Beautiful Music

Pio Garcia - The Philippine Star

When I dislike basketball players, there are only two reasons:

  1. “Me” first attitude. In Pilipino, BUWAYA (crocodile, ballhog,whatever)
  2. Thug. I know it’s a physical sport but do we really have to get to the point where you elbow a player to prove a point? No?

Basketball should be a team sport. Given, there will be superstars. That one guy who will dominate the ball and tow his team to victory. However, there’s a difference between being the guy and The Guy. The Guy knows that victory is the ultimate reward, while the guy believes stat-padding will get him to the pros. Case in point, Bobby Ray Parks. He was just a scoring machine his first year. His second year, he started to do what it takes for NU to get Ws. Now? He knows that it won’t just be him. He knows that defenses are geared to take that leather away from his hands and he’s doing a fine job involving his teammates more than ever. Result? More Ws!

Over at the NCAA, one team that has been really sparkling in terms of working as a unit, feeding off of each other has been the Letran Knights. They are currently at the top of the standings with an 8-1 record and with that masterful showing against their erstwhile rivals, the San Beda Red Lions, it would be hard to dispute that right now, they are the best collegiate team in Metro Manila. I will put that national tag when they get out of the round of 32 or Sweet 16 in the nationals.

I cannot stress teamwork enough. But this team has really been a revelation to me. Others mourned the loss of a top scorer. But they forget that they have a Big Gun and the best center in the collegiate ranks today.

People are saying wow, Mark Cruz can play. Well, let’s just say, in my opinion, he could always play. It was just a matter of him having the reins. It was just a matter of him having the command of the offense, where the ball will go to, how it will swing and who will end up with it with the best possible shot. And the efficiency of his field goal makes to attempted rate? You’d be surprised. He’s taking the same amount of shots, but making them at a higher percentage. No longer does he have to manufacture a shot in a hurried fashion to save them from a shot-clock violation, he can do whatever he wants and people are just too late in acknowledging that.

And then there’s Raymund Almazan. When your center commands the brunt of the defense, it’s easy for your wing players, guards, and even power forwards with range to get open looks. Before, Almazan would be always left alone down low, like last season, but he doesn’t have as many chances as this year to prove he can also score without having to resort to garbage tactics. Now? Can I just say that Raymund Almazan is just plain beastin’ out there. If Ian Sanggalang came back, I think Almazan would still come out on top. There’s just no stopping this defensive demon who’s showing off a vastly-improved offensive arsenal.

And the rest of the team? They seem engaged as well. No one is having their feet nailed to the floor. It’s constant motion. Everyone gets to touch that basketball. EVERYONE IS BEING GIVEN A CHANCE, similar to the Rain or Shine system.

Beautiful music.

For violent reactions, you may reach me @PioVGarcia.











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