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A tough act to follow.

Byline: Percy D. Della

I WANTED to hook up with the NBA country manager about Metro Manila's basketball milestone two weeks from now. The Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers square off at Mall of Asia Arena on Oct. 10 for the NBA's first ever pre-season game in the country.

Also the first for the world's premier basketball league in Southeast Asia, the match will certainly go down as a highlight, not a footnote, in local sporting history.

With such hype, there is no need for Carlo Singson to spin some yarn. With a product like the NBA in a basketball-crazed country and region, Carlo doesn't have to make a collision of two trains sound like good news.

The stiff price of admission notwithstanding (from P500 ostensibly for the nosebleed section to P32,000 for the choicest seats), tickets to the Rockets-Pacers tiff are said to be getting scarcer by the minute.

Fans can't seem to wait for superstars like James Harden, Jeremy Lin, Roy Hibbert and Paul George to do their thing.

With such a pretty picture, I sought out Carlo via e-mail through a writer acquaintance who happens to be part of a community of NBA drum-beaters.

I wanted Singson, on his own or by proxy, to tell me the import of the NBA's global reach on the Philippines. It takes a village to assist a kindred spirit in the media, right?

I was wrong. Carlo probably thinks he does not have to get bored by unknown columnists. I bet you he wouldn't spar either with the "celebrated" business-suited ones, and the so-called "icons" that grill even weather forecasters with the mere mention of the "habagat."

In any case, published sources readily available say that the NBA world pre-season games will be played as scheduled.

The Los Angeles Lakers who face their cross-state rivals, the Golden State Warriors, in Shanghai and Beijing will probably dress up without the injured Kobe Bryant.

Bryant hobbled off the court last Apr. 12 with a season-ending tear to his achilles' tendon. The Los Angeles Daily News said it will be a few weeks more before Kobe gets to be 100 percent on the court.

Wouldn't you agree that Manila's NBA diehards are a luckier lot than their Chinese brethren?

Inquirer columnist Recah Trinidad, jarred to the edge of his patience by the savage road leading to my birthplace, Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija, ranted against the provincial government headed by Gov. Aurelio Umali in his column last Tuesday.

The crater-filled Nampicuan-Cuyapo road is a six-kilometer stretch of hell. Another columnist friend, Ramon Tulfo, would have been flustered to put it mildly, had he joined us for my Dad's 92nd birthday bash last weekend.

Actually, the mismatch between Cuyapo's good-hearted citizens and the god-forsaken road has gone on for ages. My wife and I have been returning to Cuyapo for the last 37 years. Our road from the Tarlac border remains a postcard from the edge.

Nueva Ecija's leadership has failed through the years. The fiasco continues today under the Hon. "Oyie" Umali and inept town executives like Cuyapo Mayor Jong Corpus.

Umali showed promise when he effectively ended the Josons' iron grip on the province. He was a tough act to follow.

Not true, Oyie's detractors now say. "The Josons bled Nueva Ecija dry and now Umali is doing the finishing touches," says one in reaction to Recah's column.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Sep 28, 2013
Words:565
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