My father Cornelio C. Pascual was a great athlete and an avid sportsman. I got my love for sports from him.
I never saw Papa play at the apex of his skills, but those who did would swear that he was the innovator of the one hand jump shot.
While other players were rooted to the ground, and shooting the basketball with two hands which was what was known then as the setshot, my father was probably twirling and swirling over the rest of his contemporaries.
With his height which was already tall during his time, Papa must have been a picture of complete dominance. Papa Nelio (most thought it was Melio) had one weakness that hindered his career … loyalty.
I learned that he received an offer to play for a commercial team, but he declined. They say it was because of his loyalty to his responsibilities with the University of the Visayas Green Lancers. I suspect however, that Papa could not bear to be away from Mama.
Papa introduced me to baseball by buying me a glove, bat and a baseball. Papa built a basketball court in front of our house which became a mecca of sorts for all kids in the neighborhood who enjoyed the game. Which means almost everybody, because rare is the Filipino child who cannot shoot a basketball.
When soccer was introduced to Cebu City grade schools, including Cebu Normal School, Papa provided the soccer ball that my team kicked around every after class. When he took up tennis, I was the first among buddies to own a steel tennis racket.
I watched every basketball game, boxing match and baseball tournaments. When I was old enough to go on my own, I watched every provincial, regional and national sports event.
The face of a winsome lass from Marikina who was a member of the volleyball team of Rizal province still comes to mind at times when reminiscing pleasant events is the order of the moment.
Being a true lover of sports, Papa never watched anything which became a parody of a game. My father’s unique indictment was that such event was a complete exercise of foolishness.
If he were alive today, he would have given the same verdict to the 3 on 3 basketball that FIBA so ardently promotes.
For what purpose?
Maybe we should not be complaining because some of our young guns, the likes of Calvin Abueva and Terrence Romeo, have stood out in this tournament format. I really do not see any benefit to anybody in holding this tournament. It is a total waste of funds which could better be used to promote basketball where kids only know a soccer ball or a hockey stick.
This would be a real challenge for FIBA.
Maybe FIBA can revive the tournament with height limits. Basketball as we all know is a matter of height. So whatever we do to develop the sport here, would always fall short when our national teams participate in international competitions. With height limitation of six feet five inches, the Filipino basketeer would be very competitive.
FIBA should give more emphasis to the age group tournaments because it is important for young players to be exposed to the international brand of play, instead of later when they would already have acquired bad habits that are already hard to correct.
I do not know how and when this 3 on 3 thing began, but I hope FIBA would reexamine this total waste of effort and put an end to this foolishness.
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