Joy Carpio: Still making it count
THE GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco () - February 27, 2010 - 12:00am

When he was born, he was bigger than most infants. So his family named him after the mythic native hero. The Filipino version of Samson, Bernardo Carpio, is sometimes said to be the one who causes the earthquakes in Rizal province, trapped there between two huge boulders by an enchanted opponent who could not accept that Carpio beat him in personal combat.

The human Bernardo Carpio, nicknamed Joy, also wrote his own legend, albeit in basketball. After an eventful high school career with UST, Joy teamed up with Fritz Gaston, Steve Watson, future pro teammate Padim Israel and Chito Narvasa as a 6’4” center-forward on the Ateneo Blue Eagles from 1974 to 1977, winning back-to-back NCAA titles in 1975 and 1976, right before San Beda rose up for its own title run.

After that, Joy became a sought-after commodity, a tall man with a strong inside game and a reliable jump shot. He joined the Crispa Redmanizers, and learned from his seniors, like Atoy Co, Freddie Hubalde, Bogs Adornado and Philip Cezar. He contributed mightily coming off the bench as Crispa constantly battled Toyota for PBA trophies. In 1985, however, Crispa soon followed Toyota into basketball oblivion, selling its franchise to Pilipinas Shell. Joy joined a powerhouse offensive team in Great Taste. After spending the tailend of his career with Seven-Up, number 29 was forced to end his playing days after nagging knee injuries could no longer repaired. He had spent 13 seasons in the PBA.

“It was not so much the age as the mileage,” Joy told this writer.

“The doctors told me that I had the knees of a 60-year old. But I was only 30 at the time.”

What followed was a series of operations, rehabilitation and comebacks that were often painful and draining. Joy attributes the damage to the physical regimen of players in his time.

“In my day, training was not scientific yet. All they’d do was tell us to run,” Carpio remembers. “And our shoes really didn’t have any technology in them, so you took your chances. Back then, so many of us had fluid in our knees.”

Eventually, the pain in his patella prevented him from playing at all.

The cartilage in his knees had become perforated, and needed to be shaved down as much as physically possible. There was really not much else they could do, since even jogging had become painful for Joy.

“When the best doctors tell you there’s nothing they can do, then you have to listen,” Carpio continued. “I still miss it, but then I could still bike inside the village. Now, it’s hard to do even that, because of all the traffic. And it’s dangerous to go out on the road early in the morning.”

Nowadays, he follows the NBA on cable to keep in touch with the basketball world. Joy is unable to even play in the Ateneo Basketball League with fellow alumni and former teammates like Gaston and Chito Loyzaga anymore.

For the last 10 years, Carpio – now 52 – has been making his own version of assists, making it count for the Commission on Elections.

His latest challenge in public relations and as a senior trainor is to educate election officers in the use of the new Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) counting machines that will be used in the May elections. Carpio is one of those in charge of Region 3, the vote-rich areas of Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac and its environs.

“Our role is crucial because the ones we teach will pass on their learning to the teachers who will handle the precincts during the actual elections,” explains Carpio, who spent a week at the Hotel Stotsenberg inside the former Clark Airbase teaching Comelec personnel. “If what we teach them is right, then the trickle-down effect will be very good.”

Carpio also debunks the belief that it will be easier to cheat in the elections because the vote-counting will be automated.

“Actually, as long as there is human intervention, there will always be the opportunity to cheat. The counting machines minimize human intervention. Even if you bend the corner of the ballot, you can still insert it into the counting machine. There are four orientations, including backwards or upside down. The machine will still read it.”

The only problem will arise, he says, when a voter shades beside the names of too many candidates. The machine will not be able to decide who should be excluded from the counting. Carpio, who tasted PBA championships with both Crispa and Great Taste, also says that the rumor that knocking down the machines will erase its memory is not true.

“First of all, when would you knock down the machines? It would have to be after voting,” Carpio elaborates. “But right after voting, we print out eight elections returns for all those concerned: the major parties, etc. Then we also make copies for the media, and other concerned groups, about thirty copies in all. So people will have the results immediately.”

Joy Carpio is hoping more people will trust the process. He explains that, in many countries, they fully automated the machines, requiring voters to simply key in their votes on the screen provided.

Eventually, people in those more advanced countries chose a process like ours, wherein you write your votes down on a hard copy, and can keep track of where it goes.

After making his shots count in the PBA, the real Bernardo Carpio is still making a difference, helping voters’ one shot at choosing their next leaders count.

ATENEO BASKETBALL LEAGUE ATENEO BLUE EAGLES ATOY CO BERNARDO CARPIO BOGS ADORNADO AND PHILIP CEZAR BUT I CARPIO CLARK AIRBASE JOY
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