Missing

I don’t miss someone the most when one is away for a very long time. I do miss them, but not as much.

I don’t miss them the most when they are in a far away place. I do miss them but not as much.

But I do miss people when I am in a situation I know I can share with the person. I miss them when during any given instance, I know the person could be there but isn’t.

I miss people when I am caught in moments that do not feel as good as it should be when it is spent with that other person, knowing that their mere presence makes everything better, turning grey-scale to color, making mere noise a harmonious song. When even awkward moments feel good.

It’s not that hard for me to miss people. I probably am missing someone right now.

Bullish Marquez, Sunny Pacquiao

The 1993 NBA Finals provides me with one image I'll forever remember and attribute to the Chicago Bulls' repeat three-peat in the 90s. That is the visual of John Paxson receiving a pass from Horace Grant and getting an assist from the defense with a wide-open three-pointer. It proved to be the game-winner, and a series-clincher as the Chicago Bulls beat the Phoenix Suns.

After that dagger, Phoenix called for a timeout. I remember seeing Dan Majerle in utter confusion of what just happened. They expected Michael Jordan to take the final shot, to try and win the game for Chicago. Nope. Instead, it was John Paxson who did.

The Suns were blindsided by the Bulls' decision, and a very wise decision at that.

The play was designed perfectly. The Bulls moved the ball around: Jordan to Scottie Pippen, to a cutting Horace Grant, then back out to John Paxson.

It caught the Suns off guard and the Bulls capitalized. Championship number three.

*****
Manny Pacquiao lost his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. At least that was how everyone saw it except the judges. It was a robbery. Marquez deserved to win that belt, that fight, and the hearts of everyone.

But what bothers me the most is the amount of flak Pacquiao's been getting. He didn't perform well, he should have been more aggressive, he didn't have speed, he didn't have power. I don't mean to be an apologist for Manny, but here's my take on things.

The first three or four rounds of the fight were really close ones. I was scoring the fight on my own, in my head saying, "I think Pacquiao won that round", or "Maybe Marquez stole that round" at the end of each round. Through the first four rounds, it was really tough to pick a winner after each.

And I believe it was here when he lost his speed. Pacquiao got tagged more in the first few rounds than he did in his 12 rounds with Mosley or with Clottey. After taking those punches, he became tentative with his movements and with his punches.

And after losing some rounds here and there early in the fight, he lost confidence. He became more cautious, becoming more reserved about throwing punches he usually dishes out. He respects the power and the skill of Marquez.

But what really got him beat was the overall game of Marquez. He was more accurate with his shots based on what I saw on the screen (not what CompuBox saw). He landed cleaner shots. He even cut Manny above the eye, something that rarely happens to the defending champion.

*****
Marquez fought like those '93 Bulls, while Pacquiao, the '93 Suns. During their fight, as boxing analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz said, Manny didn't have a Plan B. They didn't expect Marquez to perform that well, and when he did, that left Manny guessing. That wasn't what he prepared for.

Like the Bulls did to the Suns in that series-clinching Game 6, Marquez confused Pacquiao.

If there was anyone to blame for Manny's dismal performance, it may probably be Freddie Roach for not scouting the opponent well. Nathanielsz said it best this afternoon. Nacho Beristain, trainer of Marquez, had a gameplan that evolved as the fight went on. He had an answer for everything thrown Marquez's way. It was on-the-fly coaching at its best.

Roach was telling Manny they were losing, but what was Manny to do? His gameplan clearly wasn't working. The orders of his corner seemed like they weren't too effective. The Marquez they prepared for did not show up. What they got instead was an even better version, one who was quicker, stronger, and more accurate.

Just like the Suns, who weren't prepared for a John Paxson shot, so was Team Pacquiao caught off-guard by a superior Juan Manuel Marquez.

The boxer, in a fight, can only prepare himself when it comes to the physical aspects of the match: his conditioning, his lifestyle, his diet, et cetera. But when it comes to strategy, the coaching staff is liable for it. The failure of Roach to prepare Manny, or at least a gameplan to counteract whatever Marquez throws at them, almost cost Pacquiao his belt.

While Manny may be held accountable for some errors on his part, a bigger portion of the blame must go to Roach and the rest of his training team or coaches.

Some say Pacquiao failed to prepare for the fight. His body looked great. The gameplan was not effective. And it is the coaches' responsibility to build a strategy to help their fighter win.

Stop blaming Manny. He did what he can, he fought a good, exciting fight. He didn't win decisively, and I still believe he didn't win the fight. But he doesn't deserve all the blame he's been getting. Marquez was just the better boxer, and Beristain was just the better trainer.

Ear Dream

Minsan talaga, bigla na lang nagkakatotoo ‘yung mga panaginip natin.

Kanina bago ako magising, nanaginip ako. May kasama akong kaibigan (hindi na ‘to sweet na eksena kasama ang isang babae; hindi nga sweet to e). Nakaupo lang kami somewhere. Hindi ko maalala kung bakit kami magkasama dun, basta nagsama kami. Siguro nauna ako sa lugar na yun kasi naka-earphones pa ‘ko, nakikinig sa iPod Nano kong nuno ng mga bagong iPod Nano.

In-ear earphones ang gamit ko,  pero ‘yung hindi masyadong high-end. Wala pa atang 300 ‘yung bili ko sa ginagamit ko ngayon. Nakasaksak ‘to sa tenga ko.

Nung dumating na si friend (hindi ko talaga kilala kung sino to), binati ko siya pero tuloy pa rin ang pakikinig ko sa sounds ko. After a few minutes, tinapik niya ‘ko’t hinihiram ‘yung iPod ko, syempre pati yung earphones. Binigay ko naman.

Alam niyo ‘yung kapag kakapulot niyo lang ng earphones, titignan at uusisain niyo ito para malaman kung alin ‘yung pang-left ear at pang-right ear? Ganoon ang ginawa niya.

May kinukuha ako sa bag ko nang tanungin niya ‘ko, “Pare, ba’t wala ‘yung dulo nitong isa?” Nilapitan ko siya. Wala nga ‘yung rubber na nasa dulo nung earphones, ‘yung part na sinusuksok sa tenga. Hinanap ko sa sahig, baka nahulog kasi. Hinanap ko rin sa bulsa ko, sa bag. Pero wala.

Napakamot ako ng tenga nang may maramdaman ako. At doon ko nakita ang nawawalang part nung earphones. Naiwan pala sa tenga ko.

******
Pumunta ako ng UP kanina. Tuwing nagcocommute ako, ilan sa mga essentials na dinadala ko ay ang aking cellphone, panyo, wallet, coin purse, rosaryo, at earphones, at recently, yung iPod nano ko.

Ready to go na ‘ko. Nasa bulsa na ang cellphone, wallet, panyo at coin purse. Kulang na lang ‘yung earphones. Hinahanap ko siya sa patungan ko sa kwarto. Pagkakita ko rito, napansin kong wala ‘yung rubber thing sa dulo na pinapasok sa tenga.

Pagkakita ko nito, bigla kong naalala ‘yung panaginip ko. Kaya ang first instinct ko ay kapain ang tenga ko, hoping na mapupulot ko ang nawawalang parte sa tenga ko, nakakabit.

Pero wala e. Umalis ako ng bahay nang walang entertainment habang nagcocommute. Walang music, walang talk radio, wala. Ang tanging musikang narinig ko ay ang symphony ng busina, makina, at mga barker.

Bench Warmer

The basketball court was clean, it was ready to be played on, but there weren’t any players. The long benches were prepared by the sidelines, but there weren’t any players. The bleachers were cleaned up for the fans to watch the game, but there wasn’t a game to be played.

Instead, it was just…that. A basketball court, a venue for playing basketball. There wasn’t anything, though, which was happening. No players on the court, no ball bouncing, no sound echoing. Nothing.

Except for two people, one guy and one girl, sitting on one bench beside each other. I was the guy, seated on the right side of the girl. The girl? Well, this isn’t the first time.

The atmosphere was pretty gloomy. It wasn’t very dark, but it’s too dark to play proper basketball in. You know the movie scenes where the actor wakes up in the middle of a bad dream? Those scenes have this bluish or purple-ish lightjng, right? That was how the court was lighted.

I was sitting beside her, feeling a little sleepy. Maybe because it was after enrollment and I was really tired from all the walking that I did. I inched to my right a little, away from her, and made a move to lie down on her lap. It felt very comfortable. And it felt like I could really sleep on her lap right then and there. But the best was yet to come.

I was lying down for some time already when I felt her hand touch me on my right cheek. As soon as I felt the touch, I slowly felt a smile creeping it’s way on to my face. It just felt really good.

Then with my right hand, I gently grabbed her right hand, removed it from my cheek, and tucked it in. Since I was lying sideways, hugged her hand, took it in and kissed it, smile still on my face. I went to sleep with her hand clasped with mine.

And it was one of the best sleeps I’ve ever experienced.

Of course this was just a dream. But as soon as I woke up from this dream, which was pretty early (around 6 am), I felt good about it. It seemed so real. And I really wish it were real.

Prayer Is Powerful And Can Take Effect Instantly

(all this happened yesterday, November 4 afternoon, around 1:30-3:00 pm)

The day wasn't getting any younger. My legs were getting wearier and wearier by the minute. It wasn't a pleasant day. All my friends had made progress with enrolling while my partly crumpled Form 5A was still the way it was when I printed it: 9 units enlisted, 9 more to go. With two crucial subjects still pending, I waited for their approval. And waited. And waited.

I decided to go to the Faculty Center to look for a class – whether GE  or elective – to enlist in. I had no clue, absolutely none, as to what class I would take.

Then I got a text from my mother, saying that I should use the power of prayer. And so I did because that was all I can do at that moment.

I prayed that God lead me to the right path, the right building, to show me which hallways I should walk, which departments I should check, which lines I should queue up in. I went to the Faculty Center. I scoured the entire first floor. Then the entire second floor. Then the entire third floor. My friend texted and suggested a class for me, but I said I was going to take a chance with Psych 101. I went all the way back down and walked a long, long way to the Palma Hall Annex where the Psychology Department is housed.

I got there just as the raffle ended. I had to wait for the next, but right now I didn't have the luxury of waiting. I continued praying to Him. I found myself going back to the Faculty Center.

This time, I decided to take my time. Once again, I went around the first floor, reading the lists posted on the walls. On one sheet of paper was the list of rooms to go to to enlist in a particular field or subject. I was reading through it and one particular subject lit up and caught my attention: speculative thought. I actually read this list the first time I went here but didn't see that class. I decided to check it out.

I followed the room number listed. It led me to the Philosophy Department. I settled down and fell in line. Eventually I got a subject enlisted and I moved a step closer to having the minimum number of units (15).

I believe deep in my heart that God brought me there, to that list on the wall, and He made me see that class, those two words, He made them glow and made all the other words a blur, irrelevant. I believe He orchestrated everything I did during that tiring 60+ minutes of walking to get to that point.

But what strikes me the most about it? The time it took for my prayers to take effect. Or maybe that's just how all prayers work. The moment you ask for it, God arranges your world to make something happen. It may seem like nothing's happening, but in reality, something already IS happening. What one experiences may be a part of God's answer to the prayer. All the walking I did, all the frustration I had? Those were part of God's plan.

One thing I realized was that prayer really is a powerful tool. Go and pray now. You'll never know how quickly you may get what you ask for.

Ang Hell-rollment Day Kong Ito, Parang…

'Yung feeling na nasa bahay ka, gutom ka, at umaalingasaw 'yung amoy ng niluluto ng nanay mo. Sobrang bango, amoy pa lang pwede ka nang mabusog. Matapos niyang lutuin, inihain sa hapag-kainan. Nakikita mo na ngayon. Ang sarap tignan. Nakikita mo na kung gaanong kasarap ito. Kumuha ngayon 'yung kapatid mong gutom din. Nakita mo sa mukha niya ang sarap ng ulam. Paborito mo pa namang ulam 'to. Nakita mo 'yung mukha niya kung gaano siyang nasasarapan, naamoy mo 'yung ulam, nakita mo yung presentation nung ulam…

Pero nung kukuha ka na, wala na, naubusan ka na.

'Yung feeling na nasa Triwizard Tournament ka, nakipagpatayan ka na sa mga kalaban mo, nagamit mo na lahat ng spell na alam mo, naubos mo na lahat ng energy mo, wala ka nang maibibigay pa. Sa wakas nasa harapan mo na 'yung Triwizard Cup, mananalo ka na, kukunin mo na lang.

Pero pag hawak mo, Portkey pala. Napunta ka pa sa ibang lugar.

'Yung feeling na inaabang-abangan mo 'yung idol mong singer o banda na pumunta sa bansa para mag-concert, nag-ipon ka, inayos mo schedule mo para hindi ka maging busy sa araw ng concert, inabangan mo kung kailan lalabas ang tickets para makabili ka agad at makaupo ka malapit sa stage. Bumili ka pa ng tickets para sa meet-and-greet para mapapirmahan 'yung CD mong original na special edition, 'yung T-shirt mong in-order mo pa sa Amazon, 'yung DVD na pinabili mo pa sa tita mong pumunta ng Amerika nung bakasyon. Ganun mo sila ka-idol.

Pero sa linggo bago sila pumunta dito, dahil sa mga personal na problema, hindi na lang sila tutuloy.

'Yung feeling na sa raffle, narinig mo ng tawagin 'yung pangalan mo para sa grand prize na isang milyong piso.
Pero kapangalan mo lang pala.
'Yung isasara mo na lang 'yung kamao mo para makuha ang isang bagay, para ma-grasp ito.
Pero biglang may ibang hahablot.

'Yung feeling na nasa bahay ka, gutom ka, at umaalingasaw 'yung amoy ng niluluto ng nanay mo. Sobrang bango, amoy pa lang pwede ka nang mabusog. Matapos niyang lutuin, inihain sa hapag-kainan. Nakikita mo na ngayon. Ang sarap tignan. Nakikita mo na kung gaanong kasarap ito. Kumuha ngayon 'yung kapatid mong gutom din. Nakita mo sa mukha niya ang sarap ng ulam. Paborito mo pa namang ulam 'to. Nakita mo 'yung mukha niya kung gaano siyang nasasarapan, naamoy mo 'yung ulam, nakita mo yung presentation nung ulam…

Pero nung kukuha ka na, wala na, naubusan ka na.

Pero 'yun pala, may tinira pa para sa'yo, at sinerve 'to sa'yo ng nanay mo.

Lahat ng 'to nafeel ko ngayong araw, mostly dahil sa enrollment, 'yung iba dahil stressful lang overall ang araw na 'to. OK na rin. Ang mga hindi natuloy na plano, o nabitin, o nakalimutan, nabawi nung nakatabi ko si Dong Abay sa jeep. Natempt akong kumanta bigla ng "Banal na asoooo! Santong kabayooooo! Natatawa ako HIHIHIHI….sa'yo!"

Salamat na rin sa Diyos sa araw na 'to. Isang buong araw ng paghihirap at pagaabang, ng pagkakabigo at pagpapakapagod, dahil first time kong maexperience ang ganitong klaseng enrollment.

Lord, once is enough. Please.