotel, i would say it's about 3-star with decent rooms. But my favorite is the free use of internet in the lobby area with a total of 6 computers. Most of us players hang out here during our free time. Food is served in the 18th floor of the hotel and we all eat together, players in one table, coaching staff in another.

Rooming assignments were assigned by coach. Two to a room. Guess who my room mate is! No other than JVee Casio :) After this whole Ateneo-La Salle fairytale, we're now teammates/roommates in the National Team AND in Hapee in the PBL. Coincidence? Such a nice, silent and humble guy with occasional humorous comments! Cool huh!?

We arrived 12 midnight of Saturday and spent Saturday resting most of the time during the day. We had a light practice in the afternoon then went for a walk in the city center at night. Because of our size and Asian features, we kinda stood out in the crowd and many would have a curious glance at us? I guess it's because of the scarcity of tourist and foreigners in this city. Plus we have players who are 6'6, 6'7, 7'0. Quite tall compared to the average Serbian but nothing compared to the Serbian basketball players.

For today, we just have practice and our last chance to go around the city tonight because we will be having games everyday starting tomorrow! I'll update you soon!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Off to Serbia

Hello there, i'll be flying to Serbia in a few hours with the Smart Gilas National Team for training and games. I hope to find internet access over there so i can update you guys. Or better yet, subscribe to my fanatxt :) it's easier that way. See ya!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Milo Wellness Commercial

Hello, I finally got hold of a soft copy file of the Milo TVC that some of you have been asking me to upload :) Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Hi it's me again after 3 weeks! Actually I've been a bit lazy lately to exercise my brain cells and articulate various thoughts. Honestly, I can't think of any interesting topic to write about. Ergo, I will do my best to touch on the many questions that I have been receiving through this blog and the FANATXT. Thanks to those who continue to subscribe btw :)

First, the latest MILO commercial. Yes, it is not my voice. I initially did the voice over but because of some internal matters, they had to use a dubber at the last minute. But , I already did the voice over again and I believe it was approved and should be airing with my voice pretty soon.... i hope! Nevertheless, the essence of the commercial doesn't change. Glad you guys liked it!

Next, many have been wondering what I've been up to lately. Well, the usual, training with the National Team, hosting and doing some business on the side. But one thing that's really kept me busy this past month is my involvement in socio-civic activities. Once the PBL Conference starts again this summer, I won't have much of a life outside of basketball again. Going back, there are several causes that I truly wish to advocate. That's why I've been doing my best to reach out to them. Sadly, we cannot accommodate them all.

Recently, Volvo had its Voice of Leadership culmination activity with an elocution contest where I was the host and ambassador. The participants were amazing with the content and delivery of their speeches. But the highlight of the event for me was being able to watch Lea Salonga perform just a few meters from me and meet her for the first time! I was being teased non-stop after the event for appearing so star struck on stage! I guess she's one of the very few local personalities who can truly mesmerize me because I'm a huge fan hers and I love watching musical plays especially those like Les Miserables, Miss Saigon and others where she played major roles.

During Valentines Day, together with my family and friends, we made an effort to experience the life of a construction worker for about 3 hours with the Habitat for Humanity group. Wasn't easy at all! But an eye opener indeed. I hope that more Filipinos can get involved not just in building homes but in building communities and individuals with values as well.

I'm also helping out the Get Caught Reading campaign with their promo materials to hopefully encourage the youth to love reading because I believe that reading (the right materials) is such a powerful weapon in developing an individual as well as nation building! Like what Jose Rizal said himself, "a pen is mightier than the sword..." Coincidentally, I am currently reading a book entitled "Lolo Jose", a very detailed description of the life of our national hero coming straight from the point of view of his very own grand niece, Asuncion Lopez Bantug. The book was given to me but it might be available in some bookstores. Very interesting!

I've also done my rounds in various schools giving short talks and messages about various topics. I've visited, of course, the Ateneo High School, Southridge, Philippine Science High School and Northfield among others. But I think I'll have to put those on hold first as my commitments are starting to pile up again. So, these are the things that's been keeping me pre-occupied lately! From youth leadership, to perseverance, to education, to Christ, and whatever other topics I've been chattering about, I sure hope that I'm making sense and getting through to them! So do you still want to hear about what's going on with me?? :) haha!