Survivor Insights 72: Survivor Nicaragua- Inferno Madness (Episode 2)

1) Tribal Council: La Flor’s very first tribal Council was an inferno madness. Web of personalities began to clash and selfish intentions started to surface. In one side, there was Shannon versus Chase. Jeff Probst popped a question then Shannon started to fall apart. He lose much control allowing his irrational subconscious to dictate. He was clearly digging his own grave by:

a) Blaming Chase for everything

This was already a sign that Shannon was ready to go. He knew it and he was only taking his time to knock-out somebody. It’s funny but Shannon could not blame Chase. If Chase decided to replace him with a hot chick like Brenda, that’s understandable. Chase also handled the situation well and as what other people say, with a class.

The Chase-Brenda combination could last longer and they could protect each other if they want to. Shannon-Chase? No this would be a disaster for sure.

b) Ignoring Jud’s advise to shut up

Shannon must still be thankful for Flavio for not voting against him.

c) Asking Matthew (called as Sash) if he was gay

On the other side: Shannon versus Sash. This is another Shannon’s biggest error for sure. Sexuality has nothing to do with SURVIVOR so the question he asked is irrelevant to what they’re discussing.

d) Crying out loud that New York is full of gay people

Finally, there’s Shannon versus NYC. One question for Shannon for this subject matter:

What’s the significant relationship between playing a survival game and the gay communities in New York in comparison with Louisiana? LOL

2) Holly Confessions: Holly was not Russel and Russel was not Holly. Therefore, it was fair for Holly to get crazy and showed some degree of remorse after. This was a good thing though but in this game, confessing something bad is truly bad. That means you would go home next.

3) Marty, Jill & the Hidden Immunity Idol: Jill was impressive. This was my first time seeing a moment where someone as analytical as Jill has solved the complicated clue of the hidden immunity idol. Her biggest error though was of all the people in the group, she relayed the message to Marty. Jill and Marty could be good partners but will it last?

Yes, no or maybe- We all know who Marty is. He would play this game without any boundaries unless there’s a change of heart, for Jill maybe?

4) Na Onka & Fabio: These two castaways have probably forgotten how to act as grown-ups. Their arguments were made for toddlers and that was purely absurd. But it’s still hard to deny Nay and Flavio could bring some entertaining drama, not just some hidden talks here and there.

5) The Reward/Immunity Challenge: I enjoyed this challenge. I miss those moments where these castaways get dirty just to win a challenge. Tyrone aced this one for Espada with the help of the other members of course… and the Medallion of Power. While in La Flor, Ben submitted to his nerves. Kelly B. was beyond impressive during this challenge. This woman is extraordinary. She’s already a SURVIVOR in her own rights and she’s playing this game superbly.

EPISODE RATING: 8  of 10 stars

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I have forgotten to mention the hottest momma in Nicaragua, Yve. So, here we go:

Survivor Insights 71: Survivor Nicaragua (Pilot Episode)

1) The Medallion of Power: Another new season, another new twist before the game started- The Medallion of Power. Brenda found it but she has given it up in exchange of flint and other fishing tools. I thought this was really a bad idea at first. You need power to win SURVIVOR. Power may not be everything but if you’ll use it to take small steps at a time, you’ll go far.

Espada owned the Medallion of Power, so that means, they have a level-up advantage during the Immunity Challenge. Their decision not to use it was unusual. You are offered with something that can benefit ten people and all of a sudden, you would not take it. That’s quite vague.

The real winner of this immunity/reward challenge was not only La Flor, it’s alsoBrenda. I was impressed with what she said after the challenge. To paraphrase what she said, it goes like this: ‘Why think of tomorrow when you have the power and you’re competing now”

Brenda was absolutely correct and I am on her side in this. To win SURVIVOR, you need to think about what is the present situation. Thinking and daydreaming where you’ll be in 30th day would not help you if it’s still Day Number 3.  Play the game and grab the moment NOW and there would be no regrets.

2) Opening Introduction: Until now, I cannot stop asking why do the production needs to change the castaways’ real names. Matthew and Ben are basic names. These are not names that require you to mumble for several times. Perhaps, some people can associate Matthew and Ben (They changed the names to Sash and Benry, respectively) to some other castaways such as Matty (S16), Matthew (S6) or Benjamin “Coach” (S18). This is quite weird and sometimes, I am not in favor with this marketing technique.

To note, SURVIVOR has been changing the names many times in the past. (Robert to Bob, Jessica to Sugar, Danny to GC, Tamara to Taj, James to JT, Debra to Debbie etc.)

3) The La Flor Tribe: This was my first time to see a tribe with ten young members without something very special to talk about. Without Kelly Bruno’s courageous revelation, this tribe was quite empty. It was like you are expecting a bomb to explode and all you have seen was the expected.

To me, there are only three moments worth-remembering in La Flor:

A) Kelly Bruno and her huge target on her back

B) Judd was called Flavio for being funny and for being the dumb blond (as what Shannon said)

C) Chase made an alliance with Shannon and Brenda which could collapse anytime soon.

4) The Tribal Council: Espada was the first tribe in Tribal Council, that means, they got the big portion of editing.

Back at camp, three Espada members stood out: the two Jimmys and Marty. Almost one third of the editing was about Jimmy Johnson, the former NFL Coach. Everyone was talking about Jimmy that even the other Jimmy wanted him gone.

And here’s Marty! You can immediately say the man was into the game. Marty was not the dictator like I was expecting him to be while reading his profile. He was the good negotiator who has a good plan inside his head- the type of competitor that you can’t read what his next move is.

During the Tribal Council, Jimmy Johnson fired back by admitting to his entire group that he’s not the boss. Quite the unexpected, Jimmy Johnson received no votes. There’s a little mystery that even the cast-off, Wendy, voted for Yve instead of Jimmy.


Survivor Insights 70: Survivor Nicaragua- First Impression Favorites

Here in the Philippines, Survivor Nicaragua (This is the 21st season of the most popular reality-competition show on Earth) premieres on September 16, 2010 on Solar TV at 9 PM. Twenty new castaways divided into young (La Flor) and old (Espada) will be outwitting, outplaying and outlasting each other to win the coveted title of sole survivor and one million dollars.

If you ask me, this is quite a risky formula considering the production team considers a new timeslot since 2000 and a new nice twist that can change the course of the entire game. For the past ten years, I am already conditioned to sit at my throne while eyes glued on the tube during Friday nights (my time). Change is change and you know what, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, it does not matter to me anymore. As long as I am alive and kicking, I will watch Mark Burnett’s SURVIVOR and that routine cannot be broken by anything or anyone.

No questions ask.

To get into the details of writing this post, I choose my early impression bets before the pilot tomorrow and I have decided to pick one man and one woman in each tribe to make the selection fair and square.


Ben Henry (24)

Originally, I have picked Chase Rice for this spot but it appears Ben gives more depth in his response when asked “Why you think you will be the sole survivor?” His answer: “Because if you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, you get paid good!”

The only thing that bugs me while reading Ben’s profile is the word controlling when he has given the chance to describe himself. When you are in control of this game, you don’t win except if you’re Richard Hatch or Parvati Shallow. This is a taboo term for SURVIVOR yet if Ben, in any case, has used “controlling” covertly and would continue to take risky chances, he would be fine.

Alina Wilson (23)

The huge reason why I picked Alina is her fire to win SURVIVOR. She is an art student and described herself as creative and sweet.

These are two powerful qualities and it would be enough to outwit her competitors if Alina would sprinkle it with the right amount of competitiveness. Should she failed, Kelly Shin might took her place.


Marty Piombo (48)

Changing my first impression bet the last minute and that decision has to be Marty. You’re questioning me why,

SURVIVOR Contestant You Are Most Like:

I’m a mix of Boston Rob and Russell. They are relentless, clever, devious and will do anything to win. I’ll play the game in a similar fashion.

I assume you already know my reasons, right?

Still, it can’t be denied being too powerful has its own downsides. Boston Rob and Russel Hantz were two of the most conniving competitors in SURVIVOR History who never won this game even once. To rewrite the history in his favor, Marty could use his charismatic and funny personality to stay on track.

Yve Rojas (41)

The one nice thing about Yves is she slightly gets annoyed when she was not acknowledged once she speaks. I don’t know why that becomes an annoyance.

She could certainly use this strategy to fly under the radar until she reaches the top. The similar strategy was used by her two SURVIVOR contestants she likes the most: Bob Crawley and Danni Boatwright.

By keeping her emotions in check and be in her physical healthy state, this could be the right formula for the title.

Intelligence + Athleticism + Generosity = YVE

Photos Courtesy of:

US Open 2010: The Boombastic Ending!

At a young age of 24, Rafael Nadal completed his Golden Slam Career (9 Grand Slam Titles + 1 Olympic Gold Medal) by beating Novak Djokovic in a jam-packed US Open Finals in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Before the hour-long rain delay at 6-4, 4-4 (30-30), Rafa took control of the match winning three consecutive games while trailing 1-4 in the second set.

Patience is a virtue and luckily, Novak Djokovic found his pace and played at his supreme level to seal a win at 7-5. Rafa dominated the third and fourth sets (6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2) and for that, this match instantly became the most competitive men’s finale at a slam this 2010. Every point spoke for itself. The exchanging baseline rallies were regularly deep and un-returnable.

The top seed fired 8 aces: 49 winners and only 31 unforced errors compared to his runner up’s 5 aces, 45 winners and 47 unforced errors. Anyone could also notice there are some moments that Rafa was struggling, especially with his serves, but his incomparable ability to control his nerves have helped him win the big and important points.

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Q. Can you talk a little bit about today’s rain delay, what you did during that time and what you told yourself about the match?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, well, the delay, it wasn’t in the right moment for me, but just go back to the locker room, have a shower, and have all the tapes another time. That’s what I did.

Q. What did you tell yourself about the match at that point?

RAFAEL NADAL: Nothing special, no? I think — I thought before the match gonna be very difficult for me to win this match today, because the style of Novak is very difficult for me, because he play aggressive, he play very inside the court with very complete shots on the baseline, forehand and backhand, and difficult for me.

But I started the match feeling the ball great, and for me what I said to myself is I did another time, so I can do it another time. So just be there, fight every point and try to play with high intensity all the time, so I know if I play with high intensely, put a lot of balls inside and play long. Finally, I think he can be more tired than me, so if the match is long, I think I gonna have a little bit of advantage, and that’s what I thought before the match. But if he starts to play like he did in Paris, is true indoor is different, my level is completely different now than what I did in the Masters 1000 in Paris last year, but when he’s playing at his best, he’s very difficult to stop.

Courtesy of:

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What Happened to Novak Djokovic?

The US Open is Djokovic’s most successful 2010 slam appearance considering he has played two five-set matches (Round 1 against his compatriot Victor Troicki and his unforgettable semifinal-thriller against Roger Federer, where Djokovic saved two match points at 15-40 {4-5} in the deciding set).

He won three matches in straight sets (Round 2 against the Wimbledon Doubles Champion Phillip Petzschner, Round 3 & 4 against America’s Favorites James Blake & Mardy Fish and the Quarterfinals against Frenchman Gael Monfils).

Novak Djokovic became the only person who won a set against Rafa, who has not drop a set in his six consecutive matches and was only broken twice before the “Dream Finale.”

There might be a lot of talks of what-would-have and what-could-have. Many experts also thought the match suspension on Day 14 would turn the tables in favor for Nole. If you ask me and while watching it live on TV, I seem to realize the match was not all about who’s well-rested and who’s not. Both of these guys showed signs of physical exhaustion.

The big difference is, the Serbian allowed his focus to disappear especially in the fifth set and that has resulted to poor placement of the ball during rallies.

The Happy Moments

1) Like Serena Williams in Australian Open and Wimbledon , Kim Clijsters has conquered the US Center Court for two times in a row. In fact, Clijsters has an easier route to finals than in 2009. She demolished Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round before ousting French Open Finalist (Sam Stosur) in three.

During the first 31 minutes of the semifinals, Venus Williams successfully devoured the defending champion. Venus’ serves and winners were blasting and Clijsters has no answers.

Like what happened in the quarterfinals with French Open Champion (Francesca Schiavone), Venus’ inconsistencies left her in frustration in the next two sets. Venus got lucky and won her match against Schiavone. Sorry to say, it was totally a different story in the semifinals.

The Queen of Wimbledon had her chances to end the match during the tiebreaker in the second set but her double-faults hurt her overall game. Clijsters only took advantage of the situation and handled it the way it should be.

At 4-4 in the third, Venus could not fix her serves and she continued to donate points. Clijsters, despite of all the momentum swings, has even strike a winner to seal a spot in the finals (4-6, 7-6, 6-4).

If there’s any dark horses in the women’s main draw, there’s actually two of them but this label still belongs to Vera Zvonareva. The Russian outlasted Kaia Kanepi and Caroline Wozniacki, who were top contenders for the title. Yet, as the nerves envelop Zvonareva, she only rallied to win three games against Kim Clijsters in the finals.

2) Speaking of dark horses, Mikhail Youzhny has proven he’s also worth the title by reaching his second semifinal since 2006. Blessed by powerful one-handed backhand and explosive returns, Youzhny came on top against a web of popular names: John Isner, Tommy Robredo and Stanislas Wawrinka.

The Nadal-Youzhny match did not disappoint the expectations of many people as the veteran has produced three aces and has broken Rafa’s serve in the third set to level the play at 4-4.

Having a hard time forgetting the elation, Youzhny has somehow forgotten he’s still playing a hungry beast who remained to be steady and confident in every point. Youzhny allowed the top seed to win two consecutive games.

3) Ana Ivanovic has showed the tennis world that she’s returning to her old winning form by destroying 2010 AEGON International Champion (Makarova) during her opener at the Grandstand.

Unseeded but still the big favorite, Ana has learned to forget the past and thrash Zheng Jie the next round. Ivanovic dominated but still got a bit nervous and overexcited during the first set at 4-1 lead.

She has permitted Zheng to win two consecutive games in a row. Thanks to her consistency and she has angled her shots at the right corners of the court. The French Open 2008 Champion won the match in a landslide (6-3, 6-0).

Ana scored 7-5, 6-0 against Virginie Razzano of France only committing 13 unforced errors throughout the match. Although Ana failed to reach quarterfinals and overpowered by the eventual champion, the US Open 2010 was, all in all, a good week for Ana even the main draw was not as intense as the draw she had in Rome, where she defeated Elena Dementieva for the first time in her tennis career.

4) Another young American was given a difficult test and he passed. His name is Ryan Harrison.

Winning three consecutive matches during the qualifying, Harrison stunned the 2010 Indian Wells Champion (Ivan Ljubicic) in his first Grand Slam Opener.

Having the natural gift and the tenacity to be the America’s Next Top Player, he won 146 total points against Ljubicic’s 120 – having produced 13 aces: 44 winners: won 59% of net approaches and a break point percentage of 27%.

Watching his game, Harrison’s biggest weapons were his serve and movement. At 18, he could move around the court so well but he could not always support it with his forehand and backhand groundstrokes that could be out of his control. Like other tennis players on tour, Harrison has to learn how to control his emotions effectively and be more patient when bad things start to pile up.

5) The Fourth Round: Caroline Wozniacki vs Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-4

Caroline Wozniacki as the top seed of a slam for the very first time did satisfy what many people, myself included, were expecting her to perform. Watching this match, anyone could see the transformation in Wozniacki’s style of playing. Instead of staying behind the baseline to chase balls, Wozniacki has used her speed to move near the volley line to finish a point. Her groundstrokes also improved and most of them are deep.

Before the match started, I wanted the Russian Superstar to dictate how this match should be played. Maria Sharapova was playing “just that good” against Caroline yet, I did not expect her to be broken immediately multiple times due to unforced errors (36) and double faults (9).

Photos Courtesy of: Yahoo! Sports