Reminiscing time in this quarantine
AFTER almost three and a half months we are still under some form of quarantine especially here at the National Capital Region and unfortunately, the number of cases and deaths is still going up.
One reason perhaps is because the people themselves refuse to be part of the solution and instead compound the problem by not following safety guidelines like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing in public.
Personally, even as I accept that eventually, this pandemic will come to pass as other countries, which have been more successful in flattening the curve, are slowly going back to more normal norms.
In our case here, sorry, I see it lasting longer unless people really take the pandemic seriously, otherwise we continue paying the price for our folly.
Anyway, under quarantine, some sportswriters have started their own podcasts and hosting online sports discussions. Athletes from all ages have been invited for a Zoom interview and talk about any topic under the sun.
I was even asked by a colleague to invite PBA legend Chito Loyzaga for an online interview but he declined saying it is not just to his liking to do this sort of thing nowadays. No interviews for him, at least for the meantime.
But others have been more accomodating to the media people as I have heard from the likes of Abe King, Bernard Fabiosa, Boybits Victoria, Atoy Co, Francis Arnaiz, and even coaches like Jong Uichico, Joel Banal and Tab Baldwin who got into hot water with the PBA and local coaches for expressing his thoughts on the quality of Filipino coaches.
I understand he got fined P75,000 and that TNT KaTropa has even dropped him from its coaching staff but no, I would rather not dwell on the issue except to say that there is substance to what he had said but maybe the timing and the way he said those things could have been done better.
Anyway, the moment one talks with former PBA players definitely it will be reminiscing time and allow me to join in with my own thoughts from the past.
And there are a lot of things for me to recall. After all, I have been involved in sportswriting for over four decades now and that tells you my age range right now.
In the 1980’s up to early 1990’s, I was into the PBA and Philippine basketball deeply. Among the then future PBA players I was able to interview even before they made it to the elite league were the likes of Joel Banal, Ed Cordero, Hector Calma, Fritz Gaston, Marte Saldana, Ramon Cruz, Alex Clarino, Bambi Kabigting, Chuck Barreiro, Frankie Lim, JB Yango, Alex Marquez, and a lot more both in the NCAA and UAAP, then to the MICAA and PABL.
Truth is, for a lot of those I did feature stories on way way back, we became personal friends and kumpadres beyond the world of basketball.
When I got married in 1983, my entourage included Ed, Frankie, Bambi and Fritz who was my best man. Among the ninongs were also from the world of sports like then Col. Pete Juachon, the skydiver turned road race organizer, and Alex Rosario, father of Olympian swimmer Ral Rosario, ninong in turn to my daughter Jemi together with Steve Watson and Hector.
I even did ghostwriting in the 90’s for some PBA players who were into celebrity column writing in sports magazines and newspapers. They get the fame, I get the payment, but in fairness all the thoughts and ideas in their pieces came from the players themselves and not from me. I just translate their thoughts into words and sentences.
Certainly there are a lot of stories in the past, pretty interesting ones but the more interesting are those that I get while not interviewing but just chilling out with players or in birthday parties where they are more open about saying things knowing that in my case, I value more our relationships rather than getting scoops. Among others, I was the first to know the trade made by the Alaska Milkmen for Johnny Abarrientos, something that was unthinkable knowing what he had done for the franchise. But then something I have learned about the PBA, it is first and foremost a business where loyalty is a seldom found value on both sides of the table.
In another field, I also broke the story about the cancellation by PAL of its international marathon. But then if I dwell on other sports aside from basketball, then I would run out of space and still have a lot of untold memories.
Until next time then.
Stay safe everyone.
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