The Legend of the ‘Kangkong’

ELJ Building, Quezon City
May 19, 2015
The Legend of the ‘Kangkong’

I don’t usually write two straight blogs about the same topic in a span of hours.
On this day, I will make an exception.
You see, sports anchor Aaron Atayde made this “kangkong” joke that has enraged the Barangay Ginebra fandom. And it happened while Atayde was interviewing Dylan Ababou in his TV5 show Sports 360. It came after Atayde waved kangkong when Ababou was about to answer an online query if the latter would still return to Ginebra if given a chance. Atayde was actually alluding to Ginebra being in the gutter, or to borrow it from Atayde, kangkungan, which means in the bottom or being dead last.
Ababou, who was traded by Ginebra to unbeaten Barako Bull, found Atayde’s joke funny.
The Ginebra multitudes aren’t laughing though.
But let’s give it to Atayde. It’s his show. And this is a democratic country. And, we have to admit it, he’s right. Ginebra is down there with recent conqueror Blackwater (Yes, Blackwater!), polishing all the other team’s shoes. And Ababou is up there with Barako Bull, the last remaining unbeaten team after prevailing in its first three games, and probably thankful he was traded to a winning club.
Truth hurts, I guess. Sarcasm too.
Here’s a piece of advice though.
Instead of making a furor out of Atayde’s joke, why not make this a personal challenge. To Frankie Lim. To Mark Caguioa. To the whole Ginebra team. And yes, to us, dear Kings fans. Channel it by keeping the faith, staying patient, strengthening our resolve and praying harder that things are going to change for the better.
And it will.
After all, life is like a wheel. Always turning, always evolving. Sometimes you fall down, sometimes you deflate, but you always manage to keep going, supporting others, and staying strong. Some journeys are longer than others. Some are bumpier than others. But the load of life is a lot easier to bear with a few friends helping out. And those friends are you and I, Ginebra diehards.
So let’s turn this around.
It can’t rain all the time.
We will just all wake up one day with Ginebra hoisting that PBA championship trophy.
And if Ginebra’s time comes, let’s give it back to Atayde and thank him. Because if he hadn’t made the kangkong joke, it wouldn’t have spurred this legend.
Again, relax and stay calm. Someday, somehow Aaron Atayde will eat his words. Or shall we say, his kangkong, adobo-style.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

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(Photo courtesy of spin.ph and TV5)

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Why People Didn’t Wear Black

MOA Arena
October 5, 2016
Why People Didn’t Wear Black

I was close to writing a basketball blog about Ginebra turning kangkong into gold. Or Norman Black and his overachieving Meralco Bolts finding their way back to the PBA Finals. Or Jamike Jarin silencing his detractors, mostly Bedans who can’t be satisfied nor be pleased no matter what good you do with the Lions. Or about Jio Jalalon and the menacing Arellano U Chiefs who could be on the verge of winning their first ever NCAA championship. Or Ben Mbala being the most dominant force in the UAAP planet today.
But I decided not to.
Because when I woke up on this one gloomy October morning while reading news online, which has become my daily habit, I ran into this fan article why he was glad to have worn black.
For those hiding in their mama’s skirts, there was this circular released on social media by officials of bitter rivals Ateneo and La Salle right before their game just this last weekend encouraging their throngs of fans to wear black in protest of what they perceived as extrajudicial killings and the possible burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
We all know what happened, right? Only about 20-percent of the 16,000-plus paying patrons wore black, most of them from Ateneo including the Eagles of Tab Baldwin. They were utterly drowned by a tidal wave of green, La Salle’s colors.

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I will not stoop down and mock the Eagles and the people who decided to wear black to make a stand because I love people who make a stand and fight for something they believed in. Ours is a democratic country, anyway.
In fact, I admired the Black Power Salute in the 1968 Olympics where Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists with a black gloves on the podium right after the two took the gold and silver in the 200-meter dash to protest against African-American oppression back home in the United States.
I admired the Toronto Raptors for linking their arms together and some even bowing their heads during the singing of both the Star-Spangled Banner and O Canada ahead of the NBA’s first pre-season game versus the Golden State Warriors in Vancouver as a sign of protest to the recent shooting that is happening in the US. It was an offshoot of NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s protest a few weeks back. Interestingly, the Warriors showed apathy by not joining in the protest.
I also respected Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, formerly Chris Jackson before converting to Islam in 1993, and his decision to not stand during the national anthem in 1996 because he has this personal belief that doing so was a form of “nationalistic ritualism.” He was eventually suspended since the NBA forbids it. But he sent his message and the NBA heard him and the two ended up with a compromise.
Who would forget Muhammad Ali? He who began the separatist stand that marked his storied career. He who chose to glorify his blackness, to revel in the darkness of his skin and accentuate the difference it caused. He who refusted to be drafted in protest of the Vietnam War.
I mean, we all have this right to protest as mandated by the Constitution. That’s democracy, my friends.
But you got it all wrong.
Protest you want. Wear black all UAAP game and the rest of your lives. Go ahead. Do it. It’s your right. Fight for something. I encourage you. Make the most out of the democratic process we’re enjoying. You will not be mocked. For those mocked these people, be ashamed of yourself. You are vile, miserable creatures.
But you see, people are just plain tired. Tired of the prolifiration of drugs, “Tanim Bala,” corruption in government, heavy traffic, poverty, and just the unforgivable indifference by the past administrations to these problems that people are willing to accept sacrifices just to make this world a better place to live in.
And that is the reason they didn’t wear black.
It’s also a form of protesting. Only the opposite or “anti-black.” Or call it acceptance. I think its a triumph of the spirit because, finally, someone like President Duterte dared the establishment and made a move to change our lives for the better. Duterte is no Saint but people, at least majority of the Filipinos, think he has good intentions and are embracing what he is doing. Because admit it or not, things are getting better.
Change has indeed come.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

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(Photos courtesy of veteran Philippine Star lens man Jun Mendoza)