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Freeman Cebu Sports

LA again

FEEL THE GAME - Bobby Motus - The Freeman

Is this greeting the new year with another bang?  He hasn’t been in the news for quite a while but we will be seeing him (or some of us perhaps) in the next few days on TV, described in press releases as a no-holds-barred, tell-all interview.

The subject is Lance Armstrong and the forum will be on Oprah Winfrey’s show.  Reports say that he just might “consider” telling the truth related to his doping allegations during his reign as the 7-time Tour de France champion.  LA, as press releases say will answer “charges of lying” and “accusations of cheating” on Oprah.

I would like to catch this show and see things as it develops but I’m not exactly sure which channel and when our cable TV provider will air the program.  I’m not too keen on hearing the “truth” told because pro cycling has and will always be full of juicers and conspiracy theorist.  It was scheduled to air last night and good for you people if you caught it.

For recollection purposes, LA dominated pro cycling from 1999 to 2005. Check TdF recent listings and you’ll notice that LA’s feats during these periods are already taken off.  The International Cycling Union last October deleted LA from the history books when he did not contest the sanctions imposed on him by the US Anti Doping Agency.

In 2006, a former teammate of LA, Floyd Landis, won the TdF but was stripped of the title and was awarded to his runner-up Oscar Perreiro.  The charge?  Doping, of course.  At one time or another, all of LA’s runners-up at the podium in seven consecutive years of “winning” were either found positive or suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs.  This could be the main reason why nobody ever succeeded him to the vacated throne.

Now enter again the USADA with claims of LA dangling a $250,000 donation to them and another  $100,000 to UCI.  Question.  This monetary offer supposedly happened in 2004 yet.  Why did it take them 9 years to reveal to the public this gesture?  Maybe because they actually took the bribe and has used it all up?  They could be changing their tunes now as there might be some hard facts that could connect them to LA.

LA at his prime and at the height of his success was very influential and had next-to-unlimited resources at his disposal.  Manipulations, high-handed tactics and intimidation was the name of the game and the sport’s governing body could have been beholden to him. 

***

The other LA, also known as the Lakers, are now wallowing in the quagmire of mediocrity.  As a fan of this franchise, it sucks big time seeing a few wins squeezed between many loses.  I have Laker hater acquaintances who are happily ridiculing the team, which personally I think they rightfully deserve.

Last week, one of my wishes was for a Laker-Knick showdown in the NBA Finals.  NY has a real chance of going all the way but LA?  Like Billy Joel’s song, “It’s just a fantasy, woohoowoohoo!”

Because of injuries, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Jordan Hill are on the inactive list.  These are LA’s most important bigs and if registering a win was difficult with these three around, losing will be a breeze with them on the sidelines nursing their respective maladies.

The game versus the Spurs yesterday was close till the end but the gods of victory again favored Texas teams.  At least, LA was not humiliated this time as what Houston did to them a few days ago.  Earl Clark was a big surprise and delivered.  Tomorrow, Laker nation faces a possible sixth straight defeat when they go up against a very dangerous Oklahoma City.

Remember the super team that LA had in 2007?  It had Karl Malone and Gary Payton complimenting Shaq and Kobe.  Just like what’s happening now, the 2007 Laker team under-performed because of injuries and chemistry issues.

You can’t expect cohesion and good chemistry when the people you want to be complimenting each other are all nursing injuries.  Howard and Gasol together on the floor and knowing exactly what to do with the ball will be unbeatable at any given day but circumstances say it wasn’t meant to be.

Mike D’Antoni was never known for his defensive strategies and it shows in their game.  He was successful with his run-and-gun system during his time at Phoenix with the Steve Nash because they had much younger legs then.  Applying this to an aging Laker roster has done more harm than good. 

The league is almost on the halfway mark and this is a critical moment for the Lakers to regroup.  If loses continue to pile up, they could be on the outside looking in during the playoffs.  Meanwhile, let’s enjoy tonight’s Game 2 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals between Talk n Text Tropang Texters and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. 

([email protected])

ANTI DOPING AGENCY

DWIGHT HOWARD AND JORDAN HILL

EARL CLARK

FLOYD LANDIS

HOWARD AND GASOL

INTERNATIONAL CYCLING UNION

KARL MALONE AND GARY PAYTON

LANCE ARMSTRONG

LIKE BILLY JOEL

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