Monday, November 17, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Reason: There were a lot of events that I didn't have time to blog.
Last Monday, November 3, I came up with 3 blog entries regarding the championship that happened toward the end of September.
Reason: After ASLA 7, I bought a journal because I've been wanting to do so for the longest time and I saw Louise writing on hers a lot during the duration of the congress. And I love love my journal/notebook. I was reminded how much I enjoy writing. And to help mantain the order that I so desperately need in my life. Haha. Plus, it's pretty too. :D
Things I forgot to blog/do last month:
ASLA blog entry
Greet the many birthday celebrators :(
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Image from Mr. Rick Olivares' blog which was taken by Aly Yap
Last year, I had a blog entry "Before I let go" and it was because it's super hard to get over the loss against the Archers in the semi-finals and settling in the #3 spot of the UAAP Men's Basketball tournament.
This year I was so high after Ateneo won the championship. The countless beautiful stories about the teamwork, the love within the team and even the entire Ateneo community, the almost perfect season and all the steps that led to this victory. At the same time, we went through the overwhelming pride, joy, and gratitude after the game, during the bonfire Mass and the bonfire program, when wearing an Ateneo shirt and just knowing we're Atenistas.
At first, I thought the feeling of defeat last season would beat the feeling of victory this year but I was wrong. The Ateneo love was so strong that I couldn't help but get high. Soon, I found myself talking non-stop about the articles I read from various writers, how we got tickets for that last game and standing near the stage during the Bonfire (which thousands of Ateneans attended) even if it meant having an unwanted feet mud bath.
And so I agree with Mr. AR Samson when he says
Victories, even Olympic gold medals or World Cup Championships, need closure. This process is as necessary for joy as it is for painful losses.But before I do just that, I want to have a fitting entry to share how beautiful the journey and the victory has been. And because the high has overpowered any writing skills I have, I shall quote from the best Ateneo sportswriters and fans who have made my being a fangirl more exciting and more enjoyable.
From Fr. Ben Nebres' homily during the Bonfire Mass:
So – let’s give a round of applause to our Lord and to our Lady whose song we sing: “Mary for you, for your white and blue”From Rick Olivares' The Champions:
And thank you to this wonderful community -- you have been with us and with our teams through ups and downs. Win or Lose, it’s the school we choose. Through the ups and downs, we are community. We are Ateneo.
Just before they went out to face La Salle in the final game last Thursday, co-captain Chris Tiu spoke to the team: Focus on our game, focus on the play. Remember that yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. It is today, now that is the gift we focus on.
This is the story of all our champion teams. In the postgame interviews last Thursday, each of the Blue Eagles paid tribute to Coach Norman and thanked him for believing in them. They learned to believe in themselves and in one another. And they all became special.
You know they had to overcome pain and adversity. Nonoy was playing with great, great pain in his knee for the last weeks of the season. He said often he did not know how he could continue, the pain was so great. But he played on – played on great. Chris shared how he was a suki at the Moro clinic for all kinds of aches and pains. So much so that the sports clinic had a name for him “Made in China.” I shared with you last Thursday that the Friday before the Finals, Rabeh suffered a very serious sprain and was in great pain through Friday night and Saturday. We did not know till Sunday noon whether he would be able to play that Sunday. But with the miraculous gift of Dr. Canlas and Coach Andre, you saw what happened, a breakout game of 31 points.
Recalling Oogway’s words to Po: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today and today’s game is the present we focus on. Remember: There is no secret ingredient. We just have to believe. We are the Dragon Warriors.
So to all our Dragon Warriors, the Blue Eagles, the Lady Eagle swimmers, the Blue Eaglets, the Blue Eaglet swimmers, The Small Basketeers -- we are very proud of you. Just keep believing and striving even harder. Keep in mind the lessons you have learned of overcoming adversity. And you will grow up to be the young men and women who will win victories not just in the arena of sports but in the arena of life.
And, of course, now that the final victory is ours and we are at peace, we can join Shifu and Po after the mass and have something, maybe lots, to eat. God bless.
Thus far, they were beaten in three games with one more until the mission was done. The day before game two, Nonoy Baclao was icing his knees at the clinic in Moro Lorenzo. The team earlier got word that the team practically romped away with the majority of the season awards. Rabeh Al-Hussaini, walked in shook Baclao’s hand and joked, “Mula ngayon, tawag ko sa ‘yo ‘Doy.’ ‘Defensive Player of the Year’ kasi pero panget pakinggan yung ‘DPoy.’” Baclao congratulated his teammate on his winning the MVP plum; the fourth Atenean to win the award after Jun Reyes, Rich Alvarez, and Enrico Villanueva.
The Blue Eagles showed everyone that they too can come back.
When the oncourt celebration began, Al-Hussaini and Black enjoyed a tearful embrace in center court. “Thank you,” said the coach to his center who enjoyed one of the finest seasons of any Ateneo player ever. “Hindi, coach,” replied Al-Hussaini. “Thank you po sa inyo.”
And there was Ford Arao wearing a Mike Baldos jersey with Yuri Escueta’s number taped in front. His large frame standing out in the sea of blue that had crowded the maple court. He smiled that big goofy smile of his and sought out his former teammates. He found his buddies Escueta and Baldos and the three huddled up. They emerged with tears in their eyes as Escueta tapped Arao’s chest as if to say, “Para sa ‘yo ‘to, Ford.”
The big man wiped his eyes and flashed that grin of his. “Para sa community ‘to.”
It ended right where it began. In the solemn refuge of the Church of the Gesu.
And win or lose, as always, every one was there to give thanks, celebrate, and to remember. After all, this is the Ateneo Way.
From Myopic Eagle's We're Back:
Skipper Chris Tiu’s grin is never so boyish in multimedia as now in triumph and fulfillment. The ball frozen in mid-bounce signals that only this winning moment, this culmination counts; his future, big and bright as it is, will have to await his grasp as he would the ball’s return. Rabeh Al-Hussaini is posted on the left low block, his eyes gleaming and arms akimbo in relief over his potential to exponential transformation. Jai Reyes, who has been playing bigger and better in the clutch since his grade school years, has both arms raised in true underdog, Rocky Balboa fashion and why not? He proved his value to the team beyond doubt, beyond statistics. Nonoy, over on the right flank, is slightly hunched … as much from fatigue as from his ever-readiness to swat a shot or spring for a rebound … but his drowsy eyes turn up at the outward corners in half-mirth and he allows himself a modest smile. And at the top of the key, standing firm as a molave sapling is the future of Ateneo basketball already arrived: Ryan Buenafe, he of back-to-back Staglets championships and the sense of Ateneo belonging going further than his Adidas blue to his warrior heart.
But reality breaks into my reverie. Rolly Manlapaz, the closet albeit diehard Atenean, barks his loudest, proudest “Last Two Minutes” above the din of the blue side. His clear baritone and the outcome’s finality rouse the Ateneo fan-tastics to an ever mounting crescendo of cries and cheers, hand-clapping and foot-pounding. Then ensues a countdown worthy of a Times Square chant on New Year’s Eve. Bedlam erupts and engulfs the ending buzzer in a lahar flow of Go Ateneo! and One Big Fight! The Blue Eagles are Champions once again.
After all, it’s not just this last victory, or the championship, that is cause celebre. It’s the odyssey towards this moment that will have pride of place in Ateneo lore. The perfect half-season, Final Four and Finals: 11 straight wins counting back to August 3. For good measure, in that run lies a sweep of the second round, semis and best of 3 for the crown. In mostly dominating, sometimes late-closing, but always decisive fashion. Who’d have thought that this team originally rated no higher than 4th or 5th by many pre-season cognoscenti would win it all … and emphatically so.
Off-season tourneys in far-off gymnasiums will tamp down the withdrawal symptoms and insatiable curiosity about aspiring and remaining Blue Eagles. We will miss Chris and Yuri much as we did Ford and Zion, JC, Doug and Macky, LA and Magnum, Larry, Wesley, Rich and Enrico before them. But we will survive. Other rookies and incoming sophomores and juniors will step up, even as seniors and super-seniors take our team game to ever higher levels.
The drama plays on, the thrills abound season in and season out. See you all in July 2009. We’ll have a crown to defend.
From Rick Olivares' The Bacon Chefs re UE-ADMU final 4 game:
Inside the Press Room, the gathered media prepared to vote for the season awards. The television inside was on mute as the introductions of the starting fives were announced. Within minutes, UE had a 7-2 lead. A member of the host media team from UP said to no one in particular, “Bakit ganyan ang Ateneo? Kapag big game nawawala.”
Oh ye of little faith.
In the summer of the Blue Eagles’ preparations (spring time in the United States) for the campaign that matters, Norman Black was one time exchanging notes with a counterpart when a tearful Jai Reyes approached the two. “How do I help the team,” he asked. “I get posted up; others shoot over me. How can I help?”
The camp director who earlier exchanged a few notes about the players with Coach Norman, looked Reyes in the eye and said, “Well, son, you have to get under their noses.”
All season long Reyes has showed a different facet to his game. He no longer enters the game with a gunner’s mentality. He runs the show and plays great defense that he can almost tell you what brand of deodorant his man uses (if they do at all).
So when the Red Warriors took an early 7-2 lead with about five minutes to play in the first, there was no look of panic in Al-Hussaini and his teammate’s faces. As bad or misfiring they were in the opening stages, they had stayed close. And that is all that matters. “Let’s go, boys,” he yelled and as if on command the worm had turned.
Ateneo was off to their seventh UAAP Finals appearance to face the defending champions De La Salle while UE was off to examine another damning fold-up.
Eric Salamat and Ryan Buenafe huddled with their former mates Lee and Reyes in center court. Marcy Arellano, in his final game in red, stood fighting back the tears. In 20 minutes of play, he had zero points in six attempts (one of which was an airball that missed so badly). He only had 2 boards; the same number of turnovers he committed.
The jubilation on Ateneo’s part was restrained. After all the job is not yet complete. “Two more games to go,” reminded Norman Black.
From Reflections on a Championship by Simon Mossesgeld which I got from Bleachers Brew (Since I was almost quoting the whole thing, I just quoted the whole thing):
I watched the first game of the championship live right behind the bench and marveled, as I have many times throughout this season, at how this team is a team in the best tradition: unselfish, hard working, with great respect for one another, friends on and off the court. The players are largely unassuming. They do not strut about to let the world know how good they are or their team is. They just do their part and play their best together. This is what strikes me most about this team and I think it explains best its championship character. I could not watch the second game because I was teaching in a seminar but resolved to immediately proceed to the Gesu. I had texted Paolo Trillo that morning saying I would see the team in the Gesu. That is how confident I was.From Rick Olivares' Daddy Cool and that 1958 victory vs La Salle:
Someone asked me while we were waiting for the team to arrive at the Gesu after the championship, “Sir, do you miss being team manager?” I realized that I did miss it a bit but much, much more than anything I was very happy for the team. I was happy about how the coaching staff and management (and the school) formed the players into men we could all be proud of. I did not taste a championship during my two-year tenure but it did not matter because Ateneo basketball is more than championships. It is about giving it your best. It is about forming men with the right principles and values. It is about gratitude for all that we have received. It is about community. It is about God and this team, like many teams before them, is all these. But I sense there is more in this team.
A friend texted me the next day that she saw me at the Gesu that evening looking as if I was in a trance. I guess I was in a trance-like state. I was deeply thankful for God’s love for his players, his team and his Ateneo. I was very quietly happy for the team, for my fellow Ateneans and for the school and was simply content to bask quietly in the happiness and the gratitude that filled the church that evening. This is the Ateneo I grew up in and have grown to love.Tonight we will celebrate four champion teams—three in basketball and one in swimming. I once again thank God for his blessings.
The following day, the late-journalist and television personality Joe Quirino visited the campus in Loyola Heights expecting to find a festive atmosphere. Instead the college was stone-cold quiet.From Chris Tiu's Bon Fire (September 30, Bellarmine Field):
Quirino met up with the team's Spiritual Adviser and PT Fr. James B. Reuter S.J.
"Good morning, Father. Where are the boys?"
"Oh, they're in their classes taking their semestral exams," replied the Jesuit nonchalantly.
"After winning a championship?" asked the media man with raised eyebrows.
The good priest took Quirino by the arm as he showed him around Kostka Hall to check up on the players who were lost in thought as they took their tests. "Our players are students first and incidentally basketeers. We do not grant them favors just because they won a championship."
"Don't you think that they're tired after winning the championship?"
Fr. Reuter then explained that the team lost 30 players on both Team A and B between 1956 and 1958 owing to academic deficiency and breach of team discipline. "That's their lookout. Our players must have good grades to remain on the team. It is unfair to make a boy into a bum by passing him. They cannot be basketball players forever. They have to earn a living and basketball cannot teach them that."
I don't know exactly how long the waiting time is for those queuing. Coach Sandy overhears two people who had just come out of the tent saying: "Sulit na sulit ang hintay natin!" (It was all worth the wait.)From Chris Tiu's A Win FROM Him, and FOR Him (Don't you just love the title? :D Almost whole entry. hahaha.):
Those words said it all. Our efforts in signing and smiling were all worth it too even if we were extremely tired. In fact, I started getting all energetic again after midnight, maybe because I saw how we were able to put little smiles on their faces just by posing with them, signing posters, t-shirts and even body parts! We really appreciate everybody who came and supported the team all the way! It is really because of you people that move us to keep going and going until we can finally soar like an eagle.
When Jai made that running jumper with 1 minute something left in the game, I knew we had it! All of a sudden the gallery in blue, as if choreographed, held up signs that said 'Champions' which filled the entire lower portion of Araneta. And I got goosebumps! I've never felt such happiness that it forced me to tears as the game was still on-going. Then, Nonoy and Rabeh hugged me in the center court while Jai was icing the game in the free throw line. Ryan Buenafe passed me the ball as the final seconds ticked and I just threw the ball as high as i could as the buzzer sounded! I wasn't thinking anymore. I hugged everyone that came my way! I just loved everybody! If I remember correctly, the first person i saw and hugged was Coach Jamike. I almost squashed his glasses upon my shoulders but I didn't care anymore! then I looked for my buddy Eric Salamat who came from the bench because of his cramps. But all the physical pain just went away at that instant. As I promised to Rabeh, I will look for him as the buzzer sounded and jump on him. But he was just too surrounded. Then I hugged Coach Norman, to whom we offered this victory greatly. For the first time, he said "I love you Chris" and I responded "I love you too Coach!" Very uncharacteristic for both of us who always appear very serious and with no reaction.
It was a "mission accomplished" after 6 years of hard work and pain combined. More than the sense of fulfillment, i felt like the weight which i had to carry with me was relieved once and for all. From now on, i'll be merely a spectator. How I will miss wearing that blue and white jersey with the name "Ateneo" on it. It was a fairy-tale ending for me and I thank everyone but most especially I thank the Lord for this wonderful gift! I know that He has bigger plans for us and that there is a deeper purpose for all of this. Thank you Lord for making this dream come true! This win is for You, for Your greater glory!
I probably read a lot more that I couldn't find but this entry is long enough. Actually, it's too long. Hahaha. But hey, I told you this was an overwhelming season and those words only half express how it was. If you followed the games and love the Eagles, then you know what I mean. :)
And so know I shall get over this victory because as Mr. Samson said:
Get a life.
Closure, this is what we have to work on. If grief must be healed and brought to a close to move on with our lives, so too must euphoria. Remember the healing we needed after the 2006 finals with UST and last year’s stepladder fall? It may not seem obvious to you at first that closure is equally needed for triumphs. But the friends you have lunch with, including those from the group that thinks that the lesson from Aesop’s fable of “The Fox and the Grapes” is that if you don’t succeed, whine and please don’t get the second place trophy—will start avoiding you.
I have been told that we are making such a big fuss over this championship thing. This is usually delivered with a smirk from those who claim to have won so many that it’s just an annual event they have gotten used to...except this year when the officiating sucked. Anyway, I candidly tell such wet blankets that the reason we think a championship is truly a big deal is that we are not used to it. So, there.
This triumph brings all of us together. We rise and converge at the Gesù. Thus Fr. Pierre’s quotation affects all of us.
After all that, we move on with our day jobs and mundane concerns...until we again shuck off not our mortal coils but our regular mall attire to don the blue and white and sing lustily after each game whether won or lost the alma mater song that tells us where we belong and where we are—we stand on a hill.
Mr. Rick Olivares had this contest on his blog (http://bleachersbrew.blogspot.com/2008/09/chris-not-included.html):
We're giving away five adidas Ateneo shirts (like what Chris is wearing in the photo here) and five basbeall caps to five Brewsters out there. ... To win those shirts, all you gotta do is write a nice letter of support to the team using Brotherhood as a theme as they prepare for the UAAP Finals. I'll hand it in by Friday after lunch. Email them to me and I will make sure the team gets it.
And the thought of just writing a letter that the Blue Eagles would be able to read/hear was in itself an awesome idea for me. I don't have a list but if I did, this would be one of the things I want to do before I die. Hahaha.
But I still get the bonus: Mr. Olivares decided my letter merited me an Ateneo shirt and cap. (http://bleachersbrew.blogspot.com/2008/09/ateneo-vs-la-salle-by-numbers.html)
By the way, winners for the Write the Blue Eagles contest:
Allen De Vera
Ya'll won an Ateneo shirt from adidas + a baseball cap! Congrats!
I still don't have a picture wearing both. But I'm wearing it soon and I'll have loads of pictures in it. :))
Thank you Rick Olivares!!! :D I was honored when you dropped by this blog, I love reading the stuff you write, I'm extremely thankful to have had the chance to write a letter for the Eagles and I love the shirt and cap! :) Hope to get to meet you again, sir, in the future. :)
Run-down of the Ateneo Basketball Awardees of UAAP Season 71:
UAAP Season 71 Senior Men's Basketball Champions
Rabeh Ahmed Al-Hussaini
UAAP Season 71 Senior Men's Basketball
Mythical 5 Member
Most Valuable Player
Christopher John Alandy-Dy Tiu
UAAP Season 71 Senior Men's Basketball Mythical 5 Member
Ryan Clarence Buenafe
UAAP Season 71 Senior Men's Basketball Rookie of the Year
UAAP Season 71 Senior Men's Basketball Finals MVP
PS Bank Ultimate Maaasahan Player: Christopher John Tiu
KFC Court Colonel: Eric Salamat
Smart Defensive Player of the Year: Severino Baclao
Jollibee Champ of the Season: Rabeh Ahmed Al-Hussaini
Appeton Most Improved Player: Rabeh Ahmed Al-Hussaini
Tokyo Tokyo Rookie Team Center: Nicolas Salva
Tokyo Tokyo Rookie Team Forward: Ryan Clarence Buenafe
This was an overwhelmingly great season for the Ateneo Blue Eagles. I agree what I read from someone's comment: They exhibited great teamwork and that automatically translated to individual awards for the members of the team. Two men don't make a team, 16 people do. That's what the Ateneo Blue Eagles team showed everyone this season. Congratulations!!! :D
UAAP Season 71 Junior's Basketball Champions
Juan Miguel Tiongson
UAAP Season 71 Junior's Basketball Mythical 5 Member
John David Dumrique
UAAP Season 71 Junior's Basketball Finals MVP
The Blue Eaglets was awesome this year too. Once again, I just got to watch the finals but they were great. These facts just kind of make me sad: they have 4 graduating players, there are only 2 graduating players from the Blue Eagles and there are great players from other high schools. Oh well. For now, it's great celebrating the awesomeness of the Junior's team. This is what - their 16th or 17th title? Congratulations Blue Eaglets!!! :D
And to our women's team - our defending champions - they did put of a fight and so deserves the schools thanks and congratulations. Go get them next year. :D
//There are also other Ateneo teams who won championships in and out of the UAAP but I don't have the full details. Maybe after the second sem, I'll post a rundown of all the Ateneo awards for this UAAP season. :)