With the MVP Group led by Manny Pangilinan pushing the envelop for the Philippines to host the 2019 FIBA World Cup, it has created a boom in stadium and sports venue construction. First, the Philippine Arena, next the Philippine Sports Stadium and now provincial venues are going to be constructed as well. In fact, Cebu, Davao and now Bacolod will have their own spanking new, gargantuan and modern indoor arenas in time for the biggest basketball tournament that we last hosted in 1978.

The Solaire Group has also joined in the fray by building another state of the art basketball arena in the capital. Mayor Monico Puentebella, former commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission, is also planning to have one in Bacolod. These venues would suffice the requirements needed by the international basketball federation for the Philippines’ hosting bid.

But a sneak peak shows what it is all about:

It has a space-age design with twisting glass membranes and durian-like roof (similar to the Singapore's Esplanade). The turquoise color scheme reminds me of the USLS Stingers Arena, the home of MBA's Negros Slashers. Maybe its high time to relive the Cebu-Negros rivalry since the former will have the Seaside City Arena soon!

Envision this arena hosting  PBA games and maybe FIBA competitions soon!

I am always fascinated with alternate history wizard Harry Turtledove in the way he envisioned alternate World War 2 outcomes that often resulting in Axis victory. I wonder how life would be in our time if we are under the shadow of a tyrannical regime imposing its new world order. Fortunately, it never happened and we're only left to imagine a dystopian future where everything "degenerate" is eradicated.

In his novel "In the Presence of Mine Enemies," Turtledove envisioned a modern day version of our timeline where Germany's Third Reich continues to thrive after its victory in World War 2 thereby keeping most of Europe and North America under its heel. But within the heart of the Nazi regime, secret Jewish stragglers managed survived and tried to live their lives under their enemies' shadows.

Interestingly, the book was based upon current geopolitical events of the time when the Soviet Union (of our time) disintegrated and characters recognizably based on Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin.

Although the war went in favor of the Axis Powers, Adolf Hitler managed to survive a little bit longer but was eventually replaced by SS Chief Heinrich Himmler after his death. Fast forward to their Cold War timeline, the victorious Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan battled for global dominance and eventually resulted in World War 3.

Himmler eventually died in 1985 and replaced by a more reform-oriented and moderate Austrian named Kurt Halweim. As a result, Haldweim's reform opened the democratic process with the British Union of Fascists decided to move towards independence by electing Charlie Lynton. This has opened the floodgates of democratic ideas, something that the Nazi regime vow to eradicate.

After Haldweim's death, another reform-minded Führer rose into power. Heinz Buckliger makes a secret speech to the party leaders gathered at Nuremberg. Rumors have swirled that the new Führer denounces his crimes of its predecessors - Hitler et al. Gradually, partial reforms have created some degree of personal freedom for German citizens, and ease the German yoke over the empire.

On the other hand, it also empowered reactionary opposition gathers around the still-powerful SS, while the populist Gauleiter of Berlin Rolf Stolle appears to champion accelerated reforms. In 2011, Buckliger announces plans for relatively free elections. Although all political candidates need no longer be nominated by the Nazi Party, they must still be "Aryan."

Under the leadership of the Reichsführer-SS Lothar Prützmann, the SS launches a coup, take Buckliger prisoner on the Croatian island of Hvar and install former High Commissioner of Ostland Affairs Odilo Globocnik as the new Führer. However, the coup is stymied by a manifestation of "people's power" led by Stolle, to which the Wehrmacht eventually lends its support. In an ironic twist of fate, the call "Deutschland erwache" (Germany, Awake!), an old Nazi battle cry which helped Hitler to power, is used as a call to defend reform and democracy.

The coup is defeated due to black propaganda and blackmail as rumors have circulated that Prützmann, the leader of the coup, is of Jewish blood. In fact, it is ironically the hidden Jews themselves who started this rumor rolling. In the aftermath, Globocnik is lynched by a mob, followed by public hanging of senior SS members.

By the end of the book, after the sweeping reforms and changes, Germany has had free elections, as did several West European countries, the power of the SS is severely curbed (but the organization is not disbanded altogether), people can speak their mind far more freely, and the Czechs, led by an unnamed Václav Havel, are on their way to regaining some amount of independence.

However, Germany remained hesitant in giving up its hegemony and the Wehrmacht is strongly opposed to ending its occupation of the defeated United States. The racist mindset remained ingrained due to years of political indoctrination of the citizens of the occupied countries. Nothing was mentioned to the fate of the slave populations and the surviving hidden Jews.

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{picture#https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-AgIZYN7u_Hg/VZvLmrA0hpI/AAAAAAAARt8/mscbLJ1All4/profile%2Bpic.jpg} JP Canonigo is a historian, professional blogger and copywriter, online content specialist, copywriter, video game junkie, sports fanatic and jack-of-all trades. {facebook#http://www.facebook.com/istoryadista} {twitter#http://www.twitter.com/jpthehistorian} {google#http://plus.google.com/+JPSakuragi}
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