Last Sunday, the PBA Governor’s Cup finals between Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and B-MEG Llamados took off to an exciting start. There was a great deal of pushing and shoving between players, technical fouls were called one after another, there were plenty of not-so-nice words exchanged, and a monobloc chair was thrown onto the court.
You can’t be bothered to care, really, but this presents an impending predicament: no thanks to this rather titillating Game One, your boyfriend is now pumped up for Game Two, and it looks like your usual quiet Wednesday dinner date is going to take a raincheck. And it’s a bigger problem, when he says, “Hey, this should be an exciting series.” Then count out your Friday and Sunday soirees as well.
Let’s face it. Not all girlfriends are created equal. Some are more understanding of their boo’s obsession with watching grown men chase and shoot a ball, while others sit at the end of the sofa, arms crossed and an eyebrow raised, everytime their boyfriends have the telly tuned to basketball.
It’s not a crime not to love sports, ladies. But since you’re with someone who eats, breathes, and thrives with the excitement sports bring him, you might want to come to terms with it.
Okay, fine. I succumb! But what exactly is happening?
Well, it’s the Governor’s Cup finals, of course! It’s one of the three conferences the PBA has in a single season (the other two being the Philippine and Commissioner’s Cups). It’s a best-of-seven championship series, meaning the first team to seal four victories gets the shiny throphy and a drenched Erika Padilla in their locker room.
Now, what makes this an interesting series? For starters, B-MEG is looking for a back-to-back championship title, since they bagged the Commissioner’s Cup last May, a feat only a few teams have achieved. The younger franchise, Rain or Shine, on the other hand, is playing in their first championship series.
It’s basically down to this: An experienced team who wants to cement itself in hardwood history, versus a young and budding team desperately trying to prove that they are finally ripe for a championship title that is six years in the making. Goliath versus David. The Sampayan Brigade versus The Extra Rice Boys. Gaconatics versus Jervynatics. Oh, the drama!
Who are the players? Anybody cute?
If the game itself does not interest you (Who cares about a back-to-back title? I don’t gain anything when RoS clinches their first trophy anyway.), then maybe the players can make the 48 minutes (or more, with overtime) more bearable for you. After all, there is guaranteed to be some sexiness (or cuteness) running around on that court.
I won’t bore you with statistics, you don’t need to learn any of that (not yet, anyway). So here’s a list of some of the most prominent players you will be seeing come game time, with a few nuggets of information enough to keep you interested. Hopefully.
The B-MEG Glamour Boys
It’s not hard to see why the B-MEG lineup has been dubbed the Glamour Boys of the league. Starting with their team manager, perennial basketball hearthrob Alvin Patrimonio, their tremendous talents and unforgiving boyish good looks make them more appealing to the female spectators.
Marc Pingris aka Pinoy Sakuragi (#15)
Gifted with athletic prowess, but not much basketball ingenuity. Such is the dilemma of hardwood heartthrob Marc Pingris. But like the Japanese cartoon character he is affectionately named after, what Marc seemingly lacks in court wit, he makes up for in heart. And he is trying really hard. You’ll see Marc running up and down the court with unbridled energy, locking down opponents in tight defense, and securing rebounds. If his edgy court antics do not win your heart, I’m sure his intense eye gaze will make you weak in the knees.
James Yap (#18)
Arguably the most famous player on the roster of both teams combined (some would even go as far to say that he is the current face of the league), former Mr. Kris Aquino has already won two Most Valuable Player awards, and he is looking for his third. In contrast to his infamous unsuccessful marriage, Big Daddy James has had more luck in the court. Expect him to come up big in tight games. A three-point shot to close out a lead? You got it. Bang bang.
When James is not playing basketball, he spends his time as a body double for Diether Ocampo. Okay, fine. That was just the one time. But really, how many cagers can claim they were the body double for Diether Ocampo???
Peter June Simon (#8)
Peter June Simon recently trended on Twitter, and as one Ginebra fan said, it was for all the wrong reasons. He hit a game-winner to beat Ginebra in a knockout game last week, but while it broke the hearts of millions of Ginebra fangirls (like me), it won him 10,000 pogi points from B-MEG diehards.
But even though he’s a heartbreaker, PJ is a Candy Magazine-type cutie, one you could proudly bring home to meet the folks. He does not fold his long sleeved polo, he “rolls” them, wears boat shoes to games, and is a devout member of the Victory church.
Marqus Blakely (#23, import)
Yes, weird as it may sound, people are calling Marqus Blakely the “Black Sakuragi.” I’m not even kidding. Before coming to the Philippines, Marqus also played for the LA Clippers in the NBA Summer League of 2010. This hot chocolate is known for his dunking prowess (see here), while the rest of the denizens of Twitter know him as Mr. Retweeter.
The Rain or Shine Kung Fu Kids + Extra Rice Boys
Not long ago, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters were a basket-case: winless, defenseless, and powerless. Then Yeng Guiao happened. Now they’ve got the most physically-dominating players in the league (AKA The Extra Rice Boys) and together with the heroics of the Kung Fu Kids, they are finally allowed to bang with the big boys to write their own page in PBA history. Meet the gang that can make it all happen.
Paul Lee (#3)
The Lee-thal weapon has a nice round face and a cute little ritual: he shaves his head every game day. Unlike many other athletes who thinks it’s bad luck to have a hair cut or a shave in important tournaments, Paul Lee is a breath of fresh hair… I mean, air.
He may only be in his first year in the league, but his athleticism and agility has made him an instant star. But despite his lethal persona on the court, he is not afraid to brandish his soft side for all the world to see on Twitter, sharing his dinner dates with his girlfriend and replying to fans with phrases like “tawa much.”
Jeff Chan (#16)
Jeff Chan a killer three-pointer, one with the highest three-point percentage in the league today. Chan is a silent slayer who comes up big not only in important games, but also in seemingly mundane matches. He is Mr. Reliable, with a disarming smile, reminiscent of a young Allan Caidic.
Beau Belga (#30)
Beau Belga is not afraid to get down and dirty. On court, he is the not-so-lean, very mean, pushing machine, but off the court, he is a lovable father. Big boy Belga has the cutest son and from the looks of it, I won’t be surprised if Drake Zachary follows in the footsteps of his Dad.
Jamelle Cornley (#2, import)
Let this cute litte kid introduce his Uncle Jamelle to you. Aside from all that, Uncle Jamelle is an Ohio native who randomly calls his Twitter followers “sugar”. He is a true Mama’s Boy, albeit one packed in 240-lbs of solid muscle. In Game One, he almost carried 6-foot-9, 220-lbs. B-MEG center Yancy de Ocampo off the court. His secret, I am told, lies in eating balut.
So, which team should I root for?
Ah, we have come to the most exciting part of this guide. For us to be able to determine which team you will be rooting for, answer the following question as truthfully as you can:
You are walking alone when you come across a fork in the road. Which path do you take? A) A path that leads to a forest or B) A path that leads to the beach
If you answered A, then you must root for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. If you chose B, then the B-MEG Llamados is the one for you. Why? Because the Rain or Shine boys will definitely survive in the forest, as they are the mighty fighting beasts. And as for B-MEG, they look good topless in the beach.
But, of course, you must go with your womanly intuition. You must choose carefully; go with your heart or go with your gut, and by God I hope you make the right choice because, after all, isn’t it fun to be right sometimes?
You’re almost ready to fly, baby girl!
Okay, I’ve got the basics, what else is there to know?
First, you must remember that a single game runs for 48 minutes, divided into 4 quarters (that’s 12 minutes per quarter, if you’re too lazy to do the math). Factor in the time-outs, commercial breaks, and the halftime show, you should be able to cuddle with your boyfriend in front of the TV for at least a solid two hours. So you must ready yourself with this. Cancel your evening meetings and reschedule your plans.
And lastly, get into it and make it fun! This is really an amusing way to spend quality time together. Stakes are a great way to make it more personal. Bet on which team will make it, then throw down some girly stakes, most likely he will bite. It can be as elaborate as a romantic getaway, or as simple as a home-cooked meal. Bets are always a fun way to capture both your interests.
Watch and enjoy the games. Ogle at those muscles and cute point guards. List down things that Tim Cone can throw at midcourt and share them with your boyfriend for a hearty laugh. Take part in a pool. Who knows, it can be the source of next month’s shopping money. Ask your boyfriend to explain to you what a foul is, and why Tim Cone is so angry all the time.
So, stop being a party-pooper and join the PBA finals festivities. You won’t regret it!
You just have to remember (and repeat after me): A couple who watches basketball together, stays together. Good luck!
Lei Solito is a 20-something girlie girl who, somewhere along the line, became more interested in NBA trading cards than Polly Pocket. She runs the blog Sports According to Girl. This is her first piece for InterAKTV.
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