Two mornings after the PBA championship between Petron Blaze and Talk ‘N Text, victorious rookie coach Ato Agustin was still pinching himself, afraid he might wake up to discover that it was all just a dream.
Ato said he was still high on victory when I called last Tuesday night to extend my congratulations.
Yes, he was still on Cloud 9, he said, because they never expected to win.
“We didn’t kid ourselves, Talk ‘N Text is a powerhouse; winning was going to be difficult. We were undermanned, we were the underdogs. My most fervent prayer was to win at least one or two games, wag lang kaming ma-straight,” Ato said.
That’s why when the Boosters registered their first in the win column, Ato could only heave a sigh of relief.
“At least we have one win, which most people said was a fluke. Tsamba lang.”
* * *
Then the Boosters won again, by a convincing margin. By this time, Ato was convinced that his team, although the underdog, was a serious contender.
“We planned our strategy very carefully, concentrating on defense and playing halfcourt which seemed to be working well for us. Instead of capitalizing on their weaknesses, we studied the opponent’s strengths and devised ways to neutralize them,” Ato said.
“I spent hours with the coaching staff, studying the matchups.”
Game 6 was an off-night, he said, especially for their import, who scored only five points.
But he didn’t allow himself to be discouraged, despite the setback and the huge margin posted by the Tropang Texters.
* * *
Ato has been having sleepless nights since the championship. Not because of anxiety and stress this time, but because his subconscious keeps showing a playback of the last game.
“You know that feeling.”
Well I guess it will take a while before his adrenals settle down.
* * *
With the 2011-2012 PBA Rookie Draft less than a week away, fans are kept guessing as to who will occupy the two tables reserved for the Bert Lina teams—Shop Pinas and Barako Bull—at Robinsons Manila on Draft day.
Of course Bert Lina is expected to grace the yearly event with daughter Sheila, who is reportedly playing an active role in her father’s PBA teams this season.
But who will be occupying the rest of the seats on the two tables.
Reports have it that Franz Pumaren has been offered the head coaching post at Shop Pinas. On the other hand, Air21 which will now carry the Barako Bull brand, will be managed by the George Chua camp. From what I gathered, George’s son Michael has been appointed alternate governor and Raffy Casyao team manager.
No word if they have already found a coach.
* * *
Plans for the next Nonito Donaire fight have been constantly changing and it’s getting harder to keep track of them.
Based on the latest schedule issued by Nonito’s camp, the boxing champ would be fighting undefeated super flyweight champion Omar Andres Narvaez of Argentina on Oct. 22, although nothing is final yet at this stage.
After a brief trip to Manila with wife Rachel to finalize details of their church wedding on Nov. 11, 2011, Nonito is back in training in San Francisco.
While here, the boxing champ had to undergo confirmation rites. Nonito was confirmed at the San Miguel church near Malacañang Palace with a young sports scribe standing as his ninong.



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