Issue of July 8, 2018
Mt. Province

70th Courier Anniversary Issue
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Fire Chot, Jong; disband Gilas

Puso is the battlecry of the Gilas basketball team. In the world of sports, it means to play hard, to play smart, and never say die.

To diehards, however, it transforms into a kill or be killed attitude, or as Filipinos itching for a fight love to say, “Unahan na natin sila.”

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In much earlier days, during the time of our forebears, puso had a more substantial meaning – love, compassion, understanding, and an ever hospitable, welcoming spirit.

But this was before the great change swept the country, and all too suddenly, we became a different and an indifferent people.

I have no idea when the transformation took place, but I suppose it began when we started worshipping paper than looking up to the heavens for guidance, when money in the pocket, even from the devil himself, was more significant than goodness of heart. But that makes for another story.

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As is always the case every time a rumble breaks out, the two clashing factions will blame one or the other for provoking the fight.

The Gilas people say that things got out hand when an Aussie player planted an elbow in the face of Gilas player Pogoy.

But in a physical game like basketball, flying elbows are par for the course. The offended player either does a flop while writhing in pain (kuno) on the floor.

Or he takes his lumps, and waits for an opportune time to get even, when the referees are looking the other way.

* * * * * * * * * *

But before then, during the Sunday practice sessions, the Aussies allegedly tore up the logos on the floor.

No one bothered to ask for a reason. It was quickly assumed that bad blood was the cause.

The logos were in fact slippery, and to avoid injury, they were taken out.

* * * * * * * * * *

But prior to the fight, coach (I shouldn’t even call him that, since his coaching style leaves much to be desired) Chot Reyes called time out, and he told his boys (caught on video) to put the Aussies on their ass, this at a time when his team was trailing by 30 points or so.

The Ateneo graduate gave the excuse that it was just basketball parlance, and even chided the Aussies for not knowing their basketball.

If only for that lame and inexcusable cop-out, Chot should be fired, trying to make us all look like fools who will believe everything what an Atenista says.

* * * * * * * * * *

And here’s the other coach, La Salle graduate Jong Uichico, after smacking a chair on the face of a fallen Aussie player, explaining that he got carried away by the moment, since he was like a father to his boys, and he only wanted to protect them from mayhem.

And what about Jio Jalalon? Wearing civvies because he wasn’t playing, he pretended to walk casually, but as soon as he came near an Aussie player just standing, Jalalon punched the poor fellow on the face just like that.

* * * * * * * * * *

Sure, the Aussies are to be blamed too for wading into the fray, but we are the host country, and we welcome visiting athletes with open arms.

Even if the visitors acted in a provocative manner, we are a civilized state, not a nation of savages.

On my part, I will no longer watch Filipino basketball. I would rather watch Alyssa Valdez and women’s volleyball, no more Philippine Basketball Association or Gilas.

* * * * * * * * * *

There they were, attending a security council meeting, their pictures splashed on the front page of a leading national newspaper – Special Presidential Asst. Bong Go, Mindanao Peace Process Chair Jesus Dureza, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and Labor Secretary Bebot Bello – waiting for President Rodrigo Duterte to call the meeting in order.

The Davao first five you might say. Before you know it, Go will be in the Senate, Dureza will be taking over from Bello, who will soon be appointed Ombudsman, while the bulky Medialdea will be happy to remain little President.

Duterte? If plans do not miscarry, he will be president for another six years since the one-year term and no re-election ban will no longer be there once federalism comes around.

“I will only be too happy to step down anytime,” the man says, but he will be happier with a fresh six-year mandate.

Don’t kid yourself. Duterte’s plans do not include us. The Chinese maybe.

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Local politics:

In 2016 or before the elections, with Duterte playing coy about his presidential dreams, Jojo Binay was deemed to be a shoo-in for the presidency.

But that was before the s__t hit the fan.

Where is Jojo getting all that money? And how did he manage to acquire so many large properties located in different parts of the country?

And today, here in Baguio, the leading candidate for mayor is Vice Mayor Ed Bilog, considered to be next in line as Veep Jojo Binay was.

Can Binay still cling to the top spot even when the dosizers hit the fan?

Let’s just wait and see. Reading the mind of Atty. Rene Cortes, he believes it will eventually come down to an Avila-Molintas fight, but hey, let’s not count out Jun Yangot. Tonyboy Tabora needs to scramble a little more, but hey, everybody has a chance, including Bilog himself.

One good thing about growing old is that you are no longer as affected by any change in the political landscape.

As my friend Kiangki says, “Paleho met laeng.”

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