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Thursday, February 14, 2013

First Break

02/14/2013 01:21 AM

It was the only time in my life when I celebrated Valentines Day – and at the same time, having my first break on of the things I loved doing – writing.  Specifically, about sports.

The stage was set at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City during that fateful afternoon (and evening) of Sunday, 14 February 2010. I was one of the 42 finalists on the Philippine Basketball Association Sportswriting Contest.  And frankly, nobody saw that coming.

I recalled my online interaction with Dennis Principe; as the sports beat journalist announced on his Facebook account that indeed there was a writing event. Apparently, that caught my interest of joining in. So with no additional queries, I followed the mechanics on how to join then.

Barely two weeks before the sports-writing event, I received a text message from the PBA; notifying that yours truly was now registered to join the event. I repeat: nobody... and even myself did not expect to make it through. I even remember my name getting published (for real!) as part of the list of contestants. If I’m not mistaken, on the 3 February 2010 when I saw the news at The Philippine Star.

Fast forward to the 14th of February; As I went at the registration booth, I was talking to one of the contestants. She’s Camille (if I recalled it right), an student from Ateneo de Manila University and she told me here experience about sportswriting.

Few minutes later, the seminar proper officially went underway. The then-league commissioner Sonny Barrios, and PBA Press Corps head Tito Talao formally graced the contest.

Also, present at the venue were event organizer Dennis Principe and the rest of the league’s press corps. Among the people who gave lectures about sportswriting were Philippine Daily Inquirer’s resident sports columnist Recah Trinidad and veteran PBA TV sports analyst and regular columnist at The Philippine Star Quinito Henson. The Dean also provided us handouts about it.

After the workshop proper, the contestants took some time to meet the other sports personalities, as we occupied the seats at very first row of the Upper Box A section to cover Alaska (Aces) versus Brgy. Ginebra (Kings). Yes, it was the third game of the 2010 KFC PBA Philippine Cup.

Here goes my pen, notes and eyes... and we’re ready to work! After 48 minutes, indeed that was an exciting game—especially at clutch time. However, much to dismay of the Ginebra fans. They rallied all the way down from a double-digit deficit early in the fourth quarter only to come up short after missing their need free throws. At the end, it was a 91-88 decision in favor of the Aces.

Following the game, we rushed to the press room; and as we enter, then-Aces head coach Tim Cone was already speaking with the press. Well, we still managed to catch him with a live microphone and a recorder. He said (not in exact words) that “Despite (we’re) being up 3-0, we’re not safe against Ginebra. They’re a different team.”

Since then, comes toughest part of them all—the writing test. I still recalled that I was having troubles constructing my thoughts. Perhaps, due to the atmosphere of competition. However, I managed to finish that anyway by the halftime of the second game. Thus, serving as the culminating portion of the sports-writing event. It was the one and only time when I personally met Sir Dennis after months of interacting thru Facebook.

Afterwards, me and my colleagues  watched the remainder of the game between Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants and San Miguel Beermen; where SMB owned Purefoods a 2-1 advantage with a win.

Along the way, I met the eventual champion, whom I’m looking up to as one of the best sportswriters in the country at present. He's from the University of the Philippines; while others came from different schools, such as Far Eastern University, De La Salle Antipolo, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and more.

What more can I say than... what a day that was. Not that it was just a Sunday or a Valentine’s Day, but will fall down as one of the memorable days in my life. I was on the verge of having a breakout semester way back then. Without the PBA sportswriting contest, I may have taken a different path of life right now. Apparently, that served as my first break in writing.

Gosh, that was three years ago. Time flies so fast!

Author: slickmaster | (c) 2013 september twenty-eight productions

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