Wednesday, August 25, 2010

“Eat Nothing. Do Something!” World Vision 12-hour Famine

12-Hour Famine Video of myself in Baseco

By: Bernadette Tan

There is a child killer among our homes...
As you read, millions of families in the Philippines are going without food; their children go to bed hungry every night. In the next seven seconds another hungry child will die—nearly 5 million in a year. An underweight child is four times more likely to die of a disease compared to a well-nourished child.Hunger is one of the leading child killers in our world. What are we doing about it?

Luckily for you reading this, hunger is not a life threatening concern. You’ve never had to face the horror of helplessly going without food for days or weeks on end. But for millions in countries like Ethiopia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and even the Philippines, the painful, weakening feeling of hunger is an ordeal they must negotiate every single day to survive. More than 1 billion people worldwide experience hunger daily. In the Philippines about 4 million households go hungry everyday or eat only the bare minimum of food to keep themselves alive. A hungry mind is incapable of concentrating, a hungry body cannot work productively, a hungry child loses all desire to study and play. When was the last time you skipped a meal? How long do you think you can go without food... 2 hours... 6 hours... 12 hours?

Before you take your next meal, please stop and consider what you can do to help these children.

WORLD VISION 12-HOUR FAMINE

In response to the screaming global hunger problem, World Vision Philippines is doing the “12-hour Famine” campaign, a global youth movement against hunger and poverty.

The same Famine campaign is being done worldwide: the 30-hour Famine in the US, the 40-hour Famine in Australia and New Zealand, and the 24-hour Famine in the United Kingdom, to name a few.

Youth participants from high schools, colleges and universities; members of youth orgs and churches will start collecting funds and donations for children and families going hungry in the country. And then, they will all come together in one event and experience a 12-hour famine—that is to go on voluntary fasting from food for 12-hours.

For 12 hours, thousands of Filipino youth will unite as one lending their voices to this global fight against hunger and poverty. On empty stomachs they will further raise funds and awareness about these issues and challenge the public and government to help.

The hunger period will be devoted to various activities other than eating to fill the void of hunger. For 12 hours there will be educational sessions and talks on related issues with guest speakers, inspiring video presentations, prayer time, interactive activities, games, talent showcases from different schools and groups, and a big, festive concert with World Vision celebrity supporters, the country’s top bands and other special performers who themselves are advocates of this cause.

The “12-hour Famine” will happen on November 6, from 9am to 9pm at the Flying V Arena in San Juan. This is your chance to do something relevant for the country and the world. All it takes is a little sacrifice. Eat nothing. Do something. Join the 12-hour Famine! To register call 8-FAMINE or log on to www.worldvision.org.ph/famine.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fund Raiser for Teacher OLGA

Hey, are you an ELC alumnus as well? Or Early Learning Center pre-school in San Lorenzo. Do you remember Teacher Olga? Anyways, she is in terrible health condition right now and will need any form of assistance. She is suffering from diabetes and needs to undergo dialysis 3 times a week. She also suffered a mild stroke a few weeks ago. A group of ELC alumnus has organized a standup comedy night to raise funds in her behalf. This show is also open to the public, even if you are not from ELC. So please please come and support the event because you will not only be entertained, but you can save a life as well! Check out the details below.



Chris

Friday, July 30, 2010

Samsung Netbook

Congratulations to Kimberly Claire Tan and Rogelio Torres Jr for winning the Samsung Clique Savvy Poll! Now you guys can enjoy your own Samsung Netbooks as well!

To those who did not take part in the promo, the mechanics is really simple. Anyone can be a trend guru by placing an entry indicating what is HOT and COOL for you! Kimberly Claire had the most votes with 10,804. Unfortunately, the promo has ended and no more entries can be accepted.


What's HOT & COOL about the Samsung Netbook for me?
It's HOT because it's very stylish and it comes in the color BLUE :)
It's COOL because it's compact, light-weight and convenient to carry around, which suits my mobile lifestyle.

How about you?

Jones Cup 2010

I just want to take this opportunity to thank all those who greeted me for my birthday either through this blog or through my twitter. I was in Taipei over my birthday for the Jones Cup for almost two weeks and did not have internet access there. Actually, we did have internet, just felt that $10 USD per 24 hours of use was not worth it.

To those who are not updated, Team Pilipinas finished 4th place in the Jones Cup behind Iran, Lebanon & Japan. We placed higher than Chinese Taipei, Chinese Taipei team B and Australian Crocs team. I felt we could have finished 2nd or 3rd but had a disastrous game against Japan, who played with former Phoenix Suns point guard Tabusen. They scouted us well and fatigue kicked in. We also weren't able to adjust to their defense and intensity right away. Although I am personally disappointed with our result, and i'm sure quite a number of Filipinos feel the same way, i felt we showed that we could compete against the powerhouses of Asia particularly Iran and Lebanon.

The Iranian national team played without Hedadi and Afagh but their superstar Samad Nikkah Bahrami took over w/ 27 pts, 8 rebs and 8 assts. The Lebanon national team was complete (plus naturalized Jackson Vroman) and had a very balanced lineup, except for Fadi El Khatib, who said himself that he will not play for the national team. We were up by as much as 15 points until their shooters started to get hot.

Overall, i believe the Jones Cup was a very fruitful experience for both coaches and players and it allowed us to gauge our level and the standards of the opposing teams. For now, we just have to continue to work extremely hard (and smart), gain more experience (through competitions) and plug the holes in the lineup that will best suit coach Rajko's system.

Thanks again to all those who've been supporting us, through both rainy days and sunny days! And please continue to pray for the team (the players, coaches, management, etc.) for strength, wisdom, courage, inspiration and a little luck! So that we may rightfully represent our beloved flag and make each Filipino proud to be Filipino through our performance on the court and even our behavior off the court. I know its a long shot, but someone's gotta believe.... and try!

Chris

P.S. Still no word if we're participating in the Stankovic Cup this August 7 in Beirut, Lebanon. Greg Slaughter and Rabeh Al Hussaini can't afford to miss class, while Chris Lutz and Marcus Douthit still don't have Filipino passports. Still weighing the sanctions if we back out. FYI, we are in the same bracket with Lebanon, Qatar, Jordan and Syria! Other bracket is Iran team B, India, Japan, Chinese Taipei and one more (which i forget at the moment). How lucky can we get.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Latest ADVIL TVC 15s

Here's my latest ADVIL TVC. Switch na to Advil! Enjoy :)

Chris

video

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My thoughts on FIBA ASIA Champions Cup in Qatar & the upcoming MVP Invitationals

I recently bumped into a few individuals who, apparently, follow my blog and encouraged me to write more often. So i thought of writing some of my thoughts on the past tournament in Qatar (FIBA ASIA Champions Cup) & the upcoming MVP Invitationals in Manila.

FIBA Asia Champions Cup

The 7th place finish for me was an underachievement. It's easy to make 100 excuses because of the situation of the team coming into the tournament but i don't want to cry over spilled milk. Certainly, valuable players JV Casio, Marcio Lassiter & JR Cawaling were missed because of what they could provide on both ends of the court. But let's just focus on those who were 'active' during the tournament, what were the pros and cons.

Despite being undermanned, I believe we could have finished, at least, 5th place (behind Iran, Qatar, Lebanon & Jordan). We lost to Syria in an unbelievably insane manner, an alley-hoop 3-point buzzer beater from an outlet pass downcourt. I thought I would only see those silly shots in the movies. We had our lapses too, which allowed Syria to creep back in the game. A win against them would have allowed us to battle for 5th against Kazakhstan who we can definitely beat.

DEFENSE

I think the main problem was our defense. We had difficulty matching up with the opposing players. Against Qatar and Lebanon, the had big and long wing players that caused mismatches against us. Qatar had a 6'9 wingman (Mussa) who could post up like crazy. Fadi El Khatib & Nate Johnson were playing the 2 & 3 positions for Lebanon. Fadi & Nate Johnson both stand around 6'6. Fadi uses his heft to create mismatches while Nate Johnson is very athletic. Both are extremely experienced. Against Kazakhstan, we had problems matching up with the big men who pounded us inside the paint. They had several 7'0 players who were agile. ALmost all their points were scored at close range. Iran had muscle power via Jackson Vroman (6'11) & lengthy Loren Woods (7'1) who played positions 4 & 5 respectively.

On our end, Milan Vucicevic is about 6'10 and has a wide body to bang but is not athletic & not a shot blocker. Japeth Aguilar is 6'9, very athletic but does not body up. In fact, Mac Baracael (6'3) played the position 4 (power forward) 70% of the time. Aldrech Ramos also plays the position 4 but is even skinnier than Japeth because he was recently diagnosed w/ Dengue. Our tallest wingman is Mac Baracael (6'3) but plays mostly the power forward position. Chris Lutz & Dylan Ababou stand around 6'3. And I am 5'10 without shoes. I don't think we had problems matching up with the point guards even if Mark Barroca & RJ Jazul are shorter than i am.

I felt we were not physical enough defensively and we weren't able to pressure the ball enough like we normally do, mostly because of fatigue due to the very short rotation of players. We lacked a shot blocker or even just an inside presence to change the shots of the opponents. This is very important because Coach Rajko's defensive philosophy is to force baseline, which is like funneling everything to our position 5 big man, also known as the Center.

I felt we could have used the zone defense more.

OFFENSE

Most of our attempts and points came from outside shots. Mac Baracael took most of the attempts and unfortunately, he was firing blanks throughout the tournament. Totally opposite from how he shot in the Dubai International earlier in the year. Everything that he made then, he missed now. That really hurt our offense because our position 4 frequently gets great open looks because of the system. The heart & hustle he showed was indispensable though. Mark Barocca is a scorer and there was no problem with his scoring. Although we needed him more to setup and create for the others just like what JV Casio & Marcio do. This explains why Dylan couldn't get his open looks from 3 & the bigs couldn't get too much easy points underneath. But recently, Mark is showing his development in his creative passing abilities. Chris Lutz was not much of a factor, mainly because he only had two days of practice before the tournament. We certainly lacked inside points. Japeth was also a non-factor and we missed his energy. He averaged less than 10 minutes a game. He is crucial to our success. Greg Slaughter, who has improved dramatically in the past months, was not used too much as well.

CROWD

I have to commend the persisting Filipinos in Qatar who went out of their way to cheer for the team throughout the tournament. It felt like we were the home team, just like in the past tournament in Dubai. Filipinos occupied 80% of the stadium, which explains why they scheduled all our games at 8pm - the main game. It's just sad that we don't have a synchronized cheer unlike the other European, American & Middle Eastern countries. We should develop a common cheer for us Pinoys to use in international competitions for all sports! Maybe we can start in this coming pocket tournament?

MVP INVITATIONALS 2010

Looking forward, things can only get better for us. The injured guys are healing and the new guys are picking up the very complicated system of Coach Rajko. We also have Marcus Douthit, as our import and candidate for naturalization, who will be suiting up for the invitational here in Manila. He is very skilled and intelligent, although he is 30 years old already. He can provide the inside points that we lack. Through this pocket tournament, we hope to regain our lost confidence and get back to our winning ways. Competition will be very tough because all teams are coached by the best in the industry. 3 Olympian coaches: Brian Goorjian of Donguan coached Australia in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Mario Palma of Jordan manned the wheel for Angola in the 2000 SYdney Olympics & Coach Rajko Toroman spearheaded Iran's stint in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. We also have 2 former national team coaches who are part of the tournament, Coach Jong Uichico of Ginebra & Coach Chot Reyes of Talk & Text. Gonna be a very competitive 4-day showdown!

I've posted the details of the tournament in my previous post. Thanks to all those who continue to support the team, win or lose! We now ask for your prayers for an injury-free line up and that we may be the best team in the tournament :)

Chris

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

MVP Invitationals Schedule (Manila, June 24-27, 2010)

NINOY AQUINO BASKETBALL STADIUM
June 24 - 27, 2010

Participating Teams:
Smart Gilas
Jordan National Team
Donguan New Century Basketball Club (China)
Ginebra
Talk & Text

June 24 (Thursday)
430pm - Ginebra vs Jordan
630pm - Opening Ceremonies
700pm - Smart Gilas vs Donguan

June 25 (Friday)
500pm - Talk & Text vs Donguan
700pm - Jordan vs Smart Gilas

June 26 (Saturday)
500pm - Smart Gilas vs Ginebra
700pm - Jordan vs Donguan

June 27 (Sunday)
500pm - Team #3 vs Talk & Text
700pm - Team #1 vs Team #2
845pm - Closing Ceremonies

FORMAT:

1. The competition will be (1) round elimination only

2. There will be two guest (2) teams from the professional league (PBA) namely
a.Talk n Text
b.Ginebra
which will play purely exhibition games only.

3. All games to be played by Smart Gilas, Jordan National Team and Dongguan New
Century Basketball Club will count in their team standing including their games
against the two PBA Teams

4. Team No. 3 in the final standing will be automatically declared 3rd place but will still
play against a PBA Team for exhibition as first game in the final day

5. Team No. 1 and Team No. 2 in the final standing will play one game for
championship.

7. FIBA rules will be fully implemented

TICKETS:

Tickets available at Ticketnet outlets (i.e. SM outlets & Araneta Center)

TV AIRING:

Games will be aired on QTV, 2 days delayed.
June 26: 2 - 530pm
June 27: 3 - 530pm
June 28: 2 - 500pm
June 29: 2 - 500pm


Please come & support Team Pilipinas!! This may be the first and the last time that Smart Gilas will compete in a tournament here in its hometown. See you at the venue!

Chris

Saturday, May 22, 2010

FIBA ASIA CHAMPIONS CUP 2010 DOHA-QATAR

Group A: Iran (Mahram), Philippines (Smart Gilas), Kazakstan (Astana Tigers), Iraq (Duhok), Qatar (Al Rayyan)

Group B: Lebanon (Al Riyadi), Jordan (ASU), Syria (Al Jalaa), Saudi Arabia (Al Hilal), UAE (Al Nasr)

Venue: Al Gharrafa Indoor Hall (Al Gharrafa Sports Complex)
Ticket Price: QAR 10

RP Smart Gilas Game Schedule: Elimination Round

Sun (05/23): 6pm - Phils vs Qatar
Mon (05/24): 8pm - Phils vs Kazakhstan
Tues (05/25): 8pm - Phils vs Iran
Wed (05/26): 8pm - Phils vs Iraq

Competition is even tougher this year since almost all teams are fielding in their national teams plus 2 imports. Last year in Jakarta, we finished 5th. With our current lineup, our goal is to make it to the semis. Then take it from there. Iran (Mahram) is fielding their national team with the usual two imports, Jackson Vroman (6'10) and Loren Woods (7'1), both former NBA players. Lebanon (Al Riyadi) is also fielding in its national players, including Fadi El Khatib, plus 2 imports Nate Johnson and CJ Giles. Same goes for Qatar. Kazakhstan is fielding its national team composed of players who participated in Tokoshima in 2007 & finished 4th place.

On our part, we're shorthanded right now because we're missing JV Casio, Marcio Lassiter & JR Cawaling in our lineup due to injuries. JV, who was the best point guard of the tournament in Dubai, provides stability in the team as our main PG. We will miss his ability to score & create plays. RJ Jazul, who is a natural shooting guard, will have to step up & play the point position. I think i will have to play PG sometimes as well. Without Marcio, we will be losing some toughness inside the court bec of his physicality and aggressivity on both ends of the floor. He doesn't hesitate to dive on the ground for loose balls and that can be contagious. JR Cawaling is a very skilled & creative player, too bad his knee is really bothering him. Instead, Rey Guevarra, my roommate, was chosen to be part of the 12-man lineup since this is FIBA sanctioned tournament. Both JV & JR are with us here in Qatar, while Marcio is back home in Manila doing therapy.

On the other hand, Chris Lutz arrived in Manila on Tuesday & is part of the 12-man lineup. He plays the position 2 & 3. He's very skilled, athletic and smart. But 2 days of practice is definitely not enough to learn the system of Coach Rajko thoroughly. He's still familiarizing himself w/ the very complicated plays. For sure he will provide a huge lift once he adapts himself to the system & the team. We also have a Serbian import, Milan, who has been practicing w/ us for about a week & a half now. He stands around 6'9 but is not the most athletic & quickest player. He has a decent middle range though & has a wide body to bang w/ the opposing bigs.

Let's see how we'll fare in this tournament. It will be very very tough so I ask for all your prayers for us to play our A games and be injury-free. If you happen to live here in Doha, please come and watch the games! I believe they purposely scheduled Smart Gilas games at 8pm to draw the Filipino crowd here, which has certainly infiltrated the scarce population of Qatar. Your presence truly means a lot! Let's overwhelm the opposing teams by having the largest gallery! GO PILIPINAS!

Chris

SMART GILAS 12-man LINEUP:

Mark Barroca
RJ Jazul
Chris Tiu
Dylan Ababou
Rey Guevarra
Chris Lutz
Mac Baracael
Aldrech Ramos
Japeth Aguilar
Jason Ballesteros
Greg Slaughter
Milan Vucicevic

Monday, April 19, 2010

Smart Gilas in Serbia 2010 & My Thoughts on Serbian Basketball

I think we've had enough of the MVP speech controversy. His resignation is irrevocable and this will surely hurt Ateneo in many ways. But what has to be done, has to be done. Even if MVP himself had no intention to plagiarize, apparently his speech writers screwed up and he had to suffer and take the blame himself. It's just so honorable how he never pointed a finger but rather accepted full responsibility. Let's just learn from our mistakes and move on. Issue closed.

On Smart Gilas Serbian stint:

Despite our 1-5 win loss record in Serbia, I believe we had a very valuable trip. The teams we played there are of a different competitive level as compared to the Asian teams we will be playing. We played 5 1st division teams and 1 2nd division team which will be elevated to 1st division next year. THat's the team we beat. We played the best team in Serbia, Partizan, but without their best 5 or 6 players. We also played the 2nd best team, Hemofarm, with several national team members including 7'4 Marjanovic.

I can see an improvement in the team's competitive level as compared to a year ago when we first went to Serbia. We played Metalac (probably top 5 team in Serbia) both times. In our first trip last year, we lost by 31 pts and this year we lost by 10 pts. Last year, I remember how stunned and shocked we were playing against guys who are like a foot taller than us. Their wingmen, the guys i was guarding, are like 6'6 or 6'7 on the average. This year, even if they probably didn't get shorter, we didn't feel that 'small' and inferior compared to them. I guess we've gotten accustomed to being at a size disadvantage against foreign opponents both in Europe and Asia. And it will always be that way for us Filipino unless Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter start breeding w/ Serbian women soon.

DISCIPLINE & THEIR SYSTEM

But despite the height disadvantage on the wing position, i think what's more important is that we must be able to match up well when it comes to the big men, meaning positions 4 and 5 (power forward & center) because that's where size really matters. The big men must be able to consistently stop the post players, block/change shots, and grab those rebounds. Unlike in the US & PBA style of play, a size disadvantage in the wing position would most likely lead to the bigger wing player posting up his smaller opponent. But that wasn't the case in Serbia & in most FIBA style games as well. They continued to run their plays so systematically with so much discipline, occasionally utilizing mismatches. THeir execution was just so impressive both offensively and defensively.

When we played Hemofarm in the city of Vsac about 1.5 hours east of Belgrade, I was so impressed with their starting point guard Markovic, who stands at 6'6 . Despite being only 21 years old and so skilled, he was diving all over the court for loose balls and aggressively pressuring our point guards. Remember, this was only an exhibition game and their team was up by 20+ points. Oh FYI, he is a member of the Serbian national team. That's the kind of attitude they have towards the game of basketball!

EARLY EXPOSURE TO COMPETITIVE GAMES

I tried to chat briefly w/ some Serbian opponents during 'deadball' situations, and what surprised me was that most of them were only about 19 to 24 years old only. They obviously didn't look it but they certainly mature much earlier tactically in basketball than we Filipinos do. I guess it comes with the number of high level games that they play all year round inside and outside of their country. Many of them turn pro as early as 16 or 17 years old. We have some players here in the Philippines who are still playing in the UAAP or NCAA at 24 or 25 years old, the maximum cut off age.

SERBIAN COACHES

Dusko Vujosevic, head coach of Partizan, is now considered one of the best basketball coaches in Europe. He has led his very young and underpaid Partizan squad to the Final 4 of the Euroleague, defeating Maccabi Tel Aviv in the quarterfinals. I wanted to get a photo w/ him after our tune-up game vs Partizan but he couldn't be found afterwards. Now what makes Serbian coaches so unique and successful??

While doing therapy, I got to chat w/ a Serbian pro-player, who played college ball in the US NCAA then played in Serbia afterwards. He told stories of how his Serbian coach would send them to the mountains in the freezing cold weather to do their fitness training. In the morning, they were required to wake up at the same time and jog up and down the hills. Naps were to be taken at the same time strictly from 2 to 4pm. At that time, no one is allowed out of their room. THen training again afterwards. Their coach will have a duplicate of the room keys and would make random spot checks to see if everybody is in their rooms and if their refrigerator contains forbidden food/drinks. All meals, breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner, were to be taken together at the dining hall. No one starts eating until the team is complete. Now that's team spirit! And this is a professional team, not high school or college! YOu won't see that very often w/ American or other foreign coaches.

Training sessions are very rigid. Because they are less scientific when it comes to physical conditioning, sometimes they forget that your bodies need to rest and recover. They are so tough mentally that they keep pushing you to the max in every practice and drill. Work, work, work! That kind of attitude will surely give you results on the court, but it may also shorten ones basketball career by a few years. While i was listening to all these stories, i could totally relate w/ our very own experience w/ Coach Rajko except maybe for the random room checks. Apparently, almost all Serbian coaches work that way.

OFF THE COURT

We didn't have much free time while in Belgrade because of our training and games schedule everyday. Morning is for practice and weights, at night we have games. We got Good Friday and Easter Sunday off but all commercial centers were closed. Luckily we found a Church to do Stations of the Cross and attend Easter mass as a team :) Even Coach Rajko stayed w/ us throughout the whole trip, only leaving the hotel for his medical check up. Instead, he asked his family to come over and visit him in the hotel. Now that's dedication! I haven't seen him w/ such a big smile upon seeing his 2 year old grandson Djorjo. How we wish Djorjo can always be present during practices and games!

Here are some photos you might want to look at :





Monday, April 5, 2010

My Thoughts on MVP Speech Controversy

Hello again, many people have been asking me for my comments on the MVP speech controversy. Just to clarify, the speech which i previously posted was MVP's address to the Ateneo School of Science & Engineering and School of Management graduates, which was held on the first day of the ceremonies. This was not the speech that had borrowed quotes from JK Rowling & Oprah. Rather, this came directly from his mind and heart.

The speech that had sparked controversy was the second one he delivered the following day to the Ateneo School of Social Sciences and Humanities graduates.

That's right, he prepared two totally different speeches for the two days. First of all, there was no obligation for MVP to accept the invitation to be the guest speaker for this commencement exercise. He had already spoken to an Ateneo graduating class a few years ago. This time, he not only accepted one, but he whole-heartedly accepted both invitations even if he could have politely declined. We all cannot imagine what kind of schedule this man has to deal with every single day, being Chairman & board member of the largest corporations in the country like PLDT, Smart, Philex, MetroPac, First Pac, Maynilad, Meralco, to name a few. In fact, I believe he just flew in that morning from a business trip to Hong Kong in order to deliver his speech in the afternoon. Despite that, he accepted both invitations and opted to prepare two different speeches when he could have just prepared the same one for both days.

The reason for that reflects the deepest sincerity of MVP because he wanted the students from different fields to be able to better relate to his words. Many criticisms have emerged and that is expected because of the stature and integrity of this man. Just like a perfect Tiger woods committing infidelity, but of course this issue is nowhere close to that in magnitude. But to me, i think what's truly essential is to look at the bigger picture - the intention. From accepting and making two separate speeches despite all the circumstances, it is clear that MVP wanted to impart his wisdom to the graduates in order to ENCOURAGE and to INSPIRE them to succeed in life. That alone tells us the kind of man that he is. He could have taken the easy way out and simply declined. It was indeed a mistake to fail to cite and give proper reference to JK Rowling and Oprah but his intention was not for people to praise him as a great speaker by borrowing those lines, but rather he wanted to extract their creative minds by supplementing those words with his personal experiences. If you've read or listened to the speech, i can say about 95% of the content came from his personal stories and own wisdom. The borrowed lines are there to supplement and add a little more flavor.

At the end of the day, a mistake was done and it cannot be taken back. But let's look at the positive side. This is a lesson for MVP and for every one of us. Even the mightiest of the mighty are entitled to make mistakes. It doesn't make them less of a person. Jesus said "He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her." What is valuable is that we are deeply sorry.

In his letter to Fr. Ben Nebres, MVP expresses his sincere apology and his wish to be disconnected from Ateneo. It really takes a lot of courage or "balls" as our Coach always puts it, to own up to your mistakes. MVP is truly a leader we should admire because of his love for the Filipino people, his exceptionally generous heart and his incredible courage!

However, being disconnected from Ateneo... Being an alumnus and former Blue Eagle, I definitely hope not!

Chris

Saturday, March 27, 2010

MVP's COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS. March 26, 2010. Ateneo de Manila University.

I was present at the 3-hour graduation ceremonies of the School of Management as well as the School of Science and Engineering to show support to my brother Charles, who graduated BS Management. I always look forward to listening to speeches delivered by respectable individuals and MVP truly didn't disappoint. Hope you'll feel inspired as well! Happy reading...


COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT & SCHOOL OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING ATENEO DE MANILA UNIVERSITY, QUEZON CITY 4:00 P.M., FRIDAY, 26TH MARCH 2010 ___________________________________________

SALUTATION

MAGANDANG HAPON SA INYONG LAHAT.

REVEREND FATHER NEBRES, DISTINGUISHED FACULTY AND STAFF, PROUD AND RELIEVED PARENTS, GRADUATES OF 2010 – WARMEST CONGRATULATIONS. I AM PLEASED TO JOIN THE FELLOWSHIP OF THIS SESQUICENTENNIAL CLASS.

INTRODUCTION

IT HAS BEEN MORE THAN 40 YEARS SINCE I GRADUATED FROM WHAT WAS A SMALL, IDYLLIC UNIVERSITY. WE WERE AN ALL MALE INSTITUTION THEN, WITH MARYKNOLL – NOW MIRIAM – PROVIDING SOME DISTRACTION. WE WORE NECKTIES, AND NO CELFONES OR JOLLIBEES WERE AROUND. SINCE THAT TIME, JESUIT CHARISM HAS PRODUCED MANY CHANGES AT THE ATENEO, MOST NOTABLY AN INCREASING ENGAGEMENT WITH THE WORLD – PUSHING THE FRONTIERS OF DEPTH AND UNIVERSALITY – TO USE THE WORDS OF FATHER ADOLFO NICOLAS. THIS IS CONSISTENT WITH THE UNIVERSITY’S STRATEGIC MISSION OF CLOSING THE GAPS IN POVERTY AND COMPETITIVENESS.

HONORIS CAUSA

MORE THAN 500 YEARS AGO – IN 1478 – THE FIRST RECORDED HONORARY DEGREE WAS CONFERRED BY OXFORD UNIVERSITY ON LIONEL WOODVILLE, WHO WAS DEAN OF EXETER UNIVERSITY AND BROTHER-IN-LAW OF KING EDWARD IV. OXFORD MADE HIM A DOCTOR OF CANON LAW IN A BLATANT ATTEMPT TO WIN THE FAVOUR OF THE KING.

THIS IS MY FOURTH DEGREE – SO FAR. I HEAR THAT OPRAH WINFREY – THE BIG “O” – HAS COLLECTED A TOTAL OF 7 AWARDS. SO I HAVE 3 TO GO!

THERE’S THE HEAVYWEIGHT BOXER MIKE TYSON WHO GOT A DOCTORATE IN HUMANE LETTERS FOR HIS WIDE RANGE OF SKILLS, INCLUDING BITING OFF THE EARS OF HIS OPPONENTS.

BUT THE INDISPUTABLE NUMBER ONE AWARDEE MUST BE SESAME STREET’S KERMIT THE FROG – WHO WAS GIVEN AN HONORARY DOCTORATE OF AMPHIBIOUS LETTERS BY LONG ISLAND UNIVERSITY!

QUO VADIS?

44 YEARS AGO I SAT WHERE YOU NOW SIT, I ALSO THOUGHT WHAT YOU NOW THINK – WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME? WHERE CAN I FIND A JOB? AM I REALLY GRADUATING A VIRGIN?
PERHAPS THE BEST WAY TO ANSWER THE FIRST TWO QUESTIONS – ONLY YOU CAN ANSWER THE THIRD – IS TO POINT AT THOSE SUNRISE BUSINESSES WHICH CAN BEST OFFER OPPORTUNITIES TO YOU FOR
EMPLOYMENT AND CAREER:

FIRST, BUSINESSES UNIQUE TO OUR COUNTRY’S GEOGRAPHIC OR RESOURCE ADVANTAGES SUCH AS TOURISM AND MINING.

SECOND, INDUSTRIES THAT ARE BY-PRODUCTS OF OUR LABOR MIGRATION, LEAVING US FOR EXAMPLE WITH A SURPLUS OF DOCTORS, NURSES, AND CARE GIVERS. AND SINCE OUR POPULATION IS COMPARATIVELY YOUNG – COMPLEMENTED BY OUR WARM DISPOSITION – WE ARE NATURALLY COMPETITIVE IN THE MEDICAL TOURISM AND RETIREMENT BUSINESSES.

THIRD, BUSINESSES LINKED TO INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY. THE SHIFT TO A KNOWLEDGE BASED ECONOMY IS BEST REFLECTED IN THE EMERGENCE OF THE COUNTRY’S KNOWLEDGE PROCESS AND BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING (KPO/BPO) MARKETS – TWO OF OUR FAST RISING INDUSTRIES. THIS SECTOR GENERATED 7 BILLION DOLLARS IN REVENUE IN 2009, AND IS EXPECTED TO REALIZE 17 BILLION DOLLARS FIVE YEARS FROM TODAY.

FOURTH, INFRASTRUCTURE AND UTILITIES. WE SIMPLY NEED TO BUILD MORE ROADS, PORTS AND HARBOR, POWER PLANTS, MODERN AIRPORTS, ESPECIALLY A NEW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, AN EFFICIENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM – TRAINS, LIGHT RAIL, SHIPS – MODERN HOSPITALS TO RAISE THE LEVEL OF MEDICAL CARE.

FIFTH, AGRICULTURE. WE NEED TO FEED OUR PEOPLE FIRST. I DON’T UNDERSTAND AND CANNOT ACCEPT, WHY WE ARE THE WORLD’S BIGGEST IMPORTER OF RICE.

LIFE IN THE CORPORATION – TYPES OF BOSSES

AFTER SUGGESTING WHERE JOBS CAN BE FOUND, LET ME SAY THAT MOST OF YOU WILL PROBABLY WORK WITH A BOSS OR WITH MANY BOSSESS. SOME OF THEM WILL BE FIRST RATE AND INSPIRING, BUT SOME WILL MAKE YOU WONDER HOW THEY BECAME MANAGERS IN THE FIRST PLACE. OF THESE MANAGERS, FOUR TYPICAL TYPES STAND OUT:

FIRST, IS THE “DESPOTIC MANAGER” – WHO RULES AS IF BY DIVINE RIGHT, BECAUSE HE THINKS HE IS ALWAYS RIGHT. HE HAS A SHORT ATTENTION SPAN AND EXPECTS EVERYTHING TO BE DONE HIS WAY, RIGHT AWAY. FROM HIM YOU GET NOTHING BUT FEAR. SA PLDT, SILA YUNG TINATAWAG NAMING ARGENTINEAN O DI KAYA, RUSSIAN. KASI PALAGI URGENT YAN OR RUSH YAN!

SECOND, IS THE “FLOATER MANAGER” – ONE WHO RISES EFFORTLESSLY IN AN ORGANIZATION. HE IS FRIENDS WITH EVERYONE AND DOESN’T MAKE ENEMIES BECAUSE HE DOES NOT MAKE THE TOUGH DECISIONS. FROM HIM YOU WILL LEARN NOTHING.

THIRD, IS THE “INTRIGUER MANAGER”, THE CORPORATE RASPUTIN. HE OPERATES BELOW THE SURFACE AND PLOTS AGAINST EVERYBODY. FROM HIM YOU WILL GET PAINFUL ULCERS AND SLEEPLESS NIGHTS.

FOURTH, IS THE “NARCISSIST MANAGER”, WHOSE SELF-CONFIDENCE AND CHARM – SOMETIMES COMBINED WITH HANDSOME OR PRETTY LOOKS – PUSH HIM OR HER UP THE CORPORATE LADDER. FROM HIM YOU WOULD GET NO ENCOURAGEMENT.

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR BOSS

ON YOUR WAY TO THE TOP, HOW CAN YOU DEAL WITH A CORPORATE SPECIES CALLED THE BOSS?
FIRST, YOU MUST LEARN HOW TO MANAGE NOT ONLY YOUR PEERS SIDEWAYS, BUT ALSO YOUR BOSS UPWARDS.
SECOND, FIND THE GEM BENEATH THE ROUGH. REMEMBER YOUR BOSS WILL NOT BE FLAWED IN ALL ASPECTS. SHORT OF BEING THE S/O/B – SON OF THE BOSS – HE MUST HAVE HAD SOME STRENGTHS TO HAVE BECOME A MANEGER. YOU CAN HAVE A BOSS WITH A FIERY TEMPER, BUT MAYBE THEY WORK LIKE THERE’S NO CLOCK. THE TRICK IS TO KNOW WHAT MAKES HIM TICK.
THIRD, BE SMART, OR BETTER YET, SMARTER THAN THE BOSS.
FOURTH, CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES. NOT ALL DISAGREEMENTS WITH YOUR MANAGER WILL BE GOOD FOR YOU OR YOUR CAREER. SPEAK OUT AT THE OPPORTUNE TIME. THE GREEKS HAVE A TERM FOR THIS – IT IS CALLED “KAIROS” – WHICH IS TO SAY THE RIGHT THING AT THE RIGHT MOMENT. BE SENSITIVE.

THE CHALLENGES – ADOPT A CAUSE

WHEN I STARTED MY OWN CAREER, I WAS JUST LIKE YOU LOOKING FOR A JOB, ANY JOB. IN FACT, I BEGAN AS AN EMPLOYEE – AS EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT OF FILOIL MARKETING WITH A SALARY OF 1,000 PESOS A MONTH. AND DESPITE MY WHARTON MBA, I HAD TO TRAIN AS A SALESMAN FOR 6 MONTHS WORKING IN MANY PARTS OF MINDANAO. IT TOOK PERSISTENCE AND PATIENCE AND YEARS OF WAITING UNTIL I FINALLY BECAME MY OWN BOSS. WAS I SCARED? YOU BET! TRANSITIONING FROM EMPLOYEE TO ENTREPRENEUR WAS LIKE STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN. IN 1981, I FOUNDED FIRST PACIFIC WITH 6 PEOPLE, 50 SQUARE METERS OF OFFICE SPACE, AND LITTLE CAPITAL. IT WAS LIKE THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL FOR ME, AND I COULDN’T CALL MY MOTHER TO HOLD MY HAND.

SO THE STRUGGLES I FACED TO MAKE IT TO THIS PODIUM TODAY REFLECT THE STRUGGLES OF SO MANY OTHER FILIPINOS BORN WITHOUT PRIVILEGE OR PEDIGREE.

I WAS BORN POOR. MY FATHER STARTED HIS CAREER AS A MESSENGER AT PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK. HIS FATHER BEGAN HIS – AS A PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER IN APALIT, PAMPANGA. AS A YOUNG STUDENT, I LIVED ON A 25-CENTAVO DAILY ALLOWANCE. SCHOLARSHIPS SUSTAINED MY EDUCATION FROM MY ELEMENTARY DAYS AT SAN BEDA COLLEGE ALL THE WAY TO MY MBA AT THE WHARTON SCHOOL, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA.
I GREW UP IN LITTLE BAGUIO, SAN JUAN – ALONG BARASOAIN STREET. OUR MODEST HOUSE STOOD RIGHT ON THE BOUNDARY OF A SQUATTER SETTLEMENT. FROM MY BEDROOM WINDOW, I COULD SEE, SMELL, AND FEEL THE LIVES OF THE POOR FIRSTHAND – MGA AWAY NG MAG-ASAWA AT NG KANILANG MGA KABIT HALOS ARAW-ARAW, MGA TAONG NALILIGO SA MAY KANTO, MGA BATANG DUMARAMING PARANG KABUTE KADA TAON.

SO WHENEVER I LOOK BACK ON MY YEARS HERE AT THE ATENEO – I DO HAVE ONE LASTING MEMORY, AND THAT’S ABOUT THE POOR, AND ABOUT HELPING THEM – ON SATURDAYS WHEN I WOULD TEACH CATECHISM AT THE NATIONAL MENTAL HOSPITAL IN MANDALUYONG, AND SUNDAYS AMONGST SQUATTER FAMILIES IN SAPANG PALAY.
AND MY INTEREST IN SPORTS HAS EMPHATICALLY PROVEN HOW BASKETBALL OR BOXING OR CYCLING PROVIDES AN ESCAPE FROM THE POVERTY TRAP. LOOK NO FURTHER THAN MANNY PACQUIAO AS AN EXAMPLE. AND THERE ARE OTHER EQUALLY INSPIRING SUCCESS STORIES.

JOEL CALDERON WAS LAST YEAR’S PADYAK PINOY TOUR OF CHAMPIONS. HE IS A TRICYCLE DRIVER IN GUIMBA, NUEVA ECIJA WHO HAD TO LEAVE HIS JOB TO TRAIN FOR THIS SUMMER BIKATHON. JOEL WON, RIDING AN OLD MODEL BICYCLE BORROWED FROM HIS TEENAGE NEPHEW. HIS PROUD FATHER TRUNDLED HIS TRICYCLE FROM GUIMBA TO BAGUIO, 120 KILOMETERS DISTANT, TO WITNESS HIS SON’S GLORIOUS MOMENT – FINISHING THE 195-KILOMETER RACE IN 5 HOURS, 58 MINUTES, 37 SECONDS.

ANNIE ALBANIA IS A MEMBER OF OUR NATIONAL WOMEN’S BOXING TEAM. SHE COMES FROM POBLACION, SOUTH COTABATO. AND IS THE YOUNGEST OF SIX CHILDREN. HER FATHER WAS A PALAY FARMER WHO TILLED THE FAMILY’S ANCESTRAL LAND OF 2 HECTARES TO PUT FOOD IN THE MOUTHS OF HIS CHILDREN. ANNIE’S FATHER DIED SIX YEARS AGO, LEAVING THE TASK OF BREAD WINNING TO ANNIE. IT WAS IN THE SPORT OF BOXING THAT SHE CAST HER LOT. WITH DETERMINATION AND DILIGENCE, ANNIE IS NOW THE COUNTRY’S BEST LADY BOXER. AND SHE WILL STEP ONTO THE BIGGEST STAGE OF HER LIFE – THE LONDON OLYMPICS IN 2012 – HOPEFULLY WITH THE COUNTRY’S FIRST OLYMPIC GOLD.

SO GRADUATES, FOR THE JOEL’S AND ANNIE’S OF THIS COUNTRY – TAKE UP A CAUSE. LET YOUR PASSION GIVE FORCE AND MOMENT TO THAT CAUSE. BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO LIVE LIFE PASSIONATELY. YOU HAVE TO LEAVE THE CITY OF YOUR COMFORT AND GO INTO THE WILDERNESS OF YOUR PASSION.

AND IF YOU MAKE YOUR CAUSE THE FOCUS OF YOUR CAREER, THAT WOULD BE GREAT. BUT EVEN IF YOU SPEND A FEW HOURS EACH WEEK, A FEW DAYS EACH MONTH, YOU COULD STILL CHANGE LIVES. EVEN THE LIFE OF ONE, SINGLE PERSON. FEW WILL HAVE THE RESOURCES TO BEND HISTORY ITSELF. BUT EACH OF YOU CAN WORK TO CHANGE A SMALL CORNER OF THIS COUNTRY OF OURS FOR THE BETTER. IT IS IN THE TOTAL OF YOUR INDIVIDUAL ACTS THAT WILL BE WRITTEN THE HISTORY OF THIS GENERATION.

CONCLUSION

I’D LIKE TO CLOSE NOW BY SAYING THAT TO BE TRULY SUCCESSFUL, YOU HAVE TO STAND FOR SOMETHING LARGER THAN YOURSELF, TO USE YOUR LIFE IN SERVICE TO SOMEONE ELSE’S. BEYOND YOUR IMMEDIATE CONCERN ABOUT JOBS AND CAREER, THERE IS THE BROADER IMPERATIVE OF NATION BUILDING – ONE OF THE 3 THEMES OF ATENEO’S SESQUI.

THE NOTION OF NATION BUILDING WAS BEST CAPTURED BY INDIA’S FIRST PRIME MINISTER NEHRU WHEN HE SAID, ON THE EVE OF INDIAN INDEPENDENCE IN AUGUST 1947: “THE SERVICE OF INDIA MEANS THE SERVICE OF THE MILLIONS WHO SUFFER. IT MEANS ENDING POVERTY AND IGNORANCE AND DISEASE AND INEQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY.” AND THEN REFERRING TO MAHATMA GANDHI, NEHRU ADDED: “THE AMBITION OF THE GREATEST MAN OF OUR GENERATION HAS BEEN TO WIPE EVERY TEAR FROM EVERY EYE. THAT MAY BE BEYOND US, BUT AS LONG AS THERE ARE TEARS AND SUFFERING, OUR WORK WILL NOT BE OVER.”

WHILST OUR WORK IN THIS COUNTRY IS INDEED FAR FROM OVER, MAY EVERYONE ON THIS OCCASION RESOLVE TO WIPE EVERY TEAR – IN EVERY EYE – OF EVERY FILIPINO.

FINALLY, LET ME LEAVE YOU WITH THE WISDOM OF MY FELLOW DOCTORATE, KERMIT THE FROG, IN HIS OWN COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS – “YOU ARE NO LONGER TADPOLES. THE TIME HAS COME FOR YOU TO DROP YOUR TAILS AND LEAVE THIS SWAMP. BUT I’M SURE THAT WHEREVER I GO AS I TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD, I WILL FIND EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU WORKING YOUR TAILS OFF TO SAVE OTHER SWAMPS”.

AGAIN, MANY CONGRATULATIONS. GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU. GOOD LUCK AND GOOD LIFE.

- Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Link to Smart Gilas documentary

Hi, here's a link posted by one of the GMA Pinoy TV Viewers of the Smart Gilas Documentary in Qatar and Dubai last January. It's posted on youtube and the quality is not exactly the best but it's worth the effort :) The segment on Qatar was missed out. But anyway, we're hoping that the material will be bought by one of the programs in QTV or GMA7 so that it can be aired locally, where most of the Filipinos are. Makes sense right?

Enjoy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiZv-QbJV5I

Chris

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Smart Gilas in the 21st Dubai International Tournament

Here's to give you a summary of what transpired in the Dubai International. I'll save my thoughts on the next entry after we've gone through all the teams and games. I know many of you don't exactly follow the games and are probably confused, especially with the unfamiliar names of the Middle Eastern squads. I have difficulty remembering them myself.

10 teams joined the tournament, we were the only non-middle eastern team that participated. The teams were divided into two brackets. Group A - Iran (Mahram), Lebanon (Al-Riyadi), UAE National team, Syria (Al Wehda), Egypt (Al Jazeera). Group B - Philippines (Smart Gilas), Jordan (Zain), Syria (Al Jalaa), Lebanon (Champville), UAE (Al Nasr). These are professional teams composed mainly of National team players plus 2 or 3 imports. The top 4 teams in each bracket move on to the quarterfinals and then a crossover knockout battle ensues 1A vs 4B, 2A vs 3B, 3A vs 2B, 4A vs 1B. We finished 2nd in our group with a 3-1 slate, losing to Al Jalaa Syria in our first game. As a result, we played Egypt in the other group in the quarterfinals and won to clinch a slot in the semis. Al-Riyadi defeated Champville to make it to the semis to forge a duel with us. As you already know, we lost to Al Riyadi (team of CJ Giles) by 3 points and ended up in a battle for 3rd against Al Jalaa of Syria, which we won.

Champion - Iran (Mahram), 2nd place - Lebanon (Al Riyadi), 3rd place - Philippines (Smart Gilas), 4th place - Syria (Al Jalaa)
MVP - Samad Nikkah of Iran
Mythical 5: Center - Woods (Mahram Iran), PF - CJ Giles (Al Riyadi Lebanon), SF - Samad Nikkah (Mahram Iran), SG - Michael (Al Jalaa Syria), PG - JVee Casio (Smart Gilas)

Yes! JVee was awarded the best point guard of the tournament over guards like Mahdi Kamrani of Iran because of his consistency all throughout the tournament and his impeccable 3-point shooting. Oh btw, he was sidelined for about 2.5 weeks until 2 days before the tournament started because of an injury obtained during one of our practice games vs Alaska.

ELIMINATIONS:

Vs. Al Jalaa Syria

This was our first game of the tournament. We didn't know what to expect because we've never seen this team before and they did not have any player representative during the opening ceremonies. Once the warm-up period started on the court, we were just caught dumbfounded as we were informed that our only import Jamal Sampson was not going to play. And then the opposing team shows up with two 7-footers, two 6'10s, and several stocky players. Apparently, this team had 3 American imports including 2 naturalized Brazilian imports who are not recognized by FIBA, which is why they don't compete in FIBA tournaments. Their lineup included one of the best guards in Asia whose last name is 'Michael'. I can't remember his first name. He was part of the mythical 5 selection. They opened the game with a 14-0 lead, and never looked back. We lost big time in the rebounding and inside scoring departments. And we shot poorly from the outside. We lost 89-76.

Vs. Champville Lebanon

This was the team of Fadi El Khatib, probably the greatest player in Asia and a living legend in Lebanon. When we last played him in May of 2009 in the Champions Cup in Jakarta, he was a bit out of shape and overweight. But this time, he was very much in condition and a man on a mission. He scored 15 points in the 1st quarter and ended up with 40 points!! That's quite an achievement in a FIBA system where we play only 10-minute quarters. I've never played against any player who moved so swiftly and efficiently on the court scoring in all possible ways. Post up, up and under, drives, getting to the foul line, 3 point shot, etc. He stands around 6'6 and is very agile despite his age. Anyway, Jamal Sampson gave us a lift in this game by playing some quality minutes and getting the important rebounds which allowed us to emerge victorious 77-71. I don't exactly have a copy of the stats and my memory is starting to fail me so i can't remember who among the locals played well in this game.

Vs. Zain Jordan

Coach told us that this game will be a true test of character because we are practically playing the national team of Jordan plus 3 imports, just without big man Abbaas and their national team coach. It was our first time to play Jordan, who was reinforced by Sam Daghlas, Rasheem Wright, to name a few. We pretty much controlled the entire game all throughout because of our defense. If i recall correctly, this was the game where i didn't make a 2-pt field goal but had five 3-pointers and 2 free throws. I was lucky because they didn't know our individual tendencies very well which allowed me to get very good looks from beyond the arc. I've watched Rasheem Wright play on TV and he was indeed very explosive despite standing only about 6'2. I thought he was much taller. His first step and his elevation on drives and 3s made him very difficult to defend. Sadly, he sustained a very bad sprain after landing on a jump shot in the middle of the 4th quarter which made him sit out the rest of the game. We ended up winning the game by 3 points, 85-82.

Vs. Al Nasr UAE

This was a professional club team based in Dubai reinforced by 3 imports. 2 American (point guard and center) and 1 Tunisian (power forward). The imports practically scored 95% of all their points. Luckily for us, only two imports are allowed to play at a time inside the court. The PG import was a great scorer. Their center import, Vincent Jones, is probably the best shot blocker in Asia. He stands at 7'0 and can "jump to the roof" as Coach Toroman would put it, with great timing. The Tunisian import looks way older than his age, quite deceiving actually, but is an excellent and intelligent player. He can post up, drive and shoot like crazy! The game got very rugged and physical, with the home team resorting to dirty tactics out of desperation to stay a live. They needed a win to have a chance to qualify to the quarterfinals because they were 0-3 coming into the game. At the end, we were able to stand our ground and hold the fort. We finished the eliminations with a 3-1 record.

That's it for now! More on the quarters, semis, battle for 3rd and my thoughts on the games next time. I have to work now!! Thanks for reading and posting your comments!

Thank you also to Ion Gonzaga, Ares Gutierrez and Karen Santos for the photos, which i took from the Smart Gilas facebook account!

Chris

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Middle East Tour - Dubai part 1

Hello again!

I'll try my best to recall the events that took place in our Dubai stint. It's been more than 3 weeks since we arrived at Dubai so forgive me if i skip out on some details.

For those who do not closely follow the Smart Gilas team, we went to Dubai to participate in the 21st Dubai International Tournament, where the best Middle Eastern professional clubs take part in. The professional teams that joined are comprised mostly of National team players reinforced by 3 imports. However, only 2 imports are allowed to play simultaneously inside the court at a time. Most of the teams had 2 or 3 imports. We had only one import because this import would be the candidate for naturalization in preparation for the Asian Games in November and the FIBA Asia Championships in 2011, where teams are allowed to field in one naturalized player. Sad to say, our lone import Jamal Sampson played not more than 45 minutes COMBINED in all 7 games that we played there, missing 3 games including the 2 most important ones. The reason for this is, according to him, a sore knee.

So after competing in two grueling duels in Qatar, we took a one hour flight across the Persian gulf into Dubai. We had 3 days to prepare before the start of the tournament. Our first exhibition match was against the Pinoy All-stars based in Dubai, composed of ex-PBA and semi-pro players like Jojo Manalo, Don Yabut of FEU, etc. The match was held in the Al-Nasr gym, which was flocked by Filipinos. It was a fun game highlighted by dunks by Japeth Aguilar. Smart Gilas broke the game open in the 4th quarter as the Pinoy All-stars ran out of gas towards the end. Our 2nd exhibition match was against the UAE National team, where we lost (Can't remember the final score) due to, i would say, overconfidence. It was a serious lesson for us! UAE finished 12th place in the FIBA Asia Championships in 2009 in Tianjin while the Philippines finished 8th, out of 16 teams.

Before the tournament started, we are able to squeeze in some time to tour the city which has recently been undergoing an economic crisis. UAE is composed of 7 states, or emirates as they call it, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. The capital and the second largest of the emirates is Abu Dhabi, who also provided a $10 billion bailout for the collapsing Dubai.

Dubai boasts of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, formerly known as Burj Dubai, which stands at 828m high! Surpassing Taipei 101. There's also the very unique reclaimed land area that is called "The Palms" and they say it can be seen all the way from the moon, like the shape of a palm leaf, of course. It also houses the Jumeirah resorts that built the world's only 7-star hotel, the Burj Al-Arab (The sail-like building with photo above). Room rates start from $2,500 a night, depending on the season and can go up to $30,000 for the suites. Incredible! I'm glad enough to have stepped inside the jaw-dropping, marvelous, magical lobby, thanks to our very gracious and warm family friend, Imelda Kunkler, who took me around the various Jumeriah resorts including the Madinat (resort with its own lake) where we had wonderful Chinese food with her husband Robert despite his extremely busy schedule.

Thank you also to GMA7 for taking us around, especially for allowing us to experience snow in the middle of a desert! Most of the players were able to experience playing with ice/snow for the first time inside the Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates. The entire team had so much fun wearing complete snow gears and enjoying the rides. It was an amazing 3000 sq. meter snow park where one could go skiing, snow boarding, sledding, etc. The temperature was -2 degrees celsius. We couldn't last too long so we proceeded to the largest mall in the world (according to them), the Dubai Mall, which had a spectacular view of the Burj Khalifa.

I want to thank also all the Pinoys we met along the way who made our trip truly memorable! I felt that I was simply traveling in another one of the many Philippine provinces because of the sheer number of Filipinos all over the place, in the hotels, malls, gyms, etc. To all the Pinoys in Dubai, you certainly made us feel at home! Salamat!



Here's another picture of the world's tallest building at night with it's own version of the dancing fountain like that of Bellagio in Las Vegas.

That's it for now. I'm getting too sleepy. I will blog more about the tournament proper when i find the time. In the meantime, feel free to comment :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Middle East trip: Part 1

Hello again! It's nice to be writing here again. The past few months have just been so hectic. And thanks to twitter, I can post brief updates from time to time. Two and a half weeks of my first month in 2010 was spent in the Middle East. 4 days in Qatar and 14 days in Dubai.

Qatar
It was my first time to step on Middle Eastern soil. After traveling for 9 hours, we landed at their international airport at around 5pm (10pm Manila time) and we were welcomed by the Philippine Basketball Association of Qatar. Immediately, we checked in the Retaj Al Rayyan hotel to make it in time for practice at 8pm. I could literally feel my knees and muscles wobbling after the long trip but more so because of the time difference. It was as if we were playing at 1am Manila time.

The hotel was pretty new and quite spacious. Although no free wifi in the rooms, wifi was available for free at the lobby. We would have all our meals in one of the restaurants inside the hotel. Every meal was buffet style, eat-all-you-can. I loved the food there, Persian-Western fusion. We were booked by twos and my roommate was our newest Fil-Am player Marcio Lassiter, who would be my roommate until the end of the entire trip. Marcio played and graduated from Fullerton University in California, which is a NCAA Division 1 school. He plays either position 2 or 3, very athletic player who can handle the ball and shoot from outside. More importantly, he is a hard-nose defender. He blended in quite easily despite being with us for only a month.

The Smart Gilas team was scheduled for back-to-back exhibition games vs the Qatar National team at the Al Gharrafa stadium. Tickets were being sold and to our surprise, the gym was packed with enthusiastic Filipino basketball fans numbering approximately 3000, as compared to about 100 Qatar fans.

The first game was a purely defensive game. Both teams struggled offensively and Smart Gilas came out victorious 46-38. This was the first complete game that Jamal Sampson played for us. He scored only 2 points but grabbed 20 rebounds and changed a lot of shots close to the basket. He was able to neutralize somehow the inside presence of the bulky and athletic big men of Qatar. We were playing without JVee Casio who was nursing some internal injuries that resulted from a dangerous throw-down by Sotto of Alaska in one of our practice games during the holiday season. He would miss the next game as well. RJ Jazul was forced to play the point as backup of Mark Barocca.

In the 2nd game, we lost to Qatar by 8 points in overtime. They came out more physical and aggressive. Their star player #1 scored 24 points and hit 5/5 3 pointers.

It was a wonderful trip to Doha, Qatar to prepare us for the Dubai International tournament. The country has a population of about 1.5M people and approximately 250,000 Filipinos! Amazing! They are extremely wealthy because of their oil and natural gas. Lots of infrastructure and buildings being developed.

Too bad we weren't able to visit any commercial centers or tourist spots because of our very tight schedule. Thanks to all the Qatar-based Pinoys who came to support the team and lost their voices from cheering!! We will see you again in May for the FIBA Asia Champions Cup :)

Soon to follow... our Dubai trip!

Chris