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Sincerely yours

  • Written by Ed Andaya
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 336

ONE of the many good things in life is receiving a personal letter.

Not many come in the mail  anymore since they’ve been replaced by phone calls, texts, chats and many other modern-day communication gadgets.

Nowadays, e-mails are the sure thing. I receive  a lot of them from readers who liked or disliked something I wrote in my sports column.

And  whenever I received an email, I make it a point to respond to the letter-senders as soon as I can.

Four months ago,  I wote a column about the ‘Living Legend,  Robert Jaworski. It reads:
        
“In the long history of basketball in the country,  only a few player-coaches achieve the status of legend in their lifetimes. Caloy “The Big Difference” Loyzaga, Lauro “The Fox”  Mumar, Charlie Badion, Ed Ocampo, Turo Valenzona,  Ato Tolentino, Ramon Fernandez. And of course,  Robert  “The  Big J” Jaworski. They were all different. But they all have one thing in common: the ability to inspire. They all can motivate their players to sacrifice their own welfare and work for the  good of the team.”
         
Not surprisingly, I  received a letter from an avid  basketball fan. Here’s how I replied:
    
Dear Tony,
 
I’m sorry I disappointed you with my personal observations but I really think   Robert Jaworski remains as the greatest Filipino player even long after his retirement. His  records speak for themselves.  It’s not really  blasphemy, as you put it, to set aside the achievements of such basketball greats as Caloy “The  Great Difference” Loyzaga  and Lauro “The Fox” Mumar and all the other great Filipino  players in order for me to highlight  the achievements of Jaworski.  You may not agree with me, but I dare say that Jaworski and basketball remain synonymous. In fact, his name went into the language, with such phrase as “jealous wives guarding their good-looking husbands ala Jaworski.”
   
One  loyal reader, Mick Miranda, wrote to give his five cents’ worth  about  his favorite sport of basketball. My reply:
    
Dear Mick,
        
Your observations that the Philippine  team  needs hard-nosed  player like Calvin Abueva and that our foreign coach Tab Baldwin should have given Junemar Fajardo and  Japeth Aguilar more playing time during the recent FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila are correct, I  think. Except for one or two, I agree with most of your suggestions on how to improve the  competitiveness of our national teams. But like you, we can only hope that the  basketball gods are listening (or, reading in this case) to suggestions on ways to improve the team. And  because I can’t print your letter in full, I suggest you also furnish a copy to BAP-SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan and other top basketball officials.

Another reader, Anton Herrera,  was clearly disappointed  to see the  Philippines fielding eight American  players  -- and  only five Filipinos -- in  the 2016 W. Jones Cup in Taipei. 
    
Dear Anton,
 
I  fully  agree with your observation that homegrown Filipino players should have represented the Philippines in the Jones Cup.        
   
With so many talented players in  both commercial and collegiate leagues, it  puzzles even sportswriters why the team sponsor,  Mighty Sports, and  its coach Bo Perasol decided to hire eight -- you read it  right, eight -- American players to  represent the country.
   
Like  thousands of basketball fans, we now ask the  same questions: “Don’t we have enough talented players to don the country’s  colors anymore?”,  “Do we  really  need Americans to win the title for us?”,  “If we win the title, can we be truly proud about it?” and “What’s the SBP, the local governing body, doing  about it?”
 
       
Based on reports, the eight Americans in the team are NBA veteran  Al Thornton,  Dewarick Spencer, Hamady Ndiaye, Vernon  Macklin,  Zach Graham,  Mike  Singletary, Troy  Gillenwater  and  Jason Brickman
        
The  five Filipino players in the team are Jeric Teng, Leo Avenido, Larry  Rodriguez, Sunday Salvacion  and  Eldrick  Ferrer.
    
Looking even farther  back , I wrote about controversial Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) secretary-general Graham Lim  and his lonely battle against the basketball gods. I received  several emails and  one of them came from a long-time friend who disagreed with my observations.
    
Dear Freddie,
        
It was good  to hear from you after all these years. You  said you’ve liked a lot of things I’ve written in this page. So how come you waited  to write  until  I  wrote something you disliked? Although he is my friend, I’m not writing solely  to  defend Graham against all the   unfair accusations hurled against him. But I admit writing about the many good things I  knew about him because people tend to  easily forget  when somebody is down. It’s    human nature, I guess.  But even if  I  have to weigh  in with the minority again, I  think I’ll stay true to what I believe.
    
There are also emails which say  nothing  but  praise. Of course, this is the  kind of  letters  that most columnists would like to receive. I thank them now.
    
Dear Roy,
        
Thank you for  your very encouraging words. You’re  exactly the kind of readers I like. You’re very generous  to write to say that my column is a delight to the readers. With readers like you, I’m sure there will be more columnist like me. 
     
Dear  Avid Fan,
        
Thank you  for  always reading People’s Tonight. It gives me pleasure to know that you have been  enlightened in several controversial issues by   reading my column. And  manthanks, too,  for asking God to bless me.
    
Of course, there is also one really angry letter which I answered., albeit  briefly.
        
Dear Angry Reader,
         
I don’t exactly  know what you do for a living, but you might consider writing angry letters full time. If I  remember it  correctly, this is the  third time  you’ve  written to criticize my work. My suggestion to you: buy another  newspaper.
 
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