And I’m not referring to Jayceon Terrell Taylor.
Friday, June 30th 2017 — While sitting on my porch enjoying a surprisingly informative in-depth analysis of George of the Jungle, I was rudely interrupted by silence’s mortal enemy — the guagua anunciadora. For those of you who don’t know what that is, I envy you. The art of a proper audio setup in a car usually earns my respect, but when it comes to the sound systems in guagua anunciadoras, they demand the complete opposite of respect — blatant disrespect. Nobody needs 20 speakers, 6 amps, and five 20-inch sub-woofers in a car, especially not to announce that you sell bananas at unbeatable prices! Unlike other guaguas anunicadoras however, this particular guagua anunciadora was a special guagua anunciadora. Why? Because I was finally able to decipher what they were anunciadoring (a word I made up — which simply translates to announcing, but not quite in English and not quite in Spanish).
Thanks to an obnoxiously loud and wall rattling moving commercial, I found out that my town was hosting a basketball tournament at the multipurpose gym down the street from my house on Saturday, July 1st. Many of you know that it is my dream to become a sports reporter/journalist (and many of you also know that’s not true), so this was an opportunity I simply couldn’t let pass.
It was time to channel my inner Doris Burke, so I wrote a recap of the championship game.
MONTE PLATA — The province’s biggest rivalry is coming to the municipal city.
№1 Monte Plata (Green) rallied from a 12 point deficit in the second half, getting an emotional lift from a revitalized Papi Shampoo, to beat №5 Bayaguana 81–77 in the semi-finals and set up a championship match with №2 Yamasa (Orange). The tension in the air, mostly a result of the dense smoke from the indoor fireworks, could easily be cut with a rusted machete.
“We’re two of the greatest programs to exist. We’re accustomed, they’re accustomed to playing in buildings that have a lot of energy, for or against them,” Monte Plata’s coach Dominick Ramirez said. “So to be in that moment (the semifinals), the people who were in the stands, they have a chance to enjoy that because those moments don’t happen all the time, outside of baseball games, dominoes and eating competitions. Our two programs have created a lot of the rest.”
Separated by about 30 kilometers, Monte Plata (25–8) and Yamasa (23–10) are one Monte Platacampionato title apart for most in their conference. Monte Plata has won 19 and Yamasa 18.
MP is 12–8 against Yamasa in the Platacampionato Tournament, but the Green Guineos have not met the Yuccas in the tourney since beating them in the 2011 title game.
The teams split this season, with each winning on its home floor.
“The atmosphere will be great, the fans will be great,” Monte Plata’s Maverick “Chulo” Lopez said. “We have great fans who travel with us, they have fans who travel with them. Both bring platanos to give us strength.”
“So that was a semifinal game?” Simeon “El Rubio” Castro from Yamasa said. “Holy mackerel. Dianches, that was a big-time game. I’m more exhausted from that than an Omega merengue song! This final is definitely going to be interesting.”
Chulo scored 25 points to lead the Green Guineos. El Rubio had 24, including some big 3s down the stretch, and Papi Shampoo added 18 in his best performance in a month.
THE BIG GAME
Monte Plata’s Green Guineos Starting Lineup:
Point Guard: #17 Emmanuel “Palpitar” Rivera
Shooting Guard:#12 Maverick “Chulo” Lopez
Shooting Forward: #03 Diego “Papi Shampoo” Rodriguez
Power Forward: #14 Miguel “El Tocayo” Gonzales
Center: #33 Junior “Osito” Garcia
Yamasa’s Yucca Starting five:
PG: #11 Saulo “Principe Hermoso” Rodriguez
SG: #07 Simeon “El Rubio” Castro
SF: #08 Alex “Azucar” Sarno
PF: #12 Stanley “Estanley” Ayala
C: #26 Johnby “Chismoso” Gomez
Monte Plata: Every move El Tocayo makes gets scrutinized since he was suspended earlier this season for tripping an opponent for the third time in his career. Local chisme also has it that he was fooling around with one of the ref’s sisters, but I like to believe they remain professional enough to leave personal matters outside of a championship game.
The veteran forward drew technical fouls in each of his last two games, including a scoreless outing in 12 foul-troubled minutes against Sabana Grande.
Against Principe Hermoso, Palpitar, who has been nursing a sore ankle due to a calibrando accident on his moto, played like his old self again.
“We really needed a spark off the bench, and I didn’t think I did a good job of that in the first game,” Palpitar said. “The Daddy Yankee songs in between breaks is really helping me out in this one.”
He was booed by opposing fans every time he stepped on the floor, especially with so many Yamasa fans simultaneously shouting, “Coooññooo! Coooññooo! Coooññooo!” Monte Plata fans desperately tried to counter the cheers by blasting music from their portable speakers.
“Amo a Palpitar,” Osito said. “Palpitar, I got his back all the time. And everyone in our program has his back all the time. The public eye on our program is a blessing and can be a curse. So we have to be able to deal with all of it, claro.”
Palpitar was fouled shooting a 3 with 2:58 left in the third, a call that got about equal parts boos and hoots. As he shot his free throws, there were boos and dios mios! After each make, juepas! He cut the lead to 64–61 by the time he was done and then went to the bench where his teammates all got to their feet to greet him with empanadas and pats on the back and head.
“Well, for me, energy produces energy,” Osito said. “I think we already had energy, and people saw it. And then Palpitar has played for three years all out. All out. Ese tipo ta’ loco. That was another example of it, and our teammates and everyone responded.
“And the people who don’t want us to win, they responded. Dios bendiga a todos. Energy produced more energy.”
Yamasa: El Rubio scored 31 points, which led by a dozen 3-pointers with 7 minutes left since hardly any defense was played during this tournament, but struggled from the free-throw (7 for 26). The Yuccas had a chance to tie it late, but Estanley missed a shot with 4 seconds left in the third as he leaned into a defender trying to draw contact with his infamous ‘Bachata Euro-step’.
“No dejen pasar na’!,” Yamasa coach Ricky Pitino shouted. “We have got to cure these free-throw shooting woes.”
Between the heroic efforts of El Rubio and Principe Hermoso, who scored 19 and 15 respectively, the Yuccas grabbed the lead halfway through the final quarter. Yamasa’s run increased to seven after Principe Hermoso’s 3-pointer gave the Yuccas a 99–96 lead with 2:30 to play. I could never imagine what would happen next.
Unfortunately, I was unable to finish the game. It was past 10:30 P.M. and my host family has stressed my presence at home before 11:00 P.M. due to the machete fights that occur in the central park at night. The walk home takes approximately 30 min. so I had no choice but to leave the game early if I wanted to be back before the tigueres started their evening prowl.
Hopefully I will be able to attend next year’s game in its entirety. Thanks for checking in for now. Sorry…
Ya tu sabe, cogiendola suave.
Other noticeable events of the night:
- A 50 peso VIP seat — Which is the equivalent of a $1.05 USD ticket.
- There were three people in the crowd who recognized me, which is a huge accomplishment when you don’t know anybody.
- The fireworks show before the championship game. I couldn’t upload a video, but I wish I could show you so bad. Everything about the fireworks was extremely against fire code. Let’s just say the fireworks were the type of fireworks meant to be shot off outside, not inside. It took half the game for the smoke to clear.
- The melted chocolate bar my friend Gabi gave me, which I snuck in as a snack:
- The multiple photo shoots occuring in the sidelines:
- The obscene amount of times “Tirale Coooññooo!” was said.
- The hula hoop halftime show:
- The obscene amount of wife beater undershirts in the crowd.
- The championship trophy:
- The obscene amount of times somebody in the crowd asked to shoot a ball during warm-ups.
- Alex “Azucar” Sarno’s SICK DUNK:
- Me making it home safely through the central park before 11:00 P.M.
BONUS PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL FIELD PICS (*Hint*Hint*)