Saturday, August 22, 2009

What's Wrong with DLSU?

DLSU has 4 games left and it seems they will have to win at least 3 of those to have an outside chance of making it to the final four.  With FEU, UE, and UST among those who they still have to play, I would give them less than 50% chance of making it this year.  I'm not sure if La Salle has ever missed the final four since joining the UAAP.

I would venture to say that if results are the barometer, the Green Archer program has been the most successful since joining the UAAP in the 80's.  It was always a big surprise if they did not make it to the finals each and every year.  The other schools would take turns getting there, UST, FEU, ADMU got their share of titles but it was almost always DLSU that they had to beat.  Heck, I wouldn't be writing about this very topic if this was happening to another team.

What would be the main reason for this sudden change in elite status?  All of a sudden, the swagger is gone?

In my opinion, they've blown it in recruitment for about two years.  As they watched other schools convince blue chip high school players from 2-3 years ago, they are paying the price as their veterans right now are not as talented.  The board might have had a little to do with it.  Remember the Fil-Foreigner residency rule of 2 years?  The Archers used to rely heavily on Fil Foreigners recruited by their extensive network abroad.  Don Allado, Mon Jose, Mike Cortez, Calijohn Orfrecio, Manny Ramos are some players who made an impact off the top of my head.  La Salle did not adjust well right away.

Basketball is still a player's sport.  I think 70% of your chances lie in the talent you have.  The other 30% comes from coaching and chemistry.  They used to get the PBA caliber recruits.  Limpot, Webb, Telan, Allado, Cortez, Ritualo, Espinosa, Cardona, Aldeguer and a host of others made sure the green and white was a title contender.  Now, the other schools have been able to snatch the best from the last few years.  

La Salle has had good recruiting classes the last 2 years but it will take another year or two before those players can become among the elite in the UAAP.  So for now, the void in not being able to recruit the best from 3-4 years ago has caught up with them.  I think the coaching staff and the alumni care too much and are smart enough not to make this linger for longer than 1 or at most 2 years.

So far, it has been obvious that DLSU has gotten very much used to winning and many are uncertain how to react to all this losing.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Mother of Our Nation R.I.P.

The first and only time I’ve gotten to meet and talk to “Tita Cory” was predictably a sports related event. My family had moved to Chicago shortly after her husband’s assassination so I watched as a teenager from afar when the ESDA revolution happened.

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.