Almost immediately after the end of Season 74, I was chatting with University PR & Communications boss Sonia Araneta when I ventured calling the next season the Drive for Five. She liked it but there were also others calls for like One Big Five.
I explained that like "three-peat" that former Los Angeles Lakers coach Pat Riley coined, "the Drive for Five" wasn't original but a slogan that the New York Islanders used when they attempted to win a fifth consecutive Stanley Cup in the 1980s. The Isles, my all-time favorite hockey team, lost and the eventual champion, the Edmonton Oilers featuring a young Wayne Gretzky went on a streak of their own.
Sonia liked "The Drive for Five" and the university officially adopted it. At the same time we began to prepare a series of short videos about the title run through the years. The trailer is on youtube.
Towards the end of the second round, I wanted to do a streamer that would be displayed ONLY after the title was secured. I wanted to borrow what was said in 1988: "Look who's number one." That year, although Ateneo was returning with an intact lineup and were favorites to repeat, La Salle was making noises about winning it all in Dindo Pumaren's final year. Yes, they were a very good team and after Pumaren graduated, they won two UAAP titles. The "Look who's number one" was to tell the league and the naysayers who expected the Blue Eagles to fall that rumors of our death are greatly exaggerated.
Anyways, I was in Singapore and couldn't get the streamer done in time. So I bought some cartolina in National Bookstore and a thick pentel pen to write down two messages: one, "The Drive for 5 ends here!" and "Look who's number one."
As Juami Tiongson dribbled the seconds away, Miko Samson and I made our way to the court. I carried "The Drive for 5 ends here" while he carried the other. I have no idea if he ever did show it but I did walking across the sideline. I wanted three people to hold aloft the sign: Norman Black, Nico Salva, and Greg Slaughter. I couldn't get ahold of Nico but I got the other two. And frankly, when Norm held the sign and all these photogs clicked away, I thought it was perfect.
Tonight, at the bonfire, I think we are showing some videos. We did a trilogy of videos based on this incredible title run. Part One is titled: Learning to fly and is based on when Coach Norm joined the team and well, was right up to 2007. Part Two is titled: Flying High and is about the run. Part Three is called: Last Flight as it refers to Norman's last season in Loyola Heights as head coach (not as team consultant). Hope you like them as well as my post-Game Two thoughts.
See you at the bonfire tonight!