The list goes on

SPORTS EYE - Raffy Uytiepo (The Freeman) - January 12, 2021 - 12:00am

In a previous column, we tackled celebrities and people we know who didn’t make it to 2021.  We lost friends like Rico Navarro, Dennis Delgado,Dodong Bascon, Erwin Ababat, Orly Bauzon, Aric Del Rosario, Buddy Andrada, Nic Jorge, Maui Huelar, to mention a few.  We also lost musicians Kenny Rogers, Little Richard, Helen Reddy, Trini Lopez, Bonnie Pointer, Eddie Van Halen and local singer April Boy Regino.  James Bond actor Sean Connery and Kobe Bryant also died.  I was thinking 2021 would be better after a devastating year with the coronavirus.  I’ve not even finish wiping the tears I’ve shed when more grim news greeted the New Year.  My “kababayan” Nonoy Cuatico of Iloilo, former Ateneo Blue Eagles team captain and Ginebra San Miguel player in the PBA, died of cancer in the United States. He was a classmate of my brother Joey (now based in Orange Country, LA), who was a member of the Ateneo Glee Club.  Gerry Marsden 78, lead singer of the Pacemakers followed the next day, dying of a heart infection.  I watched Gerry and the Pacemakers at the Cebu Waterfront Hotel, in August 2011.  Gerry’s hits included “Don’t Let The Sun Catch you Crying” and “Ferry Cross the Mersey”.  Gerry’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was adapted as the Liverpool FC anthem, just like the Beatles, Gerry hailed from Liverpool.  Paul Westphal, one of the greatest players in the NBA, died recently after a long battle with brain cancer.  At 70, Westphal won an NBA title with the Boston Celtics in 1974 and became the Phoenix Suns star and later its coach, after being shipped to the Suns in 1975.  In the 1976 NBA Finals, Westphal, then playing guard, lost to his former team, Celtics.  His jersey number 44 was retired by the Suns after the 1983-84 season.  He was inducted to NBA hall of fame in 2019.  In the 1982-84 season, Phoenix was in the Finals against the Chicago Bulls but a guy named Michael Jordan spoiled the “party”.

Tanya Roberts  

This blue-eyed beauty first appeared in the film “Sheena”.  She also became a James Bond girl in the movie “A View from a Kill” with Roger Moore playing the British agent.  Roberts was also a hit in  the long-running tv series “Charlie’s Angels”.  Just afters New Year’s Roberts 65, collapsed while walking her dogs.  At first it was reported that she died instantly, but later on was said to be in a Los Angeles hospital.  She never woke up.


President Theodore Roosevelt

was hunting near Onward, Mississippi when he refused to shoot  a helpless bear.  A toy merchant then honored the kind president with a stuffed animal name “Teddy Bear”.  What a coincidence, in 1935, Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi.  The shack where he was born is part of the Elvis Presley Museum which brings in $46 million a year.  Elvis performed one of his greatest hits “Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear” in the film “Loving you”.  In my Elvisaya Christmas concerts, I make it a point to throw  six teddy bears to the audience.  In the 1905 college football season, 18 player were killed with 149 injured.  Roosevelt threatened to ban the game unless it was made less violent.  The Intercollegiate Athletic Association rewrote the rules and gave the game its modern shape.  Teddy was America’s only extreme-sport president.  His favorite workout was walking in a straight line regardless of obstacles, up cliffs, over rocks and through icy streams.  He also swam nude across the Potomac.  Teddy lost an eye while boxing.  An excellent horseman, he headed the Rough Riders.

Manila chess olympiad

World champion Garry Kasparov said the opening ceremonies of the 30th Manila Chess Olympiad at the PICC was one of the best.  Lea Salonga, fresh from her Broadway Miss Saigon stint, sang the Philippine Anthem and followed with two more songs.  President Cory Aquino keynoted the opening recalling the 1986 Revolution.  “We did well in 1986 not because of Queen power but because of pawn power which everyday calls today “People Power”.  President Cory then made the ceremonial opening moves with Kasparov, a Queen’s Gambit.

Hasta la vista pareng Relly

As I was ending this column, a message, probably the most saddest of all, arrived.  My “kumpare” and best friend Relly Mercado a former executive of Wyeth and a fellow marathoner passed away at 80 due to heart problems.  Relly and I have been running together for a long time and I’m sure he’ll continue doing so in heaven.  Hasta La Vista pare, we will miss you.  Rest in Peace! My deepest condolences to Mare Noemi and and the rest of the family.

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