Month: February 2014

My Post Game Article- PBA Semifinals Game 7 between Barangay Ginebra and San Mig Coffee MIxers (12 February 2014)

‘Til Next Conference.’

Final Score: 110-87. San Mig Super Coffee Mixers with a huge win. They advance to the finals, while Ginebra’s run ends here.

POG: James Yap with a career high of 30 points

As a Ginebra fan, this is another heartbreak. We all have been longing for a championship title since 2006, and unfortunately, we still can’t get it.

In the end, it boils down on who is the more experienced team and who have the more consistent players. San Mig has both. James Yap is just unstoppable with his three point baskets and so are PJ Simon, Marc Pingris, Rafi Reavis and Ian Sangalang on their respective posts. I thought these players have been the major factors for San Mig’s big win.

For Ginebra, it was good to see The Fast and The Furious come alive again. It was like seeing the good ol’ days when they have been dominating the offense for the team, creating plays and just making the crowd get up on their feet with their flawless connection on court. It was such a joy to witness them play the way they played earlier.

Ginebra is indeed a young team. With all the talents this ball club has, it’s still possible for them to make another Semifinals appearance and even a Finals appearance and perhaps, end the drought on the Championship title. I still have high hopes. I know they can do it. It didn’t happen this conference but they are still capable of winning games, of dominating a conference.

And even with the many losses they’ve had, I just don’t see myself supporting other teams. Yeah, I do admire other players, but being a fan of just one team, that’s gotta be Barangay Ginebra.

We win, we lose. That’s life. With all the ups and downs, Ginebra can take comfort in the fact that millions of fans will continue on supporting them. I know Mark Caguioa and the rest of the team did their best to win this series, it’s just that, San Mig played better.

Congratulations to San Mig! Whoever wins between San Mig and Rain or Shine is definitely deserving of the title. Boy, this has been one crazy conference!

As for me, I’ll have to take a break from PBA and be back on March 7 to support of course, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel!

God bless everyone! 

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A Review on Robert Ludlum’s The Tristan Betrayal (finished on 28 January 2014)

This is my first Robert Ludlum read. The Tristan Betrayal is a fast paced thriller, so it’s not boring. Really, really not boring. For me, the start to finish was definitely entertaining. And again, this is one of the many books that took me back in time, back in the early 20th century where warlords such as Hitler and Stalin dominated the planet. I know this is a fiction novel, but I still can’t help but wonder if some of the scenarios described in this book happened for real. Yeah, I’m intrigued.

One thing that this book reminded me of is that in every war, in every battle fought and won, there are always unsung heroes. And on this novel’s case, they are Svetlana Baranova, Amos Hilliard, Roger Martin, Corcoran, Kundrov, Stephen Metcalfe and all the other members of the operatives and military intelligence who died doing what they were asked to do, all for the sake of defeating the Nazi force.

From this pool of characters, there were three personal standouts- Svetlana Baranova, the prima ballerina from Russia; Kundrov, a GRU member and the former’s minder; and Stephen Metcalfe, the main character, the American, the spy and the lover.

The way Robert Ludlum portrayed the character of Svetlana Baranova is just genius. Making a female character as the sacrifice and heroine in the story is something I personally thank the author for. In a world dominated by men, it is heartwarming to have a woman protagonist do the job like that of a genuine wartime hero.

Kundrov also played an important role in this story. I didn’t expect that he will be the ‘hero from within’ in this 1940s world crafted by Ludlum. I am drawn at how this character showed his affection for Lana. He’s someone who is very much willing to help Lana in every way possible, watching her back all the time, loving her from afar. He’s someone who managed to maintain his love for humanity even if he’s working for Hitler. He, too, is a victim of Fascism and he knows how hard it is to live in a place dominated by the steel hands of a dictator.

Lastly, Stephen Metcalfe aka Daniel Eigen aka William Quilliagan aka James- a good student of Corcoran, a Yale graduate from the prominent family of businessmen, a beautiful man who is an eye candy to a lot of women, a spy, a lover to Svetlana Baranova and a father to Stepan Menilov. He was the reason why Hitler’s invasion was put to a halt. He did more than what his job required him to do. And he paid such a huge price, it left him a wasted man, a drunkard for months. And that price was the life of the only woman he loved- Svetlana Baranova.

Lana was executed in order to prove the Nazis that she was a genuine traitor of the Soviet Union. Lana who refused to go back to America with Stephen suffered unbearable pain, endured wounds that penetrated her soul in order to save Russia and the man he so loved.

I thought the twists and turns of the story were over after reading the 502nd page. But I was wrong. The biggest twist for me was the ending, when the author revealed that Stepan Menilov, the Commander, is the son of Stephen Metcalfe and Svetlana Baranova. That was the greatest reveal.

After everything else, I was left in awe. This book gave me more reason to love history, be it about my country, the Philippines or about other nations. This book inspired me to just love, love without asking for anything in return be it love for thy country or for someone else. Indeed, I am beyond impressed and I felt truly wonderful having read such masterpiece.

 

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A Review on Ursula Hegi’s Stone from the River (finished on 08 February 2014)

Stones from the River“If you lost something that you’d once had- a limb, say, or one eye- people didn’t treat you like a freak: they remembered you the way you had been. But if you were born without arms or sight, you were a freak. If your body didn’t look like the bodies of others, you were a freak. And if you lived in a freak’s body long enough, though you didn’t feel like a freak inside- what could you do then to make sure your body wouldn’t turn all of you into a freak?”

It was a slow start. Boring. At first, I fought against laziness badly enough to get onto the succeeding pages. The years 1915- 1929 were the ‘dead’ parts for me. After that, I no longer have to struggle as I eventually find myself yearning to know more about this painting of Germany during and after Hitler’s invasion carefully drawn by Ursula Hegi.

I have hated the Zwerg, Trudi Montag. I have hated her because all she saw then were the negativities of being born that way and then turning into people’s stories in order to spin her own plan of revenge. I don’t like that. It’s not right. But as the story went on, I have come to like her. As Trudi understood and accepted the fact that her difference doesn’t have to torment her forever and totally separate her from the community, I have also come to understand that each people has their own struggles, possesses a dark side and needs to go through all these bad experiences to find the light.

The setting of the novel was perfect- a small town in Germany amidst war, amidst destruction with a myriad of personalities, each unique and has their own colorful history to share.

My personal favourite though, aside from the main character Trudi Montag which I must say has been the antagonist and protagonist in the story, is her father, Leo Montag.

Leo Montag who lost his wife lived for nearly three decades with his only daughter is so dear to me. He is the kind of father that one can easily admire and look up to. He was a martyr. He too, had a dark side but he did not allow that dark side to overpower his love for his wife and for their only child, Trudi. That is why his death in the story brought tears to my eyes. I remembered my father. I saw my father in Leo Montag. I saw my hero, the one who loved his family more than any man can do.

But I’m still happy. Even if Leo Montag died, at least he didn’t have to suffer so much pain, he didn’t have to lose his leg or any part of his body before the author finally say ‘time’s up’ for him. And I’m happy that he was given a heartwarming funeral and a lot of people were genuinely sorry for his death, for he deserves all that- he deserves all the attention, all the care and all the love.

Towards the end, I found myself asking, ‘Is that it? Is that really the last page?’ Max Rudnick hasn’t even come back. And Trudi hasn’t married yet. I was hoping to read the part where Trudi and Max will be reunited, get married and have kids. I was hoping that the last page would indicate that Trudi is finally with someone who will take care of her for good just like how she had taken care of her father and the child she so loved, Hana.

I guess all I’m trying to say is, we all deserve to be happy. Our dark sides comprise only a small part of our individuality. And we still have control on how we should live our lives. As for the society, well, that’s how the system is. It’s not easy to break the system, heck, it may even be impossible to minutely damage it. Prejudice will always be present. But we can always take comfort in the truth that there is goodness in every one of us, that there is compassion deep within all of us. And love..love is all around us.

Ursula Hegi’s masterpiece is indeed a must read. I am beyond satisfied with it. I am beyond inspired. This has been of my most unforgettable reading experience ever.

Noong Magkasama Pa Kami

Etong taong ‘to, nakilala ko nung 1st year college kami, taong 2006. Kaklase ko siya. Naging magkaibigan kami kinalaunan. Malapit na magkaibigan.

Hindi siya gwapo, pero may ‘something’ sa kanya kaya sa klase namin siguro mga tatlo o higit pa ang nagkagusto sa kanya. Sige aminin na natin, kasama na ko dun.

It started with a text. Yung text na may graphics saying ‘hindi mo ba ko rereplyan? Piso lang ang text..pisooooo!’ Tapos simula nun naging magkatext na kami.

Kaya siguro ako nadevelop (ayokong gamitin ang ‘nahulog’ eh) sa taong ‘to kasi may sense sya kausap. Malalim na tao at mabaet, sweet, thoughtful, natatagalan ang kasungitan ko at alam ko nung mga panahong iyon lagi lang siyang nandiyan para sa ‘kin.

Siya rin yung taong nakita na ‘kong bagong gising, may muta pa sa mata at haggard na.

May isang pagkakataon..ahmmm..maraming pagkakataon pala, na sa bahay nila kami nag-oovernight para pagpuyatan ang isang research work. Pag magkatabi kami, alam mo yung parang may kuryente sa loob ko.

May isang gabi din na magkatabi kami natulog nang nakaupo kasi wala ng space sa kwarto nya. Nilagay nya yung ulo ko sa balikat nya at magkahawak kami ng kamay habang natutulog.

Inamin nya saken na gustong-gusto nyang hinahawakan yung kamay ko. Kapag may pagkakataon, hahawakan nya kamay ko, kaliwa o kanan. Minsan dalawa pa nga eh. Siya mag-iinitiate maghawak kami ng kamay kahit sa labas kami kumakain para magpray.

Hindi naging madali ang college life. Lalo na para sa ‘kin sa aspeto ng love life, sa kung ano man ang nararamdaman ko para sa kanya. Dalawa o tatlong taon silang naging magkasintahan ng isa naming kaklase. Pero malapit pa rin kaming magkaibigan nun. Umabot sa puntong selos na selos na saken ung gf nya kaya kinonfront ako sa isang public place and all I can do was cry. He didn’t have the guts to approach me and console me that time. Naiintindihan ko naman kasi gusto lang nya umiwas sa isyu at baka lalo pang magalit ang gf nya.

Nagbreak din sila ng tuluyan ng gf nya nung grumadweyt kami. Dun kami nagkaroon ng time na mas magkasama. We see each other more often. Yung kaming dalawa lang. We text and call each other. Madalas sya ung tumatawag. Tatawag siya mga 3am tapos mag-uusap kami. Magkakamustahan. May time pa nga na tapos na yung call pero wala sa ‘min ang gusto mag-hang up. Klasik lang.

Tapos may time na pag tinetext ko sya telling him to call me because I needed someone to talk to, in 5 minutes tatawag na sya para kausapin ako. And then I can tell him what’s going on and why I needed someone to talk to. It’s a relief to always have him by my side, kahit hindi literal. Lahat nasasabi ko sa kanya.

After college, nainvolve ako sa isang officemate, well let’s say it’s infatuation. So I told him about this officemate and kung gano ko sya kagusto. Siguro defense mechanism na rin para masabing I have someone else. Na hindi lang sa kanya umiikot ang mundo ko. Na hindi lang siya ang lalaki sa buhay ko. Pero tulad nga ng sabi nila, tulak ng bibig, kabig ng dibdib. Siya pa rin talaga eh.

Masaya ako pag magkasama kami. Masaya ako pag hinahatid nya ko pauwi. Masaya ako pag magkasama kaming dalawa sa bus, magkatabi at magkahawak ng kamay. Masaya akong mahalin siya.

Masaya. Pero hindi nagtagal, naging masakit na rin. Mas masakit pa sa inaasahan ko.