Sunday, May 24, 2009

fortune for Rain or Shine

That was Welcoat’s first year in the pro cage scene and being the newest kid on the block, the wins were very, very few and far between.

Raymond said it was so disheartening he felt like driving through heavy traffic every time he went home after a loss.

He confided that his father had berated him because the team was performing so miserably.

“Did we join the PBA just to be embarrassed?’” he asked the younger Yu, with specific orders that something has to be done about the situation.

That luncheon meeting at a popular restaurant along Tomas Morato took place almost two years ago.

Early this week, I found myself in the same place, in the same company. Raymond was grinning widely now and he had a robust pink aura about him.

It was easy to see why. Raymond’s team, re-christened Rain or Shine, had a positive reversal of fortune on its third PBA season, following the acquisition of top draft pick Gabe Norwood and fifth overall choice Solomon Mercado.

Having a record of eight wins in the ongoing conference, the Elasto Painters were a candidate for a second outright semifinals slot.

They certainly have come a long way from their first two seasons in the PBA.

Raymond could not forget their dismal numbers in their first two seasons: “We posted identical records in our first two years,” he said. “We had a total of 7 wins in each. Three in the All-Filipino and four in the import-laden conference.”

As of today, Raymond’s team has collected 18 victories for the season, making his father Tony, his partner Terry and Raymond very happy.

“My father comes to the games more often now. Whatever the result of our knockout game against Ginebra tonight, the point is, we improved our performance,” Raymond said.

Rain or Shine’s fate had depended on the result of Ginebra’s last two games. The Kings won one and lost one, thus dropping them into a playoff with the Elasto Painters for the second outright semifinal slot.

After our previous meeting, Raymond said he went home more depressed than when he arrived.

It was on account of a statement I casually dropped, he said.

What was it?

I said then that I could not remember the names of his players.

Raymond said he didn’t know how to react to the statement. He admitted he didn’t sleep that night.

I thought maybe that I should be less truthful next time. But Raymond himself admitted his team has gone a long way since.

Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao failed to show up at his own press conference Saturday for the Prestige 5-Cock Derby which he is organizing.

“We waited for three hours at the Mandarin Suites in Gateway, but he never came. I feel bad because mayors and other provincial officials had to travel from distant places just to attend the presscon, but no Manny. What a waste of time and money,” said a veteran colleague.

“We were told that he was not feeling well.”

Last Friday night at the Renaissance Hotel in Greenbelt, the guests also had to wait for three hours, but at least the Pacman made an appearance.

GMA-7 had prepared a grand program consisting of an audio-visual presentation of the Pacquiao-Hatton fight and several entertainment numbers.

Also part of the program was the contract-signing for a sitcom where Pacquiao will co-star with PBA legend Benjie Paras.

Manny almost didn’t make it to the party hosted by GMA in his honor. He missed two commercial flights to Manila and Chavit Singson had to fetch him from GenSan in his private jet.

Manny said he wasn’t feeling well. He missed an important lunch appointment that day and had to reset the meeting the following day close to noon.

He must have been really fagged out by presscon time.