Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thank you U23

OJ Portierra, that diminutive forward who started that key pass that led to the equalizer, called yesterday's win against Laos as one of the top 10 moments of his life.

OJ is still young and he may be exaggerating.

But I'm not.

Yesterday's win, for me, ranked in the top three moments as a sports fan--right along with  that 2-0 win against Vietnam, Manny Pacquao's win against Marco Antonio Barrera (the one against the great Mexican legend, not the one pretending to be the great Mexican legend) and of Ronato Alcano's win against Ralf Soquet in the 2006 World Pool 9-ball championships.

That's four in all, but man, that only means I haven't decided which of the four moments are the best. There are a few ties of course, but that U23 team's win? That was something.

You see, my experience with following the Philippines through live TV hasn't always been that fun. There was our basketball team losing in the semifinals of the 2002 Asian Games to South Korea, despite leading by two points and with Olsen Racela getting three free throws in the dying seconds.

There was, too, that Fiba Asia men's championships match for the bronze against South Korea just a couple of months ago, when we lost yet again despite taking the lead. Ditto with Francisco Bustamante against Earl Strickland in 2003, and that god-awful 3 a.m finals match in the 1996 Olympics between Onyok Velasco against that bogus winner in a match that elicited the "WE ARE BEING ROBBED IN ATLANTA" statement from commentators.

Yesterday's win was a welcome change, for me, and I guess, for others, too.

Yep,  you might say I'm exaggerating and that the win doesn't compare to Manny Pacquiao's matches, but I no longer watch Pacquiao's fights, live, because of a superstition that's pretty hard to explain in writing.


So that win, was something.


And I never truly expected it.
 And by God I loved how I was proven wrong.

In the final 10 minutes I had mentally prepared my article, "Just eight short days after arriving with so much promise, the Philippines whimpered to yet another disappointing loss."

Even when Joshua Beloya scored that equalizer? "The Philippines pulled a last-gasp equalizer, but that piece of brilliance may have came too late."

And when Beloya scored the game-winning goal? F**k that article, I'm here to celebrate. And celebrate we did, shouting like a bunch of crazy assholes who've just won the lotto.

So, thank you Junior Azkals. You didn't give up.

Now is probably the best time to do my football math and explain how the U23 team can still make it to the semis. But now is not the time, just as the same as now is not the time to talk about Cap'n's departure.

Now, is simply the time to thank the team.

For those four wonderful minutes!

Thank you.

P.S. Like I said, I'm a superstitious guy and I wanted to title this "The failed U23 experiment Part 2", but that would leave a bad taste and that would be just like GMA 7's tasteless and hypocritical article. 


So I didn't. But at least this Post Script has allowed me to satisfy a superstition (to do the things you do when the team wins) by putting "the failed U23 experiment" here.

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