Lakers or Celtics, take your pick
By Eddie Alinea
02 Jun 2010
On record, California is, undeniably the favorite destination of Filipino migrant workers so many believe that in the coming NBA championship series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, it won’t be surprising that the former would be the heavy favorites among Filipinos back home to win the much-coveted trophy.
It’s not necessarily so. At least based on a survey conducted by this writer where the Celtics even nosed out the Lakers 17-15 from among the 32 who responded (sports leaders, businessmen, players) to the questions: Who do you pick? Why?
Leading those who prefers the Bostonians to romp off with the crown, their 18th, are the country’s no. 1 sports patron no less, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, MANILA TIMES President and CEO Dante “Klink” Ang II, basketball’s ‘Living Legend’ Robert “Sonny” Jaworski, his former coach in the now-defunct Toyota Dante Silverio and Bogs Adornado, Atoy Co and Philip Cezar of arch-rival Crispa.
Also putting their money to the NBA’s winningest ballclub are Alaska team owner Fred Uytengsu, four-time PBA MVP Alvin Patrimonio, PLDT Senior Vice President Ricky Vargas, PBA governors Rene Pardo of Purefoods and Joaqui Trillo of Alaska, AiR 21 assistant coach Roehl Nadurata, Little League Baseball-Philippines founding father Rodolfo “Totoy” Tingzon, former chess official Des Bautista and former national player, now Lhuillier Group of Companies executive, Danny Francisco.
Heading those who believe the ‘Showtime” Lakers will prevail in the best-of-seven series are no less than International Olympic Committee representative to the Philippines Frank Elizalde, former Sen. Nikki Coseteng, Philippine Olympic committee media Bureau chief Joey Romasanta, PBA Governor representing Ginebra San Miguel Robert Non and JB Baylon of Coca Cola,, coaches Tim Cone of Alaska, Ryan Gregorio of Purefoods (Now B-Meg Derby Ace), Chot Reyes of Talk ‘N Text, and Art dela Cruz of the Gin Kings.
Basketball greats Samboy Lim and Hector Calma, businessman-sportsman Danny Dinmalanta, Manila Little League chair Robert Evangelista and players agent Danny Espiritu want it be known, too, that their hearts are for the Lakers to score their back-to-back title conquest and raise the City of Los Angels’ championship collection to 16.
President Macapagal-arroyo’s elder brother Art Macapagal, Philippine National Shooting Association and Philippine Olympians Association president, refused to make his choice simply saying, “I hope to enjoy the finals and expect excellent plays from both teams with down the wire results.”
Reasons for the choices of those interviewed vary. The Presidential Husband, Atty,. Arroyo, for instance, said he is for Boston because he is a long-time fan of the 17-time champion Celtics.
“Besides, I like the way they play. They’re tough, rugged but lovable,” he said. “People say they’re old but they play like a very young team. They evoke so much excitement. I love the.”
Klink Ang, for his part, said he actually is a Houston rockets fan. “But between the Celtics and the Lakers,I prefer Boston. I don’t like Kobe (Bryant).”
Elizalde believes otherwise though even as he expects a long, tough championship series and chooses the Lakers to bring home the bacon. “”It’ll be a tough call. I pick the Lakers because of Kobe and the home court advantage. “
To which Romasanta concurred by saying, “It will be Lakers, 4-3. Mas exciting si Kobe.”
Basketball Legend Robert “Sonny” Jaworski admits his heart belong to Los Angeles, but quickly clarifies that he believes Boston has what it takes to stash away with the 2010 NBA championship.
“Both the Lakes and the Celtics are rich in pride for good reasons,” the former mainstay of the legendary Toyota and former playing-coach of crowd favorite Ginebra San Miguel club, said.
“While I am a Lakers fan, I believe the discipline and pride in the Celtics family will make it happen for them,” Jaworski added as he joined First Gentleman Mike Arroyo in rooting for Boston.
. “Kobe Bryant can make it easier for the Celtics when he is not 100 percent because of his numerous injury or whatever reasons. That is when the series goes the full seven-game distance,” Jaworski, known also as “Jawo,” and “The Big-J,” said.
Alaska Milk team owner Fred Uytengsu, likewise, concedes being a fan of Los Angeles, but stresses that “right now, I think the Celtics are paying better basketball. Boston seems more balanced at the moment.”
This observation was shared by Purefoods board representative Rene Pardo, Air 21 assistant mentor Roehl Nadurata, softball association secretary general Danny Fancisco, Little League Baseball founding father Rodolfo “Totoy” Tingzon, businessman Des Bautista, La Salle coach Dindo Pumaren and Alaska Aces team manager Joaqui Trillo.
Crispa Redmanizers superstars Atoy Co, Bogs Adornado and Philip Cezar, Jaworski’s Toyota coach Dante Silverio and four-time PBA MVP Alvin Patrimonio all believe that the superb showing the Celtics fashioned out in eliminating the two best teams in the first two rounds of the postseason are enough reasons for Boston Big-3 -- Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to survive the Lakers and hand the franchise its record 18th title.
The were referring to Cleveland Cavaliers and eventual league MVP LeBron James, whom the Celtics beat in the second round of the playoff, and the Dwight Howard-powered Orlando Magic for the Eastern Conference crown.
“I’m for the Celtics, first, because I’m prejudice to green, it being the color of Crispa,” Co, the “Fortune Cookie,” reasoned out. “Second, I am a fan of the trio of Pierce, Garnett and Allen. And third, Boston plays more as a team than the Lakers, who rely solely on Kobe.”
“Grabe and dinaanan ng Boston – Cavs and Magic, who both looked unbeatable in the post season kasi lamang na lamang sa matchup, “ the now B-Meg team manager assessed in what drew the sentiment of others.
“I pick the Celtics in this rematch of the 2008 championship collision,” PLDT Senior Vice President and Talk ‘N Text board representative, for his part, said in a text message to this writer from New York where he is on a business tour. “Now that Rondo is more experienced is a plus. Boston in seven games.”
The last to join the pro-Boston group, Freddie Webb, another former PBA stalwart while playing for Yco, former national coach, who said: The trio of Pierce, Garnett and Allen will be unstoppable (in the title series plus the best game we’ve seen from Rondo. Kaya lang, the Lakers have one of the best if not the best coach in the NBA in the person of Phil Jackson. But in this encounter, I am putting my money on the players more than the coach.”
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