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  1. Sixty-two

    Sixty-two ?? and counting. Help me if you can for when I turn 64, I hope to break bread with Beatle Paul McCartney.

    As I enter my 62nd year of earthly existence on the 16th of May , allow me to take you to memory lane with some of the most forgettable moments in my life.

    The long and winding road traversed, no matter how difficult and rocky , is what has made me today ? strong ,determined, compassionate and at peace in the face of any adversity or tragedy in life.

    The destination is only the icing on the cake, so to speak.

    All-time great Michael Jordan once admitted in a commercial endorsement for a major U.S. shoe and apparel company that he had missed so many shots during his illustrious National Basketball Association (NBA) tenure.

    The number of times he had failed made him stronger ? what does not kill you makes you stronger, it?s said.

    Eventually Jordan?s storied basketball career was defined by the times he had risen after each fall and succeeded after each failure.

    Then there was this inspiring line from one of the old ?Spiderman? movies that I had watched where Uncle Ben told a young boy by the name of Peter Parker: ?Don?t just follow the path, make your own trail.?

    The words of Michael Jordan and Uncle Ben are what have shaped my life.

    Instead of joining the family?s handicraft business after my school days, I got to craft my own career path. Officially, I became a professional sportswriter on June 5, 1981 when my first materials on basketball, particularly the NBA scene, got published in a weekly sports magazine.

    Thirty-six years later, here I am still churning out one column/article after another.

    While it?s true the monetary benefits gained by a journalist won?t make him a Bill Gates, the ?mental nourishment? aspects of writing simply are immeasurable.

    Believe it or not, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would go into professional writing some day.

    But fate intervened and, by God?s grace, I have succeeded long enough to leave behind a legacy when I shall have crossed the Great Divide.

    It?s worth recalling a few events in my younger days at Xavier School that perhaps played a role in what became of me when I joined the ?real life? after college.

    It was my school mate and friend Samuel Dy Tang who baptized me to the ?NBA world? when he brought various NBA magazines to school for me to read and peruse during break-time. My interest in the American pro game grew quickly. How often I borrowed the printed materials from Sam and brought them home for ?scrutiny? and longer reading.

    We were in our grade school days or early teenaged years and since then, I have been hooked up to NBA chronicling and eventually, through the past decades, mastered on local and international sports in general.

    Another batchmate, Jeffrey Yao, also lent me some NBA materials for which I am truly grateful.

    Those magazines really got me rocking and rolling. During my spare time off classes, I would often take a jeepney ride to Rizal Avenue or the Binondo area (Jim?s Counter was one favorite hangout) to get my fill of various sports magazines that carried NBA stories for several pieces of silver coins.

    At the start of the eighties, vintage play-by-play announcer for Philippine Basketball Association telecasts Dick Ildefonso sought me out for help on the credentials of prospective imports for the league. The man with the silky cool voice subsequently introduced me to the editor-in-chief of a sports weekly magazine, Sports World.

    From there, I graduated to the major leagues like the Philippine Daily Inquirer, where I wrote a twice-a-week column on NBA developments for 16 years (1986-2002); and became the EIC of Tower Sports magazine for more than a decade while moonlighting as a TV analyst for Tiong Lian games from the mid-2000s onwards.

    Youtube.com has some of my TV interviews (the latest being the December 30, 2016 episode of PTV Sports on Channel 4) and gameface.ph has carried scores of my write-ups through the years.

    The Facebook page for a couple of prestigious Chinese-Filipino high school sports leagues, the PCYAA and MASA, were set up several years ago upon my initiative. Both sites remain active to this date.

    For seven years (2006-13), I also was a disc jockey (no joke!) for a Beautiful Sunday program ?Buhay Pinoy Noon at Ngayon? in a government-owned radio station (DZSR Sports Radio) under the monicker Hyper Henry. I played good, old music from the fifties, sixties and seventies and shared stories about life as only a Baby Boomer like me had experienced.

    Songs by the Fabulous Four from Liverpool, England, the Beatles, were my all-time favorites ...
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