May 23, 2013
It’s a Thursday. May 23, 2013. Not an ordinary day. More than extra-ordinary. In fact, this has got to be one of the busiest, if not the busiest, days of my Sportsmaryosep life. I mean waking up knowing we’ve got a titanic game to watch. Not just a game, but Game One of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat, the defending champions, and the Indiana Pacers, the worthiest of all challengers on that part of the US coast. And the two teams didn’t disappoint as it ended up with one clutch plays and shot after another. The stars lived up the expectations. LeBron James. Paul George. Dwyane Wade. Roy Hibbert. Chris Bosh. David West. Of course, as everyone knows by now, LeBron won it for the Heat in a gripping 103-102 decision. A classic.
For those who missed it, you missed half of your life. You should see the replay. Or maybe just the highlights of that game in Sports Center. It’s worth it I tell you. Which inspires me to write another blog, a seperate one. But its not for here my Sportsmaryosep friends but for the most popular NBA site on the land–NBA.com Philippines. So please watch out for it.
After the game, we went straight to the MOA Arena, specifically the Cafe Premium. The ones with the VIP section part. Its a spectacular view up there. But why we’re there? Its because the MOA Arena is celebrating its one-year anniversary since it began its operation. Who would have thought? The 20,000-seater venue is now a year old. Time flies really fast. Happy birthday!
The significance of this presser touched several things. The first and most important was the announcement of MOA Arena constructing a twin MOA Arena in the down South. Right in the heart of the Visayan region–Cebu. I mean, that’s big. Another MOA Arena will mean another big venue. Meaning, our friends there will get to see and experience what we experienced here in Metro Manila. Big Sporting events. Big concerts. Big everything. That is going to happen in a couple of years. Can I say wow now? Wow!
The other one it tackled was that the NCAA and UAAP openings on June 22 and 29, respectively, will be held at the MOA Arena. Not only that, practically most of the games of the games of the both leagues, easily the country’s biggest and most glamorous, are going to be played at the MOA Arena. So bring out the soda and the popcorn. We’re watching the games there. And perhaps watch a movie at the Mall of Asia after it.
And oh. Have I mentioned that MOA Arena will also host the ONE Fighting Championship: Rise to Power on May 31, the FIBA-Asia Championship from Aug. 1-11, and the NBA pre-season game between the Indiana Pacers and the Houston Rockets on Oct. 10? So there.
Phl National Games
Yes, the annual gathering of the country’s best elite and amateur athletes have started. Except for basketball, all sports events possible were all been accounted for. Here’s a tip though: You should watch the boxing competition at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Vito Cruz, Manila. There, I assure you there will be nothing but excitement.
Oh this is the most painful part. Before Game One of the Ateneo-National U best-of-three title series, I wrote a preview predicting that the Lady Bulldogs will beat the Lady Eagles via sweep or in two games. That is because every individual stats possible NU owned. They have the best players in the league right now. You name it. Dindin Santiago, MVP. Ruby de Leon, setter. Jen Reyes, digger. Myla Pablo, blocker. But lo and behold, NU lost via straight sets, 25-15, 25-22, 25-23, thanks mainly to lack of championship experience. Their body languange look bad out ther. Poor timing. Reception in complete disarray. Played tight. Everything just went bad for NU.
Credit also should go to Ateneo, which played relaxed and with championship heart. They did nothing extra special except play their usual best. And oh. Was that brilliance by Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb when he pulled a rabbit out of a hat against NU by fielding in a secret weapon in Kiwi Amy Ahomiro, who contributed only six hits but her “intangibles” created opportunities for Ateneo a lot of time. She just made a difference.
Manny Pacquiao Chess Cup
Capping the day was a dose of little chess at the Midas Hotel and Casino. It’s round 6. We’ve got Filipinos clogging the leaderboard. First to make a dent was Emmanuel Emperado, son of former Olympiad Mila. Grandmaster Julio Catalino Sadorra followed suit. Then its Mark Paragua’s turn to hug the limelight by seizing the lead. John Paul Gomez is there somewhere. These are the chess stars of today in the country. When I was then a cub reporter at Manila Times some 17 years ago, I wrote these same players, kids back then, and confidently said they’re going to be Grandmasters some day. Fast forward to present, and they are what I predicted. Oh how I love chess.
Just when I was about to relax, I’ve heard news that our very own San Miguel Beermen lost to the Thailand Slammers, 62-60, in their Asean Basketball League playoff game at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City. That’s got to hurt. But you know, as they say in local parlance, ‘Bilog ang bola (The ball is round)!’
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(Photos courtesy of NBA Philippines, V-League and ABL)