Saturday, April 25, 2009

Playing against Antoine Walker

Hello again from Las Vegas, Sin city as they would call it. But not to worry, cause all we do here is eat and sleep in the hotel, take a shuttle van to the training site which is about 5 minutes away, then back again to the hotel to rest, then to the training site again. Pretty much the same schedule everyday, except for unusually lucky days were we get to walk to the strip and appreciate the incredibly attractive.... hotel structures with their glimmering lights :) Not quite what you thought!

Most of my teammates are first timers here and so i'd have to be the guide. Believe me, it's not easy to lead a big group nowadays because after a few meters of walking, we stop to take a picture. Then, walk a few meters then stop and take another picture again towards another direction, and again... and again. Plus, everybody practically has their own camera, which means each stop requires 7 to 10 cameras of the same view. It's fun being with these guys anyways :)

Going back to our training, we train twice a day, plus weights. We have games here too. Our first two games were against the same team, the IMPACT All-stars composed of ex-NBA players Antoine Walker (he's so huge and strong, felt like a rock) and Mamadou N'diaye plus young NBA prospects that will be joining the draft this year, Alonzo Gee and Robert Vaden, who are predicted to be picked within the top 12. In our first encounter, we lost by 13 points. We thought it wasn't too bad considering they were all so athletic and talented individually. We felt like little kids being tossed around with alley hoops and slamdunks coming from all over the place. But in our second encounter, we were amused by the results ourselves. We actually beat them by 6 points 128 - 122 after coming back from an 18-point deficit. Our outside shots started to click and that got us going. Plus we got a big lift from our import CJ Giles (6'11) who scored 19 points. CJ played with the Lakers in the summer league. 23 years old from Kansas University.

That game just proves that teamwork is definitely more effective than individual talent because there was no way we could match up with them individually. This makes me respect the system of Coach Rajko Toroman even more, despite criticisms from our own fellow Filipinos. I want to save that topic for another entry. For now, we're just thankful for that rare experience to play against such big name players.


Friday, April 24, 2009

NBA Playoffs and my newest Idol

I always love coming to the US during summer time, well not so much because of the training sessions but mainly because of the complete NBA coverage of the playoffs. All the games are televised either on TNT, ABC, or ESPN. Everyday they show around 2 or 3 games plus pre and post game analysis and highlights.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to watch my favorite player, Steve Nash, this year because they didn't make it to the playoffs. I'm really sad about that because I love the way he plays. But on the upside he now spends a lot of his time blogging and sharing his thoughts on the playoffs and other personal matters like his diet through his facebook profile. Another good thing also is that my other newest idol is still in the running and at the top of his game despite being 32 years old.

Yesterday, I caught part of game 2 of the Denver - New Orleans series. I still can't think of the appropriate words to describe the game of Chauncey Billups. He is my newest idol of course after Steve Nash. I've always been impressed with his style and basketball IQ ever since his Detroit years but these past few games for him have been incredibly amazing! He has been displaying impeccable leadership and experience on the court. When he joined the team last November, he turned it around and created a winning formula! He can score, create, defend but most of all, lead a team that has players with quite an attitude (i.e. Camelo and Kenyon Martin). He hasn't turned the ball over in 12 quarters consecutively. He hasn't missed a free throw (14/14) in the two games. And shot a remarkable 12/15 from 3-points. My favorite facet of his game, is that he doesn't force his shots and scores only when he needs to. Plus, he can create his own shot.

I'm currently rooting for the Lakers and now, Denver. And i won't mind if Denver will go on to the NBA Finals and beat my Lakers since it will be a wonderful fairy tale for Chauncey after spending his high school and college days in Colorado then now going back to his hometown and winning a championship.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wonderful Serbia

That's us in our travel suits at the PAL Centennial Airport preparing for our 24-hour long journey to Serbia
My roommate and I
The junction of the two major rivers that flow through Belgrade, the SAVA and the famous DANUBE
Kalemegdan, a prestigious Belgrade Fortress located by the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers. It literally means battlefield and played a very significant role throughout the history of the city.
Kalemegdan park, one of the most beautiful parks in Belgrade.
Temple of Saint Sava, the first Archbishop of Serbia and founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church
View of Belgrade from the dining area in our hotel
City center of Novi Sad, a northern city of Serbia
The National Museum and the National Theatre by the Republic Square. Beside it is Knez Mihailova Street with numerous cafes, restaurants and shops.
Me and the beautiful cherry blossoms at the start of spring time

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Jeepney

Chris Tiu is in The Jeepney. Get your copy of Volume 5.

"The Jeepney Magazine" is a Filipino publication produced by the Urban Opportunities for Change, Foundation Inc.

The Jeepney Magazine has two main goals:

The first is the presentation of the stories and hearts of the Filipino poor. It is our intent to communicate the needs, struggles and more importantly, the victories in the midst of those struggles, of homeless people, to an audience that can make change happen.

The second is the provision of jobs, with dignity, meeting or exceeding the Philippine minimum wage. The provision of jobs, is modeled by the over two hundred autonomous street papers in the world today. The vendors of these papers receive fifty to ninety percent of the papers cover price. If the magazine sells @ P100, about 50 to 90 pesos goes to the vendor as his/her income and the remainder is retained for the expenses incurred in the publishing of the magazine.


I believe there was a vendor in Eastwood but I heard he might be transferring to Glorietta. I'll try to find out more details myself.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hello from Serbia

After playing 4 games here in Serbia, we finally won our last 2. Like i wrote about earlier, we lost our first game big time. Our 2nd game wasn't so bad but we still lost by 3 points due to bad breaks in the last few seconds. Our 3rd game, we won by around 10 points. And today, we won again by 40 points, against a much younger and less experienced team. Tomorrow will be the real test, we're playing the 4th best team in Serbia with an import and some national players.

Overall, i think that we are improving and gaining much needed experience. But moreover, we are able to bond with one another. For those who are still unaware, my current teammates are JV Casio (DLSU), Marc Barocca (FEU), Dylan Ababou (UST), Mac Baracael (FEU), RJ Jazul (Letran), Rey Guevarra (Letran), Jason Ballesteros (San Sebastian), Greg Slaughter (UV), Magi Sison (UP), JR Cawaling (FEU), Aldrich Ramos (FEU), Ryan Buenafe (who is not with us in Serbia), and Ford Arao who is currently part of the training pool. Despite coming from different backgrounds, the atmosphere within the team is really fun and enjoyable! Dylan Ababou is our team clown with an album of jokes. JV is indeed quiet and humble as advertised.

Serbia is a beautiful city. The food is yummy! Lots of meat, perfect for me. Weather is very comfortable at the moment, around 20 degrees. No traffic. For those who love the nightlife, this place is perfect for you. Too bad we're here for basketball games! We've also had the chance to go around the city center with shops and cafes. Funny, one of our coaches and Jason were attacked by a gypsy! Quite scary actually. I'll try to post pictures soon. That's all for now. Good night!