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kaybee07
04-06-2007, 09:22 AM
Big boys ready for the big time
by Reuel Vidal
Manila Standard 04/05/07


QUALITY big men coming from the collegiate ranks are a rarity. But
two quality big men going to the Philippine Basketball League to join
a single team will probably occur once every decade.

Such will be the case this coming PBL Unity Cup, slated to start
April 17, with reigning University Athletic Association of the
Philippines' Most Valuable Player Ken Bono, formerly of Adamson
University, and Doug Kramer, a product of Ateneo de Manila University
leading the Cebuana Lhuillier Pera Padala team.

Cebuana Lhuillier coach Luigi Trillo has nothing but praises for the
two.

"Ken, with his size, is still able to move and shoot," said
Trillo. "He can really defend well because he's very quick off his
feet. Doug, I can't say enough about him. He just works so hard and
he's very coachable."

Trillo is hard at work with the two, who give Cebuana Lhuillier
arguably the PBL's best frontline this coming PBL Unity Cup.

"I like the work ethic of both," said Trillo. "They work very hard.
You can see how much they've elevated their game. I just hope that
the coming PBL Unity Cup will be the stepping stone for them to
achieve their ultimate dreams in their basketball careers."

Bono averaged a league-best 21.8 points and 11.1 rebounds to lead
Adamson University to its first-ever Final Four appearance. He
clinched the MVP award with a career-high 33 points and nine rebounds
in Adamson's losing stand against Ateneo in the Final Four.

Bono didn't know it at the time, but it turned out to be his last
game for Adamson in the UAAP.

"Ready na ako to move on," said the 23-year-old Bono. "Ngayon, two
times a day akong mag-practice. Talagang nagpapa-kondisyon ako. Ini-
improve ko ang strength at stamina. Nag-aaral akong mabuti,
especially sa post moves with the help of our assistant coach Bong
Hawkins."

Ironically, Bono could still have played one more year for Adamson.
He actually went to Adamson and enroled in his subjects, but opted to
forgo his last playing year after school officials stopped giving him
his scholar's allowance, which he had been receiving since he was a
freshman.

"Napakalaking disappointment," said Bono. "Hindi ako makapaniwala na
ganoon ang gagawin nila sa akin. Noong hindi ka pa magaling,
binibigyan ka ng allowance. Nang gumaling ka at magkaroon ka ng
award, tatanggalan ka ng allowance."

Bono's fiancée Maya Montecillo was quick to explain that Bono was not
asking for the sun or the moon from Adamson school authorities, just
what he had been receiving all these years as an athlete-scholar of
the school.

"Ken is speaking out of hurt feelings," said Montecillo. "He wasn't
asking for a raise in his allowance, even though he won an MVP award.
Hindi naman siya humingi ng kotse or a grand parade in school. He
received an allowance from Day 1 as a rookie. He just wanted that to
continue."

When the allowance was suddenly discontinued, Montecillo said Bono
felt that he wasn't welcome in the school anymore.

The couple will get married this coming July and hope to put all of
the disappointments behind them and move on with their lives.

"When I look at the postings at Web sites, sometimes I cry," said
Montecillo. "Because they say he's mukhang pera. They say he's malaki
na ang ulo. He's not. He's just the same person that he's always
been. He's just reacting because of hurt feelings and disappointment
with his school. Siguro tayo rin, if we're put in the same situation,
siguro we'll react the same way."

In contrast, Kramer has nothing but good memories of Ateneo, where he
played for five years, the first three years as a seldom-used
substitute big man then later blossoming into well-rounded, do-
everything power forward.

"I really came into my own after my third year when coach Norman
Black took over the head coaching job," said Kramer. "We went to
Florida in the United States and that's where NBA draftees play. It
was a big confidence-booster to practice there and learn what the
Americans did."

Kramer said he owed a lot to Black especially in instilling in his
heart the value of hard work.

"Right after that work in Florida, I really came to our practices in
Ateneo almost four hours ahead of everybody else," said Kramer. "I
lifted weights, then did my shoot around for an hour. I practiced
hook shots, free throws, jump shots, everything. I really went back
to the basics."

Kramer said he took so many shots at practice that shooting the ball
in games became almost second nature. But even with his improved
shooting, Kramer said his role remained the same—defend the post,
grab rebounds and just do the dirty work necessary to win games.

"I don't want to be one of those go-to guys," said Kramer. "I'll
always be just a role player. I work best as a role player. I will
just rebound, defend and make my layups."

These two talented big men have left their schools in contrasting
fashion. One with bitter disappointment, the other with only joy and
gratitude.

They have one thing in common though—both are ready for the big time
and the next challenge in their basketball careers.

sea_falcon
06-07-2007, 09:19 AM
I could empathize with Bono given the shabby treatment he got from the Adamson management. Although insiders say the management has a valid concern over his academic record fearing a repeat of another suspension if he continues to play, the sudden allowance cut was abrupt. I'm not sure how things went on but I suspect lack of communication was the culprit. The school didn't communicate early its intention to cushion the impact of such decision.

I am from Adamson and the school management is notorious for being "bastos." Be it an ex-admin, an ex-player, or an an ex-employee, the school management has the habit of deciding at the last minute even at the expense of courtesy. Trillo had it when he was terminated as head coach. Ask anyone formerly connected with Adamson and all will say the same thing. All were caught off guard when they were asked to leave the school.

I could say the management is trying its best to improve the situation in Adamson but politics is pushing the school down. Like the lay administrators, the priests there are not united either. They themselves engage in power play. On top of busying himself with other concerns, the current president is also busy strengthening his power base and is obviously purging the ranks for "dissidents" including some priests like the VPA who is the latest head to roll over his maverick stand in some issues. Go figure the situation if management is run like the machinery of a mainstream political party. In effect, we are seeing here a bigger problem that affects the people down the line, Bono's unceremonious departure included.

For one, if management is really good, problems like Bono's could have been anticipated and prevented from happening. Sad to say, such thing will happen if politics, not competence, dictate the choice of management people. Such was the case of the Physical Education Department of the school whose head's only claim to his position is obviously his closeness to the powers-that-be.

In short, Bono's case was a stupid and myopic decision that could only happen in a case when management is unable to close its ranks and coordinate its decisions. It is safe to say that it is indeed a stupid move that the school is afraid to admit. It is too embarrassing to be admitted in public so you could second guess how things would turn out if those so-called management experts were unable to address the problem properly.

We have a saying that ignorance is bliss. It is not in this case...

Anyway, this is just my take on the issue. ;)

Joescoundrel
06-07-2007, 10:01 AM
Small wonder the once-mighty Adamson program has fallen into the doldrums over the last decade or so. I can't believe a school, a supposed repository of good values and higher learning, would allow something like this to continue happening. Basketball may not be the be all and end all, but the quality of any aspect of a school's overall programs and prestige, like say the high profile UAAP basketball program, certainly reflects quite a bit upon the overall quality of the school itself.

Think of it this way: thanks to the high profile coverage of the UAAP, if no one knows about Adamson the school they at least know about the Adamson Falcons basketball team. They know the team because of its star: Ken Bono. Its basic mass psychology: if the team sucks then the school must suck as well. If the school treats its varsity star like shit then it must run itself like shit as well.

What does it say about an institution when the man who almost singlehandedly brought it back to UAAP basketball glory is treated in this manner?

Which brings us to Doug Kramer, the man I (yes, I admit it, guilty as charged) once dubbed as "Seinfeld's buddy" because he couldn't seem to get anything done consistently well on the basketball court where he is supposed to excel. Now look at him: thanks to Norman Black he may yet sneak into the top half of the first round of the next PBA draft. And to top it all of he's got a college degree from the Ateneo De Manila. Talk about a study in contrasts.

gfy
06-07-2007, 12:35 PM
Sea_Falcon - The current president of Adamson is very much the opposite of the previous president. That's according to my sister, a DC nun, who knows them both. Is Fr. Max still around?

sea_falcon
06-07-2007, 01:09 PM
@gfy - yes, very much different. The former was "notorious" for being kind, soft-hearted, and apolitical. The present one...well, you can try sniffing around for info and you'll know what kind of management style he has. Fr. Max is still around. He should have been retiring, I think, since he seems to lack the energy to introduce necessary reforms in the school's athletic program being the real hotshot there. :)