apeth, In Huddle

Aguilar proves worth for Globalport

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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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

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