September 2, 2013
There are plenty of hecklers I know. I know male hecklers. Females too. Some heckler friends of mine are from the third sex. One is Sharon, who is part-time heckler. Another is Kiko, another heckler on the side and a waiter after basketball. They’ve heckled since I can’t remember when and perhaps even before I became a sports correspondent from the Manila Times some 17 years ago. I mean they’ve been there for a long time now. They’re sweet, charming though outside the basketball court, but during games, when cheering for their favorite players or teams and haranguing the opposing squad, they’ve turned into entirely different specimen. Frightening too at times.
One experience that I can still remember lucidly was when they heckled this long forgotten player I will not mention who somewhere in Pasig City. This heckler is not Sharon nor Kiko but one of their friends whose muscle is bigger than most of us men. For some reasons, this heckler was challenged into a fist fight by this player. And they fought with this heckler ended up receiving the most bruises. But he didn’t go down without a fight. In fact, this heckler dealt harm to the player, who had some scratches and bruises on his face too. I mean, I don’t condone fights so kids, PLEASE don’t do this. But I love the way this heckler stood on his ground against this player.
Where am I arriving at?
Well, you see, there was this case of heckling involving this La Salle fan and Ateneo coach Bo Perasol. It escalated into an altercation with Perasol charging into the stands to confront the alleged heckler before he was pacified by his coaching staff and some of his players. We’ll dig deeper into the matter.
Let’s take the side of Perasol.
“Kung ikaw, pupuntahan ka sa dinadaanan mo, may sasabihin ka, tinawag mo pa pangalan ko, Perasol ganoon. Parang na-agitate, anong klaseng tao ito? Siya lang naman mag-isa (ang gumagawa nun),” on his interview with spin.ph. He adds, “akala niya kung sino ang puwede niyang ganunin. Nagkamali siya ng sinasabihan niya.”
“I’ve experienced countless of hecklers before but never from a person coming directly at me from where he was seated. People acting that way are looking for something. I’m willing to give anybody what he is looking for. No. The action was really disrespectful. I believe all things happened in the heat of the moment,” Perasol tells InterAKTV.
Now let’s hear it from the heckler, whom Marga Deona of Rappler.com identified as JJ Atayde.
“They were on the way out and I was shouting: Perasol, salamat sa pagpapanalo mo sa amin,” Atayde, a La Salle graduate in 1985, tells Rappler. “What he told me was: Wag ka magpapakita sa akin. He was already hot on the court. Maling tiyempo lang siguro. Fun kantyawan lang yun. Yung sinugod ako, medyo ibang usapan na yun. I didn’t mean to insult him personally. If he felt he was insulted by what I did, then I’m sorry.”
Sportsmaryosep’s prognosis: I’m not from Ateneo nor am I from La Salle nor am I close to Perasol. But La Salle won the match, 66-64, thanks to a game winner by Jeron Teng. Their fans should go home happy, right? But no, Atayde, probably just couldn’t resist rubbing salt to injury, went to the fence going to lobby leading to the locker where Perasol and the Eagles are going, and did what he did. I know this is an Ateneo-La Salle rivalry. Full of hatred. The most heated rivalry in college basketball today. Perhaps somewhere under the Toyota-Crispa feud of the old days. You get ribbed and heckled all the time. I know Perasol should have held his cool and just ignored the heckler. Never mind that he was livid after getting slapped a technical foul in the one-minute mark for charging into the referee for a non-call on Ryan Buenafe, who was obviously fouled in the video replays (Yes commissioner Chito Loyzaga, you heard it right, video replays!). But like all of us, Perasol is only human, prone to anger. Atayde too, prone to heckling.
Atayde wants to apologize. Perasol has apologized to the Ateneo community. Let’s not make it worse as it is.
Morals of the story: If you’re a coach or player and got heckled, try to keep your cool or if you heckle, back it up with courage and don’t hide behind the mob or fence. Or ever heard of humble in victory, gracious in defeat? Perhaps both heard it the Winston Churchill way, In war, resolution; in defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity.
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(Photo courtesy of Spin.ph)