BY PETE AQUINO

 


I picked this St. Patrick's day to write my column because I'm hoping that the luck of the Irish will be bestowed not only for myself and my team which is agonizing at the bottom of the team standings, but also for all of us in the league. I haven't seen any leprechaun or a shamrock but nonetheless, let's celebrate with Irish grog and anything green this week, including green jokes! With the NCAA men's and women's basketball tourney about to begin this week, it's very easy for any hoops fanatic to get caught up in the March madness hype. I enjoy watching these games for their purity, raw excitement and unexpected outcomes. I can't predict how many compelling storylines will develop but who knows, we might see another Stephen Curry in the making or history with UConn's women Huskies on the verge of another title and extend the longest streak in college basketball for women. As for our own league, the playoffs (April "Fool-ishness) won't start until the next three weeks so it's nervous time for those teams trying to make it.

2009 YEAR IN REVIEW. The beginning of the year was a roller coaster ride for the league, bumpy and at times chaotic. It was a dark moment we would like to forget because it was characterized by numerous game cancellations due to depleted team rosters. It was so disappointing that the doubting Thomases, naysayers, and whiners had a field day. They had concluded that the league was on its last gasp, as if some Catholic priest was about to deliver the last rites. The league doesn't compete with any other league or clamor for publicity. It exists to provide a healthy, safe and affordable environment to enjoy our favorite passion and promote goodwill in a friendly competition. However, some people have wrong ideas about our league. Alas, how wrong were they! The league still had some people with sense and sensibility to right the ship and go smooth sailing. So most of us are thankful that not everything that happened last year was bad. On a positive note, the summer camping trip was very successful, with more families and friends in attendance. And to culminate a bittersweet year, we held our annual Christmas party in cold but fair weather and a jampacked crowd. As usual, our perennial Santa Claus delivered his holiday tidings and presents to kids. Food, drinks and good will were bountiful for everyone to savor. The entertainment was not lacking too as we enjoyed tremendously the talents of the various performers: the PBL kids with their lively dance routine, Sydney Larosa in her Tahitian dance, the PBL choir in their entertaining but rather off-key rendition of Christmas carols, Alona Santiago with her rousing vocals that brought the audience screaming, especially with her Lady Gaga number and the highlight of the evening, the Hawaiian dance of the PBL "Mahinhins", clad in grass skirts and poca shells which brought the house down. Many thanks to the PBL ladies, the officers, generous donors, volunteers and performers to cap a successful evening of celebration of a rather difficult year. Our season ended with the crowning of the Bullets as Open Division champs and Jason Viray as the finals MVP, while the Defenders won the Selection Division championship trophy and Vic Viray as the finals MVP. Hooray for the Virays! (no relation)

In our current season, six teams are playing in the Open division and whether any team is not playing well as it should, the good news is every team will make the playoffs. It's a different scenario in the Selection division. With eleven teams competing, only eight will make it to the playoffs so these last two weeks will be sweating time. Come playoffs time, the effort will just be competitive as ever but players be forewarned: the weather is warming up and the battle on the court might be heated but please keep the heat out of your heads. Keep a cool demeanor. After all, it's only a game!



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