In the midst of a rainy night, stony wind blew the city lights outside; electricity struggled to perform its best. The heck, I was held inside our house. Nothing has done at around 8pm for a nine-year old child. I switched the TV on and searched for anything that could redeem my mood until I found a show which made me glued on our TV set for the longest time.
Insane. What are these guys doing? They are all running after a little orange ball, crowd is ecstatic over the hard fought game. I was not conscious of what’s just happened since it was the first time I have witnessed a basketball game and I didn’t know why I stick on that channel in the first place. Then later I knew that was Ginebra- San Miguel Finals in 2001.
Someone caught my attention. Who is this man with hairdo similar to A1’s leading vocalist? (boy band in the 90’s) I have forgotten the name but he used to be my idol. Haha though imitating his hairdo was nowhere near in my mind. What makes this man standout is the fact that he dyes that hairdo with gold. Sucks. Really baduy. But despite of that “angas” aura which he brings inside the court so translates to his game, crowd was still relentless screaming to death and can’t hold their excitement every time he handles the ball. He has this charisma that everyone couldn’t resist as if there’s something magic or spectacular going to happen if you let him to. That killer crossover dribble, running tear drop and booming threes wow! Plus the animated effect of the crowd makes his moves ever sweet.
At that juncture my love to the game has since begun…
I spent a mammoth piece of my childhood admiring Ginebra. Since I am the only one in the family who loves basketball, watching games live was tough and the travel makes it doubly hard. No other recourse but to regularly watch on TV. Following the team on the internet became a habit- checking stats, viewing highlights, recalling sched and to the extent that I am aware to trade rumors. I have never missed a single game. I always make it a point to fix my schedule that compromise to their game scheds. I am with them in every heartbreaking loss and in every glorious win. I felt attached to the team even if we’re not relatives, even if I don’t see them often, even if they don’t know me. You know the feeling of a man who just met his soul mate and don’t want to let go? That was my feeling. That was them for me. I don’t know what they have done to me to be this head over heels. My mood swing depends on the result of their games. Bad night often follows after losses- I barely eat, hardly sleep, became lazy, became vulnerable. Referees became my number one villain; sometimes I put the blame to the coach and worst is I even blame myself for their losses. No kidding here. I blame myself because I refused to clean our house and as reprisal for being sluggish God didn’t grant my wish and He let the team fell. Crazy I know but that’s how it goes. I don’t get paid for my craziness, what it brought is joy and life’s lessons.
Toss away basketball for a moment, my adoration is beyond basketball. This goes further than scores and stats. What I love the most is their approach towards game that could apply for better existence. The battle cry of never-say-die became my motto in life which helps me go through adversities. No matter how seemingly inconsequential a person or things to me, I never contempt I learned to value everything with respect. Wisdom seems never ending for a team that puts their hearts to the games. As far back as I can remember, Ginebra never had the most talented roster but still emerged as winners simply by playing hard, playing as a team and not self-promoting. I learned to give my best shot all the time even if I’m not the best at what I do; the important is I took the chance to become better. Sure, we may fail or may succeed nothing is certain.
The attitude of the players remains fresh in my mind.
Bal David taught me to use your head and outsmart the opponent. Even if he’s the smallest, even if he doesn’t jump high and no consistent shot from the outside he could still deliver decent numbers and wins.
Rudy Hatfield is a pictogram of toughness. A true man never backed down regardless of foes and situation. He ain’t the guy who will prove himself on offensive end instead he will do the dirty works, hassle plays, give energy, own an emphatic rebound and awaken the crowd. God built man for defeats and rejection; we have no other option but to take it like a man, and he prove himself worthy to call one by hanging his jersey and calls it a career just to give way for younger players.
Jayjay Helterbrand used to be an icon for faith. Despite of injuries throughout his career, he never loses faith nor blame God or anyone else for letdowns. He never runs out of reasons to smile. Optimism turns out to be his mantra day in and day out no matter what. Spreading the good news is one of his ways to crate connection between God and kabarangays which made a gigantic impact.
There you have a Mark Caguioa who could run for a seat in the senate because of his popularity. (Forgive me here James Yap and Chris Tiu) He arguably has the biggest heart: plays every game as if a game 7 of the finals. He puts everything he has on the court just to give the fans a competitive game and most importantly to give wins. I admire him for being humble- he appreciates everyone, he loves the fans. He would not leave the venue until the last man in line got an autograph even if it is already two hours after game.
The Gineral or for others he is the Lieutenant. Call him whatever you want, he doesn’t care. He will be the same L.A Tenorio who is cool as cucumber. Doesn’t panic, has the swagger that intimidates defender. At 5-foot-whatever, I don’t have an idea how he outrebounded giants in big plays. With his high basketball IQ- he can put the hard-court on his palm and dictates tempo. He seems to know what’s going to happen before it actually materialize. Set-up plays for his teammates, steal the ball, hit timely threes and display acrobatic lay-ups. My goodness! I always had a suspicion that underneath his jersey is a superman costume. Man! He can do it all.
My newest idol Chris Ellis that can melt every girls eyeballs. He’s an intriguing pick from 2012 rookie draft, came out of nowhere. I honestly don’t know him and doubted if he can perform at highest level. But golly we found gold outside the top 5! He brings so much to the table besides the fan base (instant celebrity) He is busy like a bee, always active inside the court. He depends, he rebounds, he assists, occasionally knocked down threes. I have watched one of his interviews and was amazed of where he gets his extreme confidence. For the record, “I want to be the newest generation of Filipino to get in the NBA” he said. At such a young age he knows what success is. “Success is measured by peace of mind” He doesn’t find satisfaction on wondering what ifs; he grabs any opportunity that knocks to him. A workhorse- early to the gym last to leave. He is a reminder that no one is too little to dream big.
Seeing the team struggling in the season-ending Governors cup isn’t new to me. So much hype surrounding the arrival of Japeth Aguilar turns to disappointment because of injury. The promise brought by Lowhorn prior to the start of the conference has yet to see. Mark Caguioa has yet to bring back his old form. But I still believe they can turn things around. Hindi pa ba tayo sanay? Bida eh nagpapabugbog lang, para mas dramatic. That what makes Ginebra unique over other teams, when the entire universe conspires to bring them down they just refuse to die.
With all the bliss I have gotten by supporting the team; one appears to be hard about Ginebra. I can’t take a bottoms-up-glass-of-Ginebra-gin. JAdG twitter.com/awesomealvin028