Love for Hardball
THE GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco (The Philippine Star) - March 16, 2019 - 12:00am

The love continued to pour in on social media upon the cancellation of our weekly sports program Hardball. Viewers and sports personalities alike were stunned at the suddenness of the change, as the show had been a staple since 2006. Still, the flood of supportive messages was overwhelming.

“Oh no! It was good while it lasted and I’m happy to have been one of Hardball’s earliest supporters,” exclaimed SEAir COO and National Athletic Committee president Patrick Tan. “Good luck moving forward!”

“It was my favorite show to guest on. What a shame,” proclaimed Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas.

“Why why why? It was the best!” added hotelier extraordinaire Philippe Bartholomi.

“You would be greatly missed,” lamented PR legend Johnny Litton.

“Read ur column today re Hardball – those of us who were part of its rich history can say It was definitely great while it lasted!” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios.

“Bill and Boyet, well done!” added veteran sports broadcaster (and my college professor) Sev Sarmenta. “Time for new challenges!”

Many viewers shared their favorite moments from the 13-year run, as this writer and my co-host expressed our gratitude for our award-winning show’s run on ANC. Several of our colleagues in sports and other media related their enjoyment of our banter, and others thanked us for sharing the spotlight with them.

“Proud to have guested on Hardball ten years ago. Happy times,” says ESPN5.com editor Sid Ventura. “Boyet and Bill deserve a ton of credit for making the show last as long as it did.”

“Still can’t believe that Hardball just shot its final episode after 13 years,” rued Ernest Leo Hernandez. “Nonetheless, it was one of the greatest runs for any sports program in the country. Congratulations and thank you for the memories.”

“It’s so sad,” Ryan Manliguis offered. “It was just like yesterday we were guests on their fifth anniversary, then suddenly they’re gone. HB will be missed so much.”

“I’ll miss your show,” admitted Teddy Dario. “But I’m sure doors will open up (if they haven’t already). Good luck on all your upcoming endeavors!”

Several friends and fans posted photos of their appearances and favorite episodes. So many funny moments made us laugh again. 

“My favorite Hardball moment was when I guested and was wearing a shirt that had the same color as the sofa which was part of the set,” recalled respected boxing analyst Atty. Ed Tolentino. “So to avoid being ‘swallowed’ by the color of the sofa, you gave me your jacket. And it was like Bruce Banner wearing the Hulk’s jacket.”

“No particular (favorite) moment, but it’s all of those times when you guys are joking around as if no one’s watching,” posted ABS-CBN News correspondent Jasmin Romero.

“When I was in college, I used to watch Hardball, wishing that someday, I would be able to talk about sports and share my thoughts in that program,” revealed boxing and MMA analyst Nissi Icasiano. “Over a year ago, it happened. It may sound too sentimental but admittedly, the show will forever hold a special place in my heart, as it gave a young sports journalist like me an opportunity to live my dream and do what I love to do.”

And that’s what Hardball was all about. Our Monday nights will never be the same. 

HARDBALL RICKY VARGAS
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