In probably our best game of the year, we took down Sanatura at their place 89-67. We lost our last two against Sanatura by a total of about 8 points, so this one felt good. We have four games left vs. PZ, Escazu, Cartago, and Goico. Top 4 teams make the playoffs...
Up by 4 at halftime, we lost steam in the second half as Barva pulled away. They are good. Very good.
After the game, I headed to Manuel Antonio for the weekend. Home to a beautiful national park and gorgeous beaches, I spent the day similar to a beached whale, with my body sprawled out and face down in the sand. The waves were sizable, and I felt like a pansy as 8-year-old Tica girls were shredding waves on their surfboards as I fell down and lost my trousers every time a wave hit me.
Tonight we have Sanatura in essentially a do-or-die game. Vamos!
With the loss to Liceo (our fourth loss of 5 points or less) we find ourselves in a pretty sticky situation. There's only 6 games left in the season, and we need to find a way to finish out these close games if we want to make the playoffs.
Tomorrow is a big one: Barva at home. Word on the street is the game will be televised. For any of you in the US who are subscribers to Costa Rican satellite television (I believe channel 999 on DirecTV), be sure to tune in!
Alas, my triumphant return was short-lived. I started off the game with a three from the corner, a couple boards, a nice steal, and a nice assist. Oh yea and three fouls in three minutes (for those who aren't Costa Rica basketball savvy...that's bad. You only get 5 fouls in the game).
I sat on the bench for the next 17 minutes, and at halftime mentally prepared myself to come out in the second half with a bang. And if coming out with a bang is committing another foul in the first 60 seconds of the half, then I did just that. Unfortunately I wasn't able to convince the refs I didn't do anything wrong. I guess Hollywood didn't teach me any acting skills. Or defensive skills.
I continued to sit on the bench with my fourth foul until midway through the final quarter. Long story short we lost in the last 20 seconds of the game (when I of course committed my fifth and final foul and had to leave the game). To really top everything off, as I was putting on my coat to leave the locker room, a four-inch cockroach came squirming out of it, telling me how bad my defense was as he scurried across the floor.
In other news, as I showed up to Gina's house before the game (I needed my pre-game banana shake), I was met on the kitchen table with 40 cans of tuna and 80 bottles of Smirnoff Ice. Shocked and a little sad Gina didn't invite me earlier to her Tuna and Booze fiesta, I inquired into this rare combination of treats. "Gina??! Que Paso??!" Yup, you guessed it. There was an accident on the highway involving the collision of a Tuna truck and a Smirnoff Ice truck. All bystanders got to take whatever they could carry. I could use a Tuna and Booze fiesta right now...
Due to dozens of pages of confidentiality agreements and legal paperwork that essentially signed my life away, unfortunately I cannot divulge on the happenings of my "business visit" to Hollywood. I will say though that I had to answer if I had ever posed nude in pictures. Or just topless. I wasn't sure how to answer the latter.
I also can say that for a couple days my BOB calculator freaked out and didn't know how to respond to a week in a five-star hotel with an executive suite and all-you-can eat buffets. All for free. For a vagabond hooper, it was incredible (insert tall, gangly, giggling goofball dressed in hotel robe jumping up and down on bed).
Now its home to see friends and family that I haven't seen in a year, then back to CR to finish off the season strong.
We blew a 10-point lead with 4 minutes left and ended up losing in overtime. Basketball is a funny sport. At times, when you're "in the zone" and everything seems to be clicking, you feel like you can't be stopped. Other times, things are so off you think to yourself, "aye caramba...you don't deserve to play ball...go back to Age of Empires where you dominated virtual civilizations and reigned king."
In other exciting news, my shoes broke in the game (I'm now 0 for 2 with basketball shoes in Latin America, as I lost my first pair on a bus traveling across the jungle from practice). I'd like to think the shoes broke because of my blazing-fast speed and super-natural agility. A more plausible explanation is a particular shoe company's sweatshops weren't paying a particular worker enough, so said particular worker decided they were going to half-ass shoe production (I don't blame them) and a particular helpless and poor basketball player in Costa Rica gets the short end of the stick, as said helpless and poor basketball player can't afford new shoes.
Okay, enough complaining. Time for Age of Empires for a moral boost. And Choco Kong.
Wow, what a game. Down 6 with two minutes left, Isaac nailed a three from the corner to cut the deficit in half. After a defensive stop, Darell came down and hit a floating jumper to put us down 1. After another defensive stop with about 45 seconds left, I hit a jumper to put us up 1. I then drew an offensive foul on Escazu's next possession, and hit two free throws to put us up 3. A couple more incredible defensive stops by our big-men Daniel and Jefny (who had 7 blocks on the night) and we sealed the win against #1 Escazu in front of a fired-up crowd.
I ended the night with a solid line (14pts, 7 rebs, 2 steals, and an assist), despite an atrocious 2nd quarter that included a ball bouncing off my chest during a fast break while I wasn't paying attention (I think I was waving to someone in the crowd, or trying to find a date, or looking at one of the many butterflies that makes their way into the gym).
Tonight is another big game against Cartago at their place at 8pm.
Today is an annual holy day where over two million Costa Ricans embark on a religious pilgrimage to Cartago, a city that boasts a beautiful and famous church, Basilica de los Angeles. Catholics from all over the country (I know a girl who walked from Perez Zeledon, 100 miles away) began walking on Friday to ensure their arrival on this 376th anniversary of the holiday. It was pretty neat last night coming home from practice at 11:30pm and seeing the streets packed with these faithful trekkers.
Tomorrow we take on Escazu (4-0) at our place at 8pm. We played Escazu in a couple close matches last season, including two in the semifinals. They went on to play Barva in the championship in a very tight series and are off to a hot start thus far.