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Killer’s instinct

  • Written by Lito Cinco
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 669

IF THERE is one thing that separates the great from the good in sports, particularly  in contact sports like boxing and  mixed martial arts, okay  throw in a team sport like basketball, I believe it is the killer’s instinct of the athlete or the team.

At his peak, it was very evident that Manny Pacquiao  had  this trait, something  enabled him to score abbreviated victories over a number of opponents.
Manny could sense when he  had  his opponents in a daze and the more  that he  poured it on until his opponents simply succumbs to the law of physics, that  a human body can only withstand  a certain level of continuous punishment until it gives in.
Watch  Manny's  previous fights against Marco Antonio Barrera and Oscar de la Hoya, among others , that's what I do  and switch to You Tube in  my daughter’s 50-inch smart TV  that we use at home.
This is the same trait that you would see in other great boxers, they all  knew when to pour it all  out, and for me, they had perfected  their own killer's instinct.  Unfortunately, I do  not see that anymore in  Manny as  age  has slowed  him down and his single punch  knock out loss to Juan Manuel Marquez several years ago has taught him to be more wary of his opponents.
Now why am I talking of  killer’s instinct in sports ?
Well,  presently on-going is the SEABA Championship that we  are hosting here and  Gilas coach Chot Reyes   has formed a team composed of  veteran PBA superstars like Jun Mar Fajardo, Jayson Castro,Terrence Romeo, Calvin Abueva,  and Japeth Aguilar together with up and coming young players, the likes of Roger Pogoy, Raymond Almazan, Allein Maliksi, Troy Rosario and Matthew Wright, then re-signed Andray Blatche.
The mission is to win the  crown, nothing less to assure the Philippines of a slot in the FIBA Asia Cup, the qualifying tournament in turn for the  FIBA Asia World Cup.
This is what  the boys have to accomplish by sweeping the rest of the competing countries, Indonesia, Thailand,Vietnam,  Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar,  and believe  me, our boys will.
What led me to write about  killer's instinct was our first game against a hapless Myanmar squad whom the boys  massacred 147 - 40  with a lot of comments on social media that we could have gone easier on  those hapless opponents.
Or that we could have  sent a second team and not this bunch of PBA  superstars to prey on  a weak field that is the SEABA, a long time ago, when there was no SEA Games yet, we had the Pesta Sukan Games and the Philippines  was a perennial champion in basketball despite sending a secondary team.
The practice was continued into the SEA Games, following  the agreement  between the  PBA and basketball officials, BAP then SBP,  that the PBA will only lend players  for the Asian Games  but not  for the SEA Games .
This was the same practice  of the United States when it used to send collegiate  players to international competitions until the rest of the basketball  world, Europe in particular, started beating them, and shamed, the  Americans turned to their NBA superstars to reclaim their hold on  world basketball supremacy.
I guess this is the same path that the SBP, behind Manny Pangilinan, whose passion about basketball I will never question, has decided to follow.
Going back to the first Monday quarterbacks' comments after our first game, I believe  that Chot  has to  inculcate in  his boys  this  instinct to go all out against any opponent, weak or strong . They should beat the hell out of  their opponents, the bigger the margin, the better. The boys' mission is to win.
A mindset for players does not come automatically, it is taught, explained, and developed continuously.
Sonny Jaworski  did the same thing with the Ginebra team of  old, fight to the end with no let up.
Our  second game  was against a better opponent, Singapore, but again, we played to the hilt and won 113- 66. We  play Malaysia next, a team that in the past gave us a hard time in  the SEA Games, this time, it will be  different, am looking  at a 30 to 40 point winning margin, on the assumption that the boys  have started developing that killer's instinct I am talking about.
And no matter how it is hyped up that Indonesia, which is supposed to field in a naturalized player,  will give us a fight. But  again, a 30-point victory is what I f oresee. Our team is  simply in a class by itself  .
Okay, boys, I am done talking, you do the whipping and prove me right.