Velez: Calling time out


MOST of us Pinoys are basketball fans, so we do know the importance of a time-out.

It comes in crucial moments of the game. When your team is behind points, the coach needs to re-strategize or simply get your team to breathe in, regroup and re-focus on strengths to catch up. Or when it's down to the dying seconds or "last two minutes" and you want every second to count and execute for the win.

In real life, our health frontliners, specifically the Philippine College of Physicians, are calling for a timeout in Metro Manila in a crucial stretch of the pandemic. The general community quarantine has spiked the cases of Covid-19, and hospitals are already stretched, and more crucial, is that nurses and doctors are getting sick as well and exhausted.

They appeal for a brief period of strict quarantine so that frontliners can regroup, regain strength, and at the same time, ask the DOH or the task force on Covid-19 to re-strategize. It's time to make winning plays. Actually, when you see the rising stats of Covid-19 infection in this country now up to 100,000 cases, it's really worrying.

So what does the head coach do? He could do a Coach Pop and do a good pep talk. Or he can do a Coach Spoelstra or Stevens to diagram a great play. Or let's go local, if anyone remembers Coach Jawo always pointing to his temple telling his players, "plenty of time" and think the play.

But nah, we have instead a coach that's seem not in sync with the players or with the game. When the team is tired, and calls time, and when the coach blames them for being tired, for hearing complaints outside, you have to ask, isn't it the job of the leader to be in tune to the team, to know how everyone is? That's where the problem is now, we have players who also feel they need to tune out their angry coach.

That's the sad state we are in. When we see photos on Facebook of frontliners in hospitals exhausted, sleeping on floors, curling on beds sick with the virus, or showing their arms sweaty and scaly from wearing PPEs whole day, you really feel for them, and you wonder who's gonna save the frontliners if they're all down at this point?

I'm reminded of one vintage PBA story, when Toyota was behind from Crispa, and on halftime the managers decided to take out their coach, and team stage a come from behind victory. It was a stuff of legends.

But that's basketball. In real life, we're down on a crucial stretch here, and who's calling the plays? It's a game that matters, and the frontliners out there deserve every inch of our support because they are putting their life on the line.


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