It's good to be back!
It took five years, a series of calamities and a disturbing pandemic for me to be able to find my way back to the hub.
This is The Link, a column which I created more than five years ago and it was born here at the Manila Standard, a daily newspaper I’ve worked for 12 years ago, back at the time when I was scrambling for a place to work with. Thankfully, my amiable boss, Riera Mallari, a fellow Lycean and sports editor of this paper, agreed to take me in to become a part of his staff.
Part of the new normal in this period of pandemic is to see lots of throwback stuff. Reruns being shown on television. Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls coming up with a documentary that has been more than 20 years in the making and Netflix now showing a lot of absolute classics, including The Godfather Trilogy and Scarface, among others.
Retro has become a trend as sports podcasts featuring athletes and coaches, who took their time out to relive their journeys to success, also popped up during the quarantine period.
One good thing about these podcasts is that these personalities won’t hold back telling stories that were prevented from being disclosed before. But now, they are freely divulging them, knowing that these were just things of the past.
These were untold stories. They’re timeless treasures and this has been the purpose of The Link when it was created five years ago—to link the past and the present.
I was fortunate to run a podcast, ClutchPoint Podcast, which I share with Aldrin Alejo, who convinced me to become the face and the voice behind this new platform that has remained strange to me. Strange, but fun, to the point that I have invested a lot of time, effort and even shell out my own money just to buy equipment—from video cam, to condenser microphone, and even ring light, desk lamp and headphone.
The learning never stops and by Season 2, we intend to rename it The Link.
Because of our podcasts, we were able to determine how bitter Jojo Lastimosa was in losing the MVP award to Alvin Patrimonio in 1991, how Patrimonio and Codiñera, who portrayed the perfect role as a dynamic tandem up front whenever Purefoods battles some of their big counterparts, were bitter rivals during practice and it spilled over when they hotly contested the MVP award in 1993.
It was with this podcast that we learned Franz Pumaren chose friendship over loyalty, the reason why he left San Miguel Beer and joined Norman Black at Mobiline, giving bearing to his close ties with his long-time Beermen mentor and setting aside a reunion of sorts with his old coach Ron Jacobs.
We were able to know how two-time PBA Coach of the Year Perry Ronquillo admitted that despite winning back-to-back championships for Shell in 1998 and 1999, he only used three set plays, giving more emphasis on quality over quantity, the same philosophy upheld by the late great Jerry Sloan of the Utah Jazz to Karl Malone and John Stockton.
What about multi-titled mentor and two-time grand slam coach Tim Cone telling several interesting stories about Johnny Abarrientos, including forcing Alaska to call a halt to its first day of practice when the diminutive guard, barely standing 5-foot-8, executed his kili-kili shot against 6-foot-7 Alex Araneta? Or how Kerby Raymundo asked for a trade as he couldn’t get along with James Yap during the coach’s first conference with the old Purefoods franchise and how Cone’s three decades of friendship came to an end when the veteran bench tactician left Alaska for Purefoods.
Then, there’s Black recalling how his former player Jerry Samlani of Magnolia took a shot at the wrong basket, eliciting laughter on the entire ULTRA crowd and Glenn Capacio proudly admitting that limiting Carlos Briggs, who averaged 60 points per game for Añejo in the 1989 season of the PBA, was his badge of honor, leading to his inclusion to the All-Defensive Team, a company which he cracked seven times more.
And yes, there’s Yeng Guiao, with his quotable quotes.
“Mas malalaki pa suweldo ng players sa akin nu’ng nag-uumpisa pa lang ako sa Swift.”
“Maraming players diyan na bigyan mo lang ng chance, turuan mo ng sistema mo, i-motivate natin na kapag gumaling ka, baka ‘yung suweldo mo, madagdagan. Magpu-pursige naman ‘yan. Tapos medyo sigaw-sigawan mo, mura-murahin mo para matakot sa iyo para gumanda laro. ‘Yun ang formula roon.”
All these and more, you can learn during the ClutchPoint Podcast episodes.
For now, I’m grateful to share this two words—I’m back.