(GMA NEWS TV) By Mico Halili - The phenomenon grabbed us by the arms and coerced us to watch.

 Moments into Game 6 of the Semi-Finals between B-Meg Derby Ace and San Miguel last Sunday, James Yap was ready to give it all in the PBA while Kris Aquino was ready to tell it all in The Buzz.

To oversimplify, the men of this country were watching James. The women were tuned to Kris. Itís an inaccurate, gender-insensitive hypothesis, I know. Nevertheless, itís hard to completely disagree. The famous husband and wife, even when reportedly estranged, can bring television audiences together, someway, somehow.

So past six in the evening, James and Kris had their game-faces on. The way James stared at Dondon Hontiveros, San Miguelís assigned defensive-stopper against Yap, on the hard-court was the same way Kris stared at Boy Abunda during a taped sit-down interview. Face to face. Eyeball to eyeball. Mr. and Mrs. Yap were both out to win. James wanted to win to force a Game 7 on Wednesday. Kris wanted to win sympathy and other gains only entertainment public relations masterminds can understand.

James mustíve known that during the first half of his do-or-die game, Kris was going on-air too. Mr. and Mrs. Yap appeared on primetime simultaneously, albeit on separate networks, to display their A-Game. I donít side with anyone. Whatever marital schism James and Kris have is solely their own. Although James tends to keep it to himself, Kris believes itís healthier to let it out.

It was loud in the Araneta Coliseum. But for one frazzled soul, loud can be comforting. The court looked like Yapís refuge, even with over 10,000 onlookers. Would it be too radical to say that James has more peace of mind in a deafening coliseum than in an empty parking lot? The frenzy of a basketball game provides the pressure that makes him. On other hand, the pressure from showbiz reporters, all wanting him to speak up and offer more than just polite replies, is out to break him.

Clearly, the James-Kris marriage, or the disintegration of it, is a spectacle. Not a spectacle in the sarcastic sense. More like spectacle in a scholarly view. Two strong individuals thrive in the blinding spotlight of adulation. Two larger-than-life citizens deal with intense public scrutiny the way most of us worry about paying bills on time. Itís part of life. Only their life is like Facebook made for television. Every ďstatus" is public domain. Every ďphoto" is displayed for the world to see.

This is less like David Beckham-Posh Spice and more like Joe DiMaggio-Marilyn Monroe. Itís a fractious team-up between sports icon and entertainment superstar that leads, unfortunately, to more murmurs than cheers. In high-profile cases, the backroom whispers, rather than public outcry, often lead to sensational endings. Even while an apparent divorce goes on-air, two monolith personalities leave us breathless. When James has the ball or when Kris has the microphone, we all stop and watch, as witnesses either by choice or simply by force. -- GMANews.TV

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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