Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lakers vs Celtics

I've always enjoyed watching NBA games ever since my first glimpse in the early 80's. I remember watching the Lakers, Celtics, Sixers, Sonics and Spurs battle it out in regular season and playoff games when the stars included Jack Sikma, Moses Malone, George Gervin, Julius Erving and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. At the time, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird was just beginning a professional rivarly that was to spread to what was also a revival of the classic rivalry between their teams - the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics.

I have always been a Lakers fan and have read enough about their history to know that they started out in Minneapolis. The "lake" root in the team's name actually comes from the Great Lakes in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. When they moved to Los Angeles, they retained the name of the franchise and it seemed just appropriate given that LA was beside the biggest "lake" of then all - the Pacific Ocean. I also read about the storied rivalry between the Lakers and the Boston Celtics. Boston has so far emerged the more successful team with 17 NBA titles to the Lakers' 15. Most of the Celtics' titles were at the expense of the Lakers including 6 during the 1960's when Bill Russell and company were the best team in the league (they won 8 straight titles).

I was sad when the Lakers were swept the Sixers in the first Finals series I watched on TV. I was even more disappointed to see the Lakers lose the following year to the Celtics in a winner take all Game 7. So when the Lakers won in 1985 and back-to-back in 87-88 I was ecstatic and thought they would finally string up more titles to finally overtake the Celtics in the tally. Lo and behold, the Pistons came and so did Michael Jordan and the Bulls.

In the 90's, I remained a Lakers fan while also supporting (from afar) the Bulls and the Rockets. I particularly admired Hakeem Olajuwon who in 1986 led the Twin Towers to an upset of the Lakers but lost to Boston in the Finals. I also admired the tandem of Karl Malone and John Stockton whom I believed brought the basics back to the game. MJ was, of course, terrific. Through those 90's the Lakers teams were decent enough and even made what were surprising drafts at the time including one Kobe Bryant who was to become the franchise player of the team after the turn of the century.

I think the Lakers organization was the better one compared to the Celtics in the 90's and for most of the past decade. It is already a fact that they maintained a competitiveness that eventually led to a three-peat in 2000-2002. Boston didn;t have a chance until in the preseason of 2008 when they finally came up with a Big Three revival in Garnett, Pierce and Allen. I was pleasantly surprised when the Lakers responded in kind by pulling off the trade of that year when they acquired Pau Gasol for virtually nothing before the deadline. Sadly again, the Lakers lost to a superior team, not having the toughness and enough big men to compete with the Celtics.

2009 was different with the Lakers finally hitting their stride and the Celtics meeting a roadblock in the form of more powerful opponents in the Eastern Conference. I was expecting the Lebron James led Cavaliers to meet the Lakers in the Finals but it was the Orlando Magic that emerged after beating both Celtics and Cavs in the playoffs. The Dwight Howard led Magic truly represented the best in the East but was outclassed by a Lakers team that I believed had the toughness and the finesse they needed in the previous year.

At this time, the Lakers and the Celtics seemed at it again and fated to meet in another classic. I was relieved when the Lakers pounded the Suns in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. I hope they get to exorcise playoff losses to the Suns in 2006 and 2007. I was also rooting for the Celtics in the east despite having thoughts of wanting to see the Celtics lose, too, and maybe see their chances at NBA glory fade away with the aging line-up. But I wanted to see the Lakers and Celtics meet again in the Finals, at full strength and with no excuses to offer. Maybe the Lakers can finally pull it off and Kobe can include beating the Celtics in the Finals in his impressive Hall of fame credentials. Or maybe the Celtics can win it again and frustrate LA. Whoever wins will definitely deserve it and I will be happy with the result.

PS I'm envious that the Clairvoyant will be in Boston for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The atmosphere is sure to be electric as it is a potential series ender should the Celtics win again in Game 3. =)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Post elections

Last May 10, I did my part by casting my vote for the leadership of this beloved country of ours. I stuck to my list and voted according to assessments of candidates I made together with the Clairvoyant. I am still hesitant to post my choices here but I have exchanged quite a few notes with relatives and friends regarding whom I voted for at the national level. I think that it's enough that only they know of my preferences at this time.

Of the 12 senators already proclaimed winners by the Comelec, I count only 4 who got my vote. I was not surprised at all at this result as popularity and pedigree seems to have been the leading factors in the last elections and the results validated this. Revilla and Estrada topped the senate race followed by veterans Santiago, Drilon and Enrile. But pedigree alone probably is not enough considering that the likes of Ople, Roco, Pimentel, De Venecia and Tamano failed to get the nod of voters nationwide.

It wasn't really that hard for me to choose from among the long list of senatoriables though I had to confirm the accomplishments and advocacies of the lesser known candidates I voted for. Obviously, I didn't go for popularity though I tried to come up with a list of "winnables" if only to help assure that certain candidates get into the Magic 12. Among these "winnables" I voted for is Recto as I agreed with the assessment of progressives that without VAT, the country faced a fiscal crisis (And this maybe because either a lot of people didn't pay their taxes or the government failed to collect the right amounts.). It also helped that the Clairvoyant and I fondly call him Ninong and personally knew the guy and his governor wife.

Unlike the 2007 elections when the main battleground was represented by the senate seats up for grabs, these elections were more focused on the highest post in the land. A lot has been written about the backlash on the outgoing administration leading to the defeat of its candidates in 2007. This time around, it seems there was no backlash at all at the senate level. Rejection was evident from the outcomes of the Presidential and Vice Presidential races where one candidate's brilliance and potential to become a good leader just was not enough to shake off the heavy baggage of his association with the current administration. The last elections also showed that playing with the truth about one's early life also didn't help and showed that voters could indeed see through such attempts at packaging oneself as poor and one with the masa. Of course, the latter case should be tempered with the significant numbers who voted for a man convicted of plunder and later pardoned in what was seen by many as a form of "moro-moro."

Perhaps there is a bright future ahead of us and indeed there is so much promise for the new government. This despite the unresolved case for the VP that is still very much the talk of the town in as far as conspiracies and intrigues go. I am hopeful and I look forward to doing my part, realizing that our responsibilities are not limited to casting votes every 3 years but to what we actually contribute (in our own ways) in every day of our life.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Edits to the list

I did post my tentative list for President, Vice President and Senators yesterday. However, I was reminded that being a government employee I am ethically bound not to endorse any candidate. It sucks right? Of course we know that there are government employees in abundance who practically do campaigning despite more important responsibilities to be carried out. But, being a stickler to principle I chose to edit my last post. Anyway, I don't believe a lot of people saw the post anyway. :P

Life goes on...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thoughts on exercising the right to suffrage

It's May and unlike other years this one is on an election year. We registered voters get to go out and exercise our right to suffrage. This time is also quite different as it will be the first time elections will be automated in our country. I'm probably among the many who are crossing their fingers, hopeful that the elections will go relatively smooth with only minor glitches despite the potential for a major disaster like the one predicted by critics (including of course those who are perpetually pessimists).

I am also hopeful that in these elections we would be able to choose better leaders for our country. But I am also wary of the hordes who are mostly unaware either by choice or by circumstance who would be voting unwisely or based on perceptions of promises of quick fixes being realized by candidates who would do anything to get elected. I say do anything because there are many out there who are conscious candidates and have long ago aspired (or had ambitions) to become president, senator, congressman, governor or mayor not because of a higher calling and objective but because of a more diabolical and personal goal. In fact, many of those who are running with or without pedigree may have dubious personalities including attitudes of entitlement. Such is often part of the foundation for the political bog we are now in. Deep shit is a word not for the exclusive use of septic tank contractors after all.

For the purpose of reflection, I have drafted a tentative list of candidate I will vote for at the national level. I still haven't quite finished a scan of local candidates though I have strong opinions for and against candidates in the district where the Clairvoyant will cast her vote. I am probably more familiar with candidates in her district because I work in the area. In a few days I make my final decision. Perhaps I could change two in my tentative list but as of now I think I've pretty much made up my mind.