A happier New Year to all.
But with two days to go to 2022, it’s when people look back over the past 12 months to see how good or bad the year has turned out for them.
And in all fairness, if 2021 has been a bad year for sport due to the pandemic, so has been for me. It was certainly not such a good year, especially when it comes to personal health.
If you remember, I had a surprise quadruple bypass operation in early March when 5 main arteries were found blocked. It was really expensive and I couldn’t have footed the bill without the help of friends and family, especially from the sports world.
Four months later, I was affected by COVID-19, although so far I still doubt I really have one. Nonetheless, I went through a month-long quarantine in our home, just as I was starting to resume my new normal life.
Then a case of pinched nerves, I think, that I couldn’t walk without having pain in my legs. Currently, I am on treatment for a bacterial infection, and I still wonder what did I do to deserve all of this ?.
But of course I described the year as not having been that good, which meant there was still something to be happy about besides the fact that I’m alive and my family is complete.
On the one hand, we organized our Ayuda Sa Atleta campaign for national, regular and para-athletes, because around 600 athletes from different national sports associations have benefited and received gift boxes.
It was a joint effort with other athletes, Tom Carrasco, Nino Sinco, Karen Caballero and Alex Wang, and of course benevolent donors, led by Jean Henri Lhuillier, PHILRACOM, Foton, Alaska, F2 Logistics, Gatorade , Milo, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce, and Tom and Alex themselves.
As I informed Reli de Leon, the excess funds, around 42,000 P, will be reallocated to other charities in which I am involved, such as in Dolores in the Mount Banahaw area for needy children and families on December 10, and street children in Manila started in early January, only because of my ongoing treatment. Otherwise, we would have already finished with that, and now with the victims of Typhoon Odette.
I thank Ravi Daryanani for donating new baby clothes to street children and families.
But what really made my year brighter was that I finally completed a mini book project for sportsman-businessman Alex Wang to chronicle the last 25 years of his Wang’s Ballclub.
I will dedicate once an article on “The making of a book” to share with you the thousand and one things which accompany the writing of a book, even of a mini book.
The book project partners were his colleagues Fred Nasiad and Danny Simon, as well as Alex himself, his wife and children, but as I said the details will be shared separately.
Anyway, last December 28th we had the official but simple launch of the Basketball, Beyond Passion book at PuNta Resto bar in Mandaluyong with friends of Alex who joined us including bar owners Paolo Bediones and Lara, former PBA players Ato Tolentino, Fritz Gaston and Buboy Rodriguez, plus a few journalists.
Now, for the best part, Alex has agreed to sell the book for P250 each. Notice, there was no intention to do that before. However, in light of the recent Typhoon Odette which affected thousands of people in Mindanao and the Visayas, the decision was made to sell the book with all the proceeds to go to the victims of the typhoon.
And Alex will match total sales with his personal contribution. The net effect is that people donate P250 and get a free book, then recipients get P500 per copy sold.
Fritz and I started rolling, buying four copies each and committing to sell to other personal friends and right after posting it I already got a few orders including two high school mates overseas and MMDA President Benhur Abalos, former Crispa fan player Vito Orcullo, former national archer Nino Sinco and Michael Yulo, to name a few.
We should be able to sell at least 100 copies and donations will go through Ayala Corporation youth leader groups with chapters in different affected areas, and national athlete sepak takraw Elly Nituda in Butuan City.
As I said in my Christmas column, it’s the season of giving and sharing, and people are responding positively.
Goodbye 2021, hello 2022.