AT FIRST, the picture that formed in my mind when the incident was being reported to me was of this PBA coach pulling the uniform of his cager by the collar in a fit of rage in the last seconds of their game two Fridays ago.
Eyewitnesses said this happened right in front of the players’ bench and in full view of coliseum spectators. Right before their very eyes, the coach squeezed the collar of the player’s uniform so tightly it nearly choked him.
Then the coach released his hold on the player’s collar and gave him a hard push.
After the game, the television crew, who probably saw the act of violence, rushed to the dugout. They caught the cager in tears.
An insider said the coach must have gone to the deep end because the cager wasn’t playing his usual energetic, never-say-die game.
“Walang gana, kaya nagalit si coach.”
As it turned out, the eyewitness account was a bit exaggerated. The report was accurate, except for the part where the cager was said to be choking to the point of asphyxiation.
The cager never gasped for breath and while the threads of his jersey may have loosened somewhat, he was still able to wear it in a succeeding game.
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Update on Abet Guidaben from New Jersey: The PBA legend has been temporarily discharged from Newark’s University Hospital, with instructions from his doctors to return after two weeks for his thymus gland operation. The thymus gland is the organ inhibiting the function of Abet’s antibodies.
Myasthenia Gravis has restricted Abet’s movements, making the simple act of talking and lifting his arm a tedious and tiring process.
Worse, while Abet was battling a potentially fatal disease, his wife Maridol had to undergo a hip replacement operation, and will be needing medical attention herself for months.
Maridol will be in crutches or confined to a wheelchair as she recuperates.
San Miguel Corp. president/CEO Ramon Ang was the first to respond to Ruffy Ignacio’s (PBA Legends Foundation USA sec-gen) plea for financial assistance to the Guidabens.
Without much fuss or fanfare, Mr. Ang signed a check for $5,000 and had it sent to the cager, who once played for San Miguel Beer until he was traded for Ramon Fernandez.
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After coming close to a first-ever women’s international basketball title in the 2008 Fiba-Asia Under 18 competition in Medan, Indonesia, losing only to Kazakhstan by three points, the country’s youth basketball program for women seems to have regressed.
After 2008, the Philippines suffered successive debacles in the Fiba-Asia Under-16, Under-18 and the Asean Schools Youth competitions under a new coaching staff and sponsor.
In the 2009 Fiba-Asia Under-16, RP lost to both China and Chinese-Taipei by almost a hundred points and to India by 27 points. In the 2010 Fiba-Asia Under-18 in Thailand, the Pinay cagers were mauled by host Thailand, 86-22, in a game where our team was rendered scoreless in the fourth quarter.
The 64-point blowout is by far the biggest winning margin by a Thai team versus the Philippines at any level. A second loss came at the hands of India, a 25-point rout.
If it’s any consolation, the Philippines won three games versus patsies Syria, Sri Lanka and Laos, which started playing organized basketball only two months before the tournament.
More recently at the 2010 Asean Schools Youth Championship, the same team lost by 19 points to Indonesia and consequently failed to land in the top 3. This loss is the first-ever by a Philippine women’s team against Indonesia.
Compared to women’s basketball, the country’s program for men’s basketball is better, considering that it has not regressed. But it has remained stagnant, failing to develop and progress despite the massive support and funding it gets from various entities.