08/31/12 - "Once a Tiger always a Tiger" Reunion/ Farewell
Last night, I personally got to witness the Coca Cola/Powerade Tigers Family... and that's what i'll take away from all this experience... that it doesn't matter what happens in the PBA, in these athlete's careers, they'll always be FAMILY.
As fans, we may despair that they don't play together anymore... but that is not the legacy that "Being a Tiger" leaves with us ... it is not the "win at all costs" motto that these Tigers remember most about "Being a Tiger" ... but the value of team work, camaraderie, loyalty, and "FAMILY". The words of "good job" despite loosing... the importance of taking care of your own (the players contributed to give the utilities some severance pay) ... and staying true to the values that you hold, to the point of even risking unemployment, just to be able to keep those values.
Seeing the current Global Port players still with smiles in their faces despite the unknowns that they are facing with the new team, seeing the wives/better halves automatically group together when they entered the venue the way girlfriends do... seeing no discrimination between players, coaches, and staff, seeing everyone laughing together reminiscing fun memories as they viewed a prepared video presentation.
Hearing Jeff Cariaso give an identical testimony to that of Johnny Abbarientos, Gary David, Will Antonio, Bo Perasol, and even Chot Reyes about what they will treasure most about "Being a Tiger" is a testament of how the team was run... with loyalty, dedication, and camaraderie that makes them feel as part of a FAMILY, a family that consisted not only of those who were seen on the court, but included those staff under the leadership of Mr. Jose Bayani "JB" Baylon... these will leave lessons that will benefit these players even long after they've left the PBA, the LIFE LESSONS that one would not be afraid to pass on to their children.
And though my heart is still slightly bruised with the disbanding of the previous line-up, seeing them together this that has given me the "closure" that I was looking for.
As the memory of this franchise becomes dimmer and dimmer in the minds of the Filipino people, I believe these players will still support the statement "Once a Tiger, always a Tiger"... because their experience as a Tiger transcended the PBA, taught them valuable life lessons, and gave them a FAMILY to serve as their support system that they need as they continue to navigate their way through the TURBULENT current of CORPORATE RIVALRY disguised by basketball teams in this league we call the PBA.
Thank you Tigers. I'm glad you got out before the corporate rivalries ruined the Legacy that you were trying to leave behind.
Thank you so much Ma'am Jenn for the authentic GD20 jersey ni Sir Gary na binigay nyo. I totally forgot to get it signed, he he, pero pwede pa naman next time. I'll be praying for the safe delivery of Baby 3 next week.
Thank you so much Coach Charles for the promised Powerade "shirt". Nakalimutan ko nga about it, but you remembered it. Good luck sir, as you transition into the next season. I'll always be a fan, regardless of the team (whether you reply sa Twitter or not.. :D).
ALL PHOTO CREDITS: JB Baylon via Facebook (except for the last 3)