My Basketball Journey
Last week, basketball taught me a lot of things in business and life in general. I currently play in two basketball leagues and in both my teams there I had great experiences. One fell short of a championship and the other will be playing for one next week. But before I go to the details, let me share my basketball journey this year…
As a businessman, most of my time revolved in the day to day operations of my business. I am mostly on the road or in meetings and probably average 4 hours in traffic everyday. Those 4 hours I felt could’ve been used for something more beneficial. I was thinking, maybe exercise!
I loved the game of basketball ever since I learned to play the sport when I was 14. I really put a lot of heart into it. At 15, I played for my high school team and represented my city multiple times. I played college ball and thought I would be the next big star. I could score, I could pass, heck, I could even dunk! For a 17 year old, I was thinking about big contracts, being famous, driving a sports car… and then, boom! Injury! In one pop of the left Achilles, all those dreams came crashing down. Rehab was tough. Not too much on the physical side but on the mental aspect of it. I am sure a lot of athletes out there can relate. I thought maybe a second stringer or an end of the bench guy would be ok for a career but I was too proud, I desired stardom but I know I won’t be able to anymore at least in my mind. Dude, I am not even 6’6… I am five foot ten! And so I shifted my focus to something else.
Back in October 2015, my wife told me I looked like a teddy bear. Maybe she meant I am really cute and cuddly but I know that she was telling me I am getting fat! No offense on the bigger minority but man, I was 1 line away from 200 lbs! I used to be 170. So the same month, I looked for basketball group I can play with. Searched one in FB and found this “SBC”
This is not your typical Sunday Basketball Club. This is a brotherhood. We welcome anyone. Once you are a part of the group, you are family. It’s a mix of young and old men. Well, there’s only one older young man at heart there named Uncle J (peace!). But seriously, through this group, I have met my future team mates.
Ever since I joined this club, I have been a part of 4 teams and played in four leagues invited by people I met from this group. Let me share my experiences from these teams and the lessons I learned along the way…
We joined a new league on it’s first season called LGR earlier this year. Formed a team of regular players from the Sunday Basketball Club and really just went with who were available and skilled enough to compete. I was one of the fortunate players chosen. I was so excited! I haven’t played competitive ball in years! But in this experience, I found out that sometimes, the first try do not instantly succeed.
This team had all that’s needed to win. We got lots of fire power, sound defense, and pride. Sad to say, we won some but lost big ones too. In the end, we failed to reach the semis and was eliminated early. If it’s any consolation, here’s a few takeaways from this experience:
- Just like in business, the first timer does not usually win.
- In basketball, you need specific roles defined. Same thing when running a business
- You need a primary decision maker in both business and a basketball team.
- When you lose, you don’t point fingers. You own them and improve.
If you fail the first time, you go for another one right? You just don’t give up. I was invited to play on another league, Kings Of The Court, and joined a new team. This time we had all the things that make a championship team. We got a good coach, we had well designed plays and regular practice which we didn’t have on the first one. However, we fell short on this one again. Lost a few winnable games and our chemistry off the court didn’t translate well on the court. What did I learn?
Well, by this time, my conditioning was much better and my mind and body was cooperating with each other already. But my skills were still a few notches away from the best of them.
- Follow the plays. Often times, we broke the coaches’ designed plays. In business, you follow the blueprint. Stick to the game plan.
- Don’t play hero ball. It’s a team sport. In business, no one can do it all.
- Learn to adjust and play to your strengths. That’s why we do SWOT analysis in business too!
Third Time’s Charm
Not winning in the first couple of leagues was frustrating. I hate loosing. I am a competitive freak. This time, I was so motivated. I started hitting the gym harder, woke up early to practice my handles, my shooting stroke and my passing. I tried to love what Allen Iverson had a hard time loving… PRACTICE.
I now believe that familiarity can play a huge part in winning. This 3rd team I joined, I was really familiar with my team mates. Although this is a totally new team, I have played with more than a couple of them in the past 2 leagues. Carlo, I played with in Team SBC. Kenth and Arnel, I played with in Team Zephyr. Yani, I played with on both leagues. It pays to know their games, their strengths.
Uncle J as what the team was popularly called based from that older young man from SBC I said earlier, (peace Jonas!) was one of the best teams I played with this year! We didn’t have as much talent as the other two teams but we had what we didn’t from both of those teams… CHEMISTRY!
Man, this team was more than a team! We really were brothers here. We had fun playing and most importantly, we won! There were two seasons that I played with this group. The first, we won the championship. And the second, well, that was the one championship game we lost last week. Nevertheless, both were great experiences!
- Remember that adjustment I said earlier? Well, it’s true. I adjusted my game based on the personnel I played with on this team. It really does work. I played off the ball, with the ball, down the post, outside the arc, sometimes I’m a scorer most often I am a facilitator. In business, you have to play with multiple hats if possible. You lead, you encourage, you empower and you follow.
- We had our clashes on this team, but what really made this group special was how we manned up and owned them. Our differences made us stronger. And we banked on each other’s strengths.
- The main element of basketball is FUN. We had fun. Business ought to be FUN. It shouldn’t be stressful.
I Am Number Four
George, Ryan and Flagan were people I played with at LGR hoops. So when I was invited to play with them in One League Basketball, I already had an idea of their playing styles. I probably had my best games here than anywhere else. And coming off a good season, I was excited to join another one and win! Sad to say, the first season we joined, we failed to win the championship. But next week, we will be playing for one! Let me share that story…
The past couple of weeks were a roller coaster ride for this team. We had a revamp of rosters from the one that competed the championship the previous season. New players added but the team chemistry were way better. We were able to overcome adversity.
In last game of the eliminations, we were up against the best team. They haven’t lost at all. The first half of that game, we were leading by 17 points only to falter in the last two minutes and eventually loose by 6 points. That set up a twice to beat disadvantage to the same team in the playoffs.
On the first game of the playoffs, it’s the other way around. We started poorly and were down by 17 points entering the final quarter. Then we made our run. Was able to bring down the lead to 3 with 22 seconds remaining. Then the miracle…
During the last play, the opponent decided to play man defense and covered everyone except probably our best shooter in the team. Ryan was left wide open and with 11 seconds remaining in the game clock, fired a go ahead 3 pointer. His defender realizing this rushed in too late… BOOM! Ryan made the biggest shot of the season… best part… with a foul! With 11 seconds to go, Ryan made the free throws and put us up by one. We defended really well on the final seconds to secure the game and lived another day.
Last week, we just knocked out the best team. The team that hadn’t lost during the regular season just got eliminated by the underdogs. So much pride in our team. So much heart and courage. There was no giving up. We all loved this sport.
- Consistent development is important. However you want to put it, if you want to win, you have to continue to improve. In basketball, you have to work on your game. In business, you have to continue to develop new products, improve your processes and continue to deliver outstanding service.
- Adversities are real. We will all be faced with tough challenges in life. It may be a 6 foot 6 bulky center or a speedy guard. It may be a big branded competitor or a new up and coming start up. In these instances, you don’t get scared. You just keep fighting. The ball is round. It’s effort that counts!
- Keep your eyes on the prize. For people that play basketball, championships is the best thing. For people in business, achieving the ultimate goal maybe a profitable venture, a successful cause and giving back to the community. Whatever is the goal you set, don’t loose sight of that. Go get it!
In summary, playing basketball is like working with people. You have different personalities, opinions and personal goals. But each one wants to win. Maybe a player of the game mention, a good photo while making that super lay up, a most valuable player or an all team selection… a promotion at work, a year end award and salary bonuses… all these play huge roles in the areas of growth and development, in motivation. But in the end, people make sacrifices from their personal goals to celebrate as a team. Winning with people is far more important than personal accolades.
Basketball taught me so much in business and life. And it makes me crave for more. Before the year ends, I want to give a toast to my team mates who made me enjoy playing again this year!
- Adon Alfonso- “The Answer” killer crossovers and ultimate competitor who is like a young brother to me
- Kenth Tarray- “The Antman” speedy guard who first replied to my inquiry in SBC.
- Carlo Ulep- “King of Rebounds” constant glue guy and future business partner.
- Christian Legaspi- “Splash Brother” my barometer for improvement.
- Arnel Aquino- “Master Three” bombs 3 points like crazy. We talk more about fatherhood than hoops.
- Arvin Gannaban- “Pivot Master” We talk more about life than basketball.
- Steven Santos- “The Mamba” my lil’ bro.
- Mickey Kabigting- “Terrence Romeo” he is more popular as Jeric Raval though…
- Flagan Perez- “Sure Shot” I will pass to him the last shot anyday.
- Ryan Rodriguez- “Four Point Play Master” never takes a 3 point shot without a foul.
- Peejay Rebong- “Three & D” great defender, brother in Christ.
- Chrisaram Granada- “The Bomb” win or loose we dine.
- Jonas Malabonga- “Uncle J” my older conscience. 2 bottle buddy.
- Oliver Bautista- “The Beast” don’t go in his way and you’ll go home with a bruise.
- George Gaswint- “Pretty Boy George” If looks could kill.
- Charwen Inventado- “Mr. Pure Energry” puts pressure on every guard he’s up against.
- Von Alarcon- “Master Pogi” Great competitor. All around guy. Burger must try!
- Carlito Marcelino Jr.- “Perimeter Man” Jumpshots. Jumpshots. Jumpshots.
- Ian Patoc- “Master Selfie” One man fastbreak.
- JP Antonio- “Mister Hustle” Never looses energy on offense and defense.
- Percival Phi- “Coach Carter” Leave him open and he will make you pay from 3.
- Jeff Primallon- “Teddy Bear” He makes my sunday basketball games massage worthy after.
- Billy Rabaino- “God Gave Me You” Ultimate loverboy. President of Proud To Be Loyal club.
- Benedict Froilan- “Tap Board Is Life” He just wants to break the board someday.
The above are team mates I had great rapport with. But I appreciate all of you I played with this year. Even if I do not have a nickname for you all yet, I am sure I will have one soon enough. But hey, I remember your names! I look forward to playing with you all again!
Business and basketball is a good combination. If you are an entrepreneur, let’s play hoops sometime!
Want To Join Sunday Basketball Club
We play every Sunday 8am to 11am. Everyone is welcome!