Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"We're bleeding...Para sa bansa 'yun"

TOKUSHIMA, Japan. – As the voice of national coach Chot Reyes started to crack with emotion in front of his players and tears fell, telecommunications tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan stepped back, took off his glasses and gently dabbed his eyes.

Grief over watching an Olympic dream die can overwhelm even the most astute of global business minds.

“How depressed am I? Honestly? Very depressed,” said Pangilinan, owner of the Talk ‘N Text Phone Pals. “Sabi nga ni Chot, we’re bleeding. Para sa bansa ’yun.”

Pangilinan, president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, had risen from his table to greet a group of reporters who arrived late for a dinner he hosted at a restaurant in front of the Tokushima Prince Hotel where the national team was billeted.

And he was to go back to his hotel room to pack and catch a dawn flight to Hong Kong. But he stayed a while to address questions from sportswriters and bare his anguish after Reyes’ touching speech.

“It’s not the end of the world for Philippine basketball, But sometimes, minsan, talagang nakakawala ng pag-asa,” he said.

“Sometimes you think, ‘ganito na lang ba?’ Parang, ‘O my God, will we ever make it?’ You find yourself asking that question. Tao ka lang, ’di ba? But there’s still tomorrow. We just have to do better.”

A man used to looking at even the direst of situations from a positive perspective, Pangilinan said the loss to Jordan and consequent elimination from contention in the 24th FIBA-Asia Championship that Tuesday night could be a “strategic loss.”

Expounding, he said: “Sometimes there are more lessons to be learned from losing than from winning. Let’s learn from it. We should be able to analyze what we need to do.”

The team’s disbandment appears apparent since the next major international tournament after the 24th Southeast Asian Games in Thailand in December and the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the target of the entire Philippine involvement in Tokushima, is the 2009 qualifying tournament for the World Championship in Istanbul, Turkey in 2010 where Asia has three representatives.

Pangilinan said that matter will be discussed when a review is made later, as with the possibility of getting one player for naturalization which the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) allows per team.

“You’ve seen a number of them. Nakita mo si [Rasheim] Wright [of Jordan], yung pumatay sa’tin? Amerikano ‘yon,” Pangilinan said. “Kailangan naman medyo balansehin natin. Pero huwag naman wholesale nating i-naturalize sila because the victory will be hollow.”

PBA chairman Ricky Vargas had gathered the ashen-faced players after dinner and thanked them profusely for their effort, assuring them that the PBA and the SBP were one with them every step of the way.

Then Reyes spoke, gravely at first, as he took responsibility for the failed mission, before his voice broke.

“I would go through the whole experience again with these boys,” said Reyes, his left hand on the heaving shoulders of forward Kerby Raymundo whose face was buried in his hands as muted sniffles filled the room.


News item from the official website of the Philippine Basketball Association

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Update: FIBA Asia Championship 2nd Day


8:50PM

Philippines - 79; China - 74 =)

Our first win over them since God knows when..two decades/1 and a half decades already i guess?

Jimmy Alapag was awesome and all-heart (25 pts)! Kenny Williams was equally fantastic providing much of the hassle and intensity! Caguioa scored crucial baskets at crunch time!

Ayos!

(--- > delayed telecast 'tong sa Basketball TV; don't know with that of ABC)
(--- > Tomorrow is an all-important game against Jordan; nood kayo; suporta tayo!)


photo courtesy of FIBA

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Avenue Plaza Hotel pre-launching tonight; meantime, Avenue Square's newest "gift" to be launched

Naga City Journal and other media outfits have already reported this:

NAGA CITY – Dubbed as the most anticipated event in Bicol, G7 Holdings Corporation announces the pre-opening rites for the soon to be fully completed posh and glittering Avenue Plaza Hotel, along Magsaysay Avenue, the city’s scintillating entertainment and food strip.

Opening rites will start at 6:30 in the evening of Saturday, July 28, 2007 to be hosted by the Cu family led by G7 Holdings President Fidel ‘Totoy” Cu and son Allan, along with guests City Mayor Jesse Robredo and First Lady Leni, other city officials, friends and associates and known personalities from the religious, business, and civic sectors.

Guests and promenaders will be treated to a live concert featuring “The Company” at the Avenue Convention Plaza after the formal ceremonies and cocktails.

The hotel will be formally opened for business in August, next month, it was also announced.


Likewise, Avenue Square's newest "gift" to its clientèle will be launched tonight via a wonderful program that will be highlighted by our "cover girls". Hint: They're considered by many as three of Naga City's and Bicol's women of distinction.

A simple and special tribute has also been prepared for three respectable men considered "Pillars of a New Bicol".

The Company, the country's premier vocal group, are already here and just had their sound-check at the convetion plaza.

A lot of Bicol's "who's who" have already confirmed that they are coming.

The "Avenue to a new Bicol" opens up tonight.

More updates later.

Team Pilipinas starts Olympic quest as personalities and Nike Philippines (and the Quackroom) urge the nation to BELIEVE

So here is Team Pilipinas' final line-up:

1. Asi Taulava
2. Mark Caguioa
3. Danny Seigle
4. Jimmy Alapag
5. Dondon Hontiveros
6. Kelly Williams
7. Gabe Norwood
8. Kerby Raymundo
9. Jayjay Helterbrand
10. Mick Pennisi
11. Erik Menk
12. Renren Ritualo.

Yap, De Ocampo, Dela Cruz miss cut.

Just a few remarks ---> I knew they would not sacrifice Eric Menk because he could serve as an assurance just in case something happens (knock on wood) to Asi Taulava and Mick Pennisi,
i.e. foul trouble or God forbids, injuries. After his outstanding performance in the Jones Cup, I also felt that Kenny Williams is indispensable. Shoo-ins for me have always been Asi Taulava, our only burly big guy in the team and probably the one who has to work the hardest as he will face the "giants" of China, Korea, Lebanon, and other top contenders; Mark Caguioa, our spark plug and foremost go-to guy; Danny Seigle, another formidable option at the offensive end; Jimmy Alapag, one of Asia's best pure point guards who can be very deadly beyond the arc; Dondon Hontiveros, probably our own version of Bruce Bowen, NBA's Spurs' defense specialist who can shoot from the outside (minus the dirty tactics I'd like to believe); Renren Ritualo, our real, best pure shooter who might ultimately carry us in the tournament (although I believe he'll not start for the team; we'll always need something off the bench); and Gabe Norwood, this kid for some reason reminds me of Scottie Pippen and/or Tayshaun Prince; and make no mistake about it, given the right attitude and guidance, this Fil-Am can still blossom into a really great player in the future. I thought James Yap has a huge chance of making it, and Kerby Raymundo has been so-so at best, but I guess the coaching staff opted for more height than fire power --- and I am confident that Kerby can still deliver big-time for the team in whatever role Coach Chot Reyes assigns to him.

In the end, I believe hassle, speed, defense, outside shooting and consistency (both at the defensive and offensive ends) will be the keys -- with some lucky breaks and of course, a whole lot of prayers ---> Not to mention, that big, never-say-die, "laban-kung-laban" "Pinoy" heart and attitude!

Meanwhile, in opener, we face dangerous Iran bannered by 7-foot-5 giant Jaber Rouzbahani Darrehsari who "can grab the rim flat-footed and can dunk tipping only his toes". We
play defending champion China Monday and Jordan Tuesday.

In related development, PB
A Commissioner Noli Eala, BAP-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Executive Director Patrick Gregorio, former National Team members Alvin Patrimonio, Jeffrey Cariaso and Olsen Racela, RP Youth and De La Salle Head Coach Franz Pumaren, Team Pilipinas Assistant Coach and Ateneo Head Coach Norman Black, former Olympian Akiko Thomson, TV personalities Reema Chanco and Jinno Rufino, entertainers Francis Magalona and Michael V., sportscaster & triathlete Tricia Chiongbian, supermodel Tweetie de Leon, and trendsetter Tim Yap became the first high-profile personalities to show support to the Philippine Team by wearing the Limited Edition "Believer" shirt by Nike Philippines who "joins the numerous Filipinos who believe in Team Pilipinas". Through its limited edition “Believer” t-shirt, Nike hopes to encourage more people to show their support.



My prayers to our Team Pilipinas. All the best! Ipandila natin ang lahing ASTIG!

Photo above courtesy of Tom Epperson via FrancisM's a Free Mind and Mukamo Philippines.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Evolution of Dance

No sane man will dance - Cicero ---
thank God, Jud Laipply doesn't think that he's lucid ---
or else, we won't have the chance to enjoy this ---
(note: umamin yung may mga steps nito noon =>)


Road Trip

We are all travelers on this road we call life. We may have different starting points but our journeys are all interconnected by way of this magnificent thoroughfare. Sure, there are adjoining paths and side roads that sometimes catch our fancy so we follow them; bringing us to places and experiences that forever will leave essential marks in our lives. Some of them may lead us astray. We drift and wander until some lucky stars point us back to the right direction. Some may direct us to some cold and empty spaces where we will find ourselves on our own - unsure and vulnerable. They may even introduce us to some rocky and dusty trails that could either jolt us from oblivion or leave us stuck in the middle of nowhere.

And then, we wake up or at least our spirit, muster the courage, and forge ahead -- until we find our way back to that great and winding road where some of life’s greatest lessons and pleasant surprises await to be realized.

Can we blame ourselves then if we find ourselves smiling; shaking our heads – grateful of the reassuring presence of our fellow travelers yet deep inside, almost in an utter disbelief that some of those things could actually come about?

But hey, unless we forget, this is the avenue; the great voyage of life – and anything can happen here.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

One of those scenes you'll see and love at Max's here at AvenueSquare



I do not intend to be sentimental this morning but this particular scene that I am witnessing right now here at Max's Restaurant makes me, well, a lil' mushy. Just across my place is the long table (well, this particular "long table" is actually composed of smaller tables linked together) which is usually reserved for big groups of diners. I have seen so many groups of people ate there in the past: cliques of young professionals or students; officemates; business-minded circles; and of course, families. Today, the long table is host to another family who decided to eat lunch here at Max's. But what caught my attention was aside from being a "big" family (they're 15), this one is quite "old" already. If not for two special words that I overheard, I have already mistaken them for a "long-standing" barkadahan (circle of friends) that has withstood the tests of time or high school buddies from way back the swinging sixties or the disco-crazed seventies. With the way they joked around and teased each other, anyone would have committed the same lapse of judgment (Hello Garci?).

Anyway, the two words that made me realized that I was wrong were: Tatay and Nanay. Upon hearing those, it dawned on me that this is some sort of a family reunion. How many family reunions have I witnessed here at Avenue Square, particularly here at Max's? So many already. But what sets this apart from the rest was that particular "Kodak moment" or "pang-commercial na scene" where the oldest, smallest, and apparently weakest woman of the group who is seated at the head of the table suddenly began to cry.

"Si Nanay o naghihibi na..."

"Dae na maghibi Nay..."

"Ngonyan na tiripon lugod kita saka man naghihibi si Nanay..."

"Helinga si Tatay ta ayos lang..."

"Garo naghihibi man si Tatay kaya lang dae risa ta naka-Ray-Ban"

"Nay?"

"Tay?"


"..."


"Maogma lang kaya kami ta rayaon kamo gabos..."


Haay, mga nanay nga naman. No wonder "mother" is being considered by many as the most beautiful word and I couldn't agree more...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Can we do something about the Wikipedia article on the "Bicolano People"?

Time and again, I am reminded that nothing comes absolutely for free here in this world. There's always a price for everything; there's always a catch. Wikipedia is one of the hottest things right now in the internet. I myself would browse its pages in search of information needed in my work, research, and personal pursuits. However, I am aware that there is a need to double-check every entry I find in there since all information that it carries can be contributed or edited by anyone who just happened to be registered with it. Even Wikipedia itself admits that "...articles may still contain significant misinformation, unencyclopedic content, or vandalism" and that "(users) need to be aware of this to obtain valid information and avoid misinformation that has been recently added and not yet removed". A studied indifference is therefore needed for anyone who would like to make good use of Wikipedia.

My reading of an entry about Jose Rizal led me to another entry about "Bicolano People". I was surprised that there is but a very short article about the "Bicolano People"-- about us. It almost has nothing on it except the already familiar ones like our penchant for using chili peppers and gata (coconut milk) in our cuisines; the Bicol Express; and that most of us are devout Roman Catholics.

Aside from this, what puzzled me are these lines:

Bicolanos live in the southeastern peninsula of Luzon, now containing the provinces of Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, and Catanduanes. Many Bicolanos also live in the provinces of Masbate, Camarines Norte, and Quezon.
Okay the above passage may be true technically (like saying that a secretariat is a horse), but there's more to it than meets the eye. And my fear is that some people may easily take it as telling them that 1.) Bicol is only composed of the provinces of Camarinse Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, and Catanduanes, or 2.) Masbate and Camarinse Norte are not part of Bicol (there are just many Bicolanos living there right now) - although some people there may already have such notion in themselves, or 3.) Quezon is a Bicol province!

This geographical mix-up reminds of me of a funny incident that happened during one of the JPIA (Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants) conventions (Bicol chapter) that I was able to attend back then when I was still an accounting student in the University of Nueva Caceres. There was this beauty pageant held, which was one of the many programs of the convention apart from the usual Accounting Quiz Bowl, oratorical speech contests, and other competitions, and a candidate was asked, rather strangely, by a Caucasian judge during the question and answer portion, to name five European countries belonging to the European Union. A very unusual question indeed for a beauty pageant that did not have any relation whatsoever to the theme of the pageant or to the entire convention altogether. Understandably, that caused quite a stir in the largely nerdy-looking crowd. But alas, that controversial question got a more controversial answer. The obviously nervous candidate who hails from the host province correctly enumerated, albeit stammering, four countries, but the last country she named brought the house down. She said: "And finally, the Philippines!" with a big smile; arms up and hands open in the air! But this is another story. Oh by the way, before I continue, that candidate won! When I and other officers were just outside the dressing room waiting for our candidate, we heard someone shouting. Later we found out that it was a gay 'handler' of a losing candidate who, perhaps out of disgust of the result, was seen shouting: "Now we have been enlightened! Philippines is part of Europe, and __________ (the name of the host province) is part of Mindanao!" -- sabay dabog daw at layas.

During the rather lively huddles that took place after the pageant, a few critical questions were raised. What went on the mind of that candidate during that time? Was it an honest mistake? Or if it wasn't, was it a reflection of the standard of education we have right now in the region? How come that college student who was supposed to be the "pambato" (the best bet) of the host province in terms of beauty, wit, and intelligence missed that one? And hell yeah, how come she won!?

Onli in da Pilipins eh?

Anyway, moving on, another part of the entry that prompted me to blog about it was the part talking about the "list of prominent or noteworthy Bicolanos". Hereunder are the items (italics mine):

For a list of prominent or noteworthy Bicolanos.

  • Raul S. Roco - was a Philippine Senator from Bombon, Camarines Sur
  • Jorge Barlin - was the first Filipino bishop from Baao, Camarines Sur
  • Francisco Tatad - was a Philippine Senator
  • Gregorio Honasan - is Philippine Senator
  • Joker Arroyo - is Philippine Senator from Bato, Camarines Sur
  • Francisco "Chiz" Escudero - is Philippine Senator from Sorsogon
  • Nora Aunor - a celebrity from Iriga City
  • Eddie Garcia - director and celebrity
  • Honrado Dequiros - columnist
  • Beatriz Saw - Pinoy Big Brother Season 2 Big Winner, Jed's Ex-Girlfriend
Now, first of all, I know the list is not only grossly incomplete, but also worthy to be perused; even the definitions for the people in the list can be improved. But I am not an expert on Bicol and the related areas, so I hope some people out there who know more than me scrutinize this entry and make necessary corrections. I believe that the knowledge that you have right now about Bicol and everything Bicolano gives you the privilege, the right, and the responsibility to serve as vanguards of our culture, our heritage, and our image to the rest of the world. Remember, "to whom much is given, much is required in return".

Also, consider these: Is our culture just "primarily noted for the prominent use of chili peppers and coconut milk in its food"? Don't we have any rich history and tradition to speak of in the mecca of information most visited today by so many people all over the world? And yeah, who in the world is Jed on the first place? I know one Jed way back in college, a nice guy and had been rumored to have actually dated Bea, but I am not sure if he is even worth mentioning here!

In Avenue Square, we usually search the net for entries about "Avenue Square" for two major reasons: 1.) to know how people see us so that we may be able to build on our successes or improve our services when deemed necessary; and 2.) to be on the look out for any wrong information about us so that we may able to counter this and protect our integrity.

I believe people in the proper positions should do the same for our beloved Bicol and for our very selves who are the very "people" this particular article is talking about. Sure, I can do my part; add a tidbit or two; but I can only do so much for this particular case.

In a world where rapid advancement of information technology has been wickedly prevalent, information - regardless whether they are valid, illuminating, helpful or otherwise - can be unleashed, passed around, and can build perceptions that can easily be accepted by other people as realities within seconds; at the strike of a button. Thus, a greater sense of responsibility and vigilance are needed to spot the genuine from the hoax and misleading; and in the process, safeguard us from the ill effects of ignorance, distorted reality, and even unscrupulous propaganda.

We are in the age of information where information is more powerful than ever before. Those who have the information have the power -- and the accountability that comes with it.

So can we?

Here's the rest of the article about the "Bicolano People".




Friday, July 20, 2007

Behind the Scenes: The Making of Another "First" in Naga

July 20, 2007
3:35 AM


We are still working here inside the Avenue Square administration office - editing, proofreading, and trying hard not to fall asleep all at the same time. For the past three days, we have been like this. This is for the newest addition to the list of "firsts" that we have successfully introduced here in Naga City and thankfully, were embraced by our target clientèle.

A week from now, we are going to launch it, and we hope and pray that our sacrifices and efforts will eventually bear great fruits. Our "cover girls" are some of the most decorated and stylish ladies in the city and probably, in the region. (Care to guess who?)

We are very sure that you will learn a lot from them through the feature articles written about them.

On the one hand, UNLIKE the several lifestyle centers being built or about to be constructed on several areas along Magsaysay Avenue, this new "baby" of ours will NEVER be a "me-too" product. On the other hand, LIKE Avenue Square, it will be a pioneer, a purveyor, and champion of innovative thinking, entrepreneurial spirit, visionary leadership, and an elegant, smooth, intelligent, and meaningful lifestyle.

We ask you then to travel the road to boundless possibilities with us. Meantime, I daydream of my pillows and bed, and my dreams, and wanderings...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ayala Young Leaders Congress unfolds 2007 search

I am an alumnus of this congress (2004), and I believe AYLC is one of the greatest corporate initiatives there is right now in the country courtesy of my favorite Filipino business house, Ayala Group of Companies. AYLC has transformed so many young lives, mine included, and many communities around the country through the works of these alumni who now belong to its network, the Ayala Young Leaders Alliance (AYLA). I am posting this to be of help to the Ayala Foundation and the rest of the Ayala Group in their search for the new batch of promising young people who are already ripe to respond to the call for value-based and dynamic leadership that our country badly needs these days. This is an email from Marie Sol T. Delantar, Youth Leadership Development Manager, Center for Social Development of Ayala Foundation.


Call for Nominations - 10th National Ayala Young Leader

Sorry for cross-posting. .. We need more good leaders for this country.
Having said that, I hope you can do me a little favor and help us
forward this to all young leaders who are just waiting to be
discovered, honed and empowered.

Also, please forward to family and friends in their penultimate year in
college -- who you think might qualify. (Note: His or her school
should be (at least level II) accredited by CHED, FAAP, AACCUP.)
Please visit www.ayalayoungleade rs.org.ph to download the Student
Application set and for more information on AYLC 2008. Deadline for
School Nominations will be on August 24, 2007. Please read write up
below.

What is AYLC?

The Ayala Young Leaders Congress (AYLC) is an annual

summit that brings together 70 of the most promising student leaders
from colleges and universities from all over the country. The Congress
is part of the Ayala Group's youth leadership development program
called "Shaping Tomorrow's Leaders", which was launched in December of
1998. The Congress, now on its 10th year, is a three and a half-day
event involving workshops, lectures, outdoor activities, plenary
sessions and group discussions designed to hone the students'
leadership skills and potential.

How can I be part of AYLC?

AYLC looks for well-rounded students with
effective leadership, academic excellence and a strong love for their
country and their people. If you are a critical thinker, emotionally
mature and independent, and if you can communicate well and are
recognized as an outstanding student leader in your school or
community, then AYLC is for you.

Only student leaders graduating in school year 2008-2009 may apply for
the congress. This will allow the student leaders selected for the
Congress to return and serve their schools for another year with the
new skills and renewed motivation they received from the congress.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Will Team Pilipinas make it to Beijing?


I have been thinking of setting up a blog for my favorite sports, basketball, but for the meantime that I haven't done it yet, let me blog something about it here.

If you can't take a discussion regarding basketball, my apologies and my goodbyes. On the first place, this is, by all indications, for all basketball fans out there.

So, let's begin.

Okay, okay, now that we won the 4-nation Manila Invitational championship at the expense of Lebanon, every Filipino basketball fan in the country, myself included, is now basking in high hopes and is, with all possible fingers that can be crossed, crossed, looking forward to a similar finish when we compete for an Olympic berth in the FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship in Tokushima, Japan less than two weeks from now. Or at least, a second place finish behind China and China only. I'll expound on this later.

But for the meantime, let's remember that the last time a Philippine basketball team made it to the Olympic games was in, gasp, 1972! The best finishes we had were a bronze medal in 1954 during the FIBA World Championship for men and a fifth-place finish in the 1936, yes, 1936 Summer Olympics.

Of course, we all know that the dynamics of the game has changed hugely for the past, what, 10, 20 years. And our Asian neighbors have already caught up with us in terms of skills and China, with its players seemingly becoming taller and taller each year, has become a powerhouse team. And for a game that relies heavily on height and size to succeed, or at least, to be competitive, this has been one great challenge for us Pinoys who are naturally short and small (specifically by international basketball standards).

So, that's why we have had a really, really tough time qualifying for the Olympics. To add insult to injury, FIBA allots one slot only for Asia, and China, being a perennial powerhouse, has been reigning over the region and thus, has been representing Asia in the Olympics.

That is why a lot of people are already saying that basketball is, matter-of-fact, not for us, like Tribune's Rudy Romero who has all the reasons to doubt about our chances in the game in the international arena, and instead pushes for football as a sports where we can be a world great; and PDI's Manolo Inigo who thinks, contrary to the beliefs of our current national coaches and sports officials, that the dark days of Philippine Basketball are not yet over, and we are just "only good in the lower-category tournaments such as the Seaba Club Champions Cup and the Southeast Asian Games", prompting him to ask "quo vadis Philippine basketball"? Ouch!

But halt there, because there are still people who believe that we have what it takes to make it big (no pun intended) in the international arena, like, hmm.. Benhur here.; some people here; and here ; and a lot more people out there; and finally and quite recently, Dragan Raca, the Yugoslav coach of the Lebanese basketball team who is also considered to be one of the best coaches in Europe. He believes the Filipinos are capable of topping the "Group of Death" in the FIBA-Asia Men's.

According to him as quoted by Team Pilipinas blogsite:

"The Philippines can beat everyone in that group with its speed. But it will also depend on the players' rhythm and their coaches' scouting," said Raca, who played for the Yugoslavian national squad in the '80s and was a teammate of the late NBA star Drazen Petrovic of the New Jersey Nets and journeyman center Vlade Divac, who suited up for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings.

Given the talent stacked in Group A of the FIBA-Asia preliminaries – China, Iran, Jordan and the Philippines – Raca said "it's very hard to pick which team will come out on top because all four are very good and play different brands of basketball."

Considered one of the top coaches in Europe, Raca said the young Chinese are the future of basketball in China, Iran is the most physical, the Philippines has the speed, and Jordan has been practicing for at least a year.

"They are of the same level, but the Philippines is capable of beating them if they do the right things."

Now let's take note of this:

"The Tokushima FIBA-Asia Championship, set July 28-Aug. 5, will pick Asia’s representative to the Olympics. As Olympics host, China is seeded to the Games.

If the Chinese make it to the FIBA-Asia final, then the other finalist will go to Beijing as well. If China fails to reach the final, then only the FIBA-Asia champion gets a ticket to the Games." - Philippine Daily Inquirer


For the first time in the Olympics, two slots are allotted for Asia. So, as national coach Chot Reyes pointed out earlier, we have a bigger chance to clinch that elusive Olympics berth. But the stakes are still high. Hereunder are three possible scenarios that can happen in Japan:

Artwork "Team Pilipinas" courtesy of Nike Basketball.

Scenario 1

Champion- China
Runner up - Philippines
Third - Lebanon (or any other team)

Scenerio 2

Champion- Philippines
Runner up - Lebanon (or any other team)
Third - China

Scenario 3

Champion- Lebanon (or any other team)
Runner up - Philippines
Third - Korea



Scenario nos. 1 and 2 are what we want, however take note that in scenario no. 2, Lebanon, despite winning second place will not make it to the Olympics since China is automatically seeded. When scenario 3 happens, only Lebanon goes in as well.

So the members of our current national team, our Team Pilipinas, will play the biggest games of their careers in Japan for flag and country. And I will join the rest of the nation to support them. Needless to say, I still want to believe in our program, our system, our brand of basketball, our strengths, our never-say-die attitude, and in our team - and in fact, I really do!

So will Team Pilipinas make it to Beijing?

You bet, I believe,we have a fighting chance!

GO TEAM PILIPINAS!

How about you there, kabayan? Any take on this?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Paul Potts wins over the weather

14 July 2007
5:30 PM


When was the last time that you felt the melancholic weather outside resonated inside you?

I experienced that today - until a modern-day "Cinderella man" or "Cinderfella" and his tale came to the rescue.

We had an overcast day here in Naga City. It seems that the sun has played hide and seek with the clouds today, the whole day. The trees danced with the cool wind, slowly; gracefully, and an ethereal mist seems to fill the air. And just like that, I was in a pensive mood again. I felt the gloomy weather reverberated inside me.

Like many times in the past, I sought refuge from music and found it, but this time, a great inspiring story was in tow. It is courtesy of Paul Potts, that unassuming, yet extremely talented singer and former mobile phone salesman from Port Talbot in South Wales (UK) who wowed us all (including someone like me who is outside Britain - thanks to YouTube for the access) and romped away with the top prize in the very first season of Britain's Got Talent, a British Television show created by my favorite American Idol judge Simon Cowell.




...

Paul admitted that he was bullied when he was a kid, and his voice has always been a source of solace. His official website tells us:


Bullied at school for being 'different', he realised growing up that he had one true friend and that was his voice. Singing was his escape. He was able to lose himself in his own little world - the vicious words of his tormentors replaced by hauntingly beautiful lyrics and melodies that lifted his heart and spirit. It was a love, a passion, a lifeline that would follow Paul into adulthood and help him through many more periods of adversity. But it was also a gift that was destined to go largely undiscovered, due to a crushing lack of self-confidence that has dogged this hard working and humble man throughout his 36 years.


Despite all, this humble bloke persevered in life in pursuit of his dream and his passion. He attended classes in Italy, using the money he won from another tv show, to learn more. For the love of his art, he joined opera performances but was never paid. He suffered from burst appendix; broke his collar bone in an accident; and has struggled all throughout his life due to his chronic lack of self esteem and fear of rejection.

Then, enter Britain's Got Talent. And the rest, as they say, is history. For once, fate smiled on the man who appeared to be too shy to smile probably because he is so self-conscious of his very crooked teeth, as many observers noted.





...

His feet have barely touched the ground since his victory last Sunday and he's got a host of engagements to prepare for. The Thursday after winning, Paul flew to New York to perform in the plaza for NBC's Today show - just days after Enrique Iglesias played the same venue and, the previous week, JonBon Jovi! Then he'll be back to the UK to start work on his first album.

And, of course, there's also the VIP performance for which he was competing in Britain's Got Talent - appearing in front of Her Majesty the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance in early December.



"It has changed my whole life. I used to feel so small and insignificant. But now I know I am someone - I am Paul Potts and this is what I do"
"It has done so much for my confidence and I really can't thank people enough for giving me the chance to realise my dream. To be given an opportunity like this is more than I ever could have hoped for. Finally, I am going to be doing what I've always felt I was put here to do - something I love and that gives me so much joy."




...

On the one hand, rediscovering Paul Potts, his gift, and his music is indeed, to borrow Simon's remark, a complete breath of fresh air. I was, for the most part of it, with heart racing and goose bumps all over, fighting back tears, nodding; rooting for the guy - and for all the things that for me he symbolizes. I thought something so wonderful blossomed or unfolded again before my eyes, and it was music magic all over again!

On the other hand, his story nudges me to think of the other similar and wonderful stories of triumphs amid the odds happening everyday around us. Hope, inspiration and the innate greatness of the human spirit time and again are able to break out of and break free from the shackles of a painful past, poverty, and despair and in the process, moving us who stand witnesses to this to make things happen for ourselves, or at least, to sit back and cogitate about our own situations in life; or maybe, just maybe - encouraging us to dream, believe, and love again.

And when such thing happens, the world, I know, becomes a bit better.

Dusk is here already, and it's starting to drizzle outside.

Inside me, I can feel some kind of warmth, and sunshine, and -- hmm, renaissance arising -- the mist and weather notwithstanding.

Awesome September, Parokya ni Edgar, Bea Saw, Corporate Sponsors, and Avenue Square

As the Peńafrancia executive council reconvened, the city of Naga officially began its preparations for this year's Peńafrancia Festival. September is once again just around the block. Of course, when we talk about September here in Bicol, we can not not deal with the feast of our dearly loved "Ina", the Lady of Peńafrancia.

Avenue Square
made its presence felt big time last year with its "Awesome September" campaign. While the entire management and staff of Avenue Square and its sister companies participated in the religious and more essential events of the festival with our bosses (the Cu family whom a lot of Bicolanos know to be very religious, philanthropic, and generous to the Church and its ministries) leading the way, as a lifestyle hub in Bicol, Avenue Square also made it a point that it contributed to the colorful celebration of the festival.

"Awesome September" was a huge success. It was, well, truly awesome! We had some of the biggest and most attended events last year under its banner, like the SMB grand street party that featured, among other Manila party bands, recording artists Imago; the Lisam Extreme Trans Show, considered by many as the biggest trans show (combination of cars and motorbikes show) ever staged here in Bicol (Avenue Square partnered here with Lisam Enterprises, Bicol's most trusted and leading one-stop-shop for car owners); the Brownman Revival (a very popular reggae band/recording artists) concert and the FHM fashion show (that featured sexy FHM male and female models) which were part of the same Lisam Trans Show; and the Wings Tour that was top-billed by the all-Ateneo Parokya ni Edgar, a Filipino band who has been dubbed as the "Pambansang Banda ng Pilipinas" for its almost iconic status and phenomenal success in the music industry that has already spanned over two decades (I would'nt wonder if bands of the future would one day come up with a tribute album for this group, in the same breath as the tribute albums made by bands of today for Eraserheads and the APO Hiking Society). The Miss Bicolandia 2006 pageant (that had by the way Beatriz Saw, a fellow alumus of Ateneo's Media Studies Department and member our college clique "Babytoys", of Pinoy Big Brother 2 fame as one of the candidates) even had its post-pageant dinner at the Avenue Convention Plaza.

With all of these said, Avenue Square is opening its doors to interested corporate partners for its upcoming September campaign. I have uploaded here the communiqué that I and my team had composed in connection with this.
























For inquiries and details especially about our event line-up for this year and investment packages, please feel free to contact me here or email me at donaldbercasio@gmail.com. Your investment with Avenue Square, Bicol's first and premier lifestyle center, will surely go a long, long way. Slots are limited though, so touch base with us now!

Thank you and more power to everyone!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Bicol's premier lifestyle hub opens doors to partners for September festivities

As the Peńafrancia executive council reconvened, the city of Naga officially began its preparations for this year's Peńafrancia Festival. September is once again just around the block. Of course, when we talk about September here in Bicol, we can not not deal with the feast of our dearly loved "Ina", the Lady of Peńafrancia.

Avenue Square
made its presence felt big time last year with its "Awesome September" campaign. While the entire management and staff of Avenue Square and its sister companies participated in the religious and more essential events of the festival with our bosses (the Cu family whom a lot of Bicolanos know to be very religious, philanthropic, and generous to the Church and its ministries) leading the way, as a lifestyle hub in Bicol, Avenue Square also made it a point that it contributed to the colorful celebration of the festival.

"Awesome September" was a huge success. It was, well, truly awesome!We had some of the biggest and most attended events last year under its banner, like the SMB grand street party that featured, among other Manila party bands, recording artists Imago; the Lisam Extreme Trans Show, considered by many as the biggest trans show (combination of cars and motorbikes show) ever staged here in Bicol (Avenue Square partnered here with Lisam Enterprises, Bicol's most trusted and leading one-stop-shop for car owners); the Brownman Revival (a very popular reggae band/recording artists) concert and the FHM fashion show (that featured sexy FHM male and female models) which were part of the same Lisam Trans Show; and the Wings Tour that was top-billed by the all-Ateneo Parokya ni Edgar, a Filipino band who has been dubbed as the "Pambansang Banda ng Pilipinas" for its almost iconic status and phenomenal success in the music industry that has already spanned over two decades (I would'nt wonder if bands of the future would one day come up with a tribute album for this group, in the same breath as the tribute albums made by bands of today for Eraserheads and the APO Hiking Society). The Miss Bicolandia 2006 pageant (that had by the way Beatriz Saw, a fellow alumus of Ateneo's Media Studies Department and member our college clique "Babytoys", of Pinoy Big Brother 2 fame as one of the candidates) even had its post-pageant dinner at the Avenue Convention Plaza.

With all of these said, Avenue Square is opening its doors to interested corporate partners for its upcoming September campaign. I have uploaded here the communiqué that I and my team had composed in connection with this.
























For inquiries and details especially about our event line-up for this year and investment packages, please feel free to contact me here or email me at donaldbercasio@gmail.com. Your investment with Avenue Square, Bicol's first and premier lifestyle center, will surely go a long, long way. Slots are limited though, so touch base with us now!

Thank you and more power to everyone!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Saturday, July 7, 2007