Local sports had their own fair share of shining moments this year: epic (I love that word) upsets, dominating performances, comebacks deserving of a Guinness, and sheer stupidity worth watching a YouTube over and over again.
#10: Lady Archers are the volley queens
Thanks to the Shakey's V-League, everyone now cares about the UAAP's women's volleyball championship. La Salle dispatched Adamson in 4 sets (the last set with a scoreline of 25-13), and FEU returned the favor with a dissimilar 4-set win over UST. MVP Manilla Santos and Rookie of the Year Melissa Gohing faced off with best setter May Morada, all-around dependable girl Rachel Anne Daquis, and upcoming star Cherry Vivas. Game 1 went the distance with FEU winning. But La Salle came out with a dominating performance in Game 2 to force a winner-take-all Game 3. Inside an overflowing and newly-renamed Filoil Flying V Arena, the Lady Archers outlasted the Lady Tamaraws, who had to play with Daquis riding the bench to hand La Salle their fifth women's volley title.
#9: Seventh heaven for Pac-Man
Manny Pacquiao ended the 2009 leg of his "North American tour" with an 11th round knockout of Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico. Cotto wasn't even punching in the latter stages of the fight, and Kenny Bayless took pity on the Puerto Rican. Twitter even had a "#cottosface" hash tag to celebrate the momentous event. Even Cotto's mom wouldn't like #cottosface.
#8: Uber epic Green fail
Ah, the usual palusots of people: many veterans left so we have a crappy team. That argument only holds water if there are no replacements, or "rookies" (for some reason, I don't like using that word in an amateur, or in this case, collegiate, context. Use freshmen, sophomore and the like instead.) that came in. And with DLSU's awesome recruiting capabilities, even PBA teams would turn green with envy, you can't count out DLSU in any season. But alas, one of their recruits came back to the loving arms of his father (pardon the pun), and while the remaining recruits weren't bad (in fact they were, as expected, impressive), the vets who remained had such crappy performances supporters were wondering what Franz Pumaren was thinking when he placed those "vets" in pivotal minutes. And with the last game vs. NU where DLSU could've
forged a playoff vs. UST and/or Adamson for the last playoff berth, the Green Archers proved to everyone that they were not worthy of a playoff spot. At least for this year.
#7: Bella Swan would proud of the Tigresses
The Tigresses made the Shakey's V-League their playground by sweeping all two championships given by the league. UST won the 1st conference on 3 sets, with the 2 winning sets via a 3 sets to none scoreline, beating the San Sebastian Lady Stags. On the 2nd conference, the Tigresses didn't give the Lady Falcons a chance, sweeping the series 2-0 on identical 3-1 scores. Rhea Dimaculangan, Mary Jean Balse and Aiza Maizo made UST an unstoppable force in the V-League, now with the leagie-high 5 championships.
#6: MVP for the Ages
PLDT head honcho Manny V. Pangilinan, which also makes him team owner of the Talk 'N Text PBA team, had a banner year in sports, with the only disappointment coming from the Red and White school near the Palace. In the PBA, the Tropang Texters, relied on, ironically a Lasallian, Mark Cardona to carry the cudgels for the team. Cardona had a monster semifinal series against San Miguel, in which he capped off a three-pointer to seal the deal, and the defensive rebound as insurance to put the Texters in the Finals. Facing the Aces, which lead 3-2, Cardona scored game high on points for the rest of the way to avenge the then Phone Pals' loss against the Aces in the 2007 Fiesta Conference. Cardona's exploits gave him his first pro Finals MVP award.
#5: Sheer Blue dominance
If this Ateneo team failed to win it all this year, it would've been the epic disappointment of the decade, the epic upset for the team that would've done the feat, and MVP, in the words of the immortal Green (Over)Mind, MVP would've plucked Pat Riley out of retirement to coach Ateneo next season. What did the Blue Eagles is probably the most formidable starting line-up in the latter half of the decade: Al-Hussaini, Baclao, Buenafe, Reyes and Tiu, plus sixth man Salamat, who'd be a starter in any other collegiate team in the country.
#4: The return of the Beermen
Like Ateneo, San Miguel is a team built to win championships. However, with the fickle nature of the PBA playoffs (virtually ALL teams participate, leading to upsets), San Miguel has won only once in the two-conference era, despite finishing within the top three after the elimination round in five occasions. However, they did finish #1 in the 2009 Fiesta Conference, and had a relatively easy semifinal series against the Burger King Whoppers, coached by old adversary Yeng Guiao. Facing sister team Barangay Ginebra, and I won't imply cooking happened, the Beermen showed that their latest championship was a well-deserved one, winning the last two games being behind 2-3 in the series, and the seventh game was a dominating performance, even Ginebra fans stayed for the awarding ceremonies.
#3: Bata and Django weave their magic
The World Cup of Pool arrives at Asia, and the Philippines has been a constant host of WPA events. Pinoys flocked to cheer to their two teams, Philippines "A" of Ronnie Alcano and Dennis Orcollo, and Philippines "B" of Efren Bata Reyes and Django Bustamante. In the end, only one Philippine team remained, and Bata and Django summed it up: they weren't playing for themselves, they played for the country. And they won to the delight of the fans who stayed late at night to watch the final.
#2: The fall of the team from the West Coast
What do Sudan Daniel, Rome dela Rosa, and Ginno Soliman have in common, aside from playing for San Beda? They all came from the city of Angels -- no, not Angeles City, but from Los Angeles, California. The home of the Lakers and Kobe. And they fell to the Central Luzon Combine called the San Sebastian Golden Stags, and a Canadian by the name of Jonathan Semira.
#1: Pac-Man demolishes a white dude
There's something about white guys and boxing. The Klitschko brothers are the only white boxers that had been universally recognized as heavyweight champions since God knows when. In the lower divisions, Hispanics, Blacks and Asians dominate the field. Americans had fared badly -- white Americans have been searching for the "Great White Hope." The Brits produced one, by the name of Ricky Hatton. And knowing the rowdy nature of British fans, Hatton acquired a massive fanbase. And with Pinoys not left behind, they all rallied behind the country's "National Fist". Americans were reduced to mere spectators as two foreigners slugged it out in boxing's capital -- Las Vegas. Too bad the preview shows on HBO were longer -- the fight lasted a mere 6 minutes in boxing time.