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Black looks forward to coming season

/ 03:45 AM August 20, 2015

There are at least    three good  reasons  why Meralco  coach    Norman Black looks  forward  to  the coming Philippine Basketball Association  season  with  great  optimism.

One, ace point guard Jimmy Alapag has   come out of  retirement.

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Two,  his  team  will get  two first round   draft picks—fourth  and seventh—and his plan  is  to beef  up  his lineup with players with size  and height.

Black   said  this  year’s   crop   of rookies is  abundant  with  talents  and he’s  quite certain  he will get  the  cagers he needs.

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Three,  with  the  return  of prodigal player Rabeh Al-Hussaini, half of  Black’s  problems   regarding  the  lack  of big players  is  solved. The Filipino-Kuwaiti  is 6-foot-7   and weighs  240 pounds.  Black is  the only coach  who  can  get   the  best  out of  him.

* * *

Over a year  ago, Al-Hussaini  took a  leave  of absence  from  his team to attend  his father’s funeral  in  Kuwait. While  there,  Al-Hussaini discovered  that   he was  getting a big  inheritance,  far  more  than  he had  ever imagined.

I don’t  know  what  the  real  story  is, but the   short leave of absence requested  by  the  cager  turned longer until he was  considered absent without leave by Meralco management.

But just  when he has all but vanished from Black’s   consciousness, Al-Hussaini  touched  base and said  he wanted  to play  again.

Al-Hussaini  explained  that  it took long to process  his papers and his inheritance.  He pleaded  for understanding  from  Black  and the management, who were  both quick  to  forgive  him.

Al-Hussaini is  back in Manila and you might  catch  him in practice  with  the Bolts at the Meralco gym.

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According to Black,   Al-Hussaini  “is surprisingly in good shape.”

* * *

The  invitation extended  to Elmer  and Esper  Yanga  was  for  the  birthday  celebration of  one of  their granddaughters.

But  when  the couple arrived  at the penthouse of Discovery Suites  in  Ortigas last Saturday, they were surprised to  find  the place  filled with adults, not children  the  age of  their granddaughter.

It  turned out  to be  a  surprise  birthday party planned by their children Emilou,  Jerwin  and  Jomer for their parents who are both turning 70.

Most of  the  guests were   former  officemates at RFM-Swift  where  Elmer and Esper  met  and worked for  decades. One of  them was Rene Pardo, the Purefoods governor who is a close friend  of  Elmer.

Elmer was  PBA governor and  team manager for RFM-Swift from 1990 to 2002,  the year  the  franchise was   sold  to Purefoods.

Former pros Alvin Patrimonio and Zaldy Realubit were  at  the party, along with Joe Concepcion, owner of  the franchise.

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TAGS: Basketball, Jimmy Alapag, Meralco Bolts, PBA, Rabeh Al Hussaini, Retirement, Sports
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