Monday, March 31, 2008


Chris Webber, the most famous and the most talented member of Michigan's Fab Five retired from the NBA last week. The Fab Five - Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson - played college ball for the Wolverines for two years, and went to two Final Fours and as many championship games (they lost both). They started as freshmen for Michigan during the 1991 NCAA title game - a first in NCAA history. I was on my first semestral break from college when I watched five bald young kids wearing baggy shorts, trash-talk and showboat their way to the championship game on TV. Some say it revolutionized college ball. That year's Final Four got me hooked for life.

This year, the US NCAA Final Four will feature all four No. 1 seeds for the first time ever. North Carolina, Kansas, Memphis and UCLA, will play for the top prize in US college basketball, after disposing of their respective Elite Eight opponents over the weekend. Worth staying up late for: UNC vs. KU - The last time the Jayhawks were in the Final Four, some guy name Roy Williams was coaching the team. He bolted for his Alma Mater, UNC, after KU lost to Syracuse and Carmelo Anthony.

This season, the NBA will possibly feature a 50-win team that will miss the playoffs. As of this writing, Dallas, Denver and Golden State all have 45 wins, with 9 games left to play. One of these teams will miss out on the eighth and last playoff spot in the very strong Western Conference. These three teams are only 5 1/2 games behind the current leader. On the other hand, the East's No. 4 seed, Cleveland, currently has 41 wins.

Later today, the Chicago Cubs will be entering their 100th season without winning a World Series title (If you are really bad at math, the Cubs last won the World Series way back in 1908). This is the longest-running championship drought in all four major leagues in American sports (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL). If you have a thing for contrasts, the National University Bulldogs last won the UAAP men's title in 1954. It's not even close.

On the local front, Magnolia's Enrico Villanueva was traded for Purefoods' Marc Pingris last week. It should really be that simple, but for the PBA rules prohibiting direct trades between sister teams. So, Purefoods sent Pingris to Coke, who sent second-tier guard Chester Tolomia for Villanueva and Willy Wilson of Magnolia, before shipping them to Purefoods and Barangay Ginebra, respectively. From Coke, Pingris will move to Magnolia for a second round pick, while Wilson will end up in Ginebra for Mark Macapagal. Simple, huh?

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