Priceless moments in sports can make us giddy like little kids on Christmas Eve who can’t wait to rip the wrappers off their gifts. They can also give us the same delight we’d feel if we were standing beside Jennylyn Mercado underneath a mistletoe.
Sports is wonderfully intoxicating at best. This year we had Gilas Pilipinas and Manny Pacquiao treating us to such feels—of the happy and sad kind. But just like bacon and cheese, we'd always want more of them. With that in mind, we came up with 15 sports wishes for 2015. If every single one of our requests would be granted, we’re 100 percent sure the incoming year would be a ride more awesome than its predecessor.
Check out what we think could make the next 12 months the best sporting experience ever!
15) More crazy haircuts for Ogie Menor
Photo via SPIN.ph
Blackwater Elite’s brand of basketball is not something you would sit through for 48 minutes unless you’re one of their player’s mothers. The lowly expansion squad’s awful play left them winless in their first PBA tourney, the All-Filipino Cup.
One guy from the hapless bunch, though, stood out and caught international attention. Ogie Menor neither threw down a mind-boggling dunk nor sank 20 three-point shots in a game. His claim to fame was his crazy 3D lizard haircut. Yep, that's it.
Next year, to give us more reason not to switch channels when his team is on TV, we implore Menor to rock more reptilian-inspired hairdos. Here are some pegs, Ogie!
14) Nelson Asaytono to be included in the PBA Greatest Players list
After learning that Nelson Asaytono wasn’t one of the 15 names that’ll be completing the PBA’s 40 Greatest Players list, we scratched our heads so much that we almost gave ourselves a Manu Ginobili bald patch.
The selection committee also snubbed PBA greats Olsen Racela, Abe King, Bong Hawkins and Jeffrey Cariaso but it was the unstoppable scorer nicknamed The Bull who got robbed the most. As the league’s 5th all-time leading scorer, a nine-time All-Star, a multiple-time MVP runner-up, and a seven-time champion, Asaytono should’ve been named as one of the PBA’s best ever.
We wish Manong Nelson’s fortunes turn around in 2015. The first thing the PBA office should do after the holidays is to look back on his eye-popping stats and finally give this forgotten star the shining moment he so very much deserves.
Video via Cruz Birds
13) An encore from Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and co.
Last November, the gorgeous players from the tennis world came upon us as the inaugural tour of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) brought Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic to Manila. Inside the MOA Arena was where the two heartthrobs displayed their beautiful forehands and backhands, making the people lucky enough to be there, fall for them even more.
Maria and Ana’s beauty level is right up there with James Bond’s leading ladies. Their physiques resemble a supermodel’s body, their games bedazzling. The only thing better than seeing them up close, doing their thing, is to experience it all over again.
So join us in begging the IPTL to bring Sharapova and Ivanovic back here next year. Hopefully, we can also schedule an exclusive interview with them. Lastly, to whom it may concern, please lower the ticket prices. We’re a third world country, how can we afford P50,000 for one seat?
Video via Rewind Tennis HD
12) Volleyball hotties pa more!
About this time a year ago we wished for more volleyball hotties to come to the forefront, and it seemed to have worked.
This year, volleybelles Cha Cruz, Iari Yongco, South Ramos, Abby Maraño, and Bea Tan along with a few others have joined the pro-league Philippine Super Liga, making them more visible to casual sports fans. As a result, they became volleyball’s latest “crush ng bayan.”
PSL’s imports Erica Adachi of Brazil and former Miss Oregon Alaina Bergsma also tickled our fancy. Our list of V-ball crushes (led by our cover girl Rachel Anne Daquis of course!) is now as long as the lines in the MRT but only this time we’re not complaining. In fact, we want it to grow longer. Let 2015 be filled with feisty, mean spiking, floor-diving lovely ladies on skimpy uniforms!
Need we remind you how they can get?
Video via FHM Philippines
11) A PBA title for Ginebra
Guess who’s turning seven years old next year? It’s not Ryzza and it’s not Bimbi; it’s the Ginebra fans’ growing frustration over their team’s championship drought.
The PBA’s most popular team has yet to win another diadem since nabbing the 2008 Fiesta Conference trophy. It’s quite baffling why the fan-favorite ball club has been falling short until now. Currently, the Kings have a robust roster, headed by Gilas alumni, L.A. Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar. They’ve also got a veteran leader in Mark Caguioa, a formidable seven-foot center in Greg Slaughter, plus a steady influx of reliable talents.
The most recent guy added to their star-studded lineup is The Ninja, Joseph Yeo. Many thought he would be the final piece to Ginebra’s championship puzzle but once again the crowd darlings were denied.
What’s undeniable, though, is the unique heart-pounding excitement the Gin Kings produce when they play in big games. That being said, a finals appearance and a title-winning effort from Coach Jeffrey Cariaso (or whoever the coach is) and his boys is something we’d love to see very soon.
In the meantime, the only thing we can do is reminisce:
Video via yanpacs
10) One last run from Nonito Donaire
Last October, our idol Nonito got destroyed by a bigger, stronger opponent in Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters. The bakulaw punch that Walters used to knock out Nonito looked very much like a career-ender.
However, the Filipino Flash has said that he still plans to continue fighting. With the loss, Donaire’s stock had dropped dramatically. There will definitely be more naysayers than supporters of Junjun’s comeback bid. As always, though, we’ll be on Nonito’s side.
We’ll cheer for the fallen five-time champion to win all his fights next year. It’d be perfect if one of them would be against his former usurper Guillermo Rigondeaux. If the Filipino Flash is going for a last hurrah, we’re behind him. Go out in a blaze of glory, idol!
Video via HBOBoxing
9) A successful return for Craig Sager
NBA fans around the world missed TNT reporter Craig Sager as he battled leukemia for six months. The doctors of the fierce reporter with an even fiercer wardrobe have given him the go-ahead to return to the sidelines by February.
The NBA isn’t as colorful without Mr. Sager and his suits. Seeing him back in action would certainly make timeouts and halftimes a lot more amusing especially when he and Coach Pop get back to exchanging quips once again. We expect to see the same old rainbow suit-wearing, hard-nosed reporter in Sager’ reprise.
Video via frank den
8) Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier, the greatest fight in UFC history
This is the grudge match of all grudge matches. These two mammoths genuinely hate each other. They can’t even stand near one other without violence erupting. Cormier and UFC Light Heavyweight king Jon Jones have been jawing at it for years, culminating in a brawl during a press conference for their already postponed September encounter.
The bitter rivals will finally get their chance to lay waste on each other on January 4, 2015 (Manila time). Given their top level fighting skills and history soaked in bad blood, the bout has the potential to be one of the best if not the best UFC fight ever. We’re counting on it to live up to the hype and if it does, UFC analyst Joe Rogan will finally not be exaggerating when he says, "You just saw the greatest fight in MMA history!” for the 4,827th time.
Video via MMAWeekly.com
7) An injury-free Cain Velasquez
Image via www.scifighting.com
After a masterpiece of a year in 2013, wherein he decimated Bigfoot Silva and beat Junior Dos Santos to a pulp, Cain Velasquez spent his whole 2014 dealing with a knee injury. Correspondingly, he was forced to share heavyweight kingship with interim champion Fabricio Werdum, and we officially got deprived 12 months of the two-time champion’s prime years.
We believe Cain is a once-in-a-generation talent, and what he did to Dos Santos is solid proof of that, to not see him in the Octagon for a year sucks. We’d like to see him 100 percent healthy in 2015 so he can fight at least twice. First, we want Velasquez to get rid of Werdum, to become the one true heavyweight champ. After that, he should be good to take on anyone who would dare to face the wrath of Cain!
6) An NBA Slam Dunk contest with Gerald Green vs. Zach Lavine
Image via www.kpopstarz.com
If Commissioner Adam Silver wants to bring back the luster of the Slam Dunk contest then he should use all his powers to pit the Phoenix Suns’ Gerald Green against Minnesota Timberwolves' Zach Lavine in All-Star Saturday’s marquee event. Just look at the throwdowns the former dunk champion Green has been doing this year and go to YouTube to find out how insane of a leaper Lavine is. It’s a no-brainer that these two will put on a historic slama-jama exhibition.
We could see the first ever 720 spin in the NBA or we could witness somebody do an Eastbay slam from the foul line. Anything can happen with Gerald and Zach’s alien-like hops. So, come on, Commish, make it happen!
And please stick to the old format; we don’t need roulettes in a dunk contest.
5) An NBA postseason to remember
The NBA landscape has drastically changed. The super teams of before are no more and the mid-level squads of yesterday are now the top dogs. The massive turning of the tides would only prove beneficial, though, if it’ll manifest into an unforgettable Playoffs come April to June of 2015.
Here are six match-ups we’re raring to witness in the NBA’s postseason:
Image via espn.go.com
Dallas Mavericks vs. L.A. Clippers – It’s Rondo vs. CP3! Who wouldn’t want to see that? There’s no love lost between the two elite PGs. Rajon fresh off winning a title with Boston once said to Chris, “You’ll never win a ring!” There’s no better stage to see Rondo and Paul blow off steam than the Playoffs.
Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs – Aside from the attractive one-on-one battles this series will feature—such as Steph Curry-Tony Parker, Klay vs. Kawhi, Manu and Iggy, Duncan vs. Bogut, and a square-off between chubby forwards, Draymond Green and Boris Diaw—it’s also a collision of two teams coming from different generations. The Old School Spurs vs. The New School Warriors; it's gonna be awesome.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – These two squads have an ongoing rivalry and we believe that, if they get to clash in the Playoffs, their series will go seven, all hard-fought games.
Image via heatnation.com
Miami Heat vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – LeBron vs. Wade! Plus, it’ll be interesting to see what type of playoff atmosphere these squads will be playing within given King James’ colorful history with both ball clubs.
Chicago Bulls vs. Cleveland – These two teams' feud goes way back to LeBron’s first stint with the Cavs. But if it had somewhat died down, the Bull’s forever intense center, Joakim Noah, will make sure to reheat his old beef with 'Bron. Now with both outfits reinforced by key additions to their rosters, it’s bound to be a monstrous collision when they cross paths in the postseason.
Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards – The Raptors versus the Wizards is probably the most entertaining match-up the Eastern Conference can offer as both crews play high-octane offense and disdain slowing down. The series also boasts of a duel between arguably the two best backcourts in the NBA—Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan and DC's John Wall and Bradley Beal.
4) A clean bill of health for Samboy Lim
Image via samboylim.net
Philippine basketball legend Samboy Lim is still in a coma but his organs are stable and he’s able to breathe on his own. He had survived some of the most terrifying injuries we’ve ever seen, we know he’s got unbelievable resilience. Hopefully the Skywalker wakes up from his coma before 2014 ends and gets back on the court by next year.
The first guy we saw in the PBA do killer crossovers and score floaters over imports is also the man behind the Skywalker basketball camp, which has helped hundreds of kids learn extensively about the game. He still has a lot to contribute to the country’s ever-growing basketball community. We’re praying for your speedy recovery, Sir Samboy.
3) A gold medal at the FIBA Asia Championship
Winning the gold medal in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in China means an automatic slot for the 2016 Olympics. We hope new Gilas Pilipinas headmaster Tab Baldwin can put together a team strong enough to complete such a difficult task. As we all we know, the Gilas program is going through an overhaul, which means a new look Philippine national basketball team will see action next year.
Perhaps the toughest part of the job dealt to the American-born coach is to duplicate the tight-knit chemistry of the 2013 Gilas crew that inspired the world in the last FIBA Asia Championships and FIBA World Cup. Is there another team out there with players under six feet ready to bang with the biggest and strongest players in basketball? And where can Baldwin find another team who bonds over DOTA and kengkoy dance routines?
Wanting Gilas 2.0 to win gold as soon as next year may sound too much, but Jimmy Alapag and his old Gilas buddies have already proven that against great odds great feats can still be accomplished.
A starting five that looks like this would also be great:
G – Kiefer Ravena
G – Terrence Romeo
C – JuneMar Fajardo
F – Andray Blatche
F – Bobby Ray Parks