Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lessons from Kobe

I went with Vince & Patricia Hizon along with Dodot Jaworski & his kids.  The traffic around Ultra was at a standstill since the event coincided with the dismissal of St. Paul across the street.  I had already interviewed him a few times during my assignments  at the NBA All Stars but anytime you get a chance to see him up close, you gotta take it.

The most eventful part of the afternoon was when Kobe took aside Nico Salva from the Ateneo Blue Eagles and gave him about 20 minutes worth of personal instruction.  He went through part of his daily training routine on offense.

I thought two things Kobe said was worth taking note.  First, the attention to details.  You have to check film and practice to the extent of where you hold the ball while making your move.  It ensures protection from being stripped by placing it at the right place for the duration of the possession.  Details on the footsteps for the most efficient way to get the shot off.  

Once you've figured out the details, the second is in the repetition.  Muscle memory is learned even for the most difficult and spectacular plays.  Kobe seems to practice and repeat as many kinds of iterations possible from the basic to the complicated of shots.  The repetition also gets you tired enough to know the feeling so that you can adjust to the fatigue during the real game.

Kobe is as good as it gets right now as far as basketball is concerned.  It was a pleasure to see him again in the flesh. 

Thursday, July 16, 2009

C.E.O. of the P.I.?

I met him once before, many years ago, and in Chicago while he was visiting one of his old classmates (who was my “ninang”) during one of his U.S. trips to visit his children studying in the Midwest. He became a hero of sorts as he led the House of Representatives in the filing of impeachment raps against Joseph Estrada. And he continued his rise in Politics as he became a member of the Upper House and eventually became the President of the Senate.

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

Weekend Couch Potato

It's been awhile since I made a update. The new job has gotten me very preoccupied with running some cable channels. I was able to finally watch some games the last few days.

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.