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Top PH cagers on lessons from Michael Jordan, quarantine life and ‘the new normal’ for PBA

/ 12:30 AM May 19, 2020

(First of two parts)

The documentary series about NBA superstar Michael Jordan (MJ), “The Last Dance” (TLD), is currently No. 1 on Netflix. That comes as no surprise in our basketball-crazy country. I have watched TLD for the nth time.

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I’m amazed at how MJ refused to rest on his laurels and that he never allowed himself to be lulled into a false sense of complacency. Also noteworthy is the way he handled defeat and controversy. Even if you are not exactly a fan of MJ, there are many lessons you can learn from his success story .

I asked my (former and current) PBA player friends to share their thoughts about TLD. Benjie Paras, Atoy Co, Chris Ross, Jeff Chan and JV Mocon also talked about how PBA can adapt to the “new normal.”

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For now, the basketball game has turned into a wai­ting game as the professional league’s 45th season is postponed until the curve flattens. It’s just “Time Out” and not “Time’s Up” for our beloved PBA. The league’s mantra “Laban kung laban” is so apt for these days of “insanity and sanitization.”

Here’s my chat with Benjie (B), Atoy (A), Chris (C), Jeff (J) and JV:

What’s your take away from “The Last Dance”?

Benjie Paras

B: Be competitive. Never back down. Be motivated by challenges.

A: One player cannot win championships. You need the whole team to have one mind-set all the way to the top.

C: MJ is the ultimate competitor who loved winning at all costs.

J: Fame has an ugly side. Even if many idolize you, there will be some who will try to make you fall off your pedestal. MJ’s story inspired me as a professional cager. Even if he was the best NBA player during his time, he kept striving. You don’t stop, you find a way.

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JV: Greatness is achieved through failing over and over again.

Given a chance to meet MJ, what’s one question you would ask him?

B: Do you still go to church?

Atoy Co

A: Did you copy my fadeaway shot? (laughs)

C: While playing, was he so focused on winning and beco­ming the best that he didn’t have time to be the best father figure, or did he make time for both?

J: Do you regret retiring that early? Because let’s face it, you could’ve still played.

JV: How do you handle obstacles in life?

What’s the most productive thing you’ve done during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)?

B: I was able to build a home office/library for my kids, who are distance learning.

A: I exercised more, learned to cook lechon kawali and white chicken, and most of all, bon­ded with my wife. I did some donation work during the first two weeks of the ECQ.

Chris Ross

C: I’ve started distance running. I never ran miles before, until the ECQ.

J: Get to work out in the li­mited space we have.

JV: Doing everything with my weak hand, my left—from eating to bru­shing my teeth (laughs).

Any suggestions on how the PBA can keep the league alive in the time of coronavirus?

B: They should show games from the ’80s and ’90s so the people of my generation can reminisce, while the current viewers who didn’t get to watch the games live will be able to see how basketball was played back then. They will also get to know retired players, which I feel is important in the history of PBA.

A: Air the greatest PBA games of all time. Come up with a show that teaches basketball skills and interviews with players, especially the Fil-Ams.

C: Not sure, but the safety of everyone involved should be No. 1 on the list. Because basketball is just a game and Covid-19 is taking lives.

Jeff Chan

J: If the curve has flattened, closed-door games may be considered with proper safety measures.

It might also help the league to cast a bigger net to sponsors who will advertise during airtime. Since the games can’t be open to the public yet, there will be no ticket sales. Products that are relevant during this health crisis that will advertise during the telecast of the games will help PBA stay afloat.

JV Mocon

JV: PBA can have closed games and people can watch through pay-per-view. This will help the league in so many ways. Not only in pro­fit, but in the number of people watching the games, too. Also, it will give PBA fans stuck at home something to look forward to.

(Conclusion on Saturday)

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TAGS: Atoy Co, Benjie Paras, Chris Ross, Jeff Chan, JV Mocon
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