Thursday, September 29, 2011

Paaram, Metal

Last month my high school batchmate Joniepher, a fellow Citizen's Army Training officer, Dazer, and Kikoy, passed away. Today is the 40th day since his passing, so I thought I'd share how he came to be known—by our batch, at least—as "Metal" (pronounced the Filipino way, which makes his moniker that much more tough-sounding).

I first came to know Metal during the summer that bridged our sophomore and junior years in high school, when we and some twenty others from our batch started training as drum and bugle corps* members on our way to becoming CAT officers senior year. He was assigned the "taho," a drum that got its name because of its resemblance to the deep container taho vendors use; I was given the bass drum.

Metal had an atypical given name (which I thought was probably a portmanteau of his parents' names) but I couldn't bring myself to call him that—it sounded a lot like "Jennifer," and if there ever was anyone who didn't look like a Jennifer it was, well, Joniepher.

There was an obvious reason for that: he was the most muscular in our troop. He was only of average height but Metal was ripped for a 14- or 15-year-old, which was yet another reason why his alias was so apt. All those push-ups and chin-ups we had to do for exercise or punishment were nothing to him; he could do those all the livelong day. The rest of us could only wonder what it was he did back in his hometown of Pamplona, Camarines Sur that gave him that physique.

For that summer training we were required to use our Type-B CAT uniform, which included a military web belt with a buckle, and was inspected daily. One day Metal showed up wearing a leather belt with a "western-style" buckle, the type that is invariably described as "ga-plato" and would make a very handy weapon in a "puksaan" or rumble. After our upperclassmen officers saw it during inspection, they decided to dub him "Metal." At first it was only them and all of us DBC members that called him that, but eventually our entire batch followed suit.

He may or may not have hated his moniker, but Metal never stopped us from calling him that to his face. He eventually dropped the nickname, though—those who knew him from college at the University of Nueva Caceres call him "Ref," which was short for his family name. But to this day our high school batch knows him as Metal.

*We were actually a drum and lyre corps, not a DBC, since we didn't have bugles or other brass instruments. I didn't dare tell our upperclassmen officers or our commandant that, though.

[13 October 2011 Edit]

Sometimes it's a good idea to allow other people to have access your social networking site accounts, sometimes it's not.

I looked at Metal's Facebook page a couple of minutes ago and got creeped out: there was an entry from around noon today saying that he has updated his current city to Naga City. I knew it was probably his widow who did it, but that didn't stop me from getting goose bumps.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

UAAP Season 74 Finals: Ateneo-FEU Game 1 Results

What a game. What. A. Game.
UAAP Finals: Blue Eagles draw first blood Salva leads rout of Tamaraws
By Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Ateneo coach Norman Black had said that those who question the Blue Eagles’ desire may be in for a surprise.

The Blue Eagles gave Far Eastern University quite a shock with a dominant second-half show to post an 82-64 rout Saturday and move within a victory of a historic fourth straight UAAP men’s basketball crown.

Nico Salva had a perfect game from the field as the Eagles also got away with a lot of baskets from underneath in Game 1 of the best-of-three series that drew a packed crowd of 18,972 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Full story…
One statistic trotted out once the UAAP Men's basketball Finals come along is that the winner of Game 1 of the best-of-three series almost always goes on to win the crown. Pardon the Blue Eagles, though, if they do not take comfort in that stat—it was Ateneo, after all, that, in 2006 against UST, was the last team to lose in the Finals after winning the first game of the series. I wouldn't be surprised if the team basked in the victory for just a few hours then went back to work this morning to prepare for Tuesday's Game 2.

Yesterday's loss may well have shattered FEU's morale. The Tamaraws took their best shot, but Ateneo drew upon its championship experience and chipped away at an early 10-point deficit, forced a tie at the half, played with poise and broke the game wide open after the intermission, and emerged with an 18-point victory.

Ateneo's starters were simply awesome. Four of the five scored in double digits, led by Nico Salva who played great all game long and tallied 24 points (8-8 field goals, 8-8 free throws), 6 rebounds, and 1 block. Presumptive Season 74 Rookie of the Year Kiefer Ravena had 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals, and helped the team recover from a double-digit deficit in the second quarter and pull even. Kirk Long didn't neglect his offense this time, scoring 8 points and adding 2 assists and 1 block. Emman Monfort continued his mastery of last year's Most Valuable Player RR Garcia on defense while notching 11 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals. Greg Slaughter had 12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block. And I think he still hasn't forgotten that FEU led the charge to bar him from suiting up this year, as he had three monster dunks. Ravena and Long (with the imprimatur of the coaching staff?) even looked to helped the big guy get some small measure of revenge by throwing him alley-oop passes (Slaughter converted one).

Even the reserves had their moments: Tonino Gonzaga had 2 assists and a rebound; Juami Tiongson nabbed 4 points, a rebound, and an assist; Justin Chua had 2 points and 4 rebounds; Bacon Austria had 2 rebounds, an assist, and a nice block just before halftime; and JP Erram had 4 points (two of them coming after he shot-faked a Tamaraw player out of the latter's shorts), 2 rebounds, and a block that reminded everyone of the great Nonoy Baclao.

It's nearly impossible to beat Ateneo when everyone's clicking. Even the FEU head coach had to concede that the Blue Eagles played a "perfect" game. As a result, they are now one more big fight away from having a share of history.

[Hat tip to for the stats.]

Saturday, September 24, 2011

UAAP Season 74 Finals: It's Go Time!

[Image grabbed from Chinoy Hoops Fan.]

At 3 p.m. today Game 1 of the best-of-three UAAP Season 74 Men's basketball Finals will tip off. The series will not lack for interesting storylines, the least of which is that it features a rematch of last year's Finals that Ateneo won, 2-0.

How awesome is that Angry Birds-themed graphic? I think I'm missing (most of) the FEU-specific references, though.

Friday, September 16, 2011

UAAP Season 74 Final Four: Ateneo-UST Game Results

Ateneo is back in familiar territory, the Men's basketball Finals
Eagles return to Finals; Tamaraws force do-or-die showdown vs Adamson
By Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Ateneo booked a fourth straight Finals appearance Thursday even as Far Eastern University forged a winner-take-all duel with Adamson for the last title berth in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.

The Eagles bucked the absence of the cramps-stricken Greg Slaughter in the endgame to eliminate gutsy University of Santo Tomas, 69-66.

The Tigers unloaded three consecutive triples to trim the Eagles’ 63-53 lead to just a point, 67-66, with 5.8 seconds remaining before Nico Salva sealed the win with two free throws, with 2.7 ticks left.

Full story…
After the Blue Eagles' sorry loss to the Adamson Soaring Falcons that ended their hopes for a perfect season, Ateneo head coach Norman Black predicted that in their next game, a Final Four encounter against the UST Growling Tigers, they'll find out what the Eagles are made of, what the team's character is when faced with adversity.

Well, we found out, alright: the Blue Eagles are warriors (sorry, University of the East).

After taking both their elimination round games against the Growling Tigers by an average margin of 19 points, the Blue Eagles narrowly escaped with a 3-point victory, their second Final Four win in three years over their Season 69 Finals tormentors. So now, for the fourth straight year the road to the Season 74 Men's basketball championship will have to go through Loyola Heights.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

UAAP Season 74 Eliminations, Round 2: Ateneo-Adamson Game Results

All good things must come to an end, right?
Adamson ends Ateneo agony, trashes rare 14-game sweep
By Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA—Adamson hammered out a historic feat in a game where Ateneo tried to make history.

Coming out in full throttle from the get-go, the Falcons foiled the Blue Eagles’ bid to complete a rare 14-game sweep with a surprise 62-46 rout Saturday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.

Aside from playing spoiler to Ateneo’s bid of jumping straight to the Finals, the Falcons secured the No. 2 spot, which comes with the remaining twice-to-beat semifinal advantage. Moreover, the Falcons snapped their 14-year losing skid against the Blue Eagles.

Full story…
The Soaring Falcons were simply the better team in this game. After holding a slim lead at the half, Adamson blew the game wide open in the third quarter, the stretch of the game the Blue Eagle almost always dominated this season, outscoring Ateneo, 23-7.

The 2011 Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles thus missed a golden opportunity to become only the third UAAP squad to sweep the eliminations after the 1993 UST Growling Tigers and the 2007 UE Red Warriors, and with it, automatic entry to the Finals where they would've held a thrice-to-beat edge. The Sixth Man shouldn't be too broken down about the loss, though. By topping the eliminations with a 13-1 card, the Blue Eagles still met one of head coach Norman Black's goals for the team year in and year out: enter the Final Four with a twice-to-beat advantage.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

GPOYW: Tripod

I didn't get what I was going for exactly (the mirror had a border and I didn't hide my left leg well), but I got a semi-amusing photo nonetheless.

[Hat tip to TnB.]

Sunday, September 4, 2011

UAAP Season 74 Eliminations, Round 2: Ateneo-NU Game Results

Ateneo's unbeaten streak is now at 13 straight games.
UAAP: Ateneo Blue Eagles within a win of sweep; UST Growling Tigers crush Adamson Falcons, near Final Four
By Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA—As expected, Ateneo cleared another road block—and how—in its determined march to a title sweep in the UAAP Saturday.

Playing with their usual unforgiving defense, the Blue Eagles held the National University Bulldogs to their lowest output ever in a 61-39 rout that moved Ateneo to within a win of an elimination sweep and three more from a rare unbeaten championship run in men’s basketball at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Now we’ll definitely go for it, no question,” said Ateneo coach Norman Black of the Eagles’ bid to become the first team to capture a fourth straight championship by winning 16 games in a row.

“I guess we can’t avoid that now. That’s something worth striving for.”

Full story…
What Coach Norman said.

Friday, September 2, 2011

UAAP Season 74 Eliminations, Round 2: Ateneo-UP Game Results

Ateneo's unbeaten run now stands at 12 straight.
Ateneo Blue Eagles 2 wins off sweep; Adamson Falcons down UE Red Warriors
By Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA—A big fourth-quarter push helped Ateneo shake off University of the Philippines, 73-58, Thursday to move within two wins of sweeping the UAAP men’s basketball tournament eliminations at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Banking on the strong games of their big men, the Blue Eagles relied on their half-court play in pulling away for good from the Maroons, who were still within striking distance at 54-47 going into the last eight minutes.

“We’re at the point of the season where statistically I’m not really that concerned anymore,” said Ateneo coach Norman Black after his defending champions roared to their 12th straight win and inched closer to an outright Finals berth, the bonus for a 14-game elimination sweep.

Full story…