This, above all:

This, above all: To be God's best for The Coach and for Anna

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

UP players don't die...

…they just win big in their last game.

Two hours before UP’s game against powerhouse UE last Sunday, I was fixing The Coach’s UP uniform, the last time for this year. He had just come in from his Air 21 work—yes, on a Sunday, my dear hardworking hubby—to pick up his stuff before running off to coach St Stephen in its game against Jubilee at 2:30 P.M.* UP’s game started at 4 P.M., which meant The Coach would miss a chunk of the UAAP action. It didn’t seem like such a good start.

Yet everything else conspired for UP to win its last game for Season 69.

UP played well, save for a few errant, ano-ba-yan!?! passes that curdle the blood when there were only a few precious minutes left and barely three points in the margin.

But UP led all the way. No deadlocks allowed.

Latecomer Magi Sison was such a delight. He’s just a kid at heart, really, a beanpole in big basketball shoes. And he grins when he dumps a shot or gets a rebound. That is basketball—it’s supposed to be enjoyed, too.

Marvin’s brilliance lasted until the end game, thankfully. Nestor’s on-court spills (the most I’ve seen in his games this season, and I've missed a few) didn’t spoil his showmanship, and the crowd loved him for it. Woody Co—my other favorite among the boys—has been consistently stepping up in defense and offense, working both sides of the floor. Quiet and unassuming, but deadly and intense. I love this kid.

Even the referees helped; they were calling out fouls which they would’ve ignored in the previous games. Gee, the calls were close to favoring UP: not that I would’ve wanted it that way, but, boy, was it a welcome change from being on the other side of the uneven stick. I could’ve sworn the refs did not allow the margin to breach the three-point mark.

Though Binondo heaped a margin of +8 points on UP, it turns out many more bet on UP. Still scratching my head on that one, but I figure it was because it was a no-bearing game for UE.

Whattaheck, I think even UE played in favor of UP. Custodio was a dismal, almost half-hearted shade of himself. Borboran and that other UE kid, whatzisname, didn’t play well either, prompting Coach Dindo Pumaren to put in his second-stringers.

Like we did. In fact all our players were given the chance to rule the court, and I thought, hey, that’s how it should be, at least in our last game and under the circumstances.

Did the fact that it was a non-bearing game for UE play any factor in our win? Well, so what if it did? A win is a win is a win. And if you saw UP’s side of the stadium erupt in a blazon of arms in the air, posters big and small, people standing on their seats, then you’d know how much this victory is sweeter, better, longed for, and earned.

It was a good sendoff for the graduating boys—Galen, Ira and Nestor. I will miss Galen the most, because he was so committed to the game, even in what is probably the shortest stint ever in amateur basketball (barely eight months). Such a loss that we would not see him blossom further, as I know he still can.

At the post-game dinner, the host Jerry Esquivel summed it best when he said that the gathering that night was a beraka, a Hebrew word that means, loosely, a celebration—for any occasion and for any blessing. He said the Jews hold a beraka to celebrate life or a birth, as they would to celebrate death. And so it was only right that the Maroons celebrated both its victories and its defeats.

Until next year, Maroons!

* The Coach won his fourth game against Jubilee. St Stephen now leads the tourney with Chiang Kai Shek at 4-0.


bitoy said...

again, congratulations to the UP MBT and the UP coaching staff for a great way in ending the season (back-to-back victories by UP against UST and UE).

hands down to Nestor David, Ira Buyco and Galen Cacha. good luck to their future endeavors.

to the team, God bless all of you and see you in 2007.

kid said...

It wasn't totally a non-bearing game. Although UE was already assured of a twice to beat advantage, they could have had a chance to clinch top spot had they won their game against UP while Ateneo loses in their last 2 games. Top spot is usually better than second since you go against the fourth.

Anyway, the game really showed the future of UP basketball -- very promising.

janet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
janet said...

Thanks, Bitoy! See you next year!

Hi Kid. You're right--not a total non-bearing game. But I reckon some others would claim that it was just to justify UE's loss. :)

kilcher said...

wow, i went to ultra to watch that game too. good game to attend, considering that every game that i had watched live was a loss :( nakakapanibagong umuwing nakangiti at hindi nahihiya sa tshirt kong maangas (up ako. ikaw?). btw, i should have tried to find you and said hi pero i couldn't remember what you look like (kasi masyado maliit ung profile pic hehe).

khumechu said...

those last two games was a joy to watch :) felt like we won the championship on both games :P it's really great to end on a high note. for a while there i was really afraid that this season would break the team's spirit, and that it might carry over to the next season. i hope now they realize their potential. plus it got some of the fans excited and looking forward to next year :) hopefully, excited enough for some of the alumni to put their hands in their pockets :P

i've ask my brother-in-law to be present in every game next season. the only games we brought him to were the last two, and we won both :P i'll dragged him to them if i have to :P i even took down the order in which we were sitting, seat and row number :) better write it down and put it in a safety deposit box 'til next season :P

khumechu said...

have you ever tried googling beraka? apparently, it is a celebration... of fat loss :P

janet said...

Hey Kilch! Yeah, I should change the profile pic of me and The Coach--it's too deceiving. That was taken 5 years ago; since then we've sprouted gray hair, lost some hair, gained some weight and a few lines. Ha ha! See you next year, dear. By the way, The Coach said the Lady Maroons are really doing well. Coach Eric was in the house sometime ago to discuss one of the games against Ateneo. We might be watching the games. :)

Khumechu, you are so funny! Perhaps the Maroons should thank your bro-in-law, he he, though I must confess I don't believe in such coincidences.

Aba, talagang blessing ang fat loss! :) Where didja find that fact? All I saw were references to blessings and God's abundance.

kilcher said...

yeah, the lady maroons are in the final four. hooray! my friend and i will try to watch on sunday but we still don't know where the game will be eh saka cheerdance pa so yun. sana more people would come support them too. :)

janet said...

We'll have to videotape the cheerdance competition. :( The Coach has a St Stephen game I'm watching. Besides, there are hardly any tickets left. So many schools watching kasi.

Hope to catch you, Kilch, in one of the Lady Maroons' games.

The Coach asks if you were a Lady Maroon?

khumechu said...

hahaha... i was just being silly... after reading your entry i went and looked-up the word 'beraka' in wikipedia. just to find out more about its etymology. didn't get any relevant results so i tried google... and this are the results i got...

Google Results

had to laugh to myself. you used it beautifully... google wasn't as flattering.

kilcher said...

hi, ma'am janet. nope, wasn't a lady maroon. supporter lang ako :) would you know kaya when and where? hirap kasi pag weekday eh, di makatakas sa work.