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PH cagebelles face tough task; ‘Big Boy’ gone

/ 12:26 AM November 24, 2011

The good news for the Philippine girls’ Under-16 team is that a number of good Samaritans have chipped in for their Fiba-Asia campaign in Shandong, China, this December.
Businessman Alex Wang kicked things off by providing the team’s practice allowance, meals and pocket money for the trip while Harbour Centre’s Mikee Romero shouldered part of the monthly allowance of the team, with the help of N-LEX. Gameville’s Dioni Balagbagan took care of the uniforms.
The MVP Sports Foundation committed to take care of the remaining bulk of the expenses like airfare.
The bad news is the Philippines has been elevated to Level l, the higher division of the tournament, following the suspension of Thailand. We tried to appeal to Fiba-Asia secretary general Dato Yeoh Choo Hock to keep us in our old division, but no luck.
In Level 2 where we were originally bracketed, we have a fairly good chance to top the field composed of Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Vietnam.
In Level 1, we go up against Asian cage powers like China, Korea, Japan, Chinese Taipei and India. During the classification tournament staged two years ago, our girls were demolished by these teams by margins ranging from 50 to 90 points.
Confronted with this dire prospect, the girls were asked if they’d rather forego the competition to be spared the humiliation.
Having worked and trained so hard for months now, the girls said they’d rather fight and lose than never fight at all.
* * *
Sad news from Ruffy Ignacio, secretary general of the PBA Legends Foundation USA:
“We received a call from Francis Arnaiz in Sacramento, California, informing us of the death of PBA legend Alberto ‘Big Boy’ Reynoso Nov. 22 Manila time at his residence in Sacramento.”
According to Ruffy, Big Boy has been “in and out of various illnesses” for several months now.
“He became critically ill three years ago, but he recovered. Then he got sick again. It was downhill all the way after that,” Ruffy said.
In 2008, during the first Legends reunion in the US, former Toyota teammates Sonny Jaworski and Francis Arnaiz and other legends had the opportunity to visit Big Boy in a hospital.
I last spoke to him some months after that when Arab friends from Bahrain (where he previously worked) called him up to find out if he was well. By that time, Big Boy had recovered from his ailment and was back on his feet.
Big Boy’s younger brother Cristino had died of a stroke around the same time he was hospitalized in 2008, if I remember correctly.
As for fellow legend Abet Guidaben, who was afflicted with myasthenia gravis, Ruffy reports that he has returned to good health after the surgical removal of his thymus gland.
“Abet’s wife Maridol has also fully recovered. They continue to look after each other’s health though. Abet is back actively playing.”
* * *
My first impression of Air21’s “Higanteng Magilas” was a camp geared toward basketball’s big men.
But camp director Allan Gregorio was quick to correct me.
“On the contrary, this is a point guard academy. The idea is for the students of basketball to be fundamentally trained as point guards,” he explained.
“Initially, the clinic will be for young aspirants aged 8-12 years old. Later we will go around the country to search for tall players who will be trained for the No. l position.”
The Higanteng Magilas Camp, cosponsored by Smart and the MVP Sports Foundation, will be launched in Taguig on Dec. 8. The Region 3 leg will be organized by N-LEX.

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TAGS: Alberto Big Boy Reynoso, Basketball, China, Fiba Asia U-16, Francis Arnaiz, Mikee Romero, MVP Sports Foundation, PBA, PBA Legends Foundation USA, Philippines, Ruffy Ignacio, Sports
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