I SPOKE to the No. 1 draft pick of the Philippine Basketball Association yesterday. Standing tall at 7-foot-tall, he spoke with soaring confidence.
Greg Slaughter was ecstatic. “I first dreamed of becoming a PBA player in Cebu,” said Greg. “It was in 2004 when I first watched the PBA. It was an All-Star game. From then on, I knew I wanted to be like those guys.”
Right now, Greg is one of those guys. Not just one of them — but THE number one — having been chosen first by by Barangay Ginebra San Miguel. “Dream come true,” Greg added.
When we talked, he was inside a gym. Noise rebounded off the background.
“I feel really good,” Greg said. “Very happy with the new team.” I asked Greg if he had met his Ginebra teammates and it turned out that they already had a practice session. Yesterday morning at 9, one of this nation’s most popular teams gathered. For three hours, they practiced. But it wasn’t only a time to do drills; it was a moment to welcome the rookies, especially their prized star, Mr. Slaughter. (The PBA ought to be thankful that our island has produced Twin Towers in Greg and June Mar Fajardo.)
Of his hometown, Greg said, “I hope to be back in Cebu soon. But with the compressed PBA season, it might take sometime. We might play a game in Cebu. Or, if not, in-between the season.”
I asked what he misses most about Cebu and the place where he earned triple-honors (back in 2008, when he led UV to its eighth crown, Greg was the Cesafi season MVP, the All-Star MVP and the Finals MVP — an unprecedented, may-never-be-broken feat).
“Oh man, definitely my family,” said Greg, whose mom, Emma Fuentes, met his dad William here before they moved to Ohio where Greg was born. “I miss them. That’s where my family is, in Cebu.”
NADAL-DJOKOVIC. This week in the ATP Tour, it’s the ATP World Tour Finals. What makes this event unique is that it’s not open to everyone. Only the world’s top eight are invited. The format is not knock-out but round-robin. And it’s in London. (Sadly, the Briton, Andy Murray, is out with injury.) Plus, there’s added spice: the year-end world No. 1 ranking will be decided in London. If Rafa wins at least two matches, he gains that top spot; if he loses and Novak wins all the way (plus the Davis Cup final), it might be the Serb who beats the Spaniard. Best of all, like the other Masters 1000 series games, London will be shown on our cable TV channels.
MARATHON. A year ago, the New York City Marathon was canceled because of the superstorm Sandy. Two days ago in NYC, 50,000 runners joined the most festive 42K in the world, with over 1 million people lining the streets cheering-on the marathoners.
Here in Cebu, we, too, will soon host our own version of the NYC Marathon. It’s CCM.
The Cebu City Marathon will be this Jan. 12, 2014 and, to all long-distance runners, this Sinulog festival-themed race is a must-join marathon.
While 01-12-14 is still over two months away, the deadline for the Early Bird Registration is this Sunday, Nov. 10. Today until Sunday, the fees are as follows: 21K (P1,000) and 42K (P1,400). But, starting Nov. 11, these increase to P1,400 and P1,800, respectively. All participants will receive singlets, finisher’s shirts and medals (including the half-marathoners). Register now at the Active Zone of Ayala Center or online at www.cebumarathon.com.
VETTEL. Not contented with his fourth World Championship trophy, Seb Vettel won his seventh straight F1 race in Abu Dhabi last Sunday. In an event where the winner is supposed to win by milli-seconds, Vettel beat his teammate Mark Webber by 30.8 seconds. It was his 11th title this season. Dislike him or find him “hambog,” there’s no denying that he’s the best. “Both cars had no issues today,” said Reb Bull boss Christian Horner. “Sebastian simply selected another gear. Mark is a very fine driver, but the dominance Sebastian is displaying at the moment is simply astonishing.”