Something special in Powerade
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson () - March 2, 2012 - 12:00am

Powerade assistant coach Alex Compton has been involved in organized basketball for over 20 years but says his association with the Tigers in the PBA is a unique experience that will never be forgotten.

“Powerade is special,” he says. “Coach Bo (Perasol) put his job on the line building up this team. He didn’t care about the job, he just wanted to do what was right for the franchise. He brought in last-chance guys, players who were looking for one more shot.  Guys like Alex (Crisano), Romel (Adducul), Rudy (Lingganay), Ricky (Calimag), Celino (Cruz). Will (Antonio) was practically retired. Rudy was never drafted and nobody gave him a chance. James (Martinez) had a tryout with Ginebra. We got Jvee (Casio) and Marcio (Lassiter) in the draft and Doug (Kramer) in a trade. We kept Gary (David), Sean (Anthony), Josh (Vanlandingham) and Francis (Allera) so our lineup was complete.”

Compton, 37, says Perasol’s corporate background (as head of FedEx’ South Luzon operations for five years) is a big reason why he easily connects with people. “Coach Bo’s a humble guy,” adds Compton. “He’s not overpowering but he won’t be overpowered. He made some risky moves to get to where we are now. He works really well with people. I have a lot of respect for Coach Bo.”

Perasol isn’t the type to surround himself with sycophants. He listens to good advice from assistants Ricky Dandan, Charles Tiu, George Ella and of course, Compton. “Charles is a bright guy who knows and loves the game,” says Compton. “He’s young and very enthusiastic. He’s learned a lot from coach Rajko (Toroman). Coach Bo’s style gets us to work together as a unit.”

In the Philippine Cup finals, Powerade stole a game from Talk ‘N’ Text before bowing out but the Tigers staked their claim to being the league’s new crowd darlings.  What has taken other teams more than 20 years to build a fan base, it took Powerade only a conference to establish. Compton says the Texters were just too tough to beat in a best-of-seven series but credits the Tigers for courageously slugging it out until the end, even picking up a win in the process.

“When we played Rain Or Shine a few weeks ago, we came back from 17 points down to win by two,” says Compton. “I couldn’t believe the crowd coming alive to support us as we made our run in the fourth quarter. It got so loud at the Cuneta. I thought everyone in the stadium was cheering for us. At least, that’s how I felt. I’d never experienced anything like that before.”

And it’s not as if Compton hasn’t been exposed to big games. He played at Madison High School in Wisconsin and for Cornell in the Ivy League before taking his sneakers to the MBA, PBL and finally the PBA as a Welcoat import. Compton was a Rain Or Shine assistant coach prior to moving to Powerade.

Last Saturday, the Tigers showed up in full force to bid Powerade PBA governor J. B. Baylon goodbye at a “despedida” party in the Discovery Suites on Ortigas. “Boss J. B. fought for our team and we owe him a lot,” says Compton. “He told us to stick together, stay competitive and we will. For a guy with no basketball background, he really fired us up. In the last conference, he would talk to us in the dugout and we could feel the impact of his words. We’ll miss him but we’ve got a job to do and we’re moving on.”

In the Commissioner’s Cup, Compton says import Dwayne Jones is a perfect fit for the Tigers. “Dwayne’s a smart player who knows what to do to win,” he says. “He knows we’ve got three guys ready to make the big plays so he’s adjusted his role to complement Gary, Jvee and Marcio.”

Tonight, Powerade guns for win No. 3 against Barako at the Cuneta Astrodome. The Tigers and Talk ‘N’ Text are the only unbeaten teams in the conference.

* * *

The first 25 copies of the soon-to-be-launched De La Salle Centennial coffee table book entitled “The Future Begins Here” were distributed to special guests during a testimonial dinner for the university’s top donors at the Taft campus last Friday. In attendance were about 60 foreign visitors from La Salle schools in 18 countries who were in town for the annual global convention. No less than the Christian Brothers’ superior general Br. Alvaro Echeverria, who is based in Rome, was present. Among the recipients of the 320-page book were La Salle benefactors Ambassador Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., John Gokongwei, Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco, Enrique Razon, Ramon del Rosario Jr., Oscar Hilado and Terry Capistrano.

Raissa Hechanova-Posadas of the Centennial Executive Committee said the early reviews of the book were glowingly positive. “Secretary of Education Br. Armin (Luistro) had the occasion to see the colored proofs as did (La Salle system president) Br. Jun (Erguiza) and (Vice Chancellor) Br. Bernie (Oca),” she said. “During the dinner, those who glanced at the book were intrigued by the unique cover and various pull-out inserts. Our Facebook page got 205 likes in just five days.”

The book will be launched on March 7 at the Manila Polo Club. The 6 p.m. welcome cocktails will be at the Banyan Gardens and the launch is set at the McKinley Room at 7 p.m. Expected to attend are Br. Armin, Secretary Leila de Lima, Secretary Cesar Purisima, bowling legend Paeng Nepomuceno, Speaker Jose de Venecia, Chancellor Br. Ricky Laguda and D. M. Consunji. Edu Manzano will host the event. Entertainment will be provided by the La Salle chorale and dance troupe.

“The book is dedicated to the thousands of alumni who have walked through La Salle’s hallowed halls and now bring honor to the alma mater,” said Posadas. “All net proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the One La Salle Scholarship Fund. The book is rich in imagery, excellent prose and novelties. It seamlessly narrates the past to the present to the future. It is the official centennial book published to celebrate La Salle’s 100th year milestone. The book was conceptualized as a publication that would best express the spirit of the university – that of an ever young, dynamic, bold and unique educational institution that keeps pace with the changing times while being true to the original ideals of its founder St. John Baptiste de La Salle.”

The writers of the book are Isagani Cruz (prologue and epilogue), Jose (Butch) Dalisay (Band of Brothers), Toti Villalon (Heritage, Heroism, History: The St. La Salle Hall), Elfren and Leandro Cruz (Movers of Growth and Progress: La Sallians in Business and The Lasallian Public Servant), Joaquin Henson (Shooting for Excellence in Sports), Renato de Castro (Social Sciences and Education), Alvin Culaba (On the Cutting Edge: Science and Technology), Carla Pacis (Arts and Culture) and Charlson Ong (La Salle’s Green Champions).

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