IT MUST have been the power of suggestion and repetition, the same tools used in hypnosis, that Globalport owner Mikee Romero had unconsciously applied on his team to produce a positive result last Friday against Petron Blaze.
“I don’t want to lose anymore. I don’t want to lose anymore,” Mikee kept saying this both to himself and his players during the briefing that followed the GlobalPort press conference last Thursday at Dencio’s in Metrowalk. Somehow the mantra must have seeped through the subconscious mind of the players, commanding all the cells in their bodies to respond to what had been suggested.
I was not supposed to be listening in on the pep talk but there was nothing else to do while waiting for my ride. The atmosphere had been upbeat as the “new” Batang Pier gang, about half of them new, including head coach Junel Baculi, was presented to the media, but I could sense that there were still some uncertainty on how the powerhouse lineup would perform as a team.
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The stress was basically on Junel who had assembled the new lineup very recently, only after the mega trades were approved last week. He had been training the old team for months and the chemistry was working, and now he had to redo the drills, the game plan all over again.
Junel admitted he was stressed. That was his mantra as he kept muttering to himself how stressful the situation was.
“The important thing is that you win your very first game,” I told Junel for lack of anything better to say. The coaches and officials in our long table within hearing distance, which included Mikee, all lustily agreed. The very first game of the first conference had to be won!
“But it won’t be easy,” said Junel. “We’re playing against Petron in the opener.”
The only consolation, Junel said, is the fact that “from where we are coming from, there’s no other way to go but up!”
Realistically, he is looking for a more creditable performance than in the first conference.
“I think we can win some games,” he said.
“What’s giving us all that stress is the media hype that we feel we have to live up to. The “new” Globalport team is expected to turn our fortunes around,” Mikee said.
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Nobody asked during last Thursday’s presscon what Mikee and Junel’s expectations were for the opening game against Petron.
I didn’t have the chance to talk to Junel after the game, but I guess he would have told me that Japeth Aguilar was a revelation last Friday night, where he ably took over the chores of import Justin Williams, who was thrown out of the game with still 20 minutes left.
I guess it was wholly unexpected. Before Friday’s game, nobody in the team could really tell how Japeth would perform oncourt, if he’s ready to prove his worth, if his attitude has improved. The only thing Junel was raving about was the way Japeth and import Justin had been leaping and flying around the court like ninjas during practice.
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Mikee had a long tape wrapped around his right arm when he showed up for the presscon last Thursday. I can’t remember what that type of tape is called, but Mikee said it’s supposed to ease the pain caused by the trauma of so much mallet swinging in polo, his new great passion, perhaps over basketball. Mikee said he has acquired Argentine players for his polo team which should give opponents some really tough competition.
“Polo is the most dangerous sport, next to formula car racing. It gives me an indescribable adrenalin rush,” Mikee said.