01 March 2006

cuts and bruises

a seven-year veteran of the tournament, i found myself with a bunch of young blood. you would think that a seven-year tenure would automatically give you the respect and acknowledgement you deserve, but every single year of the tourney, i'm overlooked.

rewind to 2004, first game of "Bakbakan" (UP Manila's inter-college basketball tournament)... the team was composed primarily of younger students who know each other well. i was the elder statesman. warm-up. rounds. then talks of the starting five for the game. my name wasn't mentioned. i was a benchwarmer at this point. a few seconds before the game, i was tapped to start. a sudden attack of "recognition" on their part, perhaps? a quarter later and i had a couple of lay-ups, a couple of treys, and another trey to beat the buzzer. i never spoke a word. i knew my game was screaming at them.

unfortunately, the team lost and did not qualify for the next round. but if there's any consolation, i was included in the Pedro Gil All-Stars. i never got to play at the all-star game though; i had an exam that day.

back to the 06, same scenario. but this time i was ready for their disregard. my mind was set to just have fun and try to do my best for the college. but it was a bad day for whistles. the "no blood, no foul" rule was in order. spills, cuts, bruises, and still no whistle. the game went on.

then a twist. in order to qualify for the finals, we need to have a winning margin of at least 50 points. 50 points? yeah right. three quarters gone and we were up by 21. but these damn kids still want to push it to 50. "we need 50" was their outcry. reality check, anyone? in their uncontrolled drive for 50, they crumbled. the once 20+ point margin was down to 13 with only a minute left. we won the game but their heads were down. after the game, i was the only one with a smile. i enjoyed the game. and they should've too. it was my last game carrying pharma pride, so i guess they just have to figure things out by themselves...

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