Big J, Dream Team a hit at exhibit THE GAME OF MY LIFE By Bill Velasco

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Big J, Dream Team a hit at exhibit THE GAME OF MY LIFE By Bill Velasco

Post by garrett_jax on Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:17 am

The Meralco PTT “Greatest of All Time” sports memorabilia exhibit at the SM City Fairview annex was a resounding success. Tens of thousands of people streamed through the exhibit non-stop all day Saturday, their curiosity piqued by the souvenirs of world-class Filipino and foreign athletes. In a very rare occasion, Philippine basketball’s Living Legend Robert Jaworski lent some of his personal favorite tokens for display, including his PBA Hall of Fame trophy, his 1977 PBA Mythical Selection trophy, a citation from the Philippine Sportswriters Association for coaching the 1990 Asian Games team, and classic Añejo action photos. The event, also supported by LBC Express and Bayad Center, was a great vehicle for older basketball fans to share their Toyota vs Crispa and Ginebra against the world memories with their children and grandchildren, and spur some age-old debates back to life.

Another great conversation piece was the section transported from the Meralco Museum showcasing the Reddy Kilowatts featuring Jaworski, Francis Arnaiz, Big Boy Reynoso, Jimmy Mariano and many other pillars of basketball’s formative years. The section included blown-up photos and clippings from the early 1970’s, particularly Meralco’s run at the MICAA overall championship in 1973. Students in particular were intrigued at how basketball was back before their time, and were amused at the shiny, extremely short shorts which were the fashion of the day. Parents gladly shared their indelible memories of the MICAA and the PBA.

Another challenge for event security was keeping people’s hands off some of the historical items on display. Fans could hardly refrain from touching the original media guide of the 1992 Dream Team, which had all the statistics of the NBA legends from the squad. This piece was accompanied by American newspaper features on the Tournament of the Americas, the qualifier for the Barcelona Olympics. Mall patrons couldn’t resist poking their fingers at the photos of their all-time favorite players and reading about how the team was formed. Twenty years later, the level of fascination with the team is still very high.

Perhaps the most-photographed piece was the gargantuan 1990 PBA Fora Conference Championship trophy won by Formula Shell and generously lent by the PBA for the one-day exhibit. Fans of all ages posed touching the massive souvenir, which still bore the league’s old logo of two players challenging each other in mid-air. The work of art was so heavy it took three people to mount it on its display case. It was also accompanied by the 1994 Commissioner’s Cup trophy won by the Purefoods TJ Hotdogs.

Fans were also intrigued by other items on display, such as the autographed Dwight Howard Orlando Magic jersey from adidas Philippines, especially since the news broke that Howard was being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Another item of interest was the 2007 and 2009 PBL Championship trophies on loan from Harbour Centre, side by side with the first-ever ASEAN Basketball League trophy. Well into the evening, fans were still posing for pictures with the rarely seen hardware.

This writer also received a touching visit from 61-year old Candido Joaquin, who drove all the way from Sta. Maria, Bulacan to Fairview just to share his story with me. Joaquin, bearing a large plastic envelope, proudly pulled out still photos of himself running the Los Angeles marathon in the driving rain last year. He also had other photos of the massive field of runners, which overran the city’s streets. He was proud of the fact that, after six and a half hours, he finished the 42-kilometer distance when about eight percent of those entered stopped running because of the torrent.

“I started running when I was 52,” said the white-haired Joaquin, who visited the exhibit with his wife, San Jose Del Monte MTCC Judge Pelagia Joaquin. “Even though thousands of people quit, I’m happy that I didn’t.

Putting much younger people to shame, Joaquin shared how he finished the tough New York Marathon in 2007, the challenging Toronto Marathon in 2009, and the Los Angeles long-distance run last year. He said he doesn’t really train to be competitive, but looks at it as a personal challenge.

“I wanted to share this with you and your readers perhaps to inspire people, because I don’t see many senior citizens who run,” added Joaquin. He will be 62 on Sept. 22.

Another exhibit is being planned before the end of the year, and possible plans for a permanent sports history museum as a repository for all these glimpses of greatness.

Incidentally, SM City Fairview will have a three-day sale this weekend.


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