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In Huddle

Treasured birthday gift for Romero

/ 01:29 AM March 21, 2013

Today is Mikee Romero’s 42nd birthday, but said he received his gift a week in advance when he was given the rare privilege of being the guest of honor during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Awards Night.

“I consider it one of the highest honors, because only heads of state and sports icons are given this privilege.

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“At first I was hesitant to accept the invitation extended by PSA president Rey Bancod but he explained that I was chosen because I represented the new breed of sports leaders.

“I accepted. But then I had another problem. What will I say in my speech that would make a difference?”

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More than to extend his congratulations and express his appreciation for  what was described as the eye-opening speech of businessman/sportsman Mikee Romero,  Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black had approached his table  possibly to intervene in a fistfight that many thought might have erupted as a result of the speech.

Norman and the Ateneo Blue Eagles  were one of four recipients of the PSA Athlete of the Year Award, for their unprecedented five-peat in the UAAP.

After Norman congratulated Mikee, he whispered something in his ear. My guess is that Norman had advised him to transfer to another table.

In his speech that night, Mikee had batted for the creation of a department of sports which he believed would permanently solve the funding and infrastructure problems of the country’s sports programs.

Mikee stressed the need for a new platform and a new organization “to propel our sports programs to greater heights,” an indirect way of saying that Philippine sports has gone nowhere and achieved nothing significant in the past years.

He pledged P200,000 in seed money to get the department started, thanked everybody and went back to the presidential table, which he shared with PSC chair Richie Garcia, whose agency stands to be abolished in the event Mikee’s suggestion materializes, POC president Peping Cojuangco, first vice president Joey Romasanta, IOC representative Frank Elizalde and PSA president Rey Bancod of Tempo.

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But even before I had the chance to interview Mikee (I missed the PSA Awards Night), I unexpectedly bumped into Norman at a coffee shop the day after the affair. He was with TNT PR man Virgil Villavicencio, who was also at the PSA affair.

Virgil said Mikee’s speech, to him, came as a wake-up call while Norman called it as an eye-opener. Both of them doffed their hats to the sportsman who had the guts to speak out his mind in the presence of the sports leaders and at the risk of incurring their ire. Most of what he said were not exactly very flattering to the people in his table.

“The man has substance and guts.  He had the balls to speak out what he thinks, right to the face of those concerned,” said Norman, who jokingly admitted that, for a moment, he had anticipated a scuffle after Mikee’s speech.

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When I finally got to talk to him, I begged his indulgence for not having been around to give a critique on the black three-piece Armani suit that he wore and the  high-powered speech he had delivered. I told him that I had been hearing very good reviews about the latter. “Did you write that speech?” I asked him.

Mikee said he had thought long and hard before he decided on what he was going to say in his speech.

“Sheila (Mikee’s wife) and I had a long, long talk on the eve of the affair. She was afraid my speech might not sit well with the sports leaders of the country. I thought about that, too, but then I figured this might be my only chance  to speak out what was in my heart, with the most important people in Philippine sports listening, so I spoke with my heart,” Mikee said, adding that it took him three days to do the research and review the finished product.

Wish I had been there to personally appreciate the fruits of his labor. Happy 42nd birthday, Mikee!

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I’ve noticed that Fil-American NLEX cager Greg Slaughter has been getting a lot of bad press lately for his unacceptable work ethic and attitude,  among others.

As a draftee of the Smart Gilas national team, who would be joining the next PBA rookie draft, Slaughter is definitely not making the right moves to ensure himself of a successful and financially rewarding PBA career.

My unsolicited advise: Report for active duty ASAP to your mother team, to which you have a commitment up to the end of this D-League season. The conference break is long over. Put your best foot forward as smart draftees do  and you will be rewarded with good karma. You could be the first pick of the season!

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TAGS: Mikee Romero, Philippine Sportswriters Association Awards Night
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