Pinoy patriotism, partisanship and Pacquiao
SACRAMENTO—It is said that the Filipino diaspora is so widespread that in all probability, there’s a Pinoy in every corner of the globe.
Kalamazoo, Michigan, is no exception. The Wolverine State’s southwest region is home to a vibrant adobo nation of mostly health care professionals, engineers and business people.
Every chance they get, these expatriates wrap themselves with patriotic fervor and Pinoy pride.
Their connection to the motherland is on display openly at the current Big League Softball World Series where a Filipino team from Manila has leapfrogged its way to the championship in a rematch of the 2008 and 2010 title games against the defending champion—the Central region team from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The Pinay lasses who are Asia-Pacific titleholders came from behind yesterday with a four-run explosion in the bottom of the seventh inning, to stun Puerto Rico, the Latin American representative, 8-7. The Pinoys ended up logjammed for first with an identical 7-2 record along with Central and the local team, Kalamazoo. Our squad emerged on top of the standings by virtue of its previous win over Central which ended up second with its earlier victory over Kalamazoo.
The World Series trophy will be contested by the top two teams at Vandenberg Field at 5 p.m. Michigan time tomorrow (Thursday in Manila). Pinoy fans elsewhere can watch the game live on cable network ESPN2. Grand Rapids defeated Manila, 2-1, in 2008 and 14-4 last summer.
“The generosity of private donors at home brought us to Kalamazoo,” national coach Ana Santiago told me by phone. “The tender, loving care of the city’s Filipino community took us to the finals.”
Liked a well-oiled machine, the community arranged for five Pinoy families to house the girls and the coaching staff and provided a fleet of private vehicles to bring team members to practice and to and from the games, according to Ana. She also said the community cornered a section of the stadium and filled it with a cheering squad that waved miniature Philippine flags zestfully.
For each of the Pinoy’s game days, a tailgate party serving sumptuous Filipino treats fed team members and the opposition alike. “Filipino hospitality and camaraderie is a sight to behold,” said Santiago, who is staying in the home of Tony and Lily Soledad, who hail from Leyte. He is a retired engineer; she is a doctor.
Their annual campaign in Kalamazoo may not make the excitement meter rise like a periodic Manny Pacquiao fight on HBO. “But it would have broken our hearts if the team did not come,” said Beth Lopez Tourney, the team’s housing coordinator, who is from Guagua, Pampanga. “For the last 10 years, the ladies are eagerly awaited by the Pinoy community.”
Speaking of Pacquiao, is there a chance that after two years of waiting, boxing fans will finally see his much awaited matchup with Floyd Mayweather Jr. this spring?
Curb your enthusiasm folks, says former Los Angeles Times sports editor Bill Dwyre, who now writes a column for California’s newspaper of record.
The boxing bout of the century is “frustratingly elusive,” says the columnist in his most recent piece. “It’s out there but they can’t quite catch it.”
Dwyre said although promoter Bob Arum assures that roadblocks to the fight have been removed, there is “one interesting twist remaining.”
That would be the defamation suit filed by Pacquiao in December 2009 against his ring nemesis for publicly accusing him of being a “drug user, of enhancing his performance and size with illegal substances.”
To up the ante, Pacquiao’s lawyer Daniel Petrocelli has made another filing before the US Circuit Court in Nevada recently and is asking the court to set a financial settlement in the “eight figure” range to cover legal fees and the damage to his client’s name and reputation.
According to Dwyre, Petrocelli says Mayweather has made a mockery of the court’s discovery process, as he has avoided to sit down for a deposition on 24 different dates. Mayweather’s lawyers have maintained he is too busy training for his September fight with Victor Ortiz and on promotional tours.
There’s a bumpy road ahead for the bout because of the “normal legal to-and-fro.” says Dwyre. “A hundred more trees were chopped down in Oregon so each side could dazzle the other with ‘heretofores’ and ‘notwithstandings.’”