Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pinoy Pride

Other than her name, I have not passed on much of my Filipino heritage to my daughter. She is far more likely to ask for a tortilla or quesadilla than pancit or adobo. She knows more Arabic and Farsi than Tagalog or Visayan or Cebuano. Her knowledge of pinoy culture is limited to Maligayang Pasko as part of our rotation of holiday music and an awareness of who Manny Pacquiao is.

Watching Bleachers' Brew's video clips of the celebrations in Hanoi with her tonight after getting back from a nice afternoon spent at Comcast was a pleasant surprise.

Most of the Philippines' triumphs in football come from a time well outside of mortal memory. Until this last week.

A 1-1 draw with Singapore was huge. But a 2-0 win over the host nation? Well, that's just not football.

Chris Greatwich, lion of Morristown, New Jersey, scored his second goal of the competition -- the game winner -- as a robust defense frustrated a team that had put up a seven spot against Myanmar in the preceding match.

What the Philippines is achieving at the Suzuki Cup is nothing short of stunning. It may not be pretty, but then again, neither is losing seven to one.

I doubt my daughter will ever appreciate the significance of what she watched with me, but it is great to have the excuse to share something with her that features people that look like her relatives celebrate a victory in a sport in which she is familiar.

Separate from the generational tie, just for myself, the Philippines' historic win provided the impetus to become familiar with the phenomenal Bleachers' Brew. I may not learn anything about Chris Greatwich on the National Premier Soccer League's website or from the athletics department at his alma mater Hartwick College, but Bleachers' Brew's got a good interview with Greatwich from 2008 and was on hand to capture Chris's thoughts following the goal in extra time against Singapore.

On Wednesday, the Philippines will close out its group play matches with a game against Myanmar. If they can pull off a win, they are likely to finish top of the table. Vietnam will be desperate to stave off horrible embarrassment should it fail to advance out of group play and needs a win against Singapore. The way things are set up, the Philippines should advance as Group B winners and, should they do so, their opponent -- with the first leg set for December 15th -- will be either Thailand, Malaysia, or Laos. Of course, the way things were set up in Group B, Vietnam and Singapore were supposed to waltz into the semifinals.

But that is why they play the games.

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