Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fighting the Good Fight

     The only goal a good documentary should have is to shine the light of truth on an otherwise hidden or unknown subject.  Whether it's to expose a government's ineptness to handle a terrorist attack or the terrifying effects of eating fast food everyday, documentaries need to surprise and move people and their emotions with an unadulterated dose of the truth.  The problem that faced the directors, Oscar winner Leon Gast (When We Were Kings) and Filipino american Ryan Moore, was that their only subject, Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, is one of the world's most recognized faces.  Pacquiao's day to day routine and life story have been well documented, too well documented , in fact, that showing a new side, a new truth is a herculean task.


     Predictably, the documentary tracks Pacquiao's rags to riches story, from a small fishing village in General Santos to the small city in Saranggani and then later the streets of Malabon.  It also predictably tracks Pacquiao's amazing (and still ongoing) boxing career, from his early Philippine and Asian wins to his startling rise to greatness on the world stage.  But to say that the documentary is a predictable reel with the hopes of bolstering Pacquiao's future political career would be just too lazy.  The documentary provides a hidden, unexpected gem that only real silence will allow.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Perils of Being a Visionary

     Being a visionary is tough. By definition you alone (or at most, a couple of people) see the vision of greatness you have in mind and most of the time, you're labelled as insane, arrogant or foolish. (Props to you if you get all 3.)


     When Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP) took over the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), he saw a grand vision. He then put us on the road to that vision by setting up the Gilas program. Gilas 1 was the 1st crack. Rajko Toroman, himself a trail blazer who led Iran to the Olympics, gathered a group of amateur stars to form a national team who would play only for the national team. It was ambitious. Gilas 1? A fourth place finish, courtesy of yet again a heartbreaking loss to Korea, was the Philippines' best FIBA Asia finish since 1985. No Olympic berth? No PBA stars? Internet 'experts' and 'pundits' had a field day.

     "Insane, arrogant and foolish," they said. They didn't get it.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cooking Up a Champion

     Chefs worth their salt always seek to modernize their dishes. They know its importance in order to stay relevant, hip and most importantly, competitive. Before this sports blog gets confused for a food blog, let me get into it now.

     One of the keys to modernizing a dish is to tweak the cooking method. After braising the adobo, you can choose to fry or even grill the meat. Change up the method and you change up textures and taste to improve the dish. As Coach Luigi Trillo stepped in as the Alaska Aces coach, he made it known the Triangle Offense would be back. What he did, though, was tweak it. Same principles but their offensive plays no longer always started at the post. A double high screen here, a cut there, it was clear this wasn't your dad's triangle. Even triangle pioneer Tim Cone admitted, "They're (Aces) doing things we don't do. He (Trillo) has made it into his own."

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Real Manny Pacquiao

     Everyone by now knows Pacquiao's story.  A terrible childhood littered with days of hunger and hardship, a left hand and a ferocious fighting heart that brought him fame in boxing, a partnership with Freddie Roach that produced championships in 8 different weight divisions.  Everyone knows about Pacquiao's lightning quick speed, powerful left hand and blazing hand speed. Definitely, everyone knows of Pacquiao's off the ring problems, including extra marital affairs and uncontrolled gambling.  Everyone knows Manny Pacquiao, Fighter of the Year, sure-fire Hall of Famer, congressman and one-time pound-for-pound champion.  


     Or do we? 

       The downside of fame, I've found, is never about the loss of privacy. Oh please.  It's not even close. The greatest problem is perception.  People will always have opinions of you.  Right or wrong, with evidence or without, you and your actions will be judged by people you don't know about and their opinions will be right, according to them.  They'll believe they know how you think.  They can name your innermost desires and think the way you think. They will judge you, they will love you, they will hate you and that will be that. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

No Hater Zone

     When Lebron James made his epic laugher slash middle finger, "The Decision," the sporting world seemingly split between haters and defenders.  Fans were quick to point out that James was well within his rights to leave Cleveland as a free agent, and the so called, "haters," who were calling for loyalty, respect and good taste, were deemed too "emotional." It just seemed like the two sides were constantly fighting with neither side getting the real point.  I weighed in on it, with one of my favorite articles , but I think mine didn't get the real point across either. 


     The Whore of Akron, written by Esquire writer, Scott Raab, does the best job by far.  Written throughout the year after James moved to the Miami Heat, Raab brings out a more complete picture of Cleveland's view of things.  He weighs in on the whole brouhaha, laying in facts, interspersed with his own commentary and coupling them with his own personal and family life.  Looking at the title, it would seem to be nothing but a novelized version of Anti-Lebron rants, but even if I'm a self-confessed Lebron "disliker," I was very glad to discover that it wasn't.