There is a certain magic with a La Salle-Ateneo game.
It transforms professionals, business executives and retirees to a “default” basketball fan. Particularly, a “default” basketball fan who flails his arms in the air, screams his lungs out – basically all the theatrics – after a highlight-worthy play.
Being prim and proper takes a backseat in such situations. Regardless of your background or stature, you just go wild when you want to.
Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum, in the very first Taft versus Katipunan encounter of UAAP Season 82, newcomer Jamie Orme-Malonzo made for himself his very own signature moment which sent the green gallery to their feet.
In the opening period, Malonzo’s double pump slam over Ateneo’s Thirdy Ravena in transition made students, corporate people, even the senior citizens, go bonkers.
Even me, who represents and writes for a regional sports website.
From the first row of Section 206, I found myself a spot at the “Media Tribune”, wherein seats for accredited writers who cover the UAAP beat are reserved. Four minutes to the opening pleasantries – wherein all players are introduced instead of just the starting five, I already had a seat, front and center, to the rivalry game that was about to unfold.
Since my years with the school paper, I have learned and mastered resisting the urge of celebrating for every basket or defensive stop made by the Green Archers. We had this protocol imposed by our editors to maintain neutrality as journalists.
You cannot wear a La Salle shirt or anything green. Wear white, gray or black if possible.
More importantly, you simply cannot cheer, scream, applaud, even do a fist pump, after a La Salle field goal, block, turnover forced, or any play to our favor.
Check those emotions at the arena door first if you plan to cover a La Salle game.
All those customs went out of the window at the 6:12 mark of the first quarter, as Malonzo took flight for the jam, sending the Season 81 Finals MVP careening to the floor.
The Upper Box section where I was seated exploded. Screaming, jeering. The oohs and ahhs. The loudest of which probably came from me.
Forgetting the rules for about a minute, I cheered with the rest of the Lasallian community for Malonzo, for that one great play, for that dunk that shook the first weekend of the UAAP.
As Malonzo lined up for his bonus free throw, I gathered myself, my notebook and my pen, sat myself down to continue my game log. It was back to work for me, jotting down the details of that disastrous second quarter for La Salle, where Ateneo built a 22-point headway.
Times like these make you forget things.
La Salle’s rally fell short, as Ateneo wins by 12.
But boy, that Malonzo dunk felt good.
Featured Photo by Judiel Gwen Libot forTheLasallian