Philippine Asian News Today Vol 20 No 16 - Page 28

SPORTS 28 SPECTATOR By Al Mendoza I wrote these days before the Philippines could face South Korea in Asiad basketball ongoing in Jakarta. Since I am not covering live the action in Indonesia, I feel kind of nostalgic--the reason being that I had covered the 1998 Bangkok Asiad and the 2002 Busan Asiad in South Korea. We finished third in Bangkok, beating Kazakhstan in the battle for bronze. After our win, our players were emotional after having escaped the upset axe. Jojo Lastimosa was the star of that game. We almost made the basketball finals in Busan, losing to South Korea by a single point in the semifinals on a buzzer-beater three. What added to our woes was the four missed free throws- -successively at that--in the dying seconds of the from Olsen Racela and Asi Taulava. Just two foul shots could have advanced us to the gold contest. With the loss to Korea, we lost heart in the battle for bronze and Kazakhstan easily defeated us. In our game against China on August 22, I “covered” it in Beijing. Stunningly, we outdid ourselves--but only because Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson was there to help us contain the heavily-favored Chinese. We lost by two points but it was a loss worth already a gold. That’s what it was. We were not even supposed to finish strong. Our chances of winning were both nil and slim. But, hey, didn’t we give them more than a scare? So, fret no more. We lost to China 82-80 but not after nearly pulling off the Asian Games’ biggest basketball PHILIPPINE ASIAN NEWS TODAY August 16 - 31, 2018 China beating us wasn’t really a big loss upset. We collapsed. We let a three- point lead in the dying seconds vanish. We bungled a couple of winning plays. Pressure did us in? We just couldn’t handle the specter of prosperity? But it’s all right, it’s all very fine. Wasn’t it enough that we almost made it? Had Paul Lee’s buzzer-beater from afar went in, we could have won it. In short, endgame breaks didn’t go our way. Too bad, indeed. Against China, the Great Wall is simply too massive, and too tall, to conquer. Nothing to be ashamed off, though. Chin up all the way, please? Besides, it was just a game for positioning. We’ve already advanced to the next round, anyways. And, in our heroic stand against the giants-laden Chinese, give credit to Jordan Clarkson, whose 28 points became instant proof of the wisdom behind the concerted move to tap him—at all cost—for the basketball campaign in the Asiad. Perhaps, had Clarkson, the Fil-Am from Los Angeles playing for Cleveland alongside LeBron James in the Cavaliers’ gallant but losing stand against Steph Curry and the Warriors in the last NBA Finals, not suffered cramps in the homestretch, the ending might have been different. Our three-point lead with seconds remaining might not have been erased by China’s blazing 5- 0 windup resulting in our two-point defeat. Suddenly as a result of our unexpected brilliance against China, we’ve become sort of a title-contender. If that’s an illusion, who cares? Let it be—for now. Look, the game has remained the talk of the town, almost overshadowing the golden effort of our weightlifter (53 kg) Hidilyn Diaz, the 27-year-old lass from Zamboanga. (Skateboarding is too big not only in the Philippines, Asia, but also all over the world),” she said. “I will give my very best for the Philippines.” Didal, the only Southeast Asian skateboarder to be invited to the Street League championships in London in May, got an opening score of 6.7 points after doing a difficult board slide on the railings and then accomplished 14.4 points on her second run. In the tricks section, Didal posted 6.0 in her initial run before getting 3.7 points in the second and then sealed the gold with scores of 7.1 and 8.9 points in the third and fourth attempts, respectively. It was her backside’s 50-50, 360-degree flip out performance in the last play that wowed the crowd. “Enjoy lang ako, kulit, kulit, kulit lang at wag isipin ang kaba,” said the happy Didal, referring to what she felt prior to the competition when asked about pressure. When asked what she is going to do with cash incentives worth P6 million that await her in Manila from various sectors, she replied that she would invest the money in a business to help her family. “For family, probably business. Hindi sa lahat ng panahon makakapag skateboarding tayo (Not in our entire life we’re going to rely on skateboarding),” said Didal, whose mother, according to Asian Games pool reports, is a sidewalk vendor of kwekkwek (eggs fried in flour batter) With her awesome feat that followed her Olympic silver in 2016 Rio, Diaz has finally put the country on the golden column, lifting us to 16th place among 45 nations in the quadrennial Games. With her breakthrough triumph that equaled our lone gold in the 2014 Incheon Asiad, Diaz, easily richer now with her P6-million plus incentives, said, in anticipation of her stint in the 2020 Tokyo Olympiad: “It can be done. An Olympic gold can be won.” Words only a true warrior can utter. THAT’S IT! Thank God I was able to watch the Philippines-China basketball game on Tuesday night at the Philippine Embassy in Beijing, China, in the company yet of Jimmy FlorCruz and his beauteous and comely wife, Anna Segovia. I thought I’d miss watching it. Jimmy had come to the rescue. He commandeered the embassy’s innermost crannies to pluck out the TV set for my delectation; thanks a lot, Jimmy! Almost each time we scored a basket, Jimmy, the retired CNN Beijing bureau chief (14 years in the serv 6RvVBV&2&6VBv@V( ŖW2( ג&fVBw&FGVFRF&76F"6F7F&vFvWFW"vFגbB6FRv2ff&RW&2&7VƖ@fv&W6ǒBV6Vf6ǒV@WBW"7GVGW'6FW"'&V`'WB'W'7FrvFv6FBvVFbf&FbFR6W6R6FBG2Vf&2FRG&F&FƖrf"7W&RBFRfBbFRw&VBvv2WW&V6RF&VV&W"F0גbW&2v2BVVvF6W'B2FW"ֆ7Frf"W0FW7FRFR66VW72b2VFG&FF&WBR2FR7W'&VB$0&Vr'W&VR6Vb&6FW&2bגf"fW vW&R6w&6W2VVvG&VFpW2f6ǒV6F7VGVW2FW'06W6RW&G2b6W'6Rf F&VRvG26W6rW2FvFFVBVFv^( F'WBFW"WFW&FVƖvBFVv2BvfRW2f&6VgV&V6V667W''rFW7BwЧf6BFRfW'֖WFRvRvBRBvN( 2&RW"G&bƖfWFRv26VB'FW"&rFR3&BvVFFpfW'6'bbגv6v2V7GVFVN( FfGFvǒFVg&6( 2fW'FR֖N( F''F7F2ЦfVBW&f&6RVV6VBV6'W"R7G&rFVVvF66V@bW&7b&"6'&W2@&V&Bv&6vR67FV֐wVwVFǖFf7'V626WfFBW'2G'VǒW&7( 2( p&( v2V'B&VFr@( 2( fRV&6R( FR6Vv26ǒ67WW&"BV&ǒ'&Vv@FV'2FגWW2bBWfW'&Gख2&W76RגF@( 6FW2bw&( 2v֗F&PvFBvVBf'GVǒ'&VvBFPW6RFvvF&6FW&2bגFRfW'FǒFR6F&6F( 0WG&VVǒV&77Vff6VB7FfbV@'&WG7ƗRBrFVFFWBFRvFמ( 2W&֗76𢆆VR( d6VW'26FV&&FW"2GFvBVFƗ7@6FV&&FW"6WFrFRF6vW2'F@V&rFW62'&Vv@&FRFfƗ2&vVǖ&FFFg&6V'P&f6R6GW&VBFRƗW>( fW'FvBVFvVFW6FgFW&BFR426FR&द&&r7'G26GV&r6R&W7FVBFR6WFFখFRvV( 27G&VWBf2`6FV&&Fr'6V7W&r3@G>( FVBb&RFffRG0fW"W6R6fW"VFf6W 6b#RG2( Ff"W 66r6vW2FV'WBखFW6'Vv疖0G26WGFVBf"'&RgFW f6rF&B( 6'&r6( fW'( FFFB&W'FW'2gFW W"vB7FF&BW&f&6R( 6'&rFp6Ɨ26VrF6'VrVFr6FV&&FpuurĕT4Uu5DD4ЦVr6V'R6GFFVBV&ǒ6Bv@vW'2FǖFbvVvFƖgFrvfW"V66BFRƗPvV( 2vbFVf"FFbfW vBVF2FRƗW22&vvVB0'&RVF26f"6R26WBF&WGW&FFW'6FrvFFW 6FV&&FW'2B&2DB