Team Morales: We are more than just the game.

You win games, you can lose games. You bond with family, that is something you can never lose.

12 Sept. 2010

If I am not mistaken, it was earlier this year or late last year when one of my titos had this seemingly wild idea but it was actually a great idea: to form a family basketball team and enter in the MPG Ateneo Alumni Invitational (MAAI). After discussions, the decision to push through was made and  so were the solicitations for the entrance fee (it was not light at all!). Tito Ed was our playing coach and the rest of the team consisted of some of my cousins: Ian, Red, Noel, Arlo, Miguel, Francis, Paul(Francis’ friend), Tito Benray who only joined us later on, my dad who we lost to injury even before the league started, and myself.

If memory serves well, we practiced only twice before our first game. One pick up game to see how each of us play and another to practice plays on both offense and defense. We had a good first game but we lost by a mere 4 points. Not bad for a rushed team and two practices, is it? What’s even worse is that that team who gave us our first loss went on to be on the top of the standings of our division. Our second game was also a close fight but ended up in a 5 point loss, unfortunately. However, [commercial break] this is where first scored–on a 3pt shot when we were making a run! I tried to hide my smile though but failed and it was caught on video.

There is a saying that goes “3rd time’s the charm” and it was true for our third game. We played a tough opponent and came from behind to win thanks to Ian’s 49 points and our full court press which allowed us quite a number of points coming from their turnovers. We also won our fourth game against a not-so-tough opponent (no offense) where I scored my season high 8 points! However, coach said it was a sloppy game. I suppose this was due to the fact that we underestimated them so much. This gave us a 2-2 standing in our division and we needed to win our fifth and final game in this league this year if we wanted to continue our bid for the championship. That day came and we played our best and gave it our all but sadly the other team was just too much for us going down the stretch. They had a small margin at half time but bombarded us with 3 point shots in the third quarter and we just could not find an answer for them whether on offense or on defense. We lost by a miserable 13 points if I am not mistaken.

We carried a 2-3 win loss record. The other teams had better records, the others had worse. But we had something they did not. Our family bonding was strengthened, especially the relationship between second cousins in the family. It used to be an occasional hi-hello thing but because we got to be with each other more often, there was more conversation even if it was mostly about basketball, whether it was about the next or the previous game. Red is our first cousin but he is already married and has his business to attend to and that is why we do not really get to be with him even during parties. He would be there but he would not really stay with us. We probably spent more time with him during the span of the league than all these years. It was not only our generation of cousins who got to bond but even our parents’ generation of cousins. It was like a mini family reunion during every game! We would play and our moms and titas and sisters and even of our lolas would watch and cheer us on!

We played basketball and would go out to eat after. We bonded over basketball, food, and one time or the other there was beer. There were family outings during that league and our players would rarely be seen apart. We would do things together whether it was grilling burgers, drinking, and fooling around–not for disclosing to the public cousins will always have their secrets and YOU’LL never know!

This is an experience I will never trade for anything in the world. All the awards and championships, even averaging 100 points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks per game cannot replace this experience. The time we spent together was like steak, the games were like the mash on the side and the title was like veggies–in other words we could do without it. With a team like this who needs a championship?


2 Responses to “Team Morales: We are more than just the game.”

  1. Your last line..”With a team like this who needs a championship?”

    == LeBron James

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