Monday, October 26, 2009

In Defense of...

A friend accused me of involving too much money with my sports addiction. (In other words, i gamble too much) and that it (kind of) veers away from being a sports fan. Well, yes and no. Since i discovered fantasy basketball way back in 2001~2002 there were times when i forgot to remember the Final Score of the Game but memorized the Individual Statistics of the Players. Then, when the money got involved, there's a "business" side of it that you have to take it a little more seriously--- but fret not, the fun part is still there. Believe me.

It's fun when you can buy your next pair of Adidas or your own HP Mini off your fantasy winnings. Believe that.

So without further ado, here's my line-up this year. And to avoid the jinx, here's the reverse-jinx disclaimer: i don't think i'd be able to win it all this year; i hated (most of) my draft results and i need to step it up via the waiver wire and/or add-drops to be able to be among the contenders.

To note, i will defend three crowns this year; Solar Bragging Rights (14 teams Roto), Radyo PBA-NBA (9 Teams Roto) and the CSC Live 09 (Head to Head, 14 teams). The other league, Solar Antipolo was where i finished runner-up last year because of Lebron James deciding he won't play in the final game. So all in all, am not whining from last year's performance. But the pressure is that i doubt i can repeat the same success...

Talking about the draft here are my line-ups for the money leagues this year.

Radyo PBA-NBA - 9 teams Roto (500 pesos | Top 3 in the Money)
PG - Chris Paul/Derrick Rose/Mo Williams
SG - Vince Carter/Ramon Sessions/Wilson Chandler
SF - Josh Smith/Hedo Turkoglu/Shane Battier
PF - Tim Duncan/Andrea Bargnani
C - David Lee/Greg Oden

Draft Luck: Picking number three i was ecstatic to see that the first pick was D-Wade! Meaning i will get either James or Paul!
Draft Bust: i fear TD's injury (2nd round), and to an extent, VC's... Then Smart Bro autopicked Mr. Shane Battier for me in the 9th round. We will see if that's destiny but he's the first guy that i shall flip for somebody else in the fat free agency.
Wildcards: Getting Oden with the last pick, i thought was a steal.

Patterns* (i have one rule of thumb in fantasy: get starters (or players with starter minutes) as many as you can. After all, you can't produce if you don't have playing time.): All players are expected to start for their respective teams.
Prediction: 3rd place. Last year in this league, i had a good start and then had a convincing finish. i think i (will) lack the finishing touches this year so i don't think it will be enough.

Solar Bragging Rights - 14 teams head-to-head (1500 | Top 3 in the Money)
PG - Rajon Rondo/Mo Williams/Rodney Stuckey
SG - Brandon Roy/
Peja Stojakovic/
SF - Shawn Marion/Trevor Ariza/Boris Diaw
PF - Kevin Love/Michael Beasley/Andrei Blatche*
C - Al Jefferson/Ronnie Turiaf

Draft Luck: Last year, i lucked out in the draft when i picked Chris Paul with the top pick. This year, it's time to prove that one can win in Roto even without the top three selection. And my first pick this year is Brandon Roy. i went to a small-big combination in the top two selecting Al Jefferson in the second round. A week later, reports say that Big Al is again, unhealthy and having Achilles problems. Tough luck.

Draft Bust: i may have put Rondo (3rd round) and Marion (4th) in my list, but the way the competitive draft selection was going i had to go for the risky picks. Rondo exploded in the Chicago Bulls series last time and i am hoping being in the contract year will push him further. Marion meanwhile is this year's enigma. i know, i know i know when Josh Howard comes back there are going to be issues with playing time and production but i trust Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion, i think we'd see a semblance of the Matrix old days with the run and gun Phoenix Suns.
Wildcards: Obviously, everyone is looking at Trevor Ariza these days. All i know is i need for him to be consistent. Peja was one of those picks; either i luck out or i flip him two weeks from now.
Everyone is a starter except for Blatche (will see major minutes in the first month with Jamison out) Turiaf (i expect at least 15-20 minutes with 2 blocked shots!) and Stojakovic.
Prediction: 6th place. Tough one to swallow but i see it happening. The early injuries does not help. i think i need a real good pick-up in free agency to be able to compete.
CSC Live '09 - 14-team head-to-head (1000 | Winner Takes All)
PG - Dwyane Wade/Raymond Felton/Brandon Jennings
SG - Vince Carter
SF - Caron Butler/Tayshaun Prince/Boris Diaw
PF - Andrea Bargnani/Anderson Varejao/Matt Bonner
C - Al Horford/Shaq O'neal/Greg Oden/Ronnie Turiaf

Draft Luck: At number 5... Dwyane Wade fell into my lap. i understand other manager plan to choose Dwight Howard (4th pick) but it forced me to drop my big-big-big strategy and went the other way: wings-wings-wings. (Wade-Butler-Carter)

Draft Bust: Butler had good seasons the past couple of years. How will the return of Agent Zero affect his production? Will he again miss time in the last few weeks of the regular season? And on another SF, will Tayshaun Prince be ever comfortable again with the Pistons system?
Wildcards: The 1-2-3 picks set the tone; i needed a big in the mid-to-late rounds: acquiring BOTH giants Shaq and Oden WAS big. Or so i think. (Until one or both of them misses time) And how about the Italian shooter Marco Bellineli? i think i will drop him before i end this blog entry. And Andrea please rebound this year...
Patterns: Jennings, Bellineli are the non-starters. And yes i don't have a passing point guard at all. Fret not, that is part of the plan. Prediction: 4th place. Being the defending champion, my consistent add-drop strategy is now out in the open. i expect every manager to do the same this year. What helps my (our) cause though is the fact that from two years ago (we had roto in this league last year) we had 20 teams and that was trimmed down to 14 this year... i have to double my efforts this year to repeat as champ (man, that sounds gooooodd.)

Solar Antipolo - 14 team head-to-head (300 | Top Three in the Money)
PG - Raymond Felton/DJ Augustin/Louis Williams
BoldSG - Kevin Martin/Anthony Parker
SF - Danny Granger/Hedo Turkoglu/Lamar Odom
PF - David West/Andrea Bargnani/Micheal Beasley/Udonis Haslem
C - Emeka Okafor

Draft Luck: None. Autopick and this is what i get. People are right on the selection where i exepected them to be.
Draft Bust: Hedo Turkoglu. Ugh. i think he will disappoint this year.
Wildcards: None. Maybe Louis Williams.
Patterns: Haslem, Odom, i hate their minutes and eventual non-production.
Prediction: An 8th place finish. If i could net a multiple trade sometime i expect to challenge for the bronze.
Team Air Ball Fast Facts:
+ 3/4 leagues - Andrea Bargnani
+ 2/4 leagues - Vince Carter, Michael Beasley, Raymond Felton and Hedo Turkoglu plus Marco Bellineli (dropped a day before the NBA season opener!)

+ i *heart* Matt Bonner (1/4 leagues)--- or better yet i got a boner for Bonner! nd i expect to pick him up over ALL leagues at some point in the season. Eff you McDyess, die die die. Eff you DeJuan Blair, i hope you hit the rookie wall earlier than expected. (This message is brought to you by the Matt Bonner, the #1 Token White Guy Fan Club.)
+ Prediction summary: 0 first place, one money finish (3rd place) 3 inside 4th-8th.
+ Meaning: i really believe i will suck in fantasy this year. So much for the plan of "dominating" the local fantasy scene.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tripping on Jack Trips

Over the weekend, i received a text message from my former boss who is now a pro poker player--- i don't exactly know the definition of a "pro poker player" but he fits the bill in my eyes. This was the same guy who saved me from the hell hole called Naga City four~five years ago and willingly dragged me to the heaven called Solar Entertainment which practically changed everything in my life (For good and bad)

Farthest left is Ron/Red, he's the one with the cap who looks like Jesus Christ--- you should have seen him when he had longer hair. Myself, Jester and a couple other APA pros.

Anyway, the text was a vote of confidence that i could take on "big time" players--- i was to serve as a replacement for one of the members of Team Asian Poker Academy. Replacement or not, i was simply too honored to say NO to him so i decided to join--- being a sort of rookie in these poker team tournaments was not an excuse--- much the same way it wasn't an excuse for him to hire a noob in the production world hiring me
four~five years ago. Fair deal. When life gives you lemons, you better make sure you order bottomless lemonade.

So on a Saturday afternoon with lack of sleep and lack of confidence, with cold sweat and even colder hands i was at the Big Ace Poker Club playing my first-ever poker team tournament.

From there, it all went downhill. Which was to say, i was on to a mediocre finish.

The problem with losing is that no matter what happened the previous days, you kind of get stuck in the moment. In this case, stuck with a mindset that mediocrity is all you are going to achieve. (i completely forgot the fact three days before the tournament i placed 3rd in one of Big Ace's tournament; i won 2,700 on that one but gave away 1,100 for the team event)

The problem with losing in front of your former boss-slash-savior? Your confidence is shaken to its roots. Then you get stuck again in a moment of realization that don't belong in this league.

Up until the next text message from Red that everything is cool and that he actually thinks i should start getting staked in online poker now.

Lemons and life.

And oh? My tourney story?

When life gives you a mid-pair called 7's. You don't try to bluff people. Especially (of course, after the fact) ones with a trio of Jacks.

Ugh. Sucked out big time.

But yeah. i won't deny it: am a gambler. And you can do nothing about it. See you at the

* All images from