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Papel na ginampanan ng media sa tagumpay ng ‘Thrilla in Manila'


PhilBoxing.com




Isang buwan pa bago magharap sina ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali at ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier para sa pandaigdig na kampeonato sa heavyweight, ang mga dayuhang mamamahayag ay nagsidatingan na sa Maynila.

Bagay na nakasiguro na ang Pilipinas ay mabigyan ng tunay na paglalarawan sa talagang nangyayhari dito sa ilalim ng pamamahala ni Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

Mismong ang Pangulo at First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos ang gumawa ng paraan para makamit ang layuning ito na hindi pa nararanasan ng bansa sa mga nakararaang panahon.

Bago pa lamang dumating ang dalawang maglalaban, sina Ronald Bachelor ng Reuters, Peter Vincent Bonventre ng Newsweek, Mark Kram ng Sports Illustrated ay nakababa na sa Manila International Airport at lumagi dito hanggang sa ganapin ang madugong pagtutuos noong Oktubre 1, 1975 sa Araneta Coliseum na pinangalanang Philipine Coliseum.

Ilang araw ang nakalipas ay sinamahan ang tatlo nina Red Smith at Dave Anderson ng New York Times; Will Grimsley at Ed Schuyler ng Associated Press; at Milt Richman at Bob Stewart ng United Press International.

Ang iba pang reporter na lumunsad nang sabay-sabay lulan ng Philippine Airlines flight mula San Francisco ay ang boksingerong si Ken Norton, ang bumasag sa panga ni Ali noong una nilang paghaharap, kasama sina Jerry Izenberg ng Newark Star Ledger; Tom Cushman, Philadelpiha News; Dick Schaap, Sports Magazine & Washington Star News; Milt Dunnel, Toronto Star; Bob Wright, Philadelphia Bulletin; Ed Ingles, CBS Radio; Bill Furlong, Washington Post, Bob Waters, Newsday; Tom Dilustro at Tom Cottrell, AP;

Vic Ziegel at Leonard Lewin, New York Post; Skip Myslenski, Philadelphia Bulletin; Ed Kolanovsky, AP; Jerry Lisker, National Star; Jim Jacobs, Alice Kwartler, Steve Lott and Sherry Feldman, Big Fights Inc.; Erik Ell, Springer Publishing; Ben Wett, German TV; Rolf Svenson, Alfonblader Sween;

Frank Zuba, Big Fights Inc.; Susan Faust, Today Magazine; Wardell Quitman, Gordon Paterson, Don King Productions; Joe Flaherty, Curt Gunther, Camera 5; Franz Wagner, News Revue, Germany; and Sam Skinner, Syndication na sa San Francisco.

Lahat ng dumating ay dinala ng isang special reception committee sa bagong kare-novate na Bayview Plaza sa harap ng U.S. Embassy at kalapit na Manila Hilton, ang naging opisyal na tahanan ni Ali habang nasa bansa.

Sa Savoy Hotel (ngayon ay Midas Hotel) sa Pasay City naman ang naging tahanan ni Smokin Joe.

Dating kilala sa pangalang Bayview Hotel, ang Bayview Plaza ay nagbigay sa mga bumibisitang mamamahayag ng panoramic view ng Manila Bay at napaka-ganda at popular na sunset nito.

Ang Hotel management ay sinaraduhan ang 120 ng pinakamamaganda kuwarto 300 nito para lamang sa mga foreign journalist.

Marami rin sa mga foreign newsmen ang maagang nagsipag-reserba ng kuwarto sa ibang hotel bagamat ang Bayview ang itinuring pangunahing tahanan ng miyembro ng media.

Isa pa ring maluwang na auxiliary press center ang itinayo sa 10th floor ng Philam Life building na may assistance team para tulungan ang media sa lahat ng kanilang pangangailangan sa coverage.

Mga opisyal at empleyado ng Department of Public Information ang tumao sa dalawang press centers 24/7.

Isang Ringside Bar sa Philam main press center at isa pa sa Bayview ang nagsilbi sa pangangailangan sa mga uhaw na media men.

Ang bar sa main press room ay nagsisilbi ng boxing-related pamatid uhaw gaya ng Ali’s punch, Rope-a-Dope orange, lemon, pineapple at calamansi juice, at milk at syrup, Manila Gorilla vodka, TKO brandy, Knockout Rhum, at ilan pa.

Ang Round One Drink, Joe’s Knuckle Punch vodka, na naglalaman ng LAMBANOG na may garantiyang walang hangover ang pinaka-pinakaborito ng mga may edad nang manginginom sa Bayview.

Bago pa lamang dumating si Red Smith at mga kasama, may humigit-kumulang nang 356 Filipino newsmen ang nakatatanggap na ng tulong mula sa dalawang press center araw-araw.

Ang Thlrila rin ang nagsilbing isang pagkakataon sa ilang Filipino newsmen, kabilang ang reporter na ito, na sariwain ang pagkakaibigan nila sa ilan ding dayhuhang mamamahayag tulad nina Red Smith at Will Grimsley na ilang beses naming nakasama sa coverage ng world boxing championships at international golf meets.

Halos gabi-gabi ay bago magpahinga, ay kasama namin ang dalawang ito sa iisang mesa sa Bayview habang nag-i-inuman at nagpapalitan ng kuro-kuro lalo na sa tunay na situwasyon sa Pilipinas sa gitna ng mga batikos laban sa pamamahala ni Pangulong Makoy na lumalabas sa malalaking pahayagan sa Amerika.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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