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The PBA Motoclub: Victory In Defeat

In my column article two weeks ago in Sun.Star Pampanga, I wrote a piece about the PBA Motoclub. It was actually written while having my car washed. As the attendants took quite long, I grabbed my laptop and scribbled a piece. 

That is something that I’ve wanted to do while watching episodes on YouTube but could not do so as I simply get so glued to what is shown on the screen – the contents, scenes, conversation and even the jokes.

That piece was hurriedly written, thus, I missed other points I really wanted to write about. And even if I did, I was not able to expound that much. I also missed mentioning some of the recent key players in the club. That 11-day New Zealand trip with Mac Cardona, Peter Jun Simon and Dondon Hontiveros was equally amusing. I just admire how they also shared some of their experiences on and off the court.

Gameday at New Zealand

While writing this one, this group of retired pro basketball players might still be in Dubai UAE, where, for the first time they lost in an international exhibition game. In that game, they had hulking Doug Kramer, who was an arch nemesis in Ateneo by La Sallites Rico Maierhoffer (the acknowledged leader), Jerwin Gaco, and Ryan Arana who is better-looking than Luis Manzano.

They also had fellow Capampangans sweet shooting JC Intal, multiple slam dunk champ KG Canaleta, Willie Miller, Cyrus Baguio.

Whenever possible, team members also bring their own family to overseas games, a heartwarming sight with that important value

Why do I write about this group? It is out of sincere appreciation not just of the entertainment they bring but also the values they share. Foremost of which is friendship, camaraderie, family. 

They also bond together and impact a community through their visits – especially in their exhibition games. I’ve always admired people who could always bring cheers to communities. I’ve always liked people who, despite enmities and spites caused in the performance of duties, would still be friends at the end of the day. These are the real pros, real people.

Here are but some of the aspects that I missed:

FOR CHARITIES. The group plays for many charities. Either those identified by their sponsors or by themselves through collaborative efforts.

GOD FEARING. In the Dubai trip, Kramer mentioned that they do hold Bible Studies for the group. Oftentimes, before and after games, they seek God’s guidance and protection and also express gratitude for keeping the games fun and safe for everyone (fans and spectators included).

WHAT A MIX. These guys come from different backgrounds, domiciles, likes and dislikes. At some point in their careers whether in college or in pro circuits, one would not be looked in the eye by another player if he comes from an arch rival (La Salle vs Ateneo, Ginebra vs Purefoods and the like).  Now, they only have but one goal – bring laughter and fun.

Maierhoffer and Helterbrand take time not just to talk but to praise OFWs at the airport

FOR OFWs. From as early as queuing at the airport up to reaching overseas destinations to play for the Filipino crowd, the PBA Motoclub has only but praises and thanks for our OFWs. And rightly so, as the team acknowledges how they toil the ground for families back home and for our country’s economy.  

VICTORY IN LOSING. The PBA Motoclub is gracious in defeat. Their very first loss at the hands of a team called OG Dayo (former MAVS, who travelled with them to Dubai) was accepted in a gentlemanly manner. No ifs and buts, plainly, they accepted the defeat. And with that kind of attitudes comes a real winner.

First Defeat

 In this truism, I cannot but recognize the story of Mac “Captain Hook” Cardona who, unashamedly in his own vlogs on YouTube, accepted some of life’s blows. He came from hardship from his toddler days, being left to his older sister, aunts and grandma when his mother worked abroad. He learned to fend for himself, selling kalakals (bote, dyaryo, bakal), cleaning tombs in cemetery until he was petitioned to go to the US. Fast forward, he was recruited by La Salle (where he won two UAAP championships) and eventually became a pro basketball star.

Pero as the cliché goes “walang forever” as basketball fame (and money) did not last. After a successful stint with Talk N Text where he got a championship ring and Best Player of the Conference award, his career took a nose dive. He suffered depression as no teams would no longer sign him contracts.

Mac Cardona Story

But in all of the difficulties he suffered, he now imparts a valuable lesson: Be a good steward and treasure what you have. This he shares in his life story vlog where he ultimately sums it up “bilog ang mundo”.    Now, he is on his way back from crushing losses in life, selling jerseys to buy some things for himself (like that Converse CDG he bought in Dubai). Oh by the way, this man humbly recognizes people who helped him when he was down and almost out, aside from his kin.

Like basketball, no team can claim victory until the last buzzer has gone off. Rising up from life’s losses is counted as true victory for the many Mac Cardonas out there.

The Ride

THE RIDE. What started as occasional rides to the countryside in their motorcycles is turning out to be yielding great results. Yes, there may be some commercial infusion into it (which is understandable) but their bond on and off their saddles has become impactful and significant. What used to be a mere ride to probably let go of stresses is now a trip for joy and laughter for people they reach out to – this is the real ride of life.

(Photo Credits: FB Account and Youtube accounts of PBA Motoclub, Rico Maierhoffer, Mac Cardona)