NBA, Tour de France and Wimbledon
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
THE talk of the sporting world during these days are the games of the two NBA conferences’ finals, this year’s edition of Tour de France 21-day bikefest that started last June 27, and the annual Wimbledon lawn tennis tournament.
The 2021 NBA season is winding up. The winner of the eastern conference finals (Atlanta Hawks vs. Milwaukee Bucks) will be known this week after two or three more games and will face the waiting Phoenix Sun for this year’s NBA championship in the best-of-three series. The Suns convincingly defeated the Los Angeles Clippers, 4-2, in the western conference semis. As of this writing (July 1), the Bucks and Hawks teams are tied with a 2-2 win-loss slate in the best-of-seven series. By the time you read this piece the results of the Bucks and Hawks clashes are already known so the NBA championship this year is likely set to start this week.
The Tour de France (TdF) this year already started last Sunday (June 27), and the first day of the annual 21-day road battle was already marred by two big multiple spills that prevented a number of the cyclists from finishing the stage due to broken bones, especially their clavicles, contusions on their hands, feet heads. The same accidents happened in the third stage that forced several cyclists that were wounded on the first day to decide to abandon the prestigious bikathon with tears in their eyes.
I saw on YouTube what went wrong on the first day. One of the cyclists hit one of the roadside spectators that caused him to fall and was run over by his fellow competitors that resulted in the huge pile-up. Luckily, the defending titlist Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia managed to cautiously avoid the two big crashes that involved his arch rivals – last year Pogacar’s first runner-up and country mate Primoz Roglic.
Pogacar, also known as “Pogi” (like our beloved governor Amado I. “Pogi” Espino, III) by the European sports press, beat compatriot Roglic last year by just 59 seconds, considered as one of the closest margins of victory in the history of TdF. (Pogacar’s triumph last year recalled to mind how I won the first of my three conquests in Philippines professional multi-stage road racings held in 1973 over my teammate, my town mate and my protégé Cesar Catambay by just 54 ticks). Remember, TdF is unquestionably the oldest, toughest, richest, longest and the most prestigious bicycle race in the world, then and until now.
In lawn tennis, it’s unfortunate that my idol, the Spanish icon tennis player Rafael Nadal. deliberately skipped this year’s Wimbledon tournament, saying his body needs a rest badly. The multi-titled Nadal last competition was the recent French Open where he lost to Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. I’m an avid follower of Nadal’s colorful career being my hero in this sport. I believe it was the first time for the four-time defending champion Nadal to lose a match at the French Open after taking the first set, 6-3, and yielded the last three sets badly, 3-6, 6-7, 2-6, to Serbia’s great Djokovic, enroute to Djokovic’s second championship victory against Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas. Well, “there’s always a first time,” as the maxim says. Yes, I believe that.
This year’s Wimbledon is in progress and Djokovic and Swiss superstar Roger Federer, both past winners in this tournament are heavily favored to win anew, surviving their first three assignments of the tournament.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father? JOHN 14: 8-9
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