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Overwhelming Strength In Numbers

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Written by

Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

Theoretically Cleveland’s strategy was sound: make anyone else but Steph Curry and Klay Thompson score. Kyrie Irving played great defense against Steph, LeBron drew early fouls from Klay. The Cavs let ‘everyone else’ beat them except for Golden State’s two record-breaking superstars. The problem is they did. The Warriors’ ended Game 1 of the NBA Finals with 7 players in double figures defeating the Cavs 104-89 (June 3, 2016-Mla Time).

LBJ has Kyrie Irving & Kevin Love healthy for the 2016 NBA Finals. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W913tynF_S4

LBJ has Kyrie Irving & Kevin Love healthy for the 2016 NBA Finals. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W913tynF_S4

The win embodies the Strength in Numbers banner at the Oracle Arena and on the t-shirts. Courtside seats have been sold as high as $29,000 especially since the exciting game 7 against OKC.

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John Legend sings National Anthem for NBA Finals Game 1

Leading the way for the Warriors is a season high for Shaun Livingston at 20 pts. He took advantage of his 6’7” height and made mid range jumpers over 6’1” Kyrie Irving. Livingston has played for a total of 9 NBA squads and could still recall when 20 win teams would cut him from their line-up.

Shaun Livingston wallpaper by Jude Bautista

Shaun Livingston wallpaper by Jude Bautista

Coach Steve Kerr has the unusual strategy of using as many players on his roster as he possibly can. Ball movement, extra passing is something that every player does. If you know that everyone will get to play and everyone passes the ball, everyone is motivated to share. Assists totals bear this out with 29-17.

Klay Thompson had limited playing time because of foul trouble and was not a factor in Game 1.

Klay Thompson had limited playing time because of foul trouble and was not a factor in Game 1.

Another factor for bench production was Klay Thompson’s early foul trouble. LeBron was able to draw a 3rd foul on Klay as early as 2Q, which limited his playing time. Livingston and Leandro Barbosa had started scoring from the first quarter.

The team defense of the Warriors was stifling early on forcing two 24-second violations in the 1Q. Andre Iguodala even had back-to-back steals on Kyrie Irving, which resulted in fast break points.

Andre Iguodala strips both LBJ & Kyrie Irving without fouling them. Wallpaper by Jude Bautista.

Andre Iguodala strips both LBJ & Kyrie Irving without fouling them. Wallpaper by Jude Bautista.

The Warriors lead until an 11-0 run by the Cavs in the 3Q. Coach Steve Kerr was so angered he karate chopped a clipboard and split in two. Fans were shocked, as Kerr is usually unemotional during the games. Later on he said, “Destruction tends to ease some of the anger. So I try to take it out on a clipboard instead of a player. So it’s better that way.”

Coach Steve Kerr breaks a clipboard in half out of frustration. Below right: Trey Kirby of THE STARTERS fail to duplicate the feat w their own clipboard. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za3uhZLRwo4

Coach Steve Kerr breaks a clipboard in half out of frustration. Below right: Trey Kirby of THE STARTERS fail to duplicate the feat w their own clipboard. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za3uhZLRwo4

GSW Bench Game 1 High lights

The game had back and forth lead changes but the Warriors maintained the lead 76-68 going into the 4Q. Then came the burst of scoring from Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa and Andre Iguodala. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson each had a three pointer to keep the lead permanently. But was an otherwise forgettable scoring night for the Splash brothers for a combined 20 points. Barbosa had 11 points while Iguodala had 12 pts 7 rebs and 6 assists. Andre’s defense was key on both LeBron and Kyrie the same way his defended both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in the previous series.

Andre Iguodala strips LBJ

Andre Iguodala strips LBJ

Kevin Love is now healthy in the 2016 Finals unlike last year. http://cavaliersnation.com/2015/07/23/kevin-love-isolation-wallpaper/

Kevin Love is now healthy in the 2016 Finals unlike last year. http://cavaliersnation.com/2015/07/23/kevin-love-isolation-wallpaper/

Cavs Possible Solution

If the Warriors could beat the Cavs without Steph and Klay’s normal shooting, what else could they do?The Cavs may take comfort in the fact they contained Steph and Klay. The problem now is finding out they still have to stop 4 or more ‘other’ scorers.

LeBron was one assist away from a triple double: 23pts, 12 reb and 9 assts. LBJ is a natural passer and someone who WANTS to get his teammates involved. Kyrie Irving was the CAVS leading scorer with 26 points. Kevin Love had 17 points and 13 boards.

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What they need to do is actually involve their bench even more. They have the personnel to do this. Channing Fye was added to their line up to shoot more treys. And yet only managed 2pts in his paltry 7 minutes.

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Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith are proven scorers both in the 3point area and drives to the basket. Matthew Dellavedova is also a consistent shooter. LeBron isn’t the only 6-straight finals guy: James Jones is there. Timofey Mozgov played well in last year’s finals but hardly got playing time in this year’s playoffs. In game 1 Mozgov, Dahntay Jones, James Jones and Mo Williams only got to play during garbage time in the last 2 minutes.

J.E. Skeets of THE STARTERS believes that Richard Jefferson could be an X-Factor for the CAVS. Jefferson antagonized Raptors center Valanciunas in the previous series. If Jefferson can get Draymond Green to commit a flagrant or 2 technicals it will merit a one game suspension. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za3uhZLRwo4

J.E. Skeets of THE STARTERS believes that Richard Jefferson could be an X-Factor for the CAVS. Jefferson antagonized Raptors center Valanciunas in the previous series. If Jefferson can get Draymond Green to commit a flagrant or 2 technicals it will merit a one game suspension. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za3uhZLRwo4

Via J.E. Skeets from THE STARTERS, the Cavs could also use veteran Richard Jefferson to antagonize Draymond Green. Just one flagrant foul or 2 technicals would merit a suspension for green who ‘accidentally’ kicked Steven Adams in the groin.

The Golden State Warriors had a record setting 73-9 game regular season http://www.basketwallpapers.com/USA/Golden-State-Warriors/

The Golden State Warriors had a record setting 73-9 game regular season http://www.basketwallpapers.com/USA/Golden-State-Warriors/

IF the Cavs wanted to they could use all these players more both on the defensive and offensive end. The main difference is that the Warriors have been doing this all season long. Their starters are used to playing with their 2nd and 3rd units, vice versa. But the Cavs certainly have the personnel; they just need to give them minutes. If they don’t they’ll be overwhelmed by strength in numbers.

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Stephen Curry did NOT score his normal 30+pts in the Finals Gm1. But he still drew defenders that left his teammates open.

Stephen Curry did NOT score his normal 30+pts in the Finals Gm1. But he still drew defenders that left his teammates open.

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Derek Ramsay for TANDUAY – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXZ3YxDe16Q

Derek Ramsay for TANDUAY – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXZ3YxDe16Q

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GSW Bench numbers overwhelm the CAVS by 4Q

GSW Bench numbers overwhelm the CAVS by 4Q

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Shnfans

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Andre Iguodala wallpaper by Jude Bautista

Andre Iguodala wallpaper by Jude Bautista

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GSW Bench numbers overwhelm the CAVS by 4Q

GSW Bench numbers overwhelm the CAVS by 4Q

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Derek Ramsay for TANDUAY – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXZ3YxDe16Q

Derek Ramsay for TANDUAY – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXZ3YxDe16Q

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Andre Iguodala has the Oakland Bay Bridge, The Golden State Bridge’s sister behind him. wallpaper by http://clydegraffix.weebly.com/wallpapers.html

Andre Iguodala has the Oakland Bay Bridge, The Golden State Bridge’s sister behind him. wallpaper by http://clydegraffix.weebly.com/wallpapers.html

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Thank God the Golden State Warriors are Champs!

The 2015 NBA Finals series has been one of the most exciting in history with Games 1 & 2 going to overtime.

The 2015 NBA Finals series has been one of the most exciting in history with Games 1 & 2 going to overtime.

Written by

Jude Bautista

For the record, the CLEVELAND Cavaliers just tied the series 1-1, 95-93. This has to be one of the tightest, most exciting finals series I’ve seen. For the first time in finals history games 1 & 2 have gone to overtime. But most observers believe the Golden State Warriors will still be eventual champions.

The headline for 2014 was Lebron’s return to his hometown of CLEVELAND.

The headline for 2014 was Lebron’s return to his hometown of CLEVELAND.

Personally, I have a strong affinity with the Warriors. San Francisco is the only U.S. city that I have gotten to know. 15 years ago, the team was one of the worst in the NBA. But I couldn’t care less. In the Philippines basketball is a religion, being able to watch an NBA game live is a dream come true.

San Francisco aka THE CITY, Oakland aka THE TOWN, they both call the Golden State Warriors their team.

San Francisco aka THE CITY, Oakland aka THE TOWN, they both call the Golden State Warriors their team.

The Warriors is a team the Bay Area could really unite and get into. I remember the Oakland Raiders getting to the AFC finals when I was there in 2000. The Baltimore Ravens beat them as AFC champs 16-3. But obviously not everyone was behind them in the Bay Area as San Francisco also had the 49ers. In baseball it’s the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants. For basketball’s most prestigious league, however, it was the Golden State Warriors or nothing for The City (San Francisco) and The Town (Oakland).

San Francisco aka THE CITY, Oakland aka THE TOWN, they both call the Golden State Warriors their team.

San Francisco aka THE CITY, Oakland aka THE TOWN, they both call the Golden State Warriors their team.

Coincidentally the Bay Area is home to two large ethnic Asian groups. The 2000 census had the official number at 320,000 Filipinos. But I honestly think it’s far greater (about double or more). You could easily walk downtown and hear a few people passing by speaking in Tagalog. So you can imagine alot of our Fil-Am kababyans rejoicing with a Warriors championship.

JP Nebres a long time Warriors fan shoots his fellow Filipino Americans tailgating outside the Oracle Arena.

JP Nebres a long time Warriors fan shoots his fellow Filipino Americans tailgating outside the Oracle Arena.

Nayah Damasen on giant screen while singing the Star Spangled Banner. Photo by Greg Nelson for Sports Illustrated. From SI fb page: https://www.facebook.com/SportsIllustrated/photos/a.10150607059961367.377609.14553116366/10152820772231367/?type=1&theater

Nayah Damasen on giant screen while singing the Star Spangled Banner. Photo by Greg Nelson for Sports Illustrated. From SI fb page: https://www.facebook.com/SportsIllustrated/photos/a.10150607059961367.377609.14553116366/10152820772231367/?type=1&theater

It’s no surprise they’ve chosen Fil-Am Nayah Damasen to sing the Star Spangled Banner the past couple of years. The talented 10 year old gained recognition since the Western Conference Finals and Game 1 of this championship series. The Warriors have won each game she sings the anthem in this year’s playoffs. IF the Irish can lay claim to Boston, I think us Pinoys can consider The City as our second home.

(left) The Warriors lucky charm Nayah Damasen cheer the Warriors with her cousins. Official Nayah Damasen fb fan page https://www.facebook.com/NayahDamasen/timeline on twitter https://twitter.com/nayahdamasen

(left) The Warriors lucky charm Nayah Damasen cheer the Warriors with her cousins. Official Nayah Damasen fb fan page https://www.facebook.com/NayahDamasen/timeline
on twitter
https://twitter.com/nayahdamasen

Thousands lined up in Bonifacio High Street just to get a glimpse of the King Lebron James.

Thousands lined up in Bonifacio High Street just to get a glimpse of the King Lebron James.

Although back here in Manila, the old country, there are quite a few LeBron James fans. There were thousands, people lined up for blocks when Nike brought King James here at their Bonifacio High Street outlet. As I’m sure there are Pinoy fans in Cleveland as well, it’s just that the Filipino connection is far stronger with the Warriors.

Cavs power forward Kevin Love was in Manila 2014 for the Master’s Game Face Challenge with PBA stars Chris Tiu and Marc Pingris.

Cavs power forward Kevin Love was in Manila 2014 for the Master’s Game Face Challenge with PBA stars Chris Tiu and Marc Pingris.

Master Facial Wash also brought all-star power forward Kevin Love for the Master Game face challenge. The SMART Araneta Coliseum was filled to watch the exhibition game that also featured PBA stars Chris Tiu, Marc Pingris and many more.

Kyrie Irving had a crucial block on Steph Curry at the end of regulation to send Game 1 to overtime.

Kyrie Irving had a crucial block on Steph Curry at the end of regulation to send Game 1 to overtime.

One might wonder if LBJ’s decision to abandon the Miami HEAT may have had some karmic effect on Kevin Love’s season ending injury. The CAVS would definitely be a better team with both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love healthy. One never knows how our actions can come back to haunt and harm us in the future even if those affected never get back at us.

from left: Cavs All stars Kevin Love & Kyrie Irving have been lost to injury but Cleveland is still going ALL IN with LeBron James.

from left: Cavs All stars Kevin Love & Kyrie Irving have been lost to injury but Cleveland is still going ALL IN with LeBron James.

The second large Asian ethnic group in the Bay area is even more obvious. San Francisco is home to the oldest and largest Chinatown. To be accurate there are innumerable nationalities and races that live in The City. My point is the large Filipino and Chinese communities will definitely be behind their beloved Golden State Warriors.

Golden State Warriors with the Oakland Bay Bridge on the left and the Golden Gate Bridge on the right signifying their home is in the whole Bay Area and not just either city.

Golden State Warriors with the Oakland Bay Bridge on the left and the Golden Gate Bridge on the right signifying their home is in the whole Bay Area and not just either city.

Stephen Curry has won the 2015 MVP and will soon have his first NBA ring.

Stephen Curry has won the 2015 MVP and will soon have his first NBA ring.

I STILL BELIEVE The Warriors are Champs

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that LeBron James can easily be one of the best to play the game EVER. He’s certainly in the top 5 of anyone’s list. People say he’s far more athletically gifted than either Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson. Thing is basketball is a team game. You need a whole team to work together.

left: Current 2015 MVP Steph Curry faces 4-time MVP winner LeBron James in the Finals

left: Current 2015 MVP Steph Curry faces 4-time MVP winner LeBron James in the Finals

NOT even three hall of fame players can guarantee you a championship. LeBron learned that the hard way in Miami, even with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade they were beaten by Dallas Mavericks in their first year (2011). MIAMI got their acts together and won two titles back to back (2012/2013) until the Spurs beat them again in 2014.

Cavs Stars from left: Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson, LeBron James & Kevin Love

Cavs Stars from left: Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson, LeBron James & Kevin Love

The problem is not that the Cavaliers don’t have enough good players. Even with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving injured they still have a decent frontline in Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson and an emerging point guard in Matthew Dellavedova who hit crucial free throws / plays in game 2. J.R. Smith is talented, Shawn Marion & James Jones have more finals experience than the whole Warriors roster.

Dellavedova played better defense than Irving on Steph Curry on Game 2.

Dellavedova played better defense than Irving on Steph Curry on Game 2.

Splash Brothers Steph Curry & Klay Thompson.

Splash Brothers Steph Curry & Klay Thompson.

The difference is that The Golden State Warriors work better together as a team. Of course the Splash Brothers: Stephen Curry & Klay Thompson always gets the headlines. They’re certainly splashy to watch with their fancy passes, dunks and 3 pt bombs. But everything really is a team effort whether on offense or defense. Every single player’s passing is snappy and quick, finding the open man, the best player to score and its not always one of the Splash Brothers. Harrison Barnes made a crucial trey at overtime to put them up permanently 108-100 in game 1.

The Warriors’ Harrison Barnes is called the Black Falcon.

The Warriors’ Harrison Barnes is called the Black Falcon.

Apart from Le Bron James and Kevin Love (who’s injured). Golden State has Cleveland beat in every player position. Steph Curry is the current MVP and is also the 2015 3point Foot Locker Champ as well.

Stephen Curry has won the 2015 MVP and will soon have his first NBA ring.

Stephen Curry has won the 2015 MVP and will soon have his first NBA ring.

Andre Iguodala has been the epitome of self-sacrifice for the Golden State Warriors.

Andre Iguodala has been the epitome of self-sacrifice for the Golden State Warriors.

Andre Iguodala is the epitome of self-sacrifice that the whole Warriors team has bought into. He was a former All Star turned sixth man. He was a starter for most of his career, it took some convincing but his better defense and scoring is a boost off the bench. His defense on LBJ didn’t prevent the big numbers (44pts in Gm 1/39-Gm2). But made him struggle in ‘key plays’ especially in the last 2 minutes. Every single player knows their role and does it well: Andrew Bogut, Shaun Livingston, Festus Ezeli and Leandro Barbosa.

Rookie head coach Steve Kerr will lead his young players to their first NBA Championship. The Golden State Warriors won the championship in 1947 and 1975.

Rookie head coach Steve Kerr will lead his young players to their first NBA Championship. The Golden State Warriors won the championship in 1947 and 1975.

Is it just me or does Draymond Green look like Martin Lawrence’s twin brother? Green is a great example of Defense, passing and rebounding. FYI Martin Lawrence is alive and well in spite of an Internet death hoax. The BIG MOMMA and BAD BOYS star is not in any way related to Draymond Green except with their similarities in facial and goatee features.

left: GSW’s hyperactive Draymond Green has strong likeness to Hollywood star Martin Lawrence (right) who is alive & well no thanks to fake internet death rumors.

left: GSW’s hyperactive Draymond Green has strong likeness to Hollywood star Martin Lawrence (right) who is alive & well no thanks to fake internet death rumors.

Even former All Star David Lee who has hardly seen playing time in the finals has bought into the team concept: “We’ll just see what happens. I love it here. We have accomplished a lot here. We’ll see once the season’s over. The most important thing, though, is getting this ring first and then worrying about that later.” Quoted by Scott Howard Cooper in his story: ‘Lee focused on Finals now, uncertain future later’

IN spite of being benched David Lee still wants to stay with the Warriors.

IN spite of being benched David Lee still wants to stay with the Warriors.

The statement is significant especially with the imminence of Lee being traded as he admitted. It’s going to be a really tough and exciting series. But the Warriors are a true team in every sense of the word that’s why they’ll be the 2015 champs.

The Warriors work better together as a team vs the Cavs and the rest of the league. That’s why they’re going to be champs.

The Warriors work better together as a team vs the Cavs and the rest of the league. That’s why they’re going to be champs.

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The 2015 NBA Finals series has been one of the most exciting in history with Games 1 & 2 going to overtime.

The 2015 NBA Finals series has been one of the most exciting in history with Games 1 & 2 going to overtime.

Russian star Timofey Mozgov stepped up his game to fill the void of losing Kevin Love to injury.

Russian star Timofey Mozgov stepped up his game to fill the void of losing Kevin Love to injury.

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The 2015 NBA Finals series has been one of the most exciting in history with Games 1 & 2 going to overtime.

The 2015 NBA Finals series has been one of the most exciting in history with Games 1 & 2 going to overtime.

Klay Thompson lead the Warriors in scoring with 34 pts for Gm 2.

Klay Thompson lead the Warriors in scoring with 34 pts for Gm 2.

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foreground: Nayah Damasen her folks and Klay Thompson. Official Nayah Damasen fb fan page https://www.facebook.com/NayahDamasen/timeline on twitter https://twitter.com/nayahdamasen

foreground: Nayah Damasen her folks and Klay Thompson. Official Nayah Damasen fb fan page https://www.facebook.com/NayahDamasen/timeline
on twitter
https://twitter.com/nayahdamasen

Stephen Curry’s adorable daughter Riley has gained a lot of fans.

Stephen Curry’s adorable daughter Riley has gained a lot of fans.

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right: Current 2015 MVP Steph Curry faces 4-time MVP winner LeBron James in the Finals.

right: Current 2015 MVP Steph Curry faces 4-time MVP winner LeBron James in the Finals.

Dellavedova played better defense than Irving on Steph Curry on Game 2.

Dellavedova played better defense than Irving on Steph Curry on Game 2.

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left: GSW’s hyperactive Draymond Green has strong likeness to Hollywood star Martin Lawrence (right) who is alive & well no thanks to fake internet death rumors.

left: GSW’s hyperactive Draymond Green has strong likeness to Hollywood star Martin Lawrence (right) who is alive & well no thanks to fake internet death rumors.

The ORACLE Arena is one of the loudest in the league.

The ORACLE Arena is one of the loudest in the league.

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far left: Matthew Dellavedova has taken over the injured Kyrie Irving’s staring line up spot and has done well so far.

far left: Matthew Dellavedova has taken over the injured Kyrie Irving’s staring line up spot and has done well so far.

The 2015 NBA Finals series has been one of the most exciting in history with Games 1 & 2 going to overtime.

The 2015 NBA Finals series has been one of the most exciting in history with Games 1 & 2 going to overtime.

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Russian star Timofey Mozgov stepped up his game to fill the void of losing Kevin Love to injury.

Russian star Timofey Mozgov stepped up his game to fill the void of losing Kevin Love to injury.

ALL IN: the Cavs tagline for the 2015 finals.

ALL IN: the Cavs tagline for the 2015 finals.

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Cavs power forward Kevin Love was in Manila 2014 for the Master’s Game Face Challenge with PBA stars Chris Tiu and Marc Pingris.

Cavs power forward Kevin Love was in Manila 2014 for the Master’s Game Face Challenge with PBA stars Chris Tiu and Marc Pingris.

The 2015 NBA Finals series has been one of the most exciting in history with Games 1 & 2 going to overtime.

The 2015 NBA Finals series has been one of the most exciting in history with Games 1 & 2 going to overtime.

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Apart from the starting line up, they have Andre Iguodala, Leandro Barbosa, Shaun Livingston, Festus Ezeli, Mareese Speights coming off the bench.

Apart from the starting line up, they have Andre Iguodala, Leandro Barbosa, Shaun Livingston, Festus Ezeli, Mareese Speights coming off the bench.

Klay Thompson lead the Warriors in scoring with 34 pts for Gm 2.

Klay Thompson lead the Warriors in scoring with 34 pts for Gm 2.

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from left: Matthew Dellavedova & JR Smith need to score more for the Cavs to win the championship.

from left: Matthew Dellavedova & JR Smith need to score more for the Cavs to win the championship.

The Cavs are ALL IN and will never give up.

The Cavs are ALL IN and will never give up.

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left: Current 2015 MVP Steph Curry faces 4-time MVP winner LeBron James in the Finals

left: Current 2015 MVP Steph Curry faces 4-time MVP winner LeBron James in the Finals

GSW solid frontline from left Draymond Green, Festus Ezeli and Harrison Barnes. NOT in photo is Aussie star center Andrew Bogut.

GSW solid frontline from left Draymond Green, Festus Ezeli and Harrison Barnes. NOT in photo is Aussie star center Andrew Bogut.

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Stephen Curry has won the 2015 MVP and will soon have his first NBA ring.

Stephen Curry has won the 2015 MVP and will soon have his first NBA ring.

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STRENGTH IN NUMBERS signifies the teamwork of the Golden State Warriors.

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS signifies the teamwork of the Golden State Warriors.

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Chris Lizo: Living the PBA Dream

from left: PLDT Chairman and SBP Pres. Manny V Pangilinan and MPTC Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Christopher Lizo. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

from left: PLDT Chairman and SBP Pres. Manny V Pangilinan and MPTC Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Christopher Lizo. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

Written and photographed

By Jude Bautista

Last October 21, 2014, all I could do was text him a greeting when I remembered it was his birthday. Christopher Daniel C. Lizo is my cousin who is now Metro Pacific Tollways Corp (MPTC) Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. He texted back immediately and invited me to the debut of the NLEX Road Warriors in the PBA. It was their very first game in the league, in the storied SMART Araneta Coliseum.

Tip off from right: NLEX Road Warriors (Asi Taulava) and Global Port Batang Pier (Yancy De Ocampo). Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

Tip off from right: NLEX Road Warriors (Asi Taulava) and Global Port Batang Pier (Yancy De Ocampo). Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

He told me he was so excited with the efforts of MPTC Pres. & CEO Ramoncito Fernandez, in building the team. The NLEX Road Warriors was finally making the transition to the majors after so much success in the Developmental league. PLDT Chairman and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan will also personally make an appearance to watch the debut.

from right: PLDT Chairman and SBP Pres. Manny V Pangilinan and MPTC Pres. & CEO Ramoncito Fernandez. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

from right: PLDT Chairman and SBP Pres. Manny V Pangilinan and MPTC Pres. & CEO Ramoncito Fernandez and MNTC Pres & CEO Rod Franco. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

MVP has been the singular moving force developing the SMART Gilas National team, and fulfilling the hopes of a whole nation for the sport of basketball. ALL of them who work for him have had to step up in showing their support for the game we love. CEOs and top level Execs are expected to do double duty as Team Presidents/ Operation Managers for their respective PBA squads. It’s an honor, sacrifice and huge responsibility.

Global Port Batang Pier Stanley Pringle inbounds ball in front of NLEX coaches Adonis Tierra and Ford Arao. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

Global Port Batang Pier Stanley Pringle inbounds ball in front of NLEX coaches Adonis Tierra and Ford Arao. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

MVP has taken a personal hand in coming up with the coaching staffs of TALK’N TXT, MERALCO and NLEX. MVP met with team execs, MPTC Pres & CEO Ramoncito Fernandez and finalized the NLEX brain trust. Last July, Quinito Henson in his Phil Star column reported, “Six-peat PBA D-League champion coach Boyet Fernandez will pilot N-Lex which has acquired the Air21 franchise.  Fernandez, however, will finish the NCAA season with San Beda College before moving back to the PBA where he was once Coach of the Year with Sta. Lucia Realty.  His Warriors staff will consist of Adonis Tierra, Jojo Lastimosa, Sandy Arrespacochaga, Mon Celis and Ford Arao with Allan Gregorio as team consultant.”

MVP & CEOs intently watch the NLEX Road Warrior’s PBA debut. Foreground: Coach Boyet Fernandez (left) & Asst Coach Jojo Lastimosa (right). Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

VIP ROW from left: MPTC Pres. & CEO Ramoncito Fernandez, Tollways Mgt Corp. SVP for Toll Operations Bobby Bontia, PLDT Chairman and SBP Pres. Manny V Pangilinan, MNTC Pres & CEO Rod Franco and MPTC CFO/Treasurer Christopher Lizo. Foreground: Coach Boyet Fernandez (left) & Asst Coach Jojo Lastimosa (right). Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

NLEX acting head Coach Adonis Tierra was calling the shots in the huddle early in the 1st quarter. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

NLEX acting head Coach Adonis Tierra was calling the shots in the huddle early in the 1st quarter. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

Paco, Manila

The PBA game seemed like a world away from our days growing up in Paco. I was the youngest of 5 boys but all of my brothers had been way older. That’s why I was closer to Chris growing up. Chris and I were born just months apart, post Crispa Toyota era. Barely off our toddler years we still took sides, he liked Crispa and I Toyota. We found a common team to cheer for when Great Taste came around with Ricardo Brown, Abe King, Arnie Tuadles, Philip Cezar, Bogs Adornado. The team had remnants from both Toyota and Crispa.

MPTC Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Christopher Lizo. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

Right: MPTC Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Christopher Lizo. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

Basketball was so pervasive in everything we thought and did. We’d play it EVERY free time we had. My brother Noel Bautista was an NBA, PBA, NCAA, UAAP fanatic. We’d talk about match ups and players endlessly. Much of our technical knowledge and debates came from Noel’s influence. He’s now living in Wellington, NZ with wife Hazel. His kids Nigel, Nicole and Brent are all grown up.

NLEX Road Warrior Enrico Villanueva sails in for a lay-up. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

NLEX Road Warrior Enrico Villanueva sails in for a lay-up. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

We had a hoop installed on our garage roof. Me, Chris his brother Vincent Lizo, my brothers George, Noel, schoolmates, neighbors would play from morning until late into the night. Only George Bautista and Vincent took the game seriously trying out in college and making it to the TEAM B in DLSU. Vincent Lizo was our hope in making it to the PBA, we all had dreams at the time. He dominated in the commercial leagues: PICAA and PBL. Somehow we all lived vicariously through the success of Vince as a player, fulfilling our collective hoop dreams. Vince is now also one of the top executives in EVEREADY and still plays basketball in Alumni Leagues.

Grand slam champ and enforcer DLSU Archer Rafa Dinglasan shoots w i-phone. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

Grand slam champ and enforcer DLSU Archer Rafa Dinglasan shoots w i-phone. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

Their close friend and teammates in the DLSU squad include Perry Ronquillo, Dong Vergere who later became coaches. Perry won a PBA Championship with Shell. Dong became a coach for UST in the UAAP (who passed away in 2011). Current Archers coach Juno Sauler was also a teammate of theirs. Juno married my other cousin Agnes Apostol.

from left: PLDT Chairman and SBP Pres. Manny V Pangilinan and MPTC Pres. & CEO Ramoncito Fernandez. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

from left: PLDT Chairman and SBP Pres. Manny V Pangilinan and MPTC Pres. & CEO Ramoncito Fernandez. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

METROPACIFIC

After graduating and acing the Accounting Board exams Chris worked for one and only one company throughout his career: METROPACIFIC Corporation. Much later after that he was assigned to his current post at the MPTC. Under a shared love for the game together with MPTC Pres. Ramon Fernandez they participated in the Developmental league of the PBA. Chris managed the day-to-day operations of the team, acquiring players, coaching staff while deferring major decisions to Fernandez. Mr. Fernandez has become a mentor and father figure to Chris; he was also the Ninong in his wedding. The NLEX Road Warriors earned 6 titles in the 7 years since the league was established.

NLEX Road Warrior Jonas Villanueva sets up offense. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

NLEX Road Warrior Jonas Villanueva sets up offense. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

Zoom back to 2014 October 21st, Chris’ birthday was an auspicious date to have their debut in the PBA. This is the league where so many of our childhood dreams had come from. We watched countless legendary PBA heroes do battle in this very place SMART ARANETA. Among them a Senator- Sonny Jaworski, Ramon Fernandez namesake ‘The Franchise’, Atoy Co, Abet Guidaben, even to the days of Alvin Patrimonio, Benjie Paras, Allan Caidic and our special idol ‘Skywalker’ Samboy Lim. One of them Jojo Lastimosa is in the coaching staff of NLEX.

from left: PBA legend now NLEX Asst Coach Jojo Lastimosa coaches Jonas Viallanueva. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

from left: PBA legend now NLEX Asst Coach Jojo Lastimosa coaches Jonas Viallanueva. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

Now the NLEX Roadwarriors was a team he helped build. Chris was making his own PBA memories, helping shape current and future PBA legends in its 40th season. I was especially nervous for Chris because, there’s so much at stake. As thankful as I was seeing him in this position a win is necessary validation of all their efforts leading up to that point. They had to make a statement that the NLEX Road Warriors belonged with the best of best players in the country. There was tremendous pressure to win, even if it was a debut.

NLEX Road Warrior Asi Taulava on Free-throw line. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

NLEX Road Warrior Asi Taulava on Free-throw line. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

NLEX is World Class

Before the game, Chris Lizo was able to talk about the transition of NLEX to the big league, “We won 6 out of 7 championships in the D League. Now the PBA is a different level. We want to prove to the management, to the owners that we can do it in the next level as well. What we’re trying to bring in the PBA is the same brand of team that we brought in the D League. We carry the NLEX brand name. NLEX is world class so we want to bring a competitive world-class team in the PBA.”

NLEX Road Warrior Mac Cardona going strong against Batang Pier Bonjay Buenafe. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

NLEX Road Warrior Mac Cardona going strong against Batang Pier Bonjay Buenafe. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

Theoretically, the developmental league player can go to the PBA. But all players have to go through the daft process and theirs was no exception, “Unfortunately we’re not allowed by the PBA to bring our core team. Our core team had to go to the draft. We did the next best thing which was buy an existing franchise. We bought AIR21, which has good core players including Asi Taulava, Jonas Villanueva, Rico Villanueva, Mac Cardona. We mixed them with our own draft choices. We think we have a good combination of youth and experience.”

right (in Yankees cap) Maja Salvador loves the PBA. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

right (in Yankees cap) Maja Salvador loves the PBA. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

Their draft choice of Matt Canuelas, who played for SMART GILAS was traded to TALK’N TXT for KG Canaleta. He believes Canaleta will help NLEX be competitive immediately. There are very specific and some say lofty goals for their debut. “We think we’re going to be competitive. Having said that we’re realistic. There are a lot of strong teams GINEBRA, TALKN’TXT, SAN MIGUEL, PUREFOODS STAR HOTSHOTS. We have an internal target. But we still think that if motivated enough, we work hard enough we can still go to the championship. Going to the finals is not beyond our reach we can still do it.”

from right: Mac Cardona, KG Canaleta and Kelly Nabong. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

from right: Mac Cardona, KG Canaleta and Kelly Nabong. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

PBA: The Best of the Best

With MVP’s top choice for a coach, Chris believes Boyet Fernandez is the right man to take them all the way, “He is defense oriented. Another thing working for him is he played professional basketball. He won a championship as a coach for Sta. Lucia. He gets the best out of players. Whether they’re veterans or rookies he’s able to define the role of each player. To that extent, Boyet has a lot of experience.”

From left: NLEX acting head Coach Adonis Tierra confers with Asst coach Sandy Arespacochaga. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

From left: NLEX acting head Coach Adonis Tierra confers with Asst coach Sandy Arespacochaga. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

The challenge is huge in being able to translate their success from the D League to the PBA, “You have to look at the competitiveness. D League is a good league but the PBA is the ultimate goal of all players, all teams. You know that this is the cream of the crop, the best of the best, not only in terms of players but also in coaching staff, the support staff. So we’ve dedicated all resources we can to make sure that we’ll be competitive.”

Batang Pier Stanley Pringle explodes against John Raymundo. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

Batang Pier Stanley Pringle explodes against John Raymundo. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

It’s been a long time coming, playing the game we loved since we were kids. We’ve all grown up; Chris has his own family now with beautiful wife Carlene, daughter Andrea and son Andrei. Not all plans have come to fruition. Hoop dreams remain for us, myself, brothers and cousins. Now we can experience it vicariously through Chris who is living the PBA dream.

MVP has light moment with CEOs during tense game. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

VIP ROW from left: Tollways Mgt Corp. SVP for Toll Operations Bobby Bontia, PLDT Chairman and SBP Pres. Manny V Pangilinan, MNTC Pres & CEO Rod Franco and MPTC CFO/Treasurer Christopher Lizo. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

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NLEX Road Warrior Eric Camson. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

NLEX Road Warrior Eric Camson. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

NEVER THE STRANGER lead singer Ace Libre is a huge PBA fan. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

NEVER THE STRANGER lead singer Ace Libre is a huge PBA fan. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

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NLEX acting head Coach Adonis Tierra was calling the shots in the huddle early in the 1st quarter with him are from left: Asst Coaches Ford Arao and Sandy Arespacochaga. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

NLEX acting head Coach Adonis Tierra was calling the shots in the huddle early in the 1st quarter with him are from left: Asst Coaches Ford Arao and Sandy Arespacochaga. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

NLEX Road Warrior John Raymundo sets up offense. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

NLEX Road Warrior John Raymundo sets up offense. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

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MVP has light moment with CEOs during tense game. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

VIP ROW from left: Tollways Mgt Corp. SVP for Toll Operations Bobby Bontia, PLDT Chairman and SBP Pres. Manny V Pangilinan, MNTC Pres & CEO Rod Franco and MPTC CFO/Treasurer Christopher Lizo. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

2014 Top draft pick Stanley Pringle warms up for Global Port Batang Pier. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

2014 Top draft pick Stanley Pringle warms up for Global Port Batang Pier. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Batang Pier Yancy De Ocampo posts up against  NLEX Road Warrior Aldrech Ramos. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

Batang Pier Yancy De Ocampo posts up against NLEX Road Warrior Aldrech Ramos. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

from left: PLDT Chairman and SBP Pres. Manny V Pangilinan and MPTC Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Christopher Lizo. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

from left: PLDT Chairman and SBP Pres. Manny V Pangilinan and MPTC Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Christopher Lizo. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

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NLEX Road Warrior John Raymundo calls play with Batang Pier Terrence Romeo guarding him. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

NLEX Road Warrior John Raymundo calls play with Batang Pier Terrence Romeo guarding him. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

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NLEX Road Warriors from left: Acting head coach (for PBA debut) Adonis Tierra and MPTC Pres. & CEO Ramoncito Fernandez. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

NLEX Road Warriors from left: Acting head coach (for PBA debut) Adonis Tierra and MPTC Pres. & CEO Ramoncito Fernandez. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

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NLEX Road Warrior Mark Borboran works in the paint. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

NLEX Road Warrior Mark Borboran works in the paint. Catch PBA games live in SMART ARANETA Coliseum. If not you can watch the PBA’s 40th season live airing on TV5 five times a week on TUES, WED and FRI, with the first game at 4:15 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.; on SAT at 5 p.m.; and SUN at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Ronda Rousey: The UFC’s Brightest Star

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

Written by

Jude Bautista

If you told me 10 years ago I would be watching more of the UFC than the NBA or PBA, then I’d say you were crazy. If you told me 5 years ago the biggest star in Mixed Martial arts’ most prestigious league would be a woman, I’d also say you were crazy. But incredibly, I’m wrong on both counts. Barriers continue to be broken and could no longer be ignored…by the world. The lofty proclamation that MMA is the fastest growing sport was never an exaggeration.

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

After GSP and Anderson Silva’s retirement, Ronda Rousey is widely considered as the UFC’s biggest star. Herb Dean stopped the fight at 66 seconds of the 1st round, the fastest KO at women’s Bantamweight.

After GSP and Anderson Silva’s retirement, Ronda Rousey is widely considered as the UFC’s biggest star. Herb Dean stopped the fight at 66 seconds of the 1st round, the fastest KO at women’s Bantamweight.

NO sportswriter or pundit could anticipate how mixed martial arts have grown by leaps and bounds in the last several years. With Ronda Rousey’s win over Sara McMann last weekend Mandalay Bay Events Center (Feb 23, 2014 Mla Time) she has cemented her status as the UFC’s biggest star. Its not just marking up another ‘W’ but more of how she wins inside the cage. Rousey has also become a movie star having completed 2 blockbusters: EXPENDABLES 3 set for August 2014 release, FAST & THE FURIOUS 7 for release on April 2015.

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UFC legend Randy Couture will be back and has already been in 2 previous sequels of the Expendables along with original members Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Action star icons such as Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford along with Antonio Banderas and Kelsey Grammer will also be in EXPENDABLES 3.

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

More than just acting gigs and magazine covers there are other factors that lead to the ‘biggest star’ title for Rousey. Long time MMA writer Jeremy Botter of Bleacher Report attributed this to recent developments. Two of the longest reigning champions in Georges St Pierre and Anderson Silva ended their dominance the past year. Silva was UFC middleweight champ for almost 8 years until Chris Weidman knocked him out.

Silva breaks his leg as Weidman checks his kick in UFC 168. Minimizing the chance for a comeback for Silva considered as one of the greatest mixed martial artists ever.

Silva breaks his leg as Weidman checks his kick in UFC 168. Minimizing the chance for a comeback for Silva considered as one of the greatest mixed martial artists ever.

GSP ruled the welterweight division just as long but retired after a controversial decision win over Johnny ‘Big Rig’ Hendricks. Hendricks vs Robbie Lawler will earn the vacated welterweight title on March 16 (Mla Time). Both have one punch KO power, so it’s going to be an explosive match up. Lawler is compared to a young Mike Tyson.

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

For a lot of sports, it’s the personalities that garner fans in the millions. Boxing was big in the Philippines way before Manny Pacquiao. We’ve had SO many champions like Pancho Villa, Gabriel Flash Elorde, Rolando Navarete, Dodie Peñalosa, Luisito Espinosa. But no one has captured the imagination of Filipinos the way that Pacquiao has. He’s already in training camp for his fight against Tim Bradley on April of this year.

Sara McMann gave the best explanation to her collapse during an interview w Joe Rogan.

Sara McMann gave the best explanation to her collapse during an interview w Joe Rogan.

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

Ronda Rousey is one such personality. When she won the STRIKEFORCE championship against Miesha Tate and later on defended it against Sarah Kaufmann, UFC President Dana White finally took notice. White initially vowed to exclude women in the UFC, but that was before meeting the charismatic champion. The decision proved to be a windfall. Every one of Rousey’s fights has been a huge hit ever since her first title defense against Liz ‘Girlrilla’ Carmouche and the much-anticipated rematch with Miesha Tate. Ryan McKinnel of the Examiner compares Ronda’s arm bar as a ‘fatality move’ in Mortal Kombat video game where opponents are helpless in stopping it.

Rousey locks in the arm bar on Miesha Tate ending the fight in the 2nd Rd Dec 29, 2013 (Mla Time). It’s also the second time Rousey finished Tate by arm bar.

Rousey locks in the arm bar on Miesha Tate ending the fight in the 2nd Rd Dec 29, 2013 (Mla Time). It’s also the second time Rousey finished Tate by arm bar.

Rousey has had consecutive 1st round submissions (due to arm bar) of all her opponents except against Tate, which lasted until the 2nd round (also ended in an arm bar). Neither Anderson Silva nor GSP could boast of similar consecutive 1st round finishes.

women’s rankings- Cat Cyborg Zingano may be the only ‘tough’ challenge left for Ronda.

women’s rankings- Cat Cyborg Zingano may be the only ‘tough’ challenge left for Ronda.

Sara McMann was touted to be a worthy challenge for Rousey. It was the first time that 2 Olympic medalists would meet in the octagon. McMann was a silver medalist for wrestling in the Athens Olympics in 2004. Ronda got a bronze medal in Beijing 2008. Rousey was the first American to win two gold medals at the Junior World Championships also for Judo.

Both women landed punches early but Ronda pushed Sara up the cage.

Both women landed punches early but Ronda pushed Sara up the cage.

Ronda had Sara against the cage.

Ronda had Sara against the cage.

Since both were adept at the takedowns, experts predicted that the ground game might cancel each other out and lead to a stand up battle. That was essentially what happened, a furious exchange of punches in the opening of round 1.

The clinch allowed Ronda to land her deadly elbows.

The clinch allowed Ronda to land her deadly elbows.

This was one of 4 vicious knees to the liver that eventually made Sara McMann collapse to the canvas.

This was one of 4 vicious knees to the liver that eventually made Sara McMann collapse to the canvas.

Sara was able to throw some blows to the head of the champion. If Ronda got hurt she didn’t show it but she did get hit. Ronda however was also quick to get into the clinch and force her up the cage. This was crucial because the clinch position allowed Ronda to land knees and elbows.

Ronda Rousey demos her lethal knees that eventually made Sara McMann collapse to the canvas.

Ronda Rousey demos her lethal knees that eventually made Sara McMann collapse to the canvas.

In the slow motion replays the total number of knees landed on the abdomen and liver was at least 4. By the 4th knee Sara just collapsed. And when she was on the ground that was when Ronda started raining punches on her face. This was enough for Referee Herb Dean to stop the fight- (66 second mark of the 1st rd).

As Sara collapsed, Ronda rained down the ground & pound, which was enough for ref Herb Dean to stop the fight. The time is the fastest KO at women’s Bantamweight at 66 seconds of the 1st round.

As Sara collapsed, Ronda rained down the ground & pound, which was enough for ref Herb Dean to stop the fight. The time is the fastest KO at women’s Bantamweight at 66 seconds of the 1st round.

Referee Herb Dean made a good stoppage contrary to popular belief saving Sara from taking even more punches when she was collapsed on the ground.

Referee Herb Dean made a good stoppage contrary to popular belief saving Sara from taking even more punches when she was collapsed on the ground.

For those who believe that it was a premature stoppage, they couldn’t be more wrong. Do they want Sara to get punched even more on the ground? That doesn’t make any sense. Dean saved her from needless punishment. When Rogan interviewed Sara she gave the best explanation, “its not like I can strengthen my liver.”

As Sara collapsed, Ronda rained down the ground & pound, which was enough for ref Herb Dean to stop the fight. The time is the fastest KO at women’s Bantamweight at 66 seconds of the 1st round.

As Sara collapsed, Ronda rained down the ground & pound, which was enough for ref Herb Dean to stop the fight. The time is the fastest KO at women’s Bantamweight at 66 seconds of the 1st round.

Sara McMann gave the best explanation to her collapse during an interview w Joe Rogan.

Sara McMann gave the best explanation to her collapse during an interview w Joe Rogan.

The win also proved that Rousey is not one-dimensional. The arm bar finishes have caused critics to claim that she could not win any other way. Rousey has shown that she has a variety of striking skills not least of which are her knees.

Ronda is surrounded by her family after the fight.

Ronda is surrounded by her family after the fight.

IF there’s anything that the UFC can improve on it is the salary of Ronda Rousey. In spite of being the main card, Rousey earned less ($110,000) than co-main event fighter Daniel Cormier ($160,000). Of course Pay per view shares, endorsements and other bonuses may or may not have Rousey earning more.

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

Even then there’s a stark discrepancy in paychecks. If Dana White sincerely believes that Ronda Rousey is the ‘biggest star’ of the UFC’s 20-year history as he himself said why can’t he give her the salary a champion deserves? Anderson Silva ($600,000) and GSP ($400,000) both had bigger pay checks as champions in their division, is Rousey any less of a champion? Not even half of a champion’s paycheck?

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

from left: Ronda’s mom Dr. AnnMaria De Mars was a former World Judo Champion and (right) her sister Maria Burns Ortiz is an ESPN.com Reporter and adjunct professor in the Journalism Department at Emerson College.

from left: Ronda’s mom Dr. AnnMaria De Mars was a former World Judo Champion and (right) her sister Maria Burns Ortiz is an ESPN.com Reporter and adjunct professor in the Journalism Department at Emerson College.

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Ronda was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But she’s always honest telling it like it is. She’d rather be seen as a ‘heel’ than be a hypocrite to someone whom she feels disparaged people she considers her family.

Ronda was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But she’s always honest telling it like it is. She’d rather be seen as a ‘heel’ than be a hypocrite to someone whom she feels disparaged people she considers her family.

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Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

http://judebfood.wordpress.com/ , http://judebphoto.wordpress.com/ , https://judebgallery.wordpress.com/  , http://judebautista.wordpress.com/

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

http://judebfood.wordpress.com/ , http://judebphoto.wordpress.com/ , https://judebgallery.wordpress.com/  , http://judebautista.wordpress.com/