Mendoza: Champs rest for now; Woods’ fightback

Al Mendoza
·2 min read

ALL things must pass, including the good ones.

It more than applies now to San Miguel Beermen’s exit on Sunday from the PBA Philippine Cup.

After ruling the most prestigious conference for five straight years from 2015, it’s time for the Beermen to bow out.

It wasn’t as palatable as it could be, SMB going down twice against the Meralco Bolts. But squandering the defending champion’s one-win bonus in two games was no surprise at all. In fact, it was meant to be—almost.

Since the PBA restart on Oct. 11, the Beermen were substantially a bunch of badgers merely trying to survive. Without their pillar of strength in 6-foot-10 June Mar Fajardo, still recuperating from a leg injury, the Beermen eked out victories mostly mainly on luck.

But, to be lucky is also to be good.

Alas, without Fajardo, SMB, overall, wasn’t that good anymore.

Mo Tautuaa just couldn’t copy Fajardo’s ferocious play down low—consistently. Yet, Mo seemed to have been forced into doing it, like one ordered to swim against a current—in vain.

And then playmaker Terrence Romeo dislocated his shoulder.

And then an injury reduced Alex Cabagnot to almost half his worth.

And then the bench benched itself when dispatched for action.

And then—horror of horrors—SMB’s front liners, long reputed to be the league’s deadliest, weren’t as deadly anymore. Clearly, Father Time, if not wear and tear, is chasing them now all the way to the showers. Mileage is a cruel thing in sports.

And so, for now, get some rest, champs. After all, nabbing five crowns in five years is one class act too hard to surpass, even equal.

***

Tiger Woods finished 31st Monday in the Masters won by Dustin Johnson, whose 20-under-par total broke by two the winning record of 18-under shared by Jordan Spieth (2015) and Woods himself (1997).

Johnson, 36, won by five shots over co-runnerup Cameron Smith, who became the first to score four rounds in the 60s in the 84-year history of the Masters.

But in losing his title—his fifth—Woods taught us a lesson in fightback. After a bizarre 10 on the par-3 12th after getting wet thrice and visiting the bunker twice, Woods birdied five of his last six holes for a 76 and a one-under 277 total. Idol, indeed.