Graham Lim's diary
by Ed Andaya
I'VE known controversial Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) secretary-general Graham Lim for more than 20 years now. Although he was often misunderstood, he is really a good man at heart.
Having known him for a long time, here's what I expect to read in Lim's diary, which I found underneath a tree.
I have mixed feelings today as I sit down by my lonesome and scribble some thoughts about life in general and the sport we love the most -- basketball.
Believe me, I'm happy to finally get my like back.
Happy to be a free man again after spending some time behind bars in Bicutan in the company of what they call foreign misfits in the society.
What does the old song say?
Andy Williams' Academy Award-winning "Born Free?'
Well, "No walls divide you and life is worth living but only worth living cause you're born free."
I sing that song almost every day now, man..
But heck, I'm bored to death to be out of the basketball circle for a long time now. Without basketball, life is far less entertaining as I thought it would be. After all, basketball is my whole life.
It's been almost three years since they forcibly spell the death of our dearly beloved Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP), the 74-year-old institution founded by some of the revered names in the sport such as the late Sen. Ambrosio Padilla and Lito Puyat.
It's been also almost three years since they replaced the BAP with a new association which they want us genuine basketball lovers to call as Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
Which brings me to an old saying, "What's in a name, really?" A lot, as these self-proclaimed basketball gods would say.
Well, my diary, there's simply too many questions hovering around my head as I write this..
What have they done to my favorite game since I've been away?
What did they do to raise the level of basketball in the country in the past three years they're in power?
What have they accomplished with all those obscene amount of money they so generously spent to players, foreign coaches, foreign trips, and most especially to basketball officials?
Frankly, I nearly choked upon reading on my favorite newspaper the results of the recent 16h Asian Games basketball competition where our beloved Team Pilipinas finished only sixth in Guangzhou, China. No,
you don't need to remind me it's the second-worst finish by the Filipinos in the quadrennial meet.
I nearly wept when I heard again on the radio the saddening news about our team's setback to Qatar. I shuddered as my sportswriter-friends who covered the game live in Guangzhou narrated how the Rajko Toroman-mentored national team scored only seven points in the payoff period against the Qataris' 21 points.
I felt a tinge of sadness to think how supposedly one of the better-trained, better-prepared, better-financed national team could play so badly in a game which means the whole world to all of us.
Am I surprised that nothing really change much the past three years?
Of course, not.
With the people now running the sport, there's no surprise we're back to square one.
Is this as good as it gets?
I'm telling you, I've never seen basketball this bad since they abandoned ship to form the PBA, Asia's first play-for-pay league, in 1975.
Do you think I'm happy with what's happening right now? No.
Do you think I'm willing to beg the basketball gods and give me a chance to correct the flaws, right the wrong? No.
Do you think I'm willing to take the trouble again and seek an audience with the FIBA to restore order and bring about a change in the sport the same way P-Noy is charting a new direction for the country? Maybe.
The only ones more depressed than me right now are the same officials who thought they can buy success overnight.
Not only did they fail to form a winning team out of the millions they spent from their pockets, but now they have to go back to the tried and tested formula of knocking on the doors of the pro league to get the best players to represent the country.
Three years in power and nothing to show but promises? Oh, come on.
I tell you now, dear diary, even during my darkest days in prison and life doesn't seem worth living, I still think about basketball instead of playing chess with NCFP head Butch Pichay.
Excuse me as I burp.