Good morning Coach Bo/Ricky/Poch/Rodney:
I can imagine how you’re feeling this morning. I know you have plans for the team, from recruitment to development to training, and I know they’re all up in the air today, the future uncertain. And I know you’ve felt, if not heard or read, the anger being expressed by many a UP fan - student, faculty, alumni - who see no reason why we should go down to defeat and not take home the crown.
To think that for years we couldn’t even win half of our games and for the last two years straight we’ve finally made it to the Final Four/Finals.
I know how you feel because in my own lifetime I’ve let UP down before.
As team captain of the UP Jessup Moot Court team in 1988 we lost to Ateneo in the finals for the right to represent the Philippines in Washington DC. I felt the whole world collapse. It was one thing to lose when you're competng for yourself, but it was worse for me because I was carrying the name of the only school I’ve known since birth.
Lucky for me there were no catcalls or angry posts on social media (Wala pa kasi noon) figuratively calling for my head. Or at least no one from among the UP Law community ever said anything to my face. And also at least in my case only the UP Law community was aware of the debacle; in your case it’s the UP community, and it’s global!
I didn't want to wake up the next day. And the day after and the days after. For weeks I was depressed. Then summer came and I was thinking "The team should have been in the US by now..."
Then one day that summer the phone rang. It was Divine, the secretary of my ex boss Rene Cayetano. Cayetano had met Enrique Zobel at a party the night before and Zobel mentioned that he needed an executive assistant. Cayetano had suggested me! He now wanted me to go to his office at PECABAR so we could go to Zobel together. So I dressed up, went to Makati and we both drove to Enzo Building.
Zobel hired me and the rest is, as they say, personal history.
Guess what. If we had won, I would have been in Washington DC. And maybe would never have worked for Zobel. That work eventually led me to Coke and Coke led me to the PBA and it was because of the PBA that I had the privilege of meeting and working with all of you.
And Gerard Francisco Or Franciz A. Allera of UST and James Carlos Yap Rudy Briones Lingganay James Vincent Martinez of UE or Kenneth Celera Duremdes of Adamson and Johnny and Leo Avenido and Cesar Catli Jr. or RJ Rizada of FEU and Gec Chia and Chris and Charles Tiu of Ateneo and. Jvee D. Casio of La Salle and everyone else too many to name here.
So yes, I let UP down that summer a long time ago. It was bitter then, perhaps the worst day in all my 20-plus years as a UP student.
But I guess there was a Divine Plan?
I love you all. As a longtime UP Maroons fan I am disappointed we didn't get as far as I hoped, but proud of how far we’ve come.
I, like every UP Maroons fan, will have to learn to accept the defeat. For some of us that will take time. For sure it will be more difficult for you.
But life tells me there's a reason out there.
Time for golf???