Fair Play: Familiar stories

IT’S a familiar story but with a slightly different twist.

Weak team, lucky to be in the semis, faces the No. 1 team who hasn’t tasted defeat in quite awhile—35 matches in almost three years.

At Nos. 1 and 14, only 13 spots separate the US from Spain in the world rankings, but talent-wise, they are worlds apart.

Spain was supposed to remain undefeated in a record 36 matches, and win its 15th straight—another record.

But the US beat the European champions, 2-0, in the Confed Cup semis.

As US and Everton keeper Tim Howard aptly said, “Sometimes football is a funny thing.”

The US wasn’t supposed to be in the final four. It was fourth in its group going to the final elimination matches.

But the Americans found their groove and beat Egypt, 3-0, and Brazil helped book them a semis seat by beating Italy, 3-0.

The US, Italy and Egypt all finished with three points on one win and two losses and the Italians and Americans were tied at minus two on goal difference. The US, thanks to Brazil, got the second spot in Group B through “goals for” at four to Italy’s three.

In Group A, Spain won its first three matches, 5-0, 1-0, 2-0 and people were already salivating at the thought of a Spain vs. Brazil final. Too bad the Americans forgot their role.

The Americans may have Brazil to thank for their semis stint.

But after the win against Spain, the Samba Kings will have to thank the US.

Had the Spaniards won, it would have meant they have broken Brazil’s 35-match unbeaten record.

For now, the two teams are still tied.

KILL JOYS. This one is also a familiar story, a sad one.

Philippine basketball faces an international ban
because—surprise, surpise—leaders can’t stay in the same room without killing each other.

The Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP), led by failed senator Prospero Pichay and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP)—sort of a Tagalized name of BAP—are back fighting each other again.

Did you know this whole mess started in a game involving movie stars?

Back in 2004, the Philippine team—which was set to play in an international event—lost in a game against a team peppered by movie stars.

Somebody, somewhere thought, “This is ridiculous!” And the movement to replace the officers for life of BAP was started.

BAP was expelled from the Philippine Olympic Committee, and Pilipinas Basketball (PB) stepped in.

BAP clung for dear life, Fiba rejected PB, banned RP from international play and forced the two to form a new group, hence SBP was born.

A year later, BAP got resurrected, thanks to failed politico Pichay.

A year later, the two are back fighting. And now, the Philippines faces a ban, again.

It’s quite ironic that the progress of Philippine basketball is hampered because two groups—led by a guy named Prospero and another who wants to be known as MVP—can’t prosper and they disrespect each other’s value.

MARIA’S EXIT. For the second straight year, Maria Sharapova is out of Wimbledon in the second round.

But she went out fighting, though, and screaming. Boy did she scream.

At one point during the live telecast, you could see the shadow of a jet passing by the court. And of course, you could hear the plane’s engine.

But what was louder? Sharapova’s “Eeeyah!!! Aaaaiii!!!” I even thought she shouted something like, “Ayayayay,” while chasing a shot.

In the middle of the rally, while she anticipated a return to the forehand Gisela Dulko, hit a drop shot—for the nth time—and I swear Sharapova was screaming, “Ayayayay.”

It’s either that, or she was saying something like, “Yawa, padagan-daganun gyud ko nimo.”


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