Mark Yee and Grundy's Grundle
It's one in the morning and I should probably be winding down and getting ready for my work week to begin, but I'm too wired from a pretty amazing three-and-a-half day homecoming in Manila. So what shall I do, other than rest?
Link to this story about Mark Yee, one of the PBA's last pure hatchetmen, who laid his hands upon Petron import Anthony Grundy in a downright felonious manner in Game 1 of the PBA Finals Sunday. I find it especially poetic that Grundy was the victim, since his name is so close to the English slang term "grundle," which refers to the space between a man's anus and scrotum. As InterAKTV sports has already pointed out, former PBA player Ed Cordero described this very technique in Pacific Rims, and I actually uploaded that section of his interview to YouTube.
In short, local players will molest an import to get into his head -- to either force him to react violently and maybe draw a technical foul or ejection, or just to make him a little more timid on offense. Historically, it works, and since Talk 'N Text really only uses Mark Yee for these kinds of tricks and retaliation fouls, the team doesn't mind that he gets in trouble for it. They would prefer, I'm sure, that he didn't get caught.
I was flying back from Manila during Game 1, but after catching up on the news about Petron's one-point upset over Talk 'N Text, I'm already convincing myself that this will be a really good series. That may be wishful thinking, since pretty much anyone against TNT is a mismatch, but I managed to catch pieces of about five Petron games this conference, and I've become a fan. They've got a nice mixture of scrap and skill. Even Arwind Santos, who's got to be considered one of the PBA's top talents, comes off as a bit of an underdog because his body type and skill set are so unconventional. I never saw prime Eddie Laure during his MBA days, but I imagine he played something like Santos -- long, hops, not super quick but hard to stay in front of because he just extends past defenders with more terrestrial builds, not a shooter but capable of hot streaks, not the most technical defender but a big-time playmaker on D, and as capable of pulling off the unexpected and spectacular as any PBA player I can think of. Alex Cabagnot is my favorite PBA point guard right now. He's left-handed, has pure point-guard vision but also scores as well as some of the league's big-name combo guards, and he's so good in the clutch. They've got Sunday Salvacion shooting threes, and for some reason I find him more entertaining as a gunner than say, Jeff Chan (maybe it's because of Benilde). Denok Miranda goes out there and bodies people, and Mick Pennisi is so old now that I've gone from liking him during his Red Bull heel stage to getting tired and annoyed with him at SMB, to now just being amused that he's still around. It's sort of like how I'd feel if Chris Gatling made a comeback whenever the next NBA season starts. I'm close to being an old guy now, so it feels good when I see old guys on the court, especially ones who are older than me!
Wow, I wanted to keep this short. Anyway, one last rambling note: I was in Manila to follow Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra, who was in town on behalf of NBA Fit, and I'll be writing about it for Grantland. Great experience.