May iniisip ka?
Ayaw kong sabihin. Baka magkatotoo.
Dahil makulit ka
Kilala kita. Oo, ikaw 'yun: Nagkasalubong na tayo minsan, sa LRT, sa Gotohan, sa kanto ng Aurora at Katipunan. Nagkatinginan tayo. Hindi mo ako kinausap, pero alam ko, nakilala mo rin ako. Kaya ka narito, di ba? Para sabihing, Oo, oo, ikaw nga 'yun. Naaalala kita.
na, mula noong 24 Enero, 2006, ang nakitambay dito
pba on truehoop
Friday, December 14, 2007
Just posting to say that the PBA made it to TrueHoop.
Actually, the article's about former Alaska import Rosell Ellis. And while I do agree with the PBA's over-the-top commercialism, di ko naman trip 'yung pagkakadepict ni Rafe Bartholomew sa liga ng bayan-- he made it look as if guys in the PBA don't play hard, or don't have the skills to get payed to play ball.
On defense, Ellis grew tired of watching Talk 'N Text guard Mac-Mac Cardona blow past Alaska's flat-footed defenders, so Ellis waved off his teammates and manned up on Cardona himself, forcing the speedy guard to heave an impossible turnaround from 19 feet. But when the miss caromed off the rim, Ellis' teammates let an opposing forward grab the offensive rebound and score on a put-back.
Sa article, parang kinukupal ni Ellis 'yung teammates niya. In this particular play, however, he proved why he never made it to the NBA: you can't blame your teammates for not grabbing the defensive board kung gago kang binantayan mo 'yung hindi mo dapat bantayan, hinabol mo sa perimeter, kaya nagkulang ng rerebound sa ilalim. Kasalanan niya 'yun.
Anyway, nakakatuwa lang talaga na umabot ang PBA sa TrueHoop. Sa'n ka pa, di ba?
I know I promised never to write about basketball here again, but last night, after the regular Friday night basketball game-- well, actually, after the 8 bottles of beer that came after the game-- someone muttered "Gagu, ang sarap bumasket," and everyone let out a sigh.
It isn't really difficult to appreciate the sentimentality, though, once you realize that this is our last pick-up game for the year. (For some reason, the barangay hall ran out of receipts. They won't let anyone play without a reservation, and they're not letting anyone reserve the court without an official receipt.) And we've been playing for-- I don't know, seven, eight years? Since counter strike was the official "laro ng college student na pumapatay ng oras." Eight years, man, and still after every Friday midnight you'd find us stroking jumpshots to an imaginary hoop while walking away from the court.
Lately we've added another interesting ritual to our Friday night pick-up games; after taking off our shoes and changing into clean shirts, we head off to the stretch of carinderias under the overpass, just across Ateneo's gate 3, and settle in for a bottle or two, or three, or as last night went, eight. Eight for me and seven for everyone else. There we'd talk about our girlfriends, jobs, fuck-ups funny or otherwise, and of course, basketball. We'd talk about the ABL team, our NBA fantasy leagues, and little nuances that we need to do, or stop doing, in order to improve our game.
Last night we-- Allan and I, mostly-- had a debate on whether you should pass to the person or to a space. You see, I love getting the ball at midpost, stepping out a little and facing up to find cutters or shooters sliding to the opposite corner. I just love passing from the elbow. Once in a while I find a great finisher swooping baseline. Or I see a defender sagging a little too much (everyone plays zone in pick-up games,) and spot a good shooter cross-court. Sometimes, though, there's an especially alert defender who steps in front for a steal. Or I get a little too daring and pass to crowded spot. Or a teammate isn't looking and the ball just bounces lazily out of bounds. And so a turnover.
Allan says that I should pass to the person who's set to receive the ball. The receiver, he says, should get it as effortlessly as he possibly can. Of course when swinging the ball, when everyone's static, you pass to the person. But when it comes to cutters, I say you spot a space and let your teammate get the ball while in stride.
He's the point guard, though, so he definitely knows what he's talking about. But I got my passing philophy from Javie, who happens to be a coach with Ateneo's high school basketball program. He says, "Hayaan mong habulin ng kakampi mo 'yung bola." And my passing's not so bad, if I may say so. So Allan can pass to people all he wants, but me, I'm going to spot angles and spaces.
From this little debate we got to talking about how the wingmen and guards in the team need to move without the ball. Too often I have to shout "Cutter! Cutter!" after getting the ball on the elbow. After the entry pass, everyone phases out, presumably to give me more room to operate in the post. But I'm not really a great offensive option in that sense-- I'm not so quick and I don't jump so high, and I'm a bit short for my position (I play center-forward). When I do score it's by barrelling through my opponent, or backing him down till I get close enough to the hoop. Sometimes the defender is a bit too eager and I catch him with a pump-fake, or he gives me too much space and I just shoot the jumper. I'm not trying to be modest here; I know I can score, at least from time to time-- if I catch the defense sleeping, or if we're playing against people like us: fan boys, guys who have come to terms with the fact that the furthest we can come in terms of our basketball dreams is the neighborhood liga or the university's alumni basketball league. It's just that I don't enjoy putting the ball in the hoop it as much as I enjoy having someone put it there for me. Like, I enjoy opening a bottle of beer, but of course I like it better when someone does it for me.
Or maybe that was a bad analogy. Thing is, I like seeing easy lay-ups better than I like seeing fancy, acrobatic shots, or awkward power moves. I like the feel of the ball as it leaves my hands, not as I stroke a 16-footer, but as I look away for a bullet pass. I like pointing towards a teammate, and him pointing back at me, after a made basket; I like the sudden yells of "nice pass!" or "nice cut!" by the barangay tanods in Park 9, their arms draped over the metallic fence as they watch a motley crew of law students, engineers, call center agents and a freelance writer sweating it out on a Friday night, when less basketball-crazed twenty-somethings would be out drinking.
Passing aside, Ken says I need to get the zone to respect me to open up our shooters. I need to be more aggressive going to the basket. And he's right. Look to pass first, but when the pass isn't there, go for the kill. I'll keep that in mind once the ABL season starts.
Ken, by the way, was in the running for MVP last season. Had we won the Finals, he would've gotten another sweet trophy to top the championship off. When our jumpshots aren't falling, and we're all out of sync, Ken puts his head down and just goes to the basket-- aggressively, as per his advice-- and gets to the free throw line. But he needs to get some pump-fakes in his game, Allan says, and I agree. Getting to the stripe is fine, but getting an easy lay-up after a sweet move is even better.
So earlier we talked about a lot of these things. And now I thought of putting up a stupid blog post about it. And I don't know why. And now I've run out of things to say, or maybe I've lost steam, and this has become a crappy stupid blog post. Fuck it. Wala lang. Basta, sarap bumasket.
It's usually a flirtation with Plath or Sexton or Berryman, but of my many students who've written about suicide, two have actually done it. After the second, years ago, I decided never to try to improve such a poem. We discuss it privately. I say, Don't do it. I say, Make an appointment with a counselor. Meanwhile, for myself, I've thought: how sensible. When my body becomes someone else's chore, when the mind fogs and the days lengthen and I'm unable to transform suffering into one of the higher pleasures, I hope to have the courage. Isn't there a curious elegance in how one moment passes into another? And won't it be easy to assume I'm dead already? But say a wise nurse, sensing my mood, shows me the tattoo on her breast. And a wise friend reminds me that the right solution is rarely the only one. I can imagine the lovely tactics of those who care. Rehearsals, postponements.
No right way to feel. Pure grief perhaps if the death was sudden and your child's. But if a parent is lying there and you're no longer a child, likely that sadness is mixing with relief. Perhaps there's even a small corner of freedom, in which you find yourself making plans. When my brother wept at grandmother's funeral, I drifted back to when Anthony Salvo hit him with a rock. "I'll get you dickface, I'll get you dickface," he kept repeating through his tears. Once I caught myself thinking about baseball. Another time, as the coffin was lowered, I recalled that a group of larks is called an exaltation. And who hasn't imagined his own dark day, even his own eulogy, and what friend might deliver it, and the exact quavering of his voice.