On Christmas Day, a well-deserved applause for the ‘other’ team in action

first_imgScottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Cone Brian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense But they’re out there grinding—for the sake of fans who take time out to spend Christmas Day soaking in the country’s finest basketball brand and, in the case of media bureau staff members Flores and Hazel Ancheta, those who couldn’t make it.“We cut videos of games that are posted on Instagram,” said Ancheta.Talk among NBA old-timers is that Red Auerbach didn’t want the Boston Celtics playing on the 25th at home because it deprived arena workers of a chance to spend Christmas with their families.The PBA office employees have no choice. No matter what team gets assigned to play on Christmas, they show up and make sure operations run smoothly.“It’s fulfilling because you get to give something back to fans,” said Rouselle Ighot, the league’s in-venue and events officer who supervises activities for sponsors and fans.ADVERTISEMENT Ighot and operations assistant Neil Tibajares miss their old Christmas Day routine, but helping spread holiday cheer more than makes up for that.“You give up time with your family, but you get to make PBA fans happy,” said Tibajares.That’s what everyone in Team PBA focuses mostly on: How to help fans maximize their Christmas experience with the league.“There are a few people who will be sad that I have to work on Christmas Day but compare that to the thousands who become happy because they get to watch the PBA on Christmas Day,” said Ancheta. “If these people choose to spend their Christmas with the PBA, who am I to complain?”Flores added: “Every time I see families, friends together at Christmas time during games, I feel thankful. In our own small way, we get to bring them together, put smiles on their faces while watching a basketball game.”It’s this kind of thinking that makes it easy for Team PBA members to endure being away from family on Christmas Day. It is this attitude that helps them work tirelessly to make sure fans enjoy their Dec. 25.But at the core of that thinking, at the heart of that attitude lies something else.Imagine: After running around venues making sure fans get to maximize their day in the PBA, ensuring the media gets everything it needs for a seamless coverage, making sure action after breathless action gets posted on social media, Team PBA huddles back to their own dugout with no applause to usher them off the court.When the lights fade and the cheering is reduced to distant echoes in an empty coliseum, there are no long queues of adoring fans eager hungry for autographs and photo-ops.And yet, the happiness in their faces is unmistakable. Marcial, the indefatigable communications and external affairs director who is currently the league’s officer-in-charge, understands perfectly why. Today, the 25th means running social media sites and making sure they keep up with all the basketball action going on.Willie Marcial, meanwhile, remembers traveling to Batangas to spend time with his family and “sharing drinks with friends” on Christmas Day. Nowadays, he manages traffic inside the press room, tending to the needs of sports journalists. If the game calls for it, Marcial steps on the court to intervene when things go out of hand between teams.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkIn the Philippine Basketball Association, teams normally get booked for Christmas Day matches if: a. They are Barangay Ginebra, b. They are Barangay Ginebra’s designated foe, or c. They serve as the opening match in a doubleheader featuring Barangay Ginebra.But there is another team that works on Christmas Day, only its members never make the highlight reel. They do not walk to the court showered in thunderous applause. And neither are there names called out in booming fashion over the public address system. LATEST STORIES Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles05:02SEA Games 2019: Philippines clinches historic gold in women’s basketball06:27SEA Games 2019: No surprises as Gilas Pilipinas cruises to basketball gold02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award “For me, the PBA is no longer work. It’s our passion,” he said. “This is what we want. This is the PBA. What else is there to want?”As far as Team PBA’s dedication to their passion? Nothing else. —WITH A REPORT FROM RANDOLPH B. LEONGSONSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img Meralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours MOST READ Premier Volleyball League spikes inaugural season with 3 conferences, 3 champions Before the PBA held Christmas Day games, Mich Flores spent the 25th of December with her family, serving in church. Her mother and twin sisters would join her as lectors while her father acts as lay minister.“Other ministers usually go to their provinces or spend time with family and relatives during Christmas time, so we’re the only ones left,” she said.ADVERTISEMENT OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson View commentslast_img read more

Pochettino laughs off idea of selling key Tottenham defender

first_img Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen 1 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed he has no intention of selling defender Jan Vertonghen.The Belgian international has been linked with a move away from White Hart Lane in recent months and revealed in September he would not be signing an extension to his current deal, which he said expires in four years.Vertonghen has been in and out of Tottenham’s defence this term, with captain Younes Kaboul and Federico Fazio forging an emerging partnership in the back four.But Pochettino is adamant the 27-year-old’s future lies in north London.“Jan is an important player for us and for me,” the Argentine boss said ahead of Spurs’ Europa League clash against Asteras Tripolis on Thursday night.“I know sometimes the players are affected by the rumours and comments. For me I don’t read the speculation and he’s a very good and key player for us.”last_img read more

Soweto to Oxford and beyond

first_imgTamara O’ReillyIf the Rhodes Scholarship Trust were looking for a poster boy, Nhlanhla Dlamini would probably make the cut.As the latest recipient of the generous and prestigious Rhodes scholarship, 23-year-old Dlamini possesses all the certificates, medals, blazers and fancy “colours” that have come to be expected of applicants.The scholarship, founded by Cecil John Rhodes more than a century ago, will see him begin reading for his Masters in African Studies in September 2008 at University of Oxford, England. Dlamini views this as a vital step in achieving his goal of playing an active role in the broader development of his community, and ultimately Africa.“I understand that my analysis of Africa’s problems is incomprehensive. It is this acknowledgment that leads me to want to pursue a Masters in African Studies,” he says. “It will broaden my knowledge of African economics, history and sociology – three essential areas in understanding Africa’s context and challenges. By being in a class that will explore socio-economic concepts in Africa, I will be able to deepen my passion for my continent by grounding it in evidence and research.”His selection, over several other hopefuls from the Gauteng, North West, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga regions who no doubt displayed credentials that were also admirable, has not surprisingly been stunning.“I am extremely grateful at this stage to all those who have influenced me and contributed to moulding me into the person I am today,” says Dlamini. “Everyone has been overwhelmingly congratulatory and happy for me. It’s been a humbling reminder just how many friends and family members I have who are always rooting for me.”‘Resigned to a life of hardship’Although he was born in Soweto, at age seven his family moved to a traditionally white suburb and he was transferred to a multiracial school.Beyond the challenges of acculturation, both his parents were also retrenched from their jobs in the early 1990s, resulting in significant financial woes for his family.“I was convinced at the time that my family and I were resigned to a life of hardship,” says Dlamini.In 1992, what he calls a “seemingly small event” changed his outlook on what he could achieve academically.“At the end of Standard One [now Grade Three], I was invited to a prizegiving. I knew nothing of prize giving or what actually happens at such evenings. It turned out I was awarded the “Most Conscientious Student “ award. For the first time since I had moved to my new school, my background didn’t matter. It didn’t matter that I came to school in a jalopy or that I was part of an awkward minority in the school.”By the end of his secondary education at Marist Brothers College in 2001, Dlamini finished top of his class with five distinctions and full academic colours. He had also by then amassed several other awards in the areas of academics and community work. In Grade 11, he became the first pupil in the school’s history to be awarded an Honours Blazer, an accolade usually reserved for final year students.In 2002 he enrolled for a BCom Degree in Information Systems at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He graduated cum laude, making the Dean’s Merit List every year and pronounced Wits University Council’s Academic Merit Scholar from 2002 to 2004.Dlamini is an avid sportsman with several school and university captaincies to his name in the games of rugby and soccer. He is a national silver medalist in martial arts.He is currently employed in Atlanta, USA as a consultant for McKinsey & Company, a firm that advises leading companies on strategies around operations, staff and advancing their business.Dlamini returns to South Africa in March 2008 and he has left the six months remaining until he begins at Oxford without serious commitment for now, affording him well-deserved time to “tie up loose ends and perhaps take a road trip through the country”.Useful linksRhodes Scholarship WebsiteWits Universitylast_img read more

Aids-free generation achievable: UN

first_img1 December 2010An Aids-free generation is achievable if the international community steps up provision of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and social protection, while focusing on the most disadvantaged communities affected by HIV, says a new UN report marking World Aids Day.According to “Children and Aids: Fifth Stocktaking Report 2010”, released in New York on Tuesday, while children worldwide have benefited enormously from stronger Aids responses, “there are millions of women and children who have fallen through the cracks due to inequities rooted in gender, economic status, geographical location, education level and social status.“To achieve an Aids-free generation we need to do more to reach the hardest hit communities,” Anthony Lake, executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), said in a statement. “Every day, nearly 1 000 babies in sub-Sarahan Africa are infected with HIV through mother-to-child transmission.“Our Fifth Stocktaking Report on Children and Aids highlights innovations like the Mother Baby Pack that can bring life-saving antiretroviral (ARV) treatment to more mothers and their babies than ever before.”According to the report, in low- and middle-income countries, 53% of pregnant women living with HIV received ARVs to prevent mother-to-child transmission in 2009, compared to 45% in 2008.“One of the most significant increases occurred in Eastern and Southern Africa, where the proportion jumped ten percentage points, from 58% in 2008 to 68% in 2009.”“We have strong evidence that elimination of mother-to-child transmission is achievable,” said Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organisation. “Achieving the goal will require much better prevention among women and mothers in the first place.”Young women still shoulder the greater burden of HIV infection, and in many countries women face their greatest risk of infection before age 25. Worldwide, more than 60% of all young people living with HIV are female. In sub-Saharan Africa, that figure is nearly 70%.“We need to address gender inequalities, including those that place women and girls at disproportionate risk to HIV and other adverse sexual and reproductive health outcomes,” said Irina Bokova, director-general of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).“While we are encouraged by a decline in HIV incidence among young people of more than 25% in 15 key countries in sub-Saharan Africa between 2001 and 2009, we must do everything possible to sustain and increase such positive trends in order to achieve universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support.”The report also emphasises the importance of tailoring education programmes to target the most vulnerable young people – those who are out of school – with information about HIV prevention.“We must increase investments in young people’s education and health, including sexual and reproductive health, to prevent HIV infections and advance social protection,” said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of the UN Population Fund. “Reaching marginalised young people, including vulnerable adolescent girls and those who are not in school, must remain a priority.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Manju Verma withdraws bail petition

first_imgFormer Bihar Minister Manju Verma, who had stepped down in the wake of the Muzaffarpur shelter home scandal, on Thursday withdrew her bail plea from the Supreme Court saying she has already surrendered before a court. A Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Kurian Joseph and S.K. Kaul allowed Ms.Verma’s counsel to withdraw the petition after he submitted that the former Minister had already surrendered before a court in Begusarai and the pre-arrest bail plea has become infructous. On November 22, Ms.Verma was remanded to one-day police custody by Chief Judicial Magistrate, Majhaul Sub-Division, Prabhat Trivedi. She was evading arrest in an Arms Act case.last_img