Freeman Cebu Sports

Online is the Key

BLEACHER TALK - Rico S. Navarro - The Freeman

The pandemic has hit us hard in sports, but with adjustments, pivoting and a bit of creativity, the sports world has now adjusted to the times. One example is what the MVPSF Youth Basketball League-Cebu and Cagayan de Oro (MYBL-Cebu, MYBL-CDO) have decided to do this season. Since actual basketball games can’t be played, the league had to think of something to remain relevant and significant. And while basketball games can’t be played, there will always be an alternative that people can experience. It doesn’t come as a surprise then that we at Bleacher Talk also felt the same way and decided to shift gears and go online. And so from nothing, there are now two online talk shows that have aired (actually streamed) lately.

Let’s start with “Idol Talk.” It’s a weekly webcast that features current basketball stars who trace their roots to Cebu and Cagayan de Oro. Roger Pogoy of Cansojong, Talisay guested at the first episode Saturday last week, while Poy Erram of Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro was yesterday’s guest. Each episode will alternate guests from Cebu and Cagayan de Oro every Saturday at 4:30PM. Dondon Hontiveros will be the guest on Saturday, September 26. The purpose of the show is to get to know the lives of today’s hardcourt heroes and learn from them so that today’s aspiring athletes will learn and grow not only as better players but more importantly as better persons. I’ve always been a fan of watching interviews with athletes as their lives are full of amazing life lessons from which we can all learn. When asked to describe what made Cebuano players different from others, Pogoy shared how the Cebuano player was “palaban.” “Kaming mga taga Cebu, palaban. Nakatatak na pag Cebuano, hindi magpapaapi yan. Hindi magpapatalo,” he proudly said. I had heard the same message when Paul Desiderio guested on the webcast “Magis TV” awhile back. Desiderio added Cebuanos were known to be “isog.”

Pogoy then narrated how he had to go through road blocks that made him tougher on his journey to the top ranks of basketball. Did you know that he wasn’t good enough to make UV’s Team A and had to join the 5AM practices for Team B during his high school days? He found a Plan B in UC, a blessing in disguise that saw him improving on his academics, leading the UC Under 16 team to a runner-up finish in the CYBL (MYBL-Cebu today), and winning a CESAFI championship shortly after. He then recalled how he rode the bench at FEU for almost four years and was on the brink of going home to Cebu in frustration. Thanks to words of wisdom from his father, he decided to stay in Morayta and later paired with Mac Belo in leading FEU to a UAAP championship. His and his parents’ PBA dreams were finally realized when he joined Talk N Text, and nothing else could top the icing on the cake when he was called up to play for Gilas Pilipinas. He remains the same down-to-earth person that he was before, and even thrilled a lucky fan when he promised he would give him a jersey on one of his trips home. We’ll hear more stories like that of Pogoy when we listen to our idols talk on “Idol Talk” on the FB Page MVPSF Youth League-Cebu.

Bleacher Talk also pivoted in this pandemic as it went online through the webcast “Bleacher Talk Goes Live.” Despite running a no-budget set-up, it has been a blast where we’ve had the chance to chat online with sports personalities and friends. The online talks are exactly like those that we have in the bleachers at games. The show is like converting this Sunday column to an online platform, but with guests doing most of the talking and this bleacher bum throwing the questions, learning, and having fun, like a little kid in front of his sports idols.

For boxing, we’ve brought in Atty. Jingo Quijano, John Magat and Sandi Geronimo. After an initial discussion about bubble boxing, we had to regroup days later when ALA Boxing announced it was hanging up its gloves for good. We’ve also had a night of sharing ideas with champion basketball coaches Mike Reyes of SWU-PHINMA and Rommel Rasmo of SHS-Ateneo de Cebu. In a special episode, we brought in our boss, sports editor Manny Villaruel and Jun Migallen of Super Balita in SAC E-Numan. Tennis? That, too was discussed with John Pages and Jacob Lagman. Dr. Rhoel Dejaño and Dr. Nelson Cantillas helped us understand the sports hows, whys, dos and don’ts of COVID 19. Biking or cycling was a special quorum with fellow Freeman sports columnists Alan Choachuy and Dr. JV Araneta. The panalay kings Coach Van Halen Parmis and Coach Carz spilled the beans on how panalay basketball takes place and how it’s a big hit in the probinsya. And how can we ever forget “El Presidente” Ramon Fernandez whose elegant shot was replicated with the way he answered our grilling? We’re excited to have The Dean, Quinito Henson tomorrow, Jojo Lastimosa on the 28th and the pair of Coach Oliver Almadro and Cebuana volleyball star setter Deanna Wong. Before I forget, this is streamed every Monday, 6PM over the Facebook Page “Bleacher Talk Cebu.”

At the rate we’re going, we’re set to go on for as long as we keep on writing. Tabi-an ra ba ta. Now who’s interested to partner with us? If FB selling says “PM is the key,” our battlecry? Online is the key.

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