Manila Vanilla

What it's like to be a U.S. Fulbright scholar, basketball player, journalist, and the whitest man in Metro Manila.

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Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

New Yorker by birth, shipped across the globe to the world of malls, shanty-towns, patronage, corruption, basketball and a curious burnt-toast smell that wafts around at dusk

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

PBA Home-cooking

It's hard to find people involved with the PBA who have a lot of confidence in the league's referees. Cynicism is the rule, and the officiating is as much a running joke for PBA insiders and observers as are the league's wacky mascots, lethargic cheerdancers and corporate-sponsored team names. Players and coaches enter games with a mindset that at-best, the refs will blow obvious calls. At worst, they fear the refs will totally screw them. Even when this happens, the one-sided calls are common enough that members of the losing side just shake their head and move on. It takes some truly shameless refereeing situation to provoke an emotional reaction, and that's what happened last week at the end of the Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants' 87-86 win over the Alaska Aces.

Purefoods came into the game with a 7-1 record, the best in the league. Alaska, champions of the most recent import conference, were 4-3, but both teams expected a hard-fought game. Purefoods is one of the three San Miguel Corporation-owned jewels in the PBA's crown. The team, along with Barangay Ginebra and the San Miguel Beermen/Magnolia Beverage Masters, are among the league's oldest franchises and its most popular. When teams from outside the San Mig empire play one of them, they expect the balance of the calls to go against them. The refs were doing a surprisingly good job until the final seven seconds of last Wednesday's game. Alaska benched league MVP Willie Miller for arriving late and got off to a slow start. They fell behind by as much as 19 points but were able to claw back in the third and fourth quarters to take a late lead. Up 86-85 in the final minute, they needed one defensive stop to hand Purefoods its second loss. That's when the refs' worked their magic.



Here's what you're watching in the last 6.9 seconds of the game. After a Kerby Raymundo missed jumper, Alaska Center Sonny Thoss and Purefoods guard Brandon Cablay got tied up with the loose ball and the refs called a jump ball. Alaska must have felt pretty confident with the 6-7 Thoss jumping against 6-footer Cablay. It's possible that the tension of the moment affected the referee, because his first toss sailed about five feet to the side of both players. Thoss never came close to the ball and Cablay reached out and caught it. Boom -- that should be a game-clinching violation. If one of the jump ball participants catches the rock, then his team forfeits possession. Well, that would be an anti-climactic ending to a pretty exciting game, so the referees took a cue from the playground and called a do-over because of the bad toss. That's nice enough for pick-up games at the Loyola Heights barangay covered court, but at the country's highest level of professional basketball, it's embarrassing. The second toss was equally bad, yet, presumably because Thoss tapped it out of bounds and the possession stayed with Purefoods, the officials let the game continue. Now, with less than 6 seconds to play, Purefoods inbounded the ball from beneath the basket. Kerby Raymundo received the ball on the baseline and took one dribble towards Alaska defenders Thoss and John Ferriols. He had nowhere to go, so he jumped in the air, double-pumped the ball, looked to pass, saw no one, and landed. There's really no room for interpretation with this call -- it's a travel. No one knocked the ball out of Raymundo's control or tied him up in the air. He just jumped up and came down. When he landed, with about 1.5 seconds left, everyone stopped for a split second, anticipating a whistle. None came. Like someone who stumbles and does a quick hop-step to play off his goof, Raymundo acted like nothing happened and quickly shoveled the ball to Romel Adducul against the suddenly passive defense. Adducul dropped in a lay-up at the buzzer, the refs counted the shot, and Purefoods ran off the court in a hurry.

Alaska's players looked stunned like the members of the 1972 U.S. Olympic team that got jobbed in the final seconds of the final match against the Soviet Union. The coaches, on the other hand, stormed over to the officials' table and started raising hell. Head Coach Tim Cone was loudly berating Perry Martinez, head of the PBA's technical committee at half-court and assistant coach Bong Hawkins reared back like he was going to break a clipboard over one of the refs heads WWE-style, then caught himself and slammed the board to the floor. Cone followed Martinez and the refs into the tunnel and kept cursing them in front of sportswriters and TV cameras for five more minutes. His furor peaked when Martinez promised to review the call, like that meant something, and Cone shot back: "What the fuck is that gonna do? They're still 8-1 and we're 4-4."

The word for this kind of fixing is "luto," the Tagalog root for words related to cooking. Like "they cooked the books," but instead they cooked the game. Later that night, I bumped into Alaska players Poch Juinio, JunJun Cabatu, Willie Miller and Jeff Cariaso at Metrowalk, and they couldn't stop talking about the game. They blamed themselves for falling behind early, but mostly decried the refs' hostile takeover of the endgame. Poch kept saying how the game was "mahirap makalimutan" -- hard to forget.

What made the greatest impact on me was how upset the players were over the game. PBA players have a reputation of being motivated mostly by money; the characterization has some truth to it, although, by and large, the players are not the greedy hoops mercenaries they're sometimes depicted as. Yes, they play for money, but they also play to win, and that kind of loss smarts in a way that money can't sweeten. On top of that, players like Juinio and Cariaso have been in the league for more than a decade and Miller is a two-time MVP; cooked games and horrible officiating are nothing new to them. Their dejected response to this game shows just how bad the refereeing was.

Even Purefoods knew the win was a gift. I heard rumors of a handful of their players admitting that Raymundo's move was an obvious travel, and Coach Ryan Gregorio's sheepish comments to the press about the last play are pure comedy:
“I was closing my eyes and I was praying. Honestly, I didn’t see the play. I thought my prayers were answered with that last shot."
You know something is fishy when a head coach won't take credit for the game-winning play.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The gods tempt people for which they are most weak. Artificial Intelligence will create desire in people's minds for the following sins:::
1. Alcohol
2. Drugs
3. Preditory "earning"
4. Homosexuality
5. Gambling
6. Something for nothing/irresponsibility (xtianity)
7. Polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny (Islam)
Much like the other prophets Mohhamed (polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny) and Jesus (forgiveness/savior), the gods use me for temptation as well. In today's modern society they feel people are most weak for popular culture/sensationalism, and the clues date back to WorldWarII and Unit731:TSUSHOGO.
It has been discussed that, similar to the Matrix concept, the gods will offer a REAL "Second Coming of Christ", while the "fake" Second Coming will come at the end and follow New Testiment scripture and their xtian positioning. I may be that real Second Coming.
What I teach is the god's true way. It is what is expected of people, and only those who follow this truth will be eligible to ascend into heaven as children in a future life. They offered this event because the masses have just enough time to work on and fix their relationship with the gods and ascend, to move and grow past Planet Earth, before the obligatory xtian "consolation prize" of "1000 years with Jesus on Earth" begins.

Your job as a future mother is to learn the god's ways and to help your child understand despite the negative reinforcement and conditioning of today's society. Without consciousous parents the child will have no hope, and may even exaserbate their disfavor by becoming corrupted in today's environment.
Your ultimate goal is to fix your relationship wiith the gods and move on. You don't want to be comfortable here, and the changes in Western society in the last 100 years has achieved just that.
1000 years with Jesus is the consolation prize. Don't be deceived into thinking that is the goal.

The Prince of Darkness, battling the gods over the souls of the Damned.
It is the gods who have created this environment and led people into Damnation with temptation. The god's positioning proves they work to prevent people's understanding.
How often is xtian dogma wrong? Expect it is about the Lucifer issue as well.
The fallen god, fighting for justice for the disfavored, banished to Earth as the fallen angel?
I believe much as the Noah's Flood event, the end of the world will be initiated by revelry among the people. It will be positioned to be sanctioned by the gods and led for "1000 years with Jesus on Earth".
In light of modern developments this can entail many pleasures:::Medicine "cures" aging, the "manufacture" of incredible beauty via cloning as sex slaves, free (synthetic) cocaine, etc.
Somewhere during the 1000 years the party will start to "die off", literally. Only those who maintain chaste, pure lifestyles, resisting these temptations, will survive the 1000 years. Condemned to experience another epoch of planet's history for their ignorant pursuit of xtianity, they will be the candidates used to (re)colonize (the next) Planet Earth, condemned to relive the misery experienced by the peasantry during history due to their failure to ascend into heaven before the Apocalypse.
If this concept of Lucifer is true another role of this individual may be to initiate disfavor and temptation among this new poulation, the proverbial "apple" of this Garden of Eden. A crucial figure in the history of any planet, he begins the process of deterioration and decay that leads civilizations to where Planet Earth remains today.
Which one is it? Probably both:::
One transistions into the other, allowing the gods to wash their hands of obligation to The Chosen One.

12:07 PM  
Blogger PAK MUS said...

saya mengucapkan banyak terimakasih kepada KI HADAK yang telah menolong saya dalam kesulitan,ini tidak pernah terfikirkan dari benak saya kalau nomor yang saya pasang bisa tembus dan ALHAMDULILLAH kini saya sekeluarga sudah bisa melunasi semua hutang2 kami,sebenarnya saya bukan penggemar togel tapi apa boleh buat kondisi yang tidak memunkinkan dan akhirnya saya minta tolong sama KI HADAK dan dengan senang hati beliau mau membantu saya..,ALHAMDULIL LAH nomor yang dikasi KI semuanya bener2 terbukti tembus dan baru kali ini saya menemukan dukun yang jujur,jangan anda takut untuk menhubungiya jika anda ingin mendapatkan nomor yang betul2 tembus seperti saya,silahkan hubungi KI HADAK DI 085=259=457=111 ingat kesempat tidak akan datang untuk yang kedua kalinya dan perlu anda ketahui kalau banyak dukun yang tercantum dalam internet,itu jangan dipercaya kalau bukan nama KI HADAK
BUKA INI DANA GHAIB TOGEL










saya mengucapkan banyak terimakasih kepada KI HADAK yang telah menolong saya dalam kesulitan,ini tidak pernah terfikirkan dari benak saya kalau nomor yang saya pasang bisa tembus dan ALHAMDULILLAH kini saya sekeluarga sudah bisa melunasi semua hutang2 kami,sebenarnya saya bukan penggemar togel tapi apa boleh buat kondisi yang tidak memunkinkan dan akhirnya saya minta tolong sama KI HADAK dan dengan senang hati beliau mau membantu saya..,ALHAMDULIL LAH nomor yang dikasi KI semuanya bener2 terbukti tembus dan baru kali ini saya menemukan dukun yang jujur,jangan anda takut untuk menhubungiya jika anda ingin mendapatkan nomor yang betul2 tembus seperti saya,silahkan hubungi KI HADAK DI 085=259=457=111 ingat kesempat tidak akan datang untuk yang kedua kalinya dan perlu anda ketahui kalau banyak dukun yang tercantum dalam internet,itu jangan dipercaya kalau bukan nama KI HADAK
BUKA INI DANA GHAIB TOGEL

10:59 PM  

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