PUERTA PRINCEsa?By the time you read this, the 2010 PBA?All star weekend will be on its last day, punctuated by the main attraction, the North-South game led by JayJay Helterbrand and Mark Pingris for the North and James Yap and Kelly Williams for the South.
Hosting this yearly PBA spectacular, according to Palawan Mayor Edward Hagedorn, is a dream come true for Palaweños who have "long been eager to showcase their hospitality and to promote the city as an emerging sports tourism capital in the country.?
Puerto Princesa has staged sports events like the Palarong Pambansa, the Asian cycling Championships, the qualifying meet to the Boxing Olympics, the Petron Beach Volleyball, and several PBA games.
Of course I wanted to be here both for the PBA All-Star as well as to experience the natural wonders of Puerto Princesa which is said to be breath-taking.
And so, even if I had just very recently returned from a harrowing trip to Doha, Qatar where I had to endure a nine-hour flight half-comatose from hypoglycemia and uncertain whether or not my eyes would open again when the plane landed, I gathered all the energy left in my tired old body and took the one-hour flight to this place. Alvin Patrimonio and Arwind Santos, I knew, would be on the same flight.
En route, I pondered the events that happened just before I left Manila.
Did it really happen? I asked myself.
Did Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, who is seeking reelection, really point to Ali Atienza as a drug user in front of a live audience and over national television during a live debate between him and Ali?s father, three-termer Manila mayor Lito Atienza, who is running for a fourth term in the May elections.
The incident occurred at the Manila Polo Club in Makati where the political debate was held.
Lim was on the podium discussing his stand on the subject at hand?drug use?when, to the surprise of all, he pointed to his opponent?s son who was in the audience, as a drug user. It was like he was making a positive identification of a suspected user.
Well I don?t know what made him do it, but one thing for sure, it wasn?t such a smart move.
A brief background: Lito Atienza served as vice mayor to Lim during the early ?90s and as such, the Lim and the Atienza families got close.
Lim said his accusation was based on the fact that, of all the Atienza kids, it was only Ali who was not visible to him at the time.
When I return to Manila, I must remember to ask the mayor what pushed him to make such an irresponsible and destructive statement like that.
At the time he first caught our attention, Ali was deep into taekwondo. Although his dream was to win the first Olympic gold for the Philippines, he had to set aside this dream because taekwondo was not an official Olympic sport then.
Ali won the Asian taekwondo championship in 1994 at the age of 21. Ironically, he even paid a courtesy call to then Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim to present the medal, the very first from a Filipino jin.
To date, Ali has remained a practicing jin, teaching children the sport that gave him fulfillment. He has dedicated more than half his life to taekwondo, where drug-taking is strictly taboo.
I learned that as a result of Mayor Lim?s actions. Ali has filed a slander suit in Manila.