Pages: Miami’s ‘Heat Streak’ continues with No. 23-A A +A
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
CAN we now give the Larry O’Brien trophy to the City of Miami? This team is unbeatable. Not two years ago. And we don’t know next year. But this season, this squad is as sure of wearing the NBA rings on their fingers as Samsam Gullas is of winning in Congress.
I watched portions of the Heat’s win against the Celtics. In the riveting last seconds, with the score tied at 103-all, who does Erik Spoelstra ask to fire that last-moment shot? And win No. 23?
Today’s Michael Jordan.
Yep. After being winless in Cleveland for seven years; after being ostracized by his fellow human beings when he made The Decision; after his unbearable pressure-packed Miami first season -- LeBron James today is so relaxed, so confident, so at peace with himself that he’s unstoppable. Give him the ring. Give him the gold that’s spelled MVP.
RECORD. The question is: Can they win 34? The LA Lakers (1971-72 team) won 33 straight. That’s the all-time record. Miami is now the target. Every team they face, beginning with LeBron’s former home (Cleveland), will produce that extra ounce of inspiration so they can brag, “We beat the streak!” Can they win 34? Of course it’s possible. But I doubt they can do it. I’m sure their mantra is, “One game at a time.”
They don’t want to look too far. This will be the toughest challenge of this Dream Team. If they can achieve it, wow, they’ll go beyond the MJs and the Kobes. This I guarantee: we’ll be following every single Miami game...
NADAL. What knee injury? He missed the Olympics. He bypassed the US and Australian Opens. He was out for seven months. When Rafa returned, we knew he’d still zoom to the top -- but not this fast. Since his comeback, he’s won 17 times, lost once. Last week, in an event called the “5th Grand Slam” because it mixes the men and women (Indian Wells), the Spaniard won.
“Amazing.” That’s what Juan Martin del Potro calls Nadal. There must be a more stupendous and outworldly word to describe his return. Now that the clay court season nears, who doubts Rafa (who has a 52-1 lifetime record there) won’t win his eighth French Open crown?
HUEY. The other major winner was Treat Huey. You know Treat (pronounced as “Tret”).
He’s Pinoy. Well, his dad’s American but his mom’s Filipina. And he carries a Philippine passport, which he uses often -- like he did last February when he came to Cebu for Davis Cup. The week after next, Mr. Huey is back to Plantation Bay -- for
another round of Davis Cup action versus Thailand.
Treat was last week’s Indian Wells champion -- almost! He reached the doubles finals with Jerzy Janowicz. En route, they beat top names like Fish/Blake, and the Murray brothers, Jamie and Andy. In the finals against the greatest doubles tandem in history (Bob and Mike Bryan), they reached the 3rd and decided supertiebreak set. Almost.
Because Treat/Janowicz lost 10-6. Sayang. Still, what a run -- and perfect preparation
for his Cebu trip.
DAVIS CUP. Which brings me to April 5 to 7. Those are the three days when Davis Cup net action returns to Lapu-Lapu City. How lucky can Cebu get? We had three previous DC ties and, in two weeks, it’s versus the Thais.
This will be for free! Yup. No entrance fees. And our opponents are good. There’s Danai Udomchoke, ranked world no. 164 (he reached a high of 77 back in 2007). Their doubles team, the Ratiwatana twins, are multiple SEA Games gold medalists. The Thais are strong. But we have home-court favor. We have the Bisaya cheers. And we’ve played on this slow clay-court many times. This will be a contest -- live before our Cebuano eyes in Plantation Bay Resort and Spa -- that all should watch.
TRU FLEX. Prior to DC, there’s a Group 1 junior tennis event, also in Lapu-Lapu City.
Called the 14th TruFlex National Age Group, it offers the biggest number of Philta points. Hundreds from all over the archipelago will do a Battle in Mactan. This runs from April 1 to 6 and will culminate with everyone cheering for our Pinoys in Davis Cup. Perfect timing. To register, visit the TruFlex FB page.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 21, 2013.