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A struggle for athletes during these times

A struggle for athletes during these timesMore than anything else, I look at myself as a realist. As for our current situation, sad to say, it will be later than sooner that we will get through this pandemic.

As I cited in the previous piece, sports is taking a beating against the COVID-19 pandemic and it is a real struggle for athletes to survive as the virus has been non-selective in striking its victims--old and young, rich and poor, male and female, healthy and not so healthy.

Let us take a look at the United States, which leads the world in number of cases and number of fatalities. Latest reports say out of the 20 million cases worldwide, 5 million are in the US. Out of 734,000 total deaths, 163,000 are from the States again.

The Philippines has 137,000 cases as of this writing, with 2,300 deaths.

Unfortunately, in both countries, the numbers continue to rise.  

A number of NBA players, like Brooklyn's Kevin Durant, Deandre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie, Denver's Nikola Jokic, Utah's Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, Boston's Marcus Smart, Sacramento's Buddy Hield, Indiana's Malcolm Brogdon and unidentified players from the LA Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers, have already recovered and seeing action in the revived, in-the-bubble league.

We are fortunate that so far, in the PBA, no one has contracted the virus yet and what has come out instead are social media news on how players are coping with the lockdown. 

Most of them, if not all, are trying to stay in shape, working out in their respective homes using makeshift and actual gym equipments. I saw Ray-Ray Parks in an actual basketball court, CJ Perez doing gardening work, James Yap and Kevin Ferrer showing their dancing skills for a change. On the other hand, coach Louie Alas listens to his old but classic Beatles records, the real thing he says. 

I also saw some videos, but mostly MPBL players, who have gone into online selling, mostly foodstuffs. I will not be surprised if there are a few PBA players or wives, who will be doing the same thing.

National volleyball player Jia Morada, bless her heart, came up with a fundraising for frontliners and was pleasantly surprised with the big  response she received, enabling her to send PPEs and other supplies to different hospitals. 

And by the way, I will be tapping friends, too, and do the same but on a smaller scale, just to purchase face masks for the personnel at the Mandaluyong City Hospital. Get in touch with me at 09209241981 for those interested to help. I am starting it off with my own P2,000 personal donation.

On the sad side, former world boxing champion Marvin Sonsona is making an appeal for financial help to pay off his hospital bills, after his wife gave birth. He currently has no job as boxing has been knocked out by the virus.

But on an even sadder side for me was the shocking news of the death of a good friend, who has also been involved in sports and with whom I have worked with on a few sporting events in the past.

Albert Almendralejo passed away last August 3, a victim of the dreaded COVID-19. According to a relative, it happened so fast as Albert only knew he had the virus after testing positive on July 30. He suffered a stroke, while confined at the Lung Center of the Philippines.

I worked with him in the late 1990s on making beach football a mainstream sports and together with Mike Athab, we were able to hold a big national championship in Subic.

We also collaborated on grassroots football after we finished our short stint with former Commissioner Chito Loyzaga as consultants at the Philippine Sports Commission. In fact, it was while we were at the PSC that we worked together on Caloy Loyzaga's book, upon the request of Chito.  

Albert, on the side, was an indie movie producer—his biggest dream, and I am happy he realized that dream before his death 

It is when the situation affects us personally that we truly realize the seriousness of what we are faced with.

Enough said.

Topics: Chito Loyzaga , COVID-19 , Kevin Durant , NBA , Marvin Sonsona
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