After many months of tournaments and qualifyers, we have the best 16 teams in the country ready for a winner take all National Championship tournament. Ateneo and San Beda of course are still the favorites but with the lose or go home format, it promises to be an exciting set of games.
The most interesting matchups for me in the first round are the two Cebu teams going up against the two UAAP powerhouses UE and DLSU. Another one is the FEU/JRU encounter. This is exactly what we wanted, to see how the UAAP/NCAA top teams fair against the rest of the country's best.
I got to spend some time with the Champ, Nonito Jr. while he was here last year. Solar hosted a few weeks of his stay as he got to know more people from the mainland together with then girlfriend Rachel. The couple was able to attend different promotional events, our Christmas party and generally had a great time with family and friends in Manila and Cebu.
Congratulations to Jun on winning his 2nd Title Defense against the South African and although I've seen the Champ in better form, he was certainly good enough last fight to still be called a champion. Champions are athletes who win even when they don't bring their best on a given day. They find a way to still win because we will not always be at our best night in night out.
There were some articles that came out from Manny Pinol and Recah Trinidad insinuating a rift inside Team Donare. I am not privy to the private happenings inside Jun's inner circle but it seems Nonito Sr., had some not so good things to say about Jun's new wife Rachel. I do hope it all gets resolved as "The Filipino Flash" is the next best thing after Manny Pacquiao in the world of Philippine boxing right now. From what I gathered, Nonito Sr. and Rachel Marcial were both positive influences on Jun's life during our time together.
Our Residents Team (Gray) for the Belair Inter color overall tournament won last Monday. Congrats to the team. In this photo includes Erick Reyes, Wowie Evangelista, Brent Javier, John Hall, Larry Lebron, Andro Torres, Midas Marquez, and Mico. I had a hand injury so I couldn't play. Beetle Lichauco our honorary coach is also part of the picture along with Mr. Ramirez, whose commercial team we beat to win the championship.
Last night, an exciting double overtime game between San Miguel and Air21 was overshadowed by a controversial call at the end of the first overtime. A shot by Ranidel De Ocampo was only counted as a two pointer despite the 4th replay angle of the C/S 9 coverage showed he was clearly behind the arch. The shot tied the game and sent it to a 2nd overtime period but would have given the Express the victory if it was deemed a 3 pointer.
The PBA rules state that in the last 2 minutes, a team has to challenge the call in order for the technical crew to even take a look at the possible mistake. The refs claim that the call was not challenged all the way until the 2nd overtime period started. The Air21 staff disagrees and says they attempted to challenge numerous times.
The Air21 players were so pissed off that they even went to the commissioner's row at the start of the 2nd game to confront the commissioner in full view of everyone at Araneta. I was doing the commentary for the 2nd game and I saw Ranidel talking to the Commissioner Barrios flanked by most of his teammates. Before the conversation heated up, Lito Alvarez, the team manager and governor for the Express intervened and told his players that there is a proper venue to "express" (no pun intended) their frustrations to the commissioner. I do applaud Mr. Alvarez for keeping the proper respect deserving of the office of the commissioner's office.
The replay angles of C/S 9 has brought about a lot of added value for the viewers of the PBA. The technical crew has indirectly asked Solar to limit the angles in the future for reasons many can just infer. But these new angles have put all of us on notice that much more can now be caught on tape. Whether it's an innpropriate gesture from a coach, a technical mistake by an official, or a flagrant foul on a player, most of the action during games and beyond are more readily available. The technology by Solar should improve the efforts of everyone in the league to increase efforts to follow rules, limit cheap shots, and officiate better.
I was born in the Philippines, grew up in Chicago and now back in the Philippines after graduating from college.
I am a media guy having worked extensively both in front of and behind the camera for the biggest TV Networks in the Philippines.
I currently work for the FOX International Channels handling the Philippine Territory.
The Channels I oversee include Star World, Star Movies, ESPN, Star Sports, FX, FOXCrime, Channel V, National Geographic Channel, and FOX among others.