Crucial Games-A A +A
Thursday, September 19, 2013
THE Milo BEST finals on Saturday at Po Hang gym of Bacolod Tay Tung High School will be crucial ones.
University of St. La Salle A teams in SBP (Small Basketeers of the Philippines) and Passerelle will be challenged by St. John's Institute Falcons and BTTHS Thunderbolts respectively.
The young Stingers are aiming for a double celebration. Hua Ming and Tay Tung are hoping to spoil the fun. No one is thinking of going home with a runner up trophy.
No coach, team manager, parents and supporters wish to see their players and children wept unabashedly when the final buzzer sound. There is so much at stake -- not only the trip for the regional duel with the champion in Panay.
Joining and playing in the Milo BEST is not easy. The top four schools in kiddies basketball are the ones figuring in the championship plus Trinity Christian School. They have been consistently the best participants of Milo BEST in this area.
It pays to join the BEST summer camp. The requirement for a team to join the provincial elimination is to send at least five players in its Milo clinic. Each player (as some said) has to pay an entry fee of P2,000 to P2,500 for a one week learning the basics (for neophytes) and advanced training (for aspirant and junior players.)
Parents or schools have to invest. Unlike in the early '90s when it is free, Milo BEST today does not believe in the adage that "the best things in life are free." In short, only the elite and those who can afford can join Milo BEST, period.
And so like in business, you have to get something in return from your investment. The ROI can be in the form of a championship trophy or a trip to Iloilo or Capiz for the regionals. If your boy is lucky, you can proceed to Cebu City for the Visayas championship before flying to Manila for the national finals.
There is so much at stake in every game of Milo BEST that it is natural for every encounter to get tougher as the series nears the finale -- which is on Saturday, September 21.
It is just a coincidence that the Final happens as the country celebrates the declaration of martial law by then President Ferdinand Marcos. Some of the parents of the Milo boys have not been born yet at that time when the pork barrel was frozen as FM scrapped Congress and the Senate.
There will be a lot of scrapping, pushing, tripping, blocking, shoving, elbowing, when the game is on the line. Championship games are always hotly contested. So hot you can imagine the emotions running high that sometimes it is difficult to pacify, not the players, but the parents on the sidelines.
And just like the over eager supporters and fans, the participants are likewise pressured to give their best. As seconds and minutes passed by, the mahogany court turns slippery with perspiration and it is normal to see players spinning, skidding, and jockeying for positions.
Then the arms start moving and hitting targets other than shooting the ball to the hoop. The feet joins too, hitting knees, tripping ankles, waiting for opponents feet to land on his own and send the other fellow to a waiting stretcher and ambulance.
These antics of players can be avoided if the officials running the show disciplines the hotheads at an early stage. Add the poor performance of the chosen referees who do not blew their whistles when there is a need for it. Worst they sometimes just stare blankly on infractions during play to the consternation of the bench and the bleachers.
It is fun looking at the bouncing and screaming coaches going wild and aghast for non-calls. Just a little flicker and these sideline maestros will ignite and drove the referees crazy too. Then the parents and its growling supporters turn terrorists flooding the floor and you have mayhem on your digital still camera and video cam.
We do not expect this to happen on Saturday. After all the stage is set for the elite schools to display their skills and talents in Milo BEST. But just for precaution, it will not hurt the organizer to post some cop on bikes at the door.
They will enjoy the game too.
And no one will dare going to BAC UP 6 complaint desk after the game.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 19, 2013.