“An atheist in the Philippines is someone who does not believe in basketball” so said my History teacher Father Bartholomew Lahiff S.J. Someone forgot to remind Filipinos that we do not have the height for basketball yet we persist and we continue to dream big. The three most precious topics for the manly man are sex (duhhh) and basketball.
Philippine law requires all able bodied manly man to play for at least one organized basketball league in his lifetime. Likewise, it requires all manly man to root exclusively for one team per basketball league.
I did the minimum my minimum time in Grade 4 and in 4th Year High School. In Grade 4 I warmed the bench as a member of our class Intramurals team. Not to be outdone, I participated in a summer league in my 4th year. I played, nay rode the bench, for the BOSTON COL-TICS.
We were up against our main rivals, The SAN ANTONIO SPERMS and the LA LICKERS. It was a classic championship duel between the COLTICS and the LICKERS, the LICKERS eventually winning the Barangay crown, crushing my COLTICS and my future career riding the bench in the PBA. I was amazed at the popularity of the COL-TICS, SPERMS and the LICKERS franchise. I later learned that they also have these teams in many barangay leagues. There was even an attempt to introduce the LICKERS, SPERMS and the COL-TICS franchise during the IAC games in Ateneo—bad idea, and the S.J.s would have none of that so they had to change their names.
After my playing days are gone, I went on to become a full time fan to the greatest basketball teams in my universe, the Ateneo Blue Eagles (College), Ginebra San Miguel (PBA) and the Detroit Pistons (NBA).
I’ve seen a majority of the live games of the Ateneo Blue Eagles since 1986. I was there in the Championship years of 87, 88 and 2001. I was also there during the Dark Ages, of 1990-1997. There were years when we would win 5, 6 games in a year. There was even a year when National University defeated Ateneo by firing a three point shot from the backcourt at the last second and in the Blue Eagles gym. I thought I was going to die.
When I was a young and fresh lawyer circa 1995-1998, I own season’s tickets to the PBA. I had my own courtside seat and I would be there when my Ginebra San Miguel team would play.
And I also learned that I passed the bar examination during a Ginebra Game. I had the entire Ginebra Gallery cheering me on.
But this story needs its own blog.