As we look back to the year that was, 2012 was definitely a spectacular year for sports. There’s Lionel Messi shattering a 20-year old single-season goal-scoring record, Chelsea’s 1st UEFA champion’s league title, Andy Murray winning gold en route to his 1st grand slam, UFC introduces the women’s division, plus the return of GSP in fantastic fashion. And of course, 2012 was the year of the Olympics. We saw the redemption of USA’s “Redeem Team,” Usain Bolt breaking speed charts yet again, and Michael Phelps’ Olympic record-setting medal haul.
Here at BTB, we try to list down the Top 12 sports stories for us Filipinos this 2012. Though it mainly pertains to basketball news, we’ll try to limit NBA-related events to focus on homegrown talents. So without further ado, here it goes:
12. Pac-Man Knocked-out
We start the countdown with the highest of the lows, as December 9, 2012 will be a date which will forever live in infamy for us Filipinos. Our People’s Champion, Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacquiao, was floored in the 6th round of the 4th instalment in the saga between him and Juan Antonio “Dynamita” Marquez. With a second to go in the 6th round, Marquez fired a monstrous right straight that caught Pacquiao’s chin, just as Pacman lunged forward after a missed jab. And it wasn’t just a simple knock-out. He. Got. Knocked. Out. Cold.
Napanood namin sa pay-per-view yung laban ng magkakasama sa isang bahay. We saw it happen. Kulang nalang ay yung reaction cam to prove kung gaano kami ka-tulala nung bumagsak si PacMan. It took about a couple of seconds for everything to sink in that Manny was lying motionless on the canvass. Tulad namin, huminto ang oras ng maraming kababayang Pilipino nang makitang ang Pambansang Kamao ang nakatumba sa ring samantalang yung kalaban nya ang nakatayo at nag-cecelebrate. It was a different feeling, and it wasn’t good.
But it’s best not to dwell on it too much (if you want to check out another article featuring the fight, click here). What’s important is that we stick around and see what Manny Pacquiao has in store for us after this. In the own words of the People’s Champ, “Don’t worry, we will rise again.”
11. The Rise of Philippine Ultimate
After a 1st runner-up finish in the World Championships of Beach Ultimate in 2011, the Pilipinas Ultimate Frisbee National Team finished 7th in the recently concluded World Ultimate and Guts Championship 2012 (WUGC) which was held in Osaka, Japan. Initially ranked 2nd to the last during the start of the competition, the Philippine team was grouped along with USA, Germany, and Italy, probably one of the hardest among the brackets in the elimination. The team started slow, as unfamiliarity with the field, specially with the strong winds in the area got to them during the eliminations. What the team lacked in height and athleticism, they made up for in speed and skill, beating the likes of taller teams such as Russia and France. In the end, being the less experienced team in the tournament, it was mainly tactics and the wind that caused them trouble all throughout the competition.
Not bad for the first National team sent to a competition considered as the World Cup of Ultimate Frisbee, with a couple of our very own players in the top 20 in overall scoring. Expect the sport of Ultimate Frisbee to boom in 2013, as it continuously increases in popularity and number of teams participating in the local leagues. The future looks bright, as the Philippines look to perform better in the coming Worlds and Beach Ultimate events.
10. DLSU Lady Spikers’ near-perfect Season 74
Sa sport na mas pinapanood mo yung mga naglalaro more than yung actual na nilalaro nila, DLSU Lady Spikers started out their title defense in superb fashion, sweeping the eliminations with a 14-0 win-loss tally, with the last game coming at the expense of their bitter rivals, the Ateneo Lady Eagles. In that thrilling 5-set match, Ateneo got off to a strong start and took the first set 25-18, the first set that La Salle had dropped in the second round of the eliminations. Not long after, captain Cha Cruz and setter Mikaela Esperanza led DLSU’s campaign, outlasting the Lady Eagles on their way to an immaculate record. DLSU got outright seat to the finals, together with a thrice to beat advantage.
As luck would have it, it was the Ateneo Lady Spikers yet again who forged a Finals match-up versus La Salle, beating UST in the final step-ladder matchup. Game one of the Finals saw Lady Eagles outplaying La Salle, defeating them in four sets, thus ending their unblemished streak of 25 games, dating back to January 2011. As expected, DLSU got back into its true form, winning Game 2 in 4 sets, and dominating the Lady Eagles in Game 3 by capturing the championship in 3 straight sets. La Salle won its second straight title, 3rd in the last four years, and seventh championship in school history.
9. Wild NBA Trades
The NBA preseason has always been both exciting and surprising with the news of blockbuster trades. There’s the Brooklyn-Atlanta multi-player trade for Joe Johnson, Lowry being sent by the Rockets to Toronto, and of course, the draft day trades for rookies. Pero kung iisipin, wala na sigurong mas nakagawa pa ng ingay sa buong NBA bukod sa dalawang palitan na babanggitin sa ibaba.
Harden to Houston
This initially was a shocker. Bakit mo i-ttrade yung isang isang core piece ng 2011 near-championship run, and essentially an all-star in the making? Dahil ba nag-shy away siya during the Finals? Dahil ba di siya nag-aahit ng bigote? Add this to the fact that the Thunder signed Ibaka to a max contract, letting go of Cole Aldrich (came with the trade) and getting Haseem Thabeet from the free agency in return, this was probably one of the biggest mind-farts the OKC management has done to date.
Pero let’s look at it this way: by letting go of Harden, the Thunder cleared off some cap space for the next few years. They might even go on a hunt for an available legit big man because of this. And here’s another factor we might have missed: Houston is one of those “Moneyball” type teams who look at stats in particular, that’s why Houston GM Daryl Morey really wanted Harden, and Thunder GM Sam Presti liked Jeremy Lamb. With Lamb, you have a shooter who can be your tertiary scorer, plus good perimeter defender in the works. Sure, the Thunder might not win the championship this year unless they get that legit post threat/defender, but the trade ensures them being a contender for the next 3-4 years, personnel and financially wise.
The Dwight Saga
“Saga” would be the best word to describe this because considering everything that has happened around Dwight (oo lahat patungkol sa kanya), this has the makings that can rival our very own telenovelas. After all the I-want-a-trade-no-trade-the-coach-instead-I’ll-stay-here-now-I-really-want-a-trade-thing, I think everything went all well and good for the league as a whole (well, maybe not for the other western teams contending for the title) Siguro ang pinaka-talo talaga dito eh yung 76ers, kasi hanggang ngayon ayaw pa ring maglaro ni Bynum sa kanila hihi. LA also got Steve Nash in another multi-player trade, Orlando is on a rebuilding process, Philly’s surviving somehow, and as of writing, the Lakers have just won 6 of 7 games, finally at .500. So slowly and surely, the Lakers are slowing playing at par to their potential. Yung tipong kasing lakas ng LA pag nilalaro mo sila sa 2k13.
8. Powerade’s “Cinderella Run”
At the start of the 2011 season, Powerade took Gilas standouts Jvee Casio and Marcio Lassiter during the annual rookie draft. Unfortunately, Casio was injured as the Philippine Cup began and debuted only a few weeks later. A late run during the eliminations propelled the Tigers to the 8th seed w/ a 6-8 win-loss record, crashing the quarterfinals and securing a matchup w/ the top-seeded BMeg Llamados.
Entering the playoffs, only a few gave the Tigers much of a chance, but with Gary David averaging almost 30 points per game during that wild run, they defeated the twice-to-beat BMeg Llamados in the Quaterfinals (who could forget that hands-on-fire game???). During the Semis, Powerade outlasted Rain or Shine in an intense seven-game series, at eto yung mga panahong napapa-“Juskupo” ka pag napapanood mo yung laro ni Gary David. That series and awesome streak propelled his name further into MVP contention. Saktong sakto rin yung suportang binigay nila Casio, Lassiter at Sean Anthony, kaya nakaabot sila ng finals laban sa Talk’n Text.
During the Finals, the Tropang Texters proved too much for the Tigers to handle as Finals MVP Larry Fonacier led Talk’n Text to a successful title defense, clinching the series at 4-1. Regrettably, that same season was also the last for Powerade, as the Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc. sold the franchise. Though the team is now known as the Global Port Batang Pier, Powerade’s 2011-2012 Philippine Cup run will always be legen(wait for it…) Gary!
7. The San Beda Super Six
Brief background: A women’s volleyball game (Perpetual vs SSB) was being held at the San Beda Court, with the Red Lion’s Basketball team practicing nearby. San Beda’s Nigerian player Olaide Adeogun, said he heard chants by male San Sebastian volleyball players, allegedly calling out to him “unggoy.” He then approached San Beda Coach Frankie Lim, to air out his concern. So according to the news, coach Frankie confronted San Sebastian’s volleyball coach Roger Gorayeb, eh alam naman natin ang mga nangyayari pag pinagsama ang mga katagang “Frankie Lim” and “confrontation”. A brawl then ensued, heated words exchanged, with some fists flying here and there, and when the smoke cleared, suspensions were then handed out. Coaches Lim and Gorayeb were banned from any NCAA event for 2 seasons (w/c led to Frankie Lim announcing his retirement), Adeogun was suspended for 4 games (dapat daw may “spectator ban” pa, pero nalift rin naman), Dave Marcelo was out for 3 games, and the rest of the Red Lions, excluding six players, were handed out a one-game suspension each.
Yup, you heard that right. Maliban sa anim na players na baka wala dun o nakaupo lang habang nagkakagulo ang lahat, the rest of the San Beda team was suspended for the first game of the season, at the very least. So San Beda opens up their title bid against the Arellano with only six players, 5 of which have never played in the seniors division. And what happened? Theycoughed up a 81-71 win over the Chiefs. THEY. F*****G. WON. You might say na “Arellano “lang” naman yun,” but this is college ball we’re talking about ladies and gentlemen! Kung yung mga simpleng organized na liga sa kung saan man, sobrang hirap manalo kung kulang kayo sa team, much more na iisa lang yung sub. Ang tunay na basketball ay di tulad ng anime na kahit 5 or 6 lang yung players nyo eh kayang kayang manalo. So with them coming up with a win, it must say a lot about their basketball system. And with that kind of start, San Beda emerged as back-to-back champs by clinching the title in Season 88. But nobody should and will ever forget that first game by the Super Six. And in true anime fashion, para talaga silang Shohoku, with matching Boy Labo to boot.
6. 2012 was the year of The King
After taking his talents last year to South Beach, Lebron James can finally back up his claims of being “King.” The Heat finished with a 58–24 season record, finishing second best in the east behind the Chicago Bulls, but as luck (for them) would have it, a string of injuries to the opposing Eastern conference contenders (Derrick Rose and Amare Stoudamire [HAHAHA]), made it easy for the Heat to grab the Eastern conference championship.
Miami went up against the streaking Oklahoma City Thunder, who, prior to the finals, won convincingly over former NBA champs: Dallas, LA and San Antonio. Despite the OKC’s win in Game one, Lebron’s terrific defense on OKC guard Russel Westbrook helped Miami sweep the rest of the series 4-1. Para sa mga nagsasabing choker si Lebron, he finally showed (some) guts in the finals series by sinking clutch free throws, producing a streak of 30-point games, got a triple double during game 5, and even clinching a crucial three kahit kakagaling lang nya sa cramps nun. King James validated his second straight MVP award and received well deserved Finals MVP award from the man himself, Bill Russel.
But the year didn’t end there for Lebron. He showcased his brilliance yet again at the 2012 Olympics, making some clutch plays down the stretch and powering the US “Redeem Team” back to the top of the basketball world and capturing the Gold medal in London. With Miami currently at the top of the East, looks like things are still looking good for Lebron and the Heat to repeat this year.
Is it possible to change Febuary into Linuary? That was the month that a previously unheraleded Asian player named Jeremy Lin suddenly barged into world-wild consciousness, and he did that in less than a week. Gaano ka-bigtime si Lin nung mga panahong yun? Para siyang Scarborough Shoal na pinag-aagawan ng China and Taiwan yung ethnicity nya. From sleeping on former teammate Landry Field’s couch, he has since moved to an apartment in the Trump Towers, previously owned by former Knick David Lee. Has anybody else ever inspired a slew of terms such as Lintensity, Linfinity, Linspiration, Lintelligence, and of course, Linsanity. He even has this online invite.
Hey Jerry Lin! You black guy who plays for the Giants, good time guaranteed!
For someone who was undrafted, bounced around from a couple of NBA teams, and even getting relegated to the D-League, Lin’s success story cannot get any better. His first few victims after starting for the Knicks include Deron Williams, John Wall, and no less than Kobe himself. A streak of awesome games, highlighted by that game winner versus Toronto, and suddenly New York has its new “it” boy – a new global phenomenon, and someone who would own #17 in the years to come. Yeah, and that’s with a GQ cover to boot.
4. Pinoy Paddlers’ Gold medal haul
Amidst all the confusion as to whoever is more deserving to be named as the official Philippine Dragonboat team, we take our hats off and give praise to both the Philippine Canoe Kayak Federation (PCKF) dragon boat team and the army-composed Philippine Dragon Boat team in their gold medal haul in respective international competitions. First off, it was the PCKF Dragon boat team who bagged six golds and one silver in a one week event held in Milan, Italy. The Philippine team’s bid for a gold medal sweep in the International Canoe Federation Dragon Boat World Championship 2012 was foiled by the Russian team in the 20 paddlers mixed 500m category.
Meanwhile, despite the lack of funding, the dragon boat team composed mainly of army reserves and bagged 5 golds and 2 silvers in the World Championships at the Seddon Channel. They competed as a private team and even tough lacked the time to practice on the small boat category of the event, bested the other competitors in the 12-nation event held Florida, USA.
3. Ateneo Dominates UAAP Season 75 Basketball
Despite seemingly every other UAAP school screaming for an Ateneo loss, the highly fancied Blue Eagles won its fifth consecutive crown by capturing the Men’s Basketball championship in the UAAP Season 75. A fitting send-off to the bemedalled Blue Eagles coach Norman black, Ateneo defeated the University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers in two straight games to capture the crown in front of some 20,000 fans. With the departure of veterans Kirk Long and Emman Monfort, Ateneo’s road to the finals had a few bumps, as Mariano lead UST back from a 15-pt deficit to a 71-70 come from behind victory . In the second round, it was the lowly seeded UE who dealt ADMU it’s 2nd loss, via Chris Javier’s buzzer-beater lifting the Warriors, 77-79.
After brushing La Salle aside in their Final 4 encounter, the Eagles were matched up with their elimination round tormentors: UST. But clutch performances by the Blue Eagles (san nakuha ni Juami Tiongson yung mga ganung galaw??), coupled by a meltdown of UST in the endgame sealed the deal. How can you ever forget that last shot of Keiffer during game 2? Para yung Jordan-over-Russel shot, minus the “veteran” push. Ganun katindi yung impact nung tira nay un! Sorry Salva, but that 30-pt performance in Game One still isn’t enough to boost your credentials in winning that finals MVP against a more deserving Kiefer Ravena.
2. Team Pilipinas bags the crown in the Jones Cup
Probably the brightest moment in Philippine basketball for 2012 was winning gold at the 34th William Jones cup, against a USA team nonetheless. Oo, siguro hindi sila Lebron, Kobe, Melo, o Chris Paul yung kalaban nila, pero diba ansarap nung feeling na malaman mong nanalo ang pinas labas sa USA sa basketball? Mejo kikiligin ka na pag nakita mong nagsama-sama ang mga katagang “Philippines,” “beats,” “USA,” saka “basketball” sa balita! Kahit di mga kilala ang mga pinadala ng US sa Jones Cup, di in naman siguro sila basta-basta magpapadala ng kung sinusinong manlalaro lang dun diba? Considering the Philippine contingent being the smallest in the competition in terms of average height, they had to rally against taller opponents such Jordan, Lebanon and known Asian powerhouse Iran. But with their steady shooting and pesky defense, the Filipinos booked a date with destiny against the USA in the Finals.
Down by 11 at half time and as much as 14 in the 2nd half, The Philippine team clawed their way back through the heroics of LA Tenorio and the timely baskets by Jeff Chan. Di ko siya napanood ng live, pero ang sarap panoorin ng paulit ulit yung replays ng laro, lalo na nung pumasok yung tres ni Tenorio that sealed the win for the Philippines. Finally, after 14 years of waiting, we once again captured one of the most coveted championships of basketball in Asia. Who knows, maybe like in the Olympics, matauhan din ang USA at magpadala na ng NBA players sa susunod na Jones Cup hihi.
Gold Medal Bonus: Di lang pala sa basketball magaling si Gary David!
1. Have no fear, The Filipino Flash is here
After Pacquiao’s invulnerability shattered, the nation seemed to be in disarray, searching for that bright light that they can look up to and be their source of pride. Buti nalang, ilang lingo pa lang ang nakakalipas, isang tagapagligtas ang kaagad dumating. With a devastating left hook that sent Jorge Arce to the canvas (and well into his retirement) in the 3rd round of their fight, he announced his presence, ready to make his mark in the boxing world. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Nonito Donaire has arrived.
Prior to that Arce fight, he also conquered the hyped Puerto Rican Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. for the vacant WBO Super Bantamweight title, captured the IBF Super Bantamweight title via unanimous decision against the South African Jeffrey Mathebula , and stops the Japanese Toshiaki Nishioka in the 9th round in defense of the two belts. He did all that, won ALL of his 4 fights within the year. Kaya’t di na nakakapagtaka kung bakit siya ang nahirang bilang “Boxer of the Year” ng ESPN and Sports Illustraded’s “Fighter of the Year” for 2012.
The future still looks bright for Philippine boxing. Who knows, next year may uusbong na namang boksingero galing sa kung saan mang lupalop ng Pilipinas na makikilala internationally. Our country is not only beaming with talent search contestants that can really sing, we also have a ton of gifted athletes as well.
Any other sporting event that merits a special mention in the list? Hit us up! 🙂
Photos courtesy of: Google, InterAKTV, and Ultimatephotos.org
Nanay ko si Carmen. Tatay ko si Bert. Aso ko si Puti. Sundan: @sheenchaaan