Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Being a great potential talent attracts all kinds of characters and opportunities. Japeth, it seems always decides to go with whatever's he feels best for himself. He went to Ateneo because Norman Black was going to be a great teacher. He transferred to Western Kentucky because the competition was going to make him better. And he came back here because he felt he was the best young prospect who had Filipino blood.
When he first moved back, I'm sure he felt very wanted. The PBA, Team Pilipinas, agents, coaches, teams, etc. all wanted a piece of him. A young guy getting pulled in different directions can get a little confused as to what he wants. I'm sure he wanted everything that was offered him.
My general gut feel is that he did not enjoy playing for coach Yeng Guiao. Yeng is a love 'em or hate 'em kind of coach. He is known for yelling at his players, saying harsh things as a motivational tool to push them. Problem in this case is that Japeth had other options. So given the choices, he will always opt for what he feels is best for himself, not necessarity what's more popular. Some people just don't like getting yelled at I guess. I'm sure other players don't like it either. Difference is, the other players don't have a choice.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I moved back to the Philippines in 1995 after college graduation and was working in sports media within a few months. For some reason, she was the guest of honor at the Grant Hill Philippine visit through FILA.
She was the unwilling leader who (and it was obvious) did not want to have anything to do with politics. She looked like a housewife. She acted like a housewife. She spoke like a housewife. It was this trait that I think endeared her to the Filipino people. She was the anti politician. She was the mother for all to follow. For all to get comfort. And for all to be free again.
As friends with some of the members of the Aquino family, I offer not only my condolences but my gratitude for being a beacon for us all as we continue to figure out our very imperfect democracy.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I, along with a few other bloggers got a whole morning’s worth of face time with Manny Villar, one of presidential bets for next year’s elections. Just a quiet discussion on a whole range of topics predictably related to his bid next year. I was there to represent the sports bloggers (yes, it's true, that's the reason!), a genre he has started to support in the last few years.
Here are my impressions:
Villar is a very simple man with very big accomplishments. He breaks down the issues into its simplest form before he offers a solution. He seems to be a very practical person and a great manager. He’s still a little shaky talking about the environment as he hasn’t proactively pursued the issue as politician. He has done a lot but really publicized it like others in politics.
As most other politicians, he parades his record as one of leadership and accomplishment. It seems though, the Philippines still has a long way to go in its maturity to consider those criteria as most important for voters. The Senator realizes this, which is why most of his efforts are geared toward his popularity, as much as he’d prefer it not to be.
There were a couple of issues that got his juices flowing. You can tell if a man is passionate about something by the look in his eyes and the conviction of his voice. You start talking about the OFW’s, the unsung heroes of our generations, and he will gladly spend a few cups of coffee discussion how helping them will be a big part of his presidency. He is already helping many, out of his own pocket because of his passion for the issue.
The other issue that made his eyes light up was entrepreneurship. This is a topic that doesn’t excite most people, which is why he hardly brings it up. But the smile in his face and the authority in his voice made it obvious that this was the topic closest to his heart. “Entrepreneurship will be the lifeblood of our economy” he says. “Our people need to learn to compete, and how to grow their money”. These are words full of credibility coming from man who started with nothing to now being one of the wealthiest in the Philippines. He even gave some very practical financial advice to boot (which might be for another entry) but the topic of business and money seems to be his forte.
Lastly, as a sports blogger, we did have to tackle some sports stuff so I asked him about why he sponsors Billiards and his opinion of the Pacman running again for public office. The first was simple, his name sounds like the Filipino pronunciation of Billiards, thus the tie-in. As for the second question, he like most of the Philippine population wants to see more of the other Manny as the boxer who has inspired a nation. “He has done something all of us politicians haven’t done, unite the country at least for brief moments”.
Overall, he seems to be one of the candidates least prone to corruption. He doesn’t need the money, and does have respect of his peers (thus not having to buy loyalty). Only time will tell if he becomes our country’s CEO.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Last weekend was great for sports fans. We got UFC 100, the UAAP Opening games, some F1 racing, and a PBA Finals game on a Monday for an encore.
UFC 100 was like most of the first 99 and most other bigtime events and games. The build up was much cooler than the actual. Not that it lacked enough excitment becuase it had its moments. The problem sometimes with the UFC is that you really have to appreciate the intricacies of Jujitsu and the ground game to be entertained by it.
The UAAP had a mixture of blowouts and exciting games. Ateneo and FEU are shoe-ins for the Final Four while the other 6 will be fighting for the last two slots. With the top two having a twice to beat advantage, it would take some major improvements from the other teams for major injuries from FEU/ADMU for us to see a non Tamaraw/Blue Eagle finals.
For the PBA, only one game out of the first five was extra exciting. Let's hope game 6 and maybe 7 will have more suspense. They did flash a stat that only 1 out of the last 4 times did the team who won game 5 eventually became champs. That bodes well if the PBA wants at least a game 7.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Graham Lim, a foreigner who ruined the Philippines' international basketball stature, is like Jason from those Friday the 13th movies. He just keeps on coming back no matter how many times to seem to have gotten rid of him. I'm not really sure what exactly this guy has done, or why he still has some influence but he must have done the FIBA guys a huge favor at some point in his life because they seem to act like they owe him something.
He is supported by two politicians (now you know why things are getting screwed up) who also hasn't done anything for Philippine Basketball as long as I can remember. They have convinced FIBA that we were better off being 16th best in Asia instead of now having a legitimate chance of qualifying for the World Basketball Championships meaning we would be among the top 3. They have convinced FIBA that the SBP is doing even worse that when we were at our worse.
This is a slam dunk no brainer case of KSP from the BAP. Please move on and and get a life. Please.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I'm not sure if the conditioning programs are not as comprehensive here but PBA players play maybe 50 games a year (18 elimnations plus playoffs in each conference). Those 50 games are spread out through 9 months which averages out to 5.5 games every month. It seems to me that playing less than two (2) games a week should be easy if you are in tip top shape and play basketball for a living.
The NBA players play back to backs all the time and play at least 2-3 games a week. I don't remeber players using fatigue as an excuse for not playing with energy. I realize PBA players get paid very little compared to the rest of the world but to play 4 to 5 games a month and get paid hundreds of thousands of pesos to do it aint so bad.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Lebron's shot that saved Ohio will be played over and over for the rest of the NBA playoffs and many seasons to come. But can he do it seven (7) more times to win his first NBA Championship? Well, if we consider the composition of other winners, the Cavs are going to have a very difficult time.
The teams that have won have always had a superstar. It's a given. Magic Johnson, Julius Irving, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Dwane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Hakeem Olajuwon. In some cases, they had teammates who were in the same level. Moses Malone, Shaq and Kareem would certainly be in the same category in their prime. In Cleveland's case, Lebron fits the bill perfectly.
Most champions also has an all star on the same team. A player who's not a superstar but will undoubtedly be in the Hall of Fame. Scottie Pippen, Manu Ginobili, Kevin Mchale, Robert Parish, and James Worthy would be in that group.
There were some minor exceptions like Detroit but they still would have at least 2 Hall of Famers on their team but no true superstar.
I still don't see a second Hall of Famer in this year's Cleveland team. Lebron is awesome but he will have an off day here and there like everyone else. Another Cavalier will have to prove they can take over in a stage with this kind of pressure. So in the home of the Rock and Roll hall of fame, I think Cleveland needs to have a future Basketball Hall of Famer step up and join LBJ to get the Larry Obrien trophy.
This current Cleveland team is not that different from Pat Riley's Knicks and Shaq's Orlando team who got creamed in the Finals. Both had a superstar (Ewing/Shaq) but were surrounded by "almost hall of famers". The Cavs are fortunate that Orlando is kinda in the same situation where there is no clear cut Hall of Famer outside of Dwight Howard.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
"They did well esp. against bad calls esp. with UBC Thunderbirds. Blue Eagles were down by twenty points in the first quarter then won last three quarters but still lost 90-77. Against SFU in front of a full house of Ateneo fans we lost 85-77. Admu was down by three with ninety seconds left. Our boys missed ten foul shots. Salamat's three points was negated at the end of the Third with a second left. The boys should compete well in the UAAP. They do need a swingman like Oping Sumanilog. Two peat looks good."
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Every once in awhile, you gotta step out of your comfort zone and see if you can spread you wings some more.
Friday, May 15, 2009
It has been a very fulfilling four (4) years working for Solar Entertainment as head of sales and marketing. We tried a lot of things. Some worked, some didn't. Solar certainly is much bigger now since 2005 when I first started but I've decided to accept an offer from another company so it's time to remember why Solar was such a great experience for me.
10. Great clients. I was able to work with many in the media and advertising industry who know their stuff and how the television business works.
9. Acquisition of the PBA. The process of winning a tv coverage bid and the continuing efforts to improve the league was very satisfying.
8. Great partners. You can't get any better than working with the NBA, the PBA, the IOC, the PGA, Top Rank, GMA7, IMG, and many others who were very professional in the way they handled things. It was also great to work closely with the sports media.
7. Olympic Experience. I was part of the team who brought the most comprehensive coverage to the Philippines and was able to generate the highest amount of sponsorships ever. The experience in Beijing was also priceless.
6. Covering the NBA Allstars and the China Games. The learnings of running a big time sporting event and being part of the on cam talent pool for the international coverage is something I will never forget.
5. Donaire/Viloria. To know that you can mount a world class sporting event gives a lot of satisfaction from what I was a part of in Solar.
4. Meeting NBA Superstars. Being able to interview the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and Dwayne Wade along with many other NBA players was a dream come true.
3. Great Team. It was an honor to have worked with such a talented and competent group in Solar. I have made some very good friends along the way and that is something I will always be thankful for. From my bosses to the managers, the company is in good hands with visionaries and passionate people.
2. BTV. To conceptualize, launch, and implement Basketball TV was something I will always be proud of.
1. Manny Pacquiao. It was surreal to be right in the middle of the rise of the Pacman the last 4 years.
There were others that deserve mention including working on the 2006 World Cup coverage in the Philippines, producing and hosting In The Zone (ITZ) and conceptualizing Sports Desk along with pioneering the Philippine Collegiate Championships (and maybe even more stuff that escapes my memory at the moment) but I decided to limit it to 10 things.
It was certainly a packed four years!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
We already had to postpone the fight mainly because of sponsor requests. Many detractors took pot shots at Solar as a company having financial difficulty because of it.
But then, it all came together. I'm thankful some sponsors took the risk (and it definitely paid off!). Even our non sponsors wanted some tickets last minute to watch the fight. The tickets sales started to pick up. The media coverage gained momentum. Most of our on ground plans to mobilize tickets sales worked. I have a feeling the ratings will also be better than expected.
And of course, the Pinoy boxers cooperated by submitting back to back to back world class performances. Denver Cuello got the WBC International Minimumweight Crown. Brian Viloria gave the performance of his life and dethroned Ulysses Solis. And Nonito Donaire, Jr. was impressive in his domination of challenger Raul Martinez.
Everything worked out. The one month postponement turned out to be the right decision. A world class event that highlights the Filipino's boxing talent was showcased at the Araneta.
Thank you to all who made it happen.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
If you're a Filipino boxer not named Manny Pacquiao, you would be hard pressed to get the attention you deserve in your own country let alone the rest of the world. The Pacman has dominated the consciousness of Filipinos and boxing fans that others who are in the vicinity gets lost in overwhelmed with the exposure Manny gets.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
It seems we (Solar) really can't avoid crossing paths with ABS-CBN when it comes to sports television broadcasts. They are a giant network with deep pockets and vast resources who want to be a big player in the business. It's just the way it is.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Most of those involved have moved on from the most recent Pacquiao incident about TV rights. For my part, I am certainly glad it's over as it was a huge unnecessary distraction mostly for Manny and his training but for me as well since it took a week out of selling advertising packages for the fight. It was a stressful week to make sure the public knew the truth and was clear with Solar's position.
I am of the impression that most don't really care where the Pacman fights are televised. The attention though I think given to the issue was mostly because of its ethical and moral implications. Can someone really turn his back on contracts as easily as you deciding to switch cars when you want to replace the current? Can a third party really claim they are free of any fault just because they did not make the first move?
ABS-CBN, in my opinion was very sloppy in the way they handled the situation. If I were going into a situation as high profile as Pacquiao's television contract agreement, I would absolutely make sure that I had a strong legal foundation to stand on. At no time did a legal representative from Channel 2 go public because I am sure no lawyer in their right mind would want to justify and risk ridicule for defending what they did. They ran with it based on a video and a letter that had no factual basis. There also seemed to be a well orchestrated series of articles from one sportswriter that set the whole thing up. But you need more than one sided articles and cowardly "unimpeachable" sources to see it through.
I also want to put into question the way Dyan Castillejo handled the situation based on Manny Pacquiao's account. I have been a reporter for some international events including the NBA All Star Weekend and the Beijing Olympics. The access given to us is to exclusively report on the event for our media entity. We are specifically told that anything outside of what we're supposed to be doing would merit suspension of our privileges. So using your access to get autographs, and making deals with athletes are out of bounds. Ms. Castillejo used her access to broker a deal, not just report on Manny.
Manny Pacquiao has apologized. ABS-CBN has not. So I'm assuming the giant network does not see anything wrong with anything they did. I am now curious to see if they will continue to cover Manny as extensively as they've done given what has transpired. Because if the coverage suffers a significant decline, then maybe they were really just wooing our National Treasure to transfer.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
First, the coaches. Tim Cone and Chot Reyes are both former National Team Coaches. Chot was under Tim in Alaska before he achieved all his success in Purefoods, Sta. Lucia, Coke and now Talk 'N Text. Both are respected and are considered two of the best in the land today. Cone has more championships and finals' appearances but it's partly because he's also coached more years. Both are also the best of friends.
Second is the style these two teams play. Alaska is very deliberate and likes to play half court offense. TNT is very fast and likes to utilize the full court in orchestrating its offense. Alaska is one of the best defensive teams in the conference while TNT is one of the best offensively. They say defense wins championships so we'll see if that holds true in this case.
In a 7 game series, adjustment will be the key. I reckon sometimes Alaska's defense will dominate and other times TNT's offense will explode. This is why the coaching will play a larger role than normal in this matchup.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
"There will always be room for improvement" was the message imparted by Bobong Velez, the former head of Vintage Enterprises who spoke earlier this week during a 3 hour workshop hosted by Solar in their main office in Makati. It was a philosophy that propelled the PBA coverage in the late 80's and early 90's into the best sports entertainment available on television. He praised the current coverage and encouraged everyone not to be complacent to improve even more.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Some matchups are just made in heaven. Even if you pit two good teams against each other, if the styles don't jive, it won't be entertaining to watch. The San Miguel vs Barangay Ginebra quarterfinal series was one of those series where both teams just matched up perfect against each other.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
I was able to visit NEW ORLEANS for the first time during the NBA All Star weekend. It was incredible to see some of the remnants of Hurricane Katrina and was inspired by what the city has done to recover from the major tragedy. I had a minor side trip back to my hometown of CHICAGO where I was able to watch a rare Bulls victory versus the Denver Nuggets.
Then there was BEIJING for the Summer Olympics. It was without a doubt an experience I will never forget as a sports fan. To witness the redeem team play, the closing ceremonies live, and other events in track and field was amazing as a sports fan.
Another trip outside the country included SINGAPORE to join the Beermen and Tropang Texters in the first ever official PBA game there. Most of the Filipinos in the small island watched and made the trip so much fun.
There were a few other trips to MACAU, LAOAG, BATANGAS, BORACAY and CAGAYAN DE ORO which were all work related. There were also nice change of pace trips by visiting BAGUIO, BORACAY (again) and BOHOL along the way.
Despite my dislike for travel, I will just be thankful that I have the opportunity to visity all these great places mostly as part of my job. It really is a dream job for the sports fan.