Friday, August 11, 2006



This is written in response to the Guidon editorial entitled "The Blue-Green Symbiosis", written by a Gerald Santos. Italics are quotes taken directly from his editorial. Blue font denotes what my comments are.

The Blue-Green Symbiosis
by Gerald Santos

This writer has been visiting online forums that are all about Team Ateneo for the past month. The busiest threads have been about archrival De La Salle’s (DLSU) suspension for this Universities Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season.

I know third person is acceptable in an editorial, but it still throws me off. I could've sworn I've read tons of editorials from the Guidon that sounded off with “I”, which sounds more appropriate in such a setting.

I won’t tell you what I have read or seen in these forums but all of them have been shouting the same thing: Without DLSU, Ateneo (ADMU) will win this year's UAAP championship.

Ahahahahaha! Didn't he just tell us what he saw already?!?

Yes, hardcore Blue and White fans have been jumping for joy that the Blue Eagles’ primary tormentor is gone. Without the boys from Taft, nobody would be shooting down the Eagles’ title run.

What an excellent argument. Let's go count or chickens before our eggs hatch, why don't we? That's what the Lakers did this season, and during the season they had Kobe, Shaq, Malone, and Payton. I'm sure the people from UST, UE, NU, FEU, Adamson, and UP are all thrilled at the prospect of being ignored from the equation because you know, Arneo has such a grandiose sense of self-worth that its only “worthy” “enemy” is La Salle.

These assumptions are made with good reason. With DLSU gone and Far Eastern University (FEU) reeling from the departures of their three best players, the only other serious title contender would be the smallish squad of the University of the East (UE).

Sports analyst, much? I'm sure Phil Jackson would have loads to say about such assumptions.

Money in the bank, some would go far as to say.

Who? The gods of cliché? Let's see how many tired old lines he's going to rehash from this point on.

Before I continue, the next line will come as some sort of a shock. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

Translation: I want to sound profound! Turn back before you laugh at me!!!

I’d rather see ADMU lose to DLSU rather than see AMDU win the championship without facing DLSU.

Translation: I phail3d at trying to sound profound. 1111One111eleventy11one!!!

Yes, you read it right. I’d rather see the Blue Eagles get blasted by 30 points from the Green Archers. It may be ugly, but I'd take it over a blowout win against National University (NU).

While I still have lingering doubts about the existence of a university known as N.U., I'm sure the outright disregard for them is amusing them at this very moment.

First, there is a danger in saying that the UAAP title is in the bag. The danger lies in the possibility of ADMU failing to defend the championship in Season 70. If the Blue Eagles fail to repeat, they would be branded as flukes. What's more, people would reason out that the Blue Eagles won because their toughest opponent - arguably, DLSU - didn't play this year.

Isn't the danger in, oh, I dunno, not winning the title this season at all? Jeebus cripes, worry about the “title defense” only after winning it on season 69, will ya? And “flukes”? When ADMU wins against DLSU, nine times out of ten it's a close game. When DLSU wins against ADMU, nine times out of ten, it's a blowout. You tell me what's a “fluke” right there.

It's like an officer getting elected into office without any opposition. If that officer fails later on, the failure is magnified tenfold.

Hey, look! Cliché number two! A passé analogy, at that! I like the sheer arrogance brimming from the writer at this point. He's practically saying, “we're gonna win, but it's meaningless because dear, dear La Salle isn't around for us to whoop on.”

Second, you might have heard the phrase “this is where we separate the men from the boys.” Games tagged as such are always expected to be tightly-contested, with the final score not decided until the final buzzer. The winning team shows the heart of a champion. The losing team succumbs to the pressure.

... and in the next paragraph comes, cliché number three, four, five, six, and seven! The first sentence, the two phrases that make up the second sentence, and the two phrases that make up the third sentence. Normally, you rely on just one cliché in an entire piece to get your point across. Not throw a string of them.

Boy. When they handed a million typewriters to a million monkeys, here's what one of them came up with.

An ADMU - DLSU game is always of high significance, whether it be elimination, Final Four or Finals. Nobody backs down. Nobody wants to be embarrassed in front of their schools. Nobody wants to lose to the other.

Ah, yes. The over-hyped ADMU-DLSU rivalry. Someone's speaking exclusively for the hardcore fanboys and fangirls now.

In short, an ADMU – DLSU tussle, apart from entertaining, is the ultimate test of character.

You could've said this without saying all that in the previous paragraph, and you would've gotten the same point across. And oh, cliché number eight.

Third, greatness in basketball – contrary to popular belief – is not just about making the game statistician furious because the stat sheet gets so filled out. It is also measured by the effort that comes with these stats. Measured by the leadership a player shows. Measured by the composure, confidence, and heart that a player shows when they are needed the most.

Someone's making up “popular belief” now. Sorry, but statistics aren't nearly as important anymore, or else everyone would be picking players on their team the way Isaiah Thomas is doing right this very moment for the Knicks. And by the way, your third and fourth sentences? You guessed it. Cliché number nine and ten.

An ADMU - DLSU encounter, apart from being beneficial to media outfits – is a match where the men are distinguished from the boys. Nothing is more beautiful than two teams slugging it out for pride and school spirit. This is where defining moments are made. Remember Larry Fonacier’s (MA Comm) two last-second blocks on Mark Cardona that sealed a Game 1 win in the 2002 Finals? Surely, Fonacier would not be the player he is now if not for that moment.

Not only did he do cliché number eleven in this paragraph, he repeated it from earlier in his piece! And while I'd argue that the phrase “Nothing is more beautiful than...” can be cliché'd, I'd let it slide because this is the first time I've heard “...two teams slugging it out for pride and school spirit.”

Not that there's anything wrong with being gay, but this sounds gay. It's like I would come around and say about pro wrestling, “Nothing is more beautiful than two half-naked, sweaty men, getting it on in the middle of the ring.” It's inane, it's homoerotic, and it's patently untrue. I can think of tons more of beautiful things than “two teams slugging it out for pride and school spirit.”

In fact, let me enumerate:

1. Elgine Chua (But of course!)
2. A glorious sunset by Manila Bay.
3. Jheon Ji-Hyun (Of “My Sassy Girl” fame.)
4. Chuck Norris (I have to say this or else he'd roundhouse kick me dead.)
5. Stacy Keibler
6. Actually winning a championship for the first time ever. For further reference, see: Heat, Miami.
7. Some of the courtside reporters UAAP used to have. ;)
8. The Lord of the Rings movies.

I think you get my point.

Now, let me get to the other assumption he makes: “Surely, Fonacier would not be the player he is now if not for that moment” (Of blocking Cardona's two shots in a game to save the win for ADMU at the time.).

Wrong. Just wrong.

What I believe defines Fonacier's hardiness is making it back to even playing despite having had a career-threatening injury. One game where he performs amazing heroics does not define him. I would particularly find it laughable in the event that somewhere down the road, he and Cardona ended up teammates on the PBA, further invalidating this assumption.

For someone who talks a great deal about “character”, the writer is oblivious to the fact that “character” is built over time, not established over the course of one basketball game.

If you’re getting my drift, the Blue Eagles actually need the Green Archers.
It is a mutual relationship. All the key members of the 2002 championship team – Fonacier, Enrico Villanueva (MA ‘04), and Rich Alvarez (AB ‘04), to name a few – went on to have continuing success in the pro league. Being able to face the Green Archers in the biggest stage and in the biggest college game is the best preparation for the tougher, grind-it-out professional game.

Yes, I'm getting your “drift”. That's yet another cliché. How many are we up to now? Twelve? Note that the three players he mentioned, "to name a few", are currently the only players to have "continuing success in the pro league" from that team at this point. Someone is obviously trying to pass off these three as the total package, never mind the other guys who are either still in the UAAP, or have not met any success in the pros, period.

Furthermore, to assume some kind of “mutual” relationship with the Archers assumes that the Archers feel the same way. I would like to ask all my friends who have ever studied in DLSU, past or present, to tell me right now if they agree with the sentiment that their school's basketball team needs Ateneo's basketball team to validate them. If they do, then I will concede this point to the writer. If not, then that means somebody has been trying to buff up ADMU by making it seem like DLSU needs them.

Facing DLSU in UAAP is not the best preparation. Working hard on your skills as a player is. First of all, the PBA, being the money-ball game that it is, is not tougher. The professional leagues are no longer about pride and all about the money. Guaranteed contracts simply mean that these players will protect themselves and not go all-out, more often than not, simply because it's smart of them to do so. If they get injured critically even once, they're out of a career, or at the very least, a spot in the rotation.

One moment in your entire collegiate basketball career does not define you. Otherwise, you're going to be a one-note tune, doing nothing but proclaim your victory over an opponent (Team DLSU '02) that no longer exists.

Putting this in better perspective,

Cliché number thirteen. You couldn't put something in “better perspective” if you had a degree in Fine Arts. The only way to put this bloody piece in “better perspective” would've been to have someone else write it.

... the relationship can be compared to a coach and a player. A coach may go hard at first on his player, may beat him in their initial scrimmages, but as time goes by, the player gets better.

Cliché number fourteen, and it's not even apt. There are eight teams in the UAAP. What about the other six? Doesn't the entire UAAP experience make a player better? Or should we just have nothing but ADMU-DLSU games from now on?

ADMU basketball is relevant because of DLSU. And DLSU basketball is relevant because of ADMU. There’s no other way you could say it.

We end with cliché number fifteen, and one of the most ignorant statements I have ever heard. Do the words “basketball” and “relevant” even belong in the same sentence? There are a million and one other ways to say it, quite frankly, and you know what the best way is?

The writer could've just shut up and let somebody ghost-write for him instead.

Now, pardon me while I go on a tangent and wrap my head around this load of horseshit further.

While people die in Lebanon, while people starve to death on sidewalks, while typhoons left and right destroy homes and cost lives, you want to tell me that a fucked-up, over-hyped basketball rivalry is relevant? Oh, come on!!!

What the Hades is going on here? A sports column tries to be “relevant”, yet sticks exclusively to basketball, rambling on and on about an inane and homoerotic “symbiosis” between the DLSU and ADMU basketball teams. Again, while nothing is wrong with being gay, the idea still rings gay. Throwing in the buzzword "relevant" does little to allay my gripes.

One can only hope that the Guidon has not fallen so far as to completely sidestep current issues and events going on in and out of the country to the point where it is best served to be a magazine and not an official school paper.

Then again, I'm not looking through rose-colored glasses, as I've seen for myself how The Guidon has done this even before I graduated a mere two years ago. For the life of me though, I can't believe that not only would the relevance of the paper devolve further, but so would the quality of the writing.

From this to that whole “you are Ateneans of the highest order” hoopla, it kinda makes you feel dirty to be an alumnus of Arneo.


Anonymous said...

hmm. interesting criticisms. i agree with you that the writing style of the columnist is rather, er, lacking in quality, and his definition of basketball greatness is pretty dumb (that ateneo and la salle are dependent on each other in order to be great). but i wonder if it's a little unfair to question the relevance of the subject matter. isn't it relative? no matter how deserving the average nobel peace prize winner is of praise and everlasting admiration, should the average filipino college student care that much? what about sports' ability to symbolize struggle, effort, achievement? isn't it important for ateneans to emulate varsity basketball players for their hard work ethic and desire for success?

besides, the guy's a sports columnist, isn't he? (correct me if i'm wrong.) what else is he gonna be talking about if not the current UAAP season? within his justifiably specific and limited scope, the topic is certainly "relevant".

whatever. just vituperating myself.

Marcelle said...

You have a valid point on "relevance", but that doesn't invalidate the rest of the piece's shortcomings. It's not relative when he attempts to make Ateneo vs. La Salle the be-all and end-all of the UAAP. In fact, to a student from UST or to a student from any other university, ADMU vs. DLSU is irrelevant.