IN the end, even the best player in the world could not win it all.
After the his team lost Game 5 of the NBA Finals last Monday, LeBron James was asked if he felt any less pressure this year than in his past championship games, knowing that he was playing for a team that was decimated by injuries.
No, he replied. "I am confident because I'm the best player in the world. It's that simple."
Well, there's very little doubt, if at all, about LeBron's claim of being the best basketball player on Earth. But his confidence, it turns out, was misplaced.
He missed all but one or two of his shots in the last five minutes en route to the Cavaliers' 97-105 drubbing by the Golden State Warriors in the deciding Game 6.
Basketball is still a team game. Without a competent supporting staff, LeBron's dream of earning a trophy for the team he once abandoned melted in the desolate air of the Quicken Loans Arena yesterday. The triumphant homecoming was not going to be.
I am a (long suffering) Los Angeles Lakers fan but I admire the Warriors because of their work ethic and philosophy. The newly minted champions have their own load of superstars but none, including reigning MVP Stephen Curry, behave like one. In a sport dominated by megalomania (I've heard so many NBA players refer to his teammates as "my boys"), the Warriors' attitude is refreshing.
Makes me wonder if God, in spite of his cold neutrality, actually gave Golden State a little but needed extra push to victory if only to emphasize the virtue of humility.
I wanted to draw a parallel between basketball and politics and between their respective inhabitants. After all, didn't Senate President Franklin Drilon compare his Liberal Party to the Warriors?
I would have loved to point out to Sen. Grace Poe, who is rumored to be gunning for the presidency in tandem with Sen. Chiz Escudero, the need for a solid team; that you may be very popular and very good like LeBron but you cannot get the job done without a solid supporting cast, including a good coach and a humble running mate.
But today's column is about sports (I used to be the sports editor of The Freeman, if you allow me some immodesty) and there's a lot to write about the sorry state of sports in the country. So let politics wait.
I have been following our country's participation in the just-concluded Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Singapore through the Internet because local television coverage of the competitions was woefully inadequate. We had some shining moments especially from our boxers and the track and field team but overall it was a frustrating experience for a sports fan.
We sent one of the largest delegations to the games, much larger than our contingent in 2013, but we couldn't top our gold medal production in the Myanmar SEAG that year. Twenty-nine golds are what we could show after two weeks of action, a minuscule number when you consider how many overall champion Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia garnered.
Before they departed for Singapore, Philippine sports officials predicted a gold haul of 50. Many faces should have been red by now but don't expect any resignation from those whom we should hold to account for the debacle.
Medal-rich swimming failed to yield any first place finish. This is the sport that was so rocked by squabbling that a champion swimmer from the UP decided to shift to another discipline. Ma. Claire Adorna went on to win the triathlon in the Singapore SEAG.
Even our own Mary Joy Tabal was a victim of politicking in sports. She won practically all marathons that she joined but the track and field association snubbed her until this year when they could not ignore her anymore in view of her impressive performances in national and international competitions. Joy paid back their delayed trust by winning the silver in a 42-km race that was decided only in the homestretch.
These two stories tell a lot about how most of our sports leaders behave. They also explain why they'd rather drown in their drool than resign.