Category Archives: thankful

Got my life in check. A tearful adieu.

It’s been four months since I wrote something on the though ladder. The last time I wrote here, the NBA season had ended and the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers for their first NBA title in forty years. Thus, another year in which my team the Houston Rockets fell short of the goal. Afterwards, I came into a decision to get myself in check about where I would go with my own life.
During that period, I went on a Twitter hiatus and a semi-hiatus on Facebook and Instagram. I tried to find something I can do to work for a living. It took me an extra five weeks from the time I went on hiatus to find that call in life. Then on the last week of July, I finally found it. It had been 16 months since the time I finished my college education to finally find something to look forward to. I finally got off the dreaded unemployment line. It was a scene of euphoria that came through me during that time. Because, I accomplished my goal to get myself in check and get going.
I found my reason to wake up every single morning and give out my small yet humble share to society. It was also an opportunity to meet new people from my colleagues to the clients we encounter on a daily basis. A chance to learn something new with every single day I get into the office and hone my craft. I found a place where I can make a living and start saving for the future. The best part about the new opportunity is that I didn’t need to go far from home to get to the work place. Along the way, I gained experience. Good and bad. I grew up even in the smallest of ways with every single task that was given. I formed bonds with my colleagues, where every single one is a part of the family. It was something I looked forward every single day I head out from home.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. I had to make one of the most difficult decisions in my life. It was time for me to go. It was a moment that completely broke my heart. I did my very best to try and make things work. However, certain circumstances and situations led me into that fateful decision. It was all for the best. On the last day of the pursuit, there was still signs of heartbreak, but there was also the sense of relief that a huge weight has been lifted on my shoulders.
It was not the storybook ending I tried working hard for. But I will always be thankful for the company of the family I got to be with for the journey. Thankful for the experience I gained along the way. All of the simple joys and tough stretches of life at the office.
So a pursuit has come to an end. Another pursuit will soon begin. It will be a daunting challenge to try and get myself going again. Yet, I’m taking everything in a positive life and a step at a time. I’ll always keep the faith and some day, just like the first time. It will fall into place.
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The best season yet.

Today, the 2014-15 Houston Rockets season came to a bittersweet end as the Golden State Warriors advance to the NBA Finals to face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Well, with this one it’s time for me to ponder back on what happened over the last year. After all, it’s been four months since I last posted an entry here.

It all began with how the season before this one ended, when Damian Lillard sent the Rockets and Red Nation home early with a three point dagger that broke a lot of hearts. I have to admit, I was severely heartbroken afterwards. It was tough to end a season like that. I had to go all-black on all my social media accounts afterwards.

Anyways, then came an off-season to “remember”. Rockets unloaded a lot of players like Jeremy Lin (to the Lakers) and Omer Asik (to the Pelicans) in the chase for Miami’s Chris Bosh who was a free agent. Unfortunately (Fortunately), that didn’t pan out as Bosh decided to stay with the Heat for a hefty contract. Then came the bolting of Chandler Parsons to Dallas after the Rockets did not match the Mavericks offer sheet

But for all the significant roster subtractions, Rockets brought in Trevor Ariza who last played for the Wizards and entered into a second stint in a Rockets uniform after spending a full year back in 2009-10. They also brought in the veteran Jason Terry. They drafted Clint Capela and Nick Johnson in the draft. They brought in Kostas Papanikolaou and Joey Dorsey from the Euroleague

No one knew what was going to happen next. Pre-season predictions by the media gave the Rockets the 7th or 8th seed in the Western Conference and a first round exit to match.

Before you knew it, in October, the season was rolling along. These Rockets surprised us all, they went 6-0 to start the season good enough for a share of the lead in the Western Conference. Then the streak was snapped against Golden State. They finished November at 13-4. Then in December they made some roster changes. Gone were Tarik Black, Francisco Garcia and playoff hero Troy Daniels. But they brought in Corey Brewer from the Timberwolves and signed Josh Smith after being waived from Detroit. They finished 2014 with a 22-9 record. Come 2015, they finished January at 33-15. They made roster changes as they brought in Pablo Prigioni and K.J. McDaniels. Gone was another fan favorite in Isaiah Canaan. James Harden was named to the All-Star Game and later became a starter after vote-winner Kobe Bryant went down with an injury. He played well in the All-Star game, he took part in the Three Point Shootout in a losing effort. Patrick Beverley won the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. While Kostas Papanikolaou had been given a stint in the Rising Stars Challenge. February ended with the Rockets at 40-18. Then in March, they ended at 50-24 at the same time clinched a playoff berth. Then on the last day of the regular season. They managed to win the Southwest Division title for the first time ever and finished at 56-26. Good enough for the #2 seed in the Western Conference.

All the while, this team was carried by James Harden who came out and led the Rockets through some tough stretches all season long. Attacking the rim, scoring stepback jumpers, lighting it up from three point range, distributing the rock at will to put up a legendary run in the race for the season MVP while stepping up on the defensive end. Then everyone on the roster chipped in to the cause with the “Headband of Brothers” in Corey Brewer, Josh Smith and Jason Terry. Donatas Motiejunas had a breakout season. Trevor Ariza was a defensive force. Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones and Patrick Beverley had some good games when on the floor. The Rockets also became the most prolific three point shooting team in NBA history as they made 933 three pointers during the season.

But this season came along with adversity as they were riddled with injuries all season long. Dwight Howard missed half of the regular season to multiple injuries. Patrick Beverley was in and out of the line-up before eventually losing him to a wrist injury. Donatas Motiejunas also went down before the playoffs. Terrence Jones missed significant time. And of course, there were some terrible defeats along the way.

Also came the media and other NBA fans’ displeasure of what the Rockets have accomplished all season. Turning them into the league’s villains after that title has been settling in Miami the last four season.

All was now set for the Rockets playoff run to begin when they opened the post-season faced off against I-45 and Texas triangle rivals in the 7th seeded Dallas Mavericks. The Rockets took care of business in the first two games at home. Then in Game 3, James Harden put up a master performance to send the Mavericks to a 3-0 hole. Dallas would respond in Game 4, but the lack of synergy within the Mavericks team caught up as the Rockets took the series for their first playoff series win since 2009.

Next up for the Rockets were the 3rd seeded Los Angeles Clippers who came off a thrilling 7 game series to knock off the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. The Clippers stunned the home crowd as the Rockets went flat-footed in Game 1. They evened up the series in Game 2. But suffered two straight losses in Los Angeles as they now trailed 1-3 in the series. They responded in Game 5 to extend the series. In Game 6, Clippers had a 19 point lead in the 3rd quarter, as it looked like they are now setting up for a date with the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. A Game 7 back in Houston was slipping away. Then came one of the most heart raising comebacks in NBA playoff history. As the Rockets went on a 48-17 the rest of the way to force a Game 7 back home. In Game 7, they completed the comeback as Red Nation was given a nostalgic trip to the Clutch City era of the franchise as for the second time in franchise history and the ninth time in NBA history, they came back from a 1-3 deficit to win the series. They also advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 1997.

Then came a date with the best team in the league, the MVP in Stephen Curry, his Splash Brother Klay Thompson and the rest of the Golden State Warriors whom they failed to beat once during the regular season. Rockets fought hard in the first two games in Oakland, but suffered heartbreaking defeats in both games as they only lost a combined 5 points over the Warriors. Then as the series shifted to Houston, the Rockets got caught flat-footed as they fell in Game 3 by 35 points sending them in a 0-3 hole. In Game 4, they finally got over the hump as they forced a Game 5 in Oakland beating the Warriors for the first time this season. Then in Game 5, they had opportunities to steal a victory and send the series to Game 6. It was evenly matched through 3 quarters, but the Warriors proved to be the better team and at the worst moment, James Harden had his biggest cold spell of the season. Ending the Rockets season.

Now here are some thoughts.

Yes, it was indeed a tough and heartbreaking way to bow out. I mean, the emotions of the outcome has been overwhelming to bear and ponder upon. It was not the storybook ending we wished for. The “What if’s” are still in my head. We were 7 wins away from an NBA championship. But when I look back at everything again, I cannot help myself but to be proud of what this team has accomplished this season. This has been the best season the Rockets have ever played out in the 13 years I have been a member/soldier of Red Nation. And to think nobody outside of us in Red Nation thought they would go this far into the season. I’m still glad I get to see them play out until the end of May, because at this point of the year in previous years, the off-season is under way. They overachieved and exceeded expectations.

Give our coach Kevin McHale and his staff a ton of credit. Sure, we’ve been all around his head as fans all season long. But he did a great job this season. He had bright moments this season coaching this squad. Give our general manager Daryl Morey credit. He turned around a tough off-season, by bringing great pieces in-season to get to where we are right.

As for James, Dwight, Josh, Trevor, Jason, Terrence, Corey, Pablo, Patrick, Donatas, Kostas, Clint, Nick, K.J. and Joey. You all made Red Nation proud. Thank you for all that you have done over the past year. Come back stronger next season!

In capping off this entry. I would like to thank all the members of Red Nation that I have met over the years whether its at home in the Philippines, Houston, the rest of Texas, Hawaii, Arizona, Norway, or anywhere else around the world. Each and every one of you made it special for me to be a Rockets fan. I had a blast talking to each and every one of you for the team we all love and root for. For sticking through all good and bad that has happened over the past year. Thank you for allowing this crazy 21 year old kid from of all places the Philippines to be a part of a great familyStay tight, and I’ll see you guys next season.

Photo from the Houston Rockets
 
And that ends “The best season yet.” I’ll be on Twitter hiatus starting tomorrow (I’m still thinking about doing the same thing on Facebook as well) to get my own life in check, after all I need this time for my own life to take flight. I’m hoping I’ll be in a better state in life before the following season begins.
 
Until then, I’ll always be a proud Red Nation soldier 
from the Land of the Three Stars and a Sun 24/7/365.
 

Lolo Kiko, Thank You for the inspiration. You’re the real MVP. "Most Valuable Pope"

2015 has just begun. And for the last five days, the Filipino nation has been blessed with the visit of the Bishop of Rome himself, Pope Francis. With his departure back to Rome today, he will leave behind memorable moments and quotes that inspired a nation with one of the largest Catholic populations in the world. But it is not just Catholics who got inspired, even other forms of Christianity and non-Catholics living in our nation were in awe of his presence.


I lived through three Popes in my lifetime. I was just 8 months old when then Pope now Saint John Paul II visited the Philippines for the second time (first time was in 1981, a good 13 years before I was born in this world) as part of the World Youth Day festivities in Manila. When I was about to turn 11, he passed away and was succeeded by now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. 8 years later, he stepped down and passed on the reigns to Pope Francis

From the time he became the Pope he has gone away from tradition at the same time transcended borders that we people made for ourselves. He loved the children wherever he goes. He reached out to people in sickness. He helped resolved conflicts around the world. He has his words on current issues that every one of us face on a daily basis from poverty to corruption, from LGBT issues to scandals that have rocked the Catholic church over the past couple of years, from technology to climate change. He touched not only Catholics, but also non-Catholics, agnostics and atheists. Even though it’s only been less than two years into his tenure as the leader of the Catholic Church. He has indeed changed a lot of people’s lives, and continues to do so every single day.

When it was announced months ago that he was coming to the Philippines as a part of his trip in Asia, I could not help myself not to miss this opportunity. After all, you don’t often see these events come in your lifetime. I admit, I was not that much serious about planning what to do in that event. I didn’t have much for my own to make a better plan.

Then came his arrival on a cool Thursday night in Manila, as the SriLankan Airlines jet that took Pope Francis and his entourage from Colombo to our nation. Filipinos knew that something special is about to happen over the next five days. And true enough, everything took off from the time he stepped out on the plane and do his work on our home soil. I wanted to be there at his arrival, to do two things in one. One is to continue my hobby of plane spotting with my good friend as the jet that took the Pope was an airline that doesn’t have flights in and out of the country, and seeing the Pope live and in living color. Unfortunately, prior commitments prevented me to do so.

I knew I could not go into every event during his visit to our nation. I live far from his motorcade routes and the places he’s going around Manila. It would be a shame on my end if I did not go to at least one event to see him live in person. I really wanted to live the moment and share my stories for the next generation when the time comes.

So on a cool and rainy Sunday morning, together with my mother we went to one of the events of the Papal Visit, which was held in my Alma Mater of the University of Santo Tomas, which bears significance as it was given the titles “Pontifical” and “The Catholic University of the Philippines”. From a drop-off point, we walked around two kilometers to the university. At first, we’d just settle outside of the university and on to the motorcade route to see the Pope. However, due to my insistence we tried our luck getting inside the university to bear witness to the event.

They closed the gates 30 minutes earlier than expected since people were pushing to get in before the gate closes for good. Fortunately for me and my mother, around 15 minutes after the gates we’re supposedly be closed for good until the event ends. Out of my huge fighting spirit to get inside, contrary to a warning from one of my uncles living around the area of not taking a chance of getting inside. We managed to get inside the campus grounds. 

For two hours, we waited for his arrival on campus, I was able to catch up with my once history prof who got in earlier, as well as one of my college batch mates who joined me and my mother at a chance to get in. Then he arrived, he passed by the Arch of the Centuries which has been as old as the university itself, and the very place where as freshmen we are ushered in and as graduating students go out and into what lies in life after college.

Like the millions of people who attended the events of the Papal Visit, I tried my very best to get closer to the Pope. It is no surprise that in our generation, tablets, smartphones and cameras were rampant everywhere during the course of the Papal Visit in Manila. I admit, I had my smartphone ready trying to get a close shot of him for it will be a good memento for not only myself but for my entire family. Unfortunately, that was not to be as I the closest as I was to him was a good 20-30 meters away. I was unable to take a good close shot of the Pope for my own. However, despite the setback, I was able to see him with my very own eyes live and in living color. That was all good and fulfilling for me, as well as for my mother.

Throughout the event, we listened through the select youth that were given a chance to speak to the Pope as well as his message for the youth which was delivered in his native Spanish as it was an impromptu message, far from the original message that was written in English.

Here a few quotes from the event that have left a mark for myself. I’m sure, I’m not alone with these inspirational quotes.

“What you think, you must feel and put into effect. Your information comes down to your heart and you put it into practice. Harmoniously. What you think, you feel and you do. Feel what you think and feel what you do. Do what you think and what you feel. The three languages…Can you repeat this? To think. To feel. To do. And all in harmony…”

So when the next pope comes to Manila, please let there be more girls.” 

“This is the first thing I want to say: let us learn how to weep as she has shown us today and let us not forget this lesson. The great question of why so many children suffer, she did this in tears. The response that we can make today is: let us really learn how to weep.”

“Today, with so many means of communications, we are overloaded with information. Is that bad? Not necessarily. It is good and it can help. But there is a real danger of living in a way of accumulating information… We run the risk of becoming museums of young people that have everything but without knowing what to do with them. We don’t need youth museums but we do need holy young people.”

After the event, me and my mother went home and witnessed the papal mass in Luneta with the rest of my family on television. I thanked her for accompanying me to the event in UST, if it wasn’t for her, I would have missed the opportunity to see the Pope in person. For majority of the events of the Papal Visit, I had to settle on watching the television for it. Even so, each event left an impact on myself. From his arrival until his departure back to the Vatican. From his visit to Malacanang to the mass at Manila Cathedral. From the meeting of families at the Mall of Asia Arena to the meeting with the youth in UST. From the emotional mass on a stormy and tragedy-hit Leyte to the rainy Papal Mass in Luneta in which more than 6 million people bear witness to. From wearing a transparent rain jacket in

Here are a few quotes that have left a mark from the other events of the papal visit.

“So many of you have lost everything. I don’t know what to say to you. But the Lord does know what to say to you. Some of you have lost part of your families. All I can do is keep silent…But please know, Jesus never lets you down. Please know that the love and tenderness of Mother Mary never lets you down.” – at the Papal Mass in Tacloban Airport, Leyte 


“We forget to remain, at heart, children of God. That is sin: to forget at heart that we are children of God. For children, as the Lord tells us, have their own wisdom, which is not the wisdom of the world. That is why the message of the Santo Niño is so important. He speaks powerfully to all of us. He reminds us of our deepest identity, of what we are called to be as God’s family.” – at the Papal Mass in the Luneta Grounds

“To dream how will your daughter or son be. It is not possible to have a family without such dreams… When you lose this capacity to dream, then you lose the capacity to love and this energy to love is lost.” – at the Meeting with Families in Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City

The Papal Visit to the Philippines renewed the hope and faith of the Filipino nation to live a life that is full of love and prayer. Pope Francis as he has said many times before asked for prayers for him. Let us never forget the lessons of this visit.

Sure, there have been unpleasant experiences and reactions during the course of his visit. Yet, the radiant optimism that this event brought on will forever be on the lives of the people who bear witness to these five days in our nation.

These fateful five days will live on for the rest of my lifetime. I will tell stories of these days for generations to come. This experience will also be an inspiration for myself in my future endeavors in life. We won’t know if he’ll be able to come visit our nation again, but as he said.

 “Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by God… …God reveals himself through surprises.”

I am forever thankful and grateful for this once in a lifetime experience. 

Salamat
Thank You 
Gracias
Grazie

Lolo Kiko
Pope Francis
Papa Francisco
Papa Francesco

Your radiant smile will forever live on with us all. You truly are the real MVP! Our “Most Valuable Pope

0.9 seconds to heartbreak.

“It’s over.”

“I cannot believe it was all over.” 

“Just like that, I’m screwed!”

In that kind of fashion, and way too early than I thought it would and I was not there to see it all. I was away from the buzz of the metropolis. I went to a place with no television screens and computers. All I had, was my phone and went browsing using the mobile internet out of insistence that I cannot miss this game no matter where I am. For after all, the season was on the line. A win would send this series to a 7th game, a loss would send my team home for the early offseason.

I did not saw the shot. As I saw each time I reload the NBA Game Time App just to see the score change every time. When it all mattered, 0.9 seconds was all it took from watching my team play a Game 7 today to right now with compelling thoughts on what just happened to my team.

In 0.9 seconds, it was all over. The 2013-14 Houston Rockets season is nothing but history. I did not see what happened afterwards at the Moda Center on the TV screen. I did not  saw the euphoric Portland crowd erupt with joy happiness as their Trail Blazers moved on to the second round of the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2000. 14 years of heartbreak for them finally ended. I did not saw the words their hero said to one of our guys after the game. I did not saw the whole team get down on their knees in sadness amidst the celebrations. Just like that, I’m a screwed fan.

I saw two scenes on social media, after the game. I kept the lines open even with the loss. Amidst the sadness I was experiencing as a fan.

On one side, people celebrating the Blazers win in that kind of fashion and saying the name of the hero who propelled the team into the second round. People who were glad and ecstatic to see the Rockets season come to an end all for different reasons. Like seeing a guy on the team fall short on the playoffs after his controversial move or the thought they do not like the team in the first place. Some would go out and post/tag me on my wall about what happened like my team got owned/upset, videos of other Rockets fan reactions on the loss and pictures of the game.  

I would not bother myself watching these things. But, I’ll keep it on my wall. Because someday it has it’s purpose. There is a good reason for me to keep it.

Then on the other side, were those who supported the team. The Red Nation! The people who were passionate about the team. Some of them, which I met in the last playoffs that have been fans of the team longer than I am. It was a mutual feeling throughout. Everyone was shocked and saddened with those 0.9 seconds that ended the season for the team we all love and die to root for. None of us thought our season will be ending early. Unfortunately, the basketball gods gave us the heartbreaking truth of not having to witness our team play forward for the season. But without them, I would be all alone in the healing process from this heartbreak. Something I have experienced for most of my years as a fan of the team.

We are all entitled to our own opinions and which teams to root for. You can root for a team that has a documented history and lore. You can root for a team because your favorite player is playing for it. You can root for a team for a lot of other reasons. We have our teams to root for with every season or for the long-term. Sometimes, that passion can lead us to crossing the line on those we trample with whenever our team wins against another team.

It just so happened in my case, I chose a team that did not have a large following in this country. Even with the player changes, the following was growing slowly but still smaller than other followings. I can count my fingers on my friends here who are as passionate to the team as I am. It was a weird feeling when I watched the team play in October last year for the pre-season. The crowd at hand was jeering one guy of the team, while they’re cheering the other guy who was his teammate. I had a thought, how many of these people in attendance were die-hard fans like me? I’m sure most of them came just to be a part of history. To be witness to the first NBA-sanctioned game in the Philippines. I’m sure most of them want another team playing. A team that has a huge following in this country. I can’t blame them for it for we know that this country is more passionate about this sport than any other place on the planet (take Lithuania with us also).

Now, if someone asks me “Are you gonna watch the rest of the Playoffs?”. Well, I will do my own best to keep updated with what’s happening. One thing is for sure though. I would not root for any other team still playing in this playoffs. I could care less, if one team gets the three-peat, or another team getting back on top of the mountain after a bitter loss last season, or another team driven by not just a city but an entire state to their first professional title, or a team whom we least expect to win it all shock the world and pull off a magical run. It’s going to be tough for me to watch a game from here on out until the season comes to an end with the NBA Finals next month.

Just like that, the “our” season is over. The most compelling season I have witnessed in my 12 years as a member of Red Nation is nothing but over. The team admitted on their page that they fell short of the fan base expectations. What most of us who believed, thought would be the rise of the team would turn out to be the collapse of biblical proportions. No one saw we’d go down in Round 1 of the playoffs. Yet we did in a fashion no one saw coming.

Even with all the heartbreak and sorrow, I’m still proud of what I stand for. I will always believe in the team that I have passionately rooted for more than half of my life so far. There will be journeys ahead with this team. Time will eventually heal all the wounds and heartbreaks I am having right now. I have learned a lot of things with every year that passed. I went through good times and experienced plenty of heartbreaks along the way.

It will be a long and cold wait until the next season begins. But, I always believe that one day, this team will raise the championship and I along with everyone in Red Nation will be witness to it.

Regardless, of what the people around me say. And the fact I’m 13,744 km (8,540 mi) away from Houston. My blood is RED, and I’m a member of Red Nation for Life from the Philippines!

Thank You for another season Houston Rockets!
K-Smoove

You win some, you lose some.

“You win some, you lose some.”
Well, this is a line that will sum up what has been a year of stories for me. So of all the possible lines that a person can think of when writing a blog entry, why this one? Well, I’m here to tell you the story of my 2013. Anyways, this is the first time I’m blogging outside of my humble home since I’m spending the next few days in the province, and I apologize that I won’t be able to share photos with this one. So let’s get started.
Well, let’s start first with the second phrase of the line “you lose some.”
Of course, I don’t want to start this one with all the good stuff that has happened over the course of the year. I’m saving that for later. So, I’m starting off with the challenging times during this entire year. 
It was indeed a struggle, especially during the 1st semester of my final year of college life. Well, it was something I had to endure for five months, with all the school work from the thesis, term papers, major examinations as well as those daily routines of classes. It was also a point that pushed me to my breaking point. It was indeed a tough time for me on all aspects: mentally, physically and emotionally. Even those days where I’m not talking to people out of deep frustration. Add to that the competitions where I competed, that took a toll on my body. Though I’m not blaming my choice of competing for all the trouble I got into. It was something I love to do and I will keep on doing. But, the grueling struggle took a huge toll as it affected my performance as I ended with my worst finish to a semester in UST. But I made my vow to bounce back especially on my practicum which I am taking at this moment, but I’m currently on break until the resumption of work 6 days into the new year.
Speaking of practicum, it was indeed a challenging learning process. I was still fortunate that I got into a company I would like to work with. Yes, I’ve learned some hard lessons about working. It was my first experience going to work for something I love to work with. Yeah, there were those days when you were said “You’re not good enough.” But then again, I’m learning from each day I step on the work place. I’m still a long way there, but I’m sure when it all ends. It will all be worth it.
Since I’m a sports junkie, I got to tell something about sports, 2013 was a year where I suffered a lot of sports heartbreaks. From the UST Growling Tigers losing in the UAAP Basketball Finals for the 2nd straight season, this time against the De La Salle Green Archers. To the Houston Rockets bowing out of the 1st round after putting up a fight against the then-defending West Champions Oklahoma City Thunder. To the heartbreaking loss of Petron Blaze against San Mig Coffee in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals. To McLaren’s poor performance in 2013 in which Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull defended their titles. To  There have been a lot of heartbreaking moments throughout the year. But of course, there were some great ones along the way which I will tell later in this entry.
 
Also this year has been marked with some moments of near misses. Like my failure to secure a certificate in the Galileo GDS software. As well as the two times I almost won it in individual quiz bee competitions, plus a lot more which I cannot remember. But at the end of the day, I’ve learned from each story.
Well enough of the drama and the challenges, now we move to the first phrase of the line. “You win some!”
Here, I will share some of the great moments of the past year, so here we go:
Well 2013, has also been special for me with all the hardware I was bringing home with all the competitions I’ve competed in the past year. A total of five competitions over the year. Even though I didn’t win in every single competition I competed in, I still brought home either a medal, a trophy or a certificate, even cash money in some competitions. Add to that, the recognition I’ve been getting from the university and the college. It has been a special ride for me and I got to share it with my teammates which is always more to winning. 
In addition, I’ve been getting along with my friends nicely which has been great for me. At least I’m enjoying a lot of great company. As well as getting to meet a lot of people along the way. It has indeed been a very special moment in my life, and I’m always thankful for these moments.
 
Also, in sports there have been some wonderful moments to remember, and one of which was being one of the thousands in attendance at the Mall of Asia Arena for the first NBA preseason game to be held in the Philippines between the Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers to which the Rockets won by a 30 point margin. It was great seeing my favorite team in action on this historic night. Also, who can forget the run of Gilas Pilipinas in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship at our own soil as we made it all the way to the Finals, though we lost in the Finals to Iran. We booked our ticket to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. Of course it’s worth mentioning that very emotional victory against long-time tormentors South Korea in the semi-finals where after years that the Koreans sent Filipino ballers and hearts crashing, we’ve finally gotten over the hump. In addition, as a big Houston Rockets fan it has been a pleasure that I got to meet members of Red Nation from all over the world! From those living in Houston, as well as those in other places like New York, Taiwan, Norway, Australia, etc. Even some who are from here at home. I hope we’ll have a great season to remember. Hopefully a championship!
 
Well, there’s nothing else for me to say. So to cap this off. I thank each and every one who made my 2013 very special. I’m looking forward to the brand new year in a day and a couple of hours and create a lot of memories not only for myself but for the people around!
 
Thanks for the memories 2013, Hello 2014 very soon!
K-Smoove

No matter what happens each season, Red Nation for life.

After 82 regular season games and 6 playoff games, the 2012-13 season is over for my favorite team in the NBA, the Houston Rockets. Well in this blog entry, we look back on what has been one season for the books for these “Youngbloodsand what to look forward come next season.

After three seasons of sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference standings despite having winning seasons in all three of those season, the off-season began when Rockets GM Daryl Morey making a large roster overhaul. He brought in players like Jeremy Lin who was coming off the “Linsanity” fare in New York, Omer Asik who was playing as the back-up center for the Bulls. He also brought in players like Toney Douglas, Carlos Delfinoas well as drafting Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Jones and Royce White in the draft. Gone were players like Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola, Courtney Lee, Chase Budinger, Samuel Dalembert and Marcus Camby. However, all that was overshadowed when the Rockets pulled a trade with the Thunder sending Kevin Martin and Lamb to Oklahoma City for Sixth Man of the Year awardee James Harden, together with Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward. When the dust settled, only Chandler Parsons, Patrick Patterson, Greg Smith and Marcus Morris remained from last year’s roster as the season began. The Rockets would make moves during the off-season as Patterson, Douglasand Morris were sent elsewhere and they brought in players like Francisco Garciaand Thomas Robinson. They also signed players like Patrick Beverleyand Donatas Motiejunas as well as bringing back 2010 Most Improved Player awardee Aaron Brooks who was a part of that 2009 Playoff run.

James Harden had a breakout year for the Rockets, from a sixth man in Oklahoma City to becoming the face of the franchise in Houston. He finished the season 5th in scoring in the NBA. He alsois one of the league leaders in free throws made and attempted. He was named to his first All-Star selection at homeand is on track to become a part of this year’s All-NBA team.

Jeremy Lin had a nice season with the Rockets on his first full year playing starter‘s minutes. He showed his durability as he was able to play all 82 regular season games while putting up respectable numbers. He also came out as one of the league leaders in steals as well as keeping his turnovers down which has been a problem throughout his entire career. He participated in All-Star weekend at the Skills Challenge.

Chandler Parsons came out big in his sophomore campaign. Being one of the two guys (Greg Smith) left from last year’s roster, Parsons came out as the second leading scorer for the Rockets this season behind Harden. He also shot the ball better from three point range as he led the Rockets this season in 3 point percentage. He also played in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend.

Omer Asik also came out hugewhen he got starter’s minutes for the Rockets. He finishes the season as one of the leaders in rebounding, as well as providing a defensive presence for the Rockets all season long. Like Lin, he was able to play into all 82 games during the regular season and was able to play in all six playoff games.

Carlos Delfino and Francisco Garcia provided a veteran presence on a very young team. These two players live and die with the three pointer. They also have been great elder statesmen as they have been in the league for a long time now. Patrick Beverley and Aaron Brooks brought along speed and pure heart on a season which they never played from start to finish. It would be great to see them back in a Rockets uniform for a full year. Greg Smith, Terrence Jones, James Anderson and Donatas Motiejunas will have time to develop their game in the seasons to come.

Give a ton of credit also to head coach Kevin McHale who in his second year as the man calling the shots for the Rockets. He was able to find a style of play which made the Rocketsa very exciting team during the course of the regular season despite going through a large roster overhaul during the off-season and the regular season

The Rockets finished 45-37 this season and were seeded 8th in the Western Conference ending a four year playoff drought. They would push the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder to six games before bowing out.

So yeah, it’s been a great time being part of Red Nation this season. This is a a season to remember for me in the 10 years I’ve been a part of Red Nation. No one else though that this team, the youngest team in the NBA today would come up with a ton of heart and grit all season long. Now the off-season begins for them. With a cap space large enough to lure a big name in. These “Youngbloods” will be out to make a ton of noise come next season.

To cap this blog entry, let me share to you this banner made by the Rockets for the Red Nation. Truly the New Age has only just begun.

Photo ©Houston Rockets


RED NATION for LIFE. 
See you in October here in the Philippines.
K-Smoove

19 YEARS STRONG!

So yeah, another year ends in my journey. April 30has come again on the calendar sheets, and I usher in a brand new year of this journey called LIFE.

As the title states, I’m already 19 years old starting today. Well, this April 30 was a bit different than in previous years. In the past couple of years, I threw parties for all my close PEEPS. However, this year I spent my whole day with my entire family. Since I‘m saving my party money for the NBA game this October here in the Philippines. Because my team, the Houston Rockets will be playing in that game against the Indiana Pacers.

We went to SM North EDSA to have my birthday lunch at Shakey’s. Well, I didn’t ask for their birthday choir which they do on birthdays of people who dine on all their branches nationwide. Afterwards, we went buying a few clothing. Then before we went back home for the rest of the day. We bought some desserts like pastillas, brownies and ice cream to enjoy for the rest of the day. It’s a shame though I wasn’t able to take photos along the way since our camera has been lost and we can’t find it along our home for the past month. Though I didn’t get to spend it with other people in person, it was worth spending time with my family on my day. Add to that, I got a nice birthday win from the Houston Rockets as they won Game 4 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Playoffs 105-103 to keep their season alive. I was watching the game until halftime, but I had to bail out since we had to go on that trip for lunch. At least, they got the win and no brooms were sweeping on my birthday.

I’ll take this moment to thank those who remembered my birthday with all the greetings and best wisheson Facebook & Twitter, as well as those who texted my phone for their well wishes. You all have played a part in my life and I’m always thankful to each and every one of you. One thing that made my day is that I was greeted by my “crush” as well as a good old friend of mine. It truly made my day even special. Sorry I can’t throw a party this year because like I said earlier, I‘m saving for the game. I hope I can throw one next year as I finish the mission which is to graduate.

Of course, I’ll thank my familyfor always being there for me in my life from the start until the very end. Finally, I thank God that I made it through another year of my life, and I’ll always look up to you every step in my life. I’m hopeful that this year will be filled with a lot of blessings.

Danke! Merci! Thank You! Salamat!
19 years on, I still got a lot to prove.
K-Smoove