Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Former BaliPure import Jennifer Keddy battling ovarian cancer

Former BaliPure import Jennifer Keddy battling ovarian cancer
by rick olivares

Former BaliPure import Jennifer Keddy flew back home to Montana from Wiesbaden, Germany in December of 2017 to get a medical checkup, she was a little worried. Before her second stint in Germany, she had played with BaliPure in the Premier Volleyball League and led the Purest Water Defenders to a second place finish. She also couldn’t wait to return home as she had been away from her family in the United States for about eight months.

Recharged from the short break, she flew back to play for VC Wiesbaden. Unfortunately, she prematurely terminated her contract after some medical issues. She had discovered a lump in her stomach. “There was no pain, but I looked pregnant and was very bloated. My body was a hard mass so I knew something wasn’t right,” she told this writer.

“I went to see a doctor and got an ultrasound. They told me I had a tumor and it was so big they couldn’t tell me where it started. After getting a MRI, I went straight to the doctor to look at the pictures and she wasn’t 100% sure but she told me that she was 98% sure it wasn’t cancerous. I had to make a decision – to stay in Germany which isn’t my home and where I have no family and friends save for my teammates. But everything is free. Or I fly home to have the surgery and post-operational things done with my family and friends by my side.”

After flying home to Montana, it was revealed that she had ovarian cancer. “This can’t be,” she added. “I’m only 26 years old.”

After college at California Polytechnic State University, Keddy went overseas to play professional volleyball. “It wasn’t an easy decision to make,” Jennifer told me last year a few weeks after she arrived in Manila to suit up for BaliPure where she tag teamed with Jang Bualee to back-stop the Purest Water Defenders.

When I first met Jennifer Keddy, it was at the tunnel entrance leading to the court of the Filoil Flying V Centre. Her new team, BaliPure had a match that day. It was her first game with her new team after arriving from Europe where she concluded a tournament.

A young girl, probably slightly older than Keddy’s then 25-years of age but who looked younger because she was like a foot smaller than the six-foot-four American, approached her. The volleyball fan asked for a photo to which Keddy obliged. “You’re so tall,” the girl enthused because Keddy seemed taller than her listed height. Keddy smiled.

Strength and conditioning coach Raymond Pili added, “Always in our prayers” to which Jennifer replied, “I should have eaten the balut.”

BaliPure team manager Paolo Turno also expressed words of support.

“People mistake loneliness and trying to adapt into a different environment for aloofness or not being interested,” she explained. “You try to take stock of a different climate, different culture, different situation, different language. You cannot process that overnight or within a week. And in the middle of everything you have to play volleyball.”

After struggling early on, Keddy and her new teammates turned on the jets and made a mad dash for the semi-finals and then the finals. Unfortunately, they came up short losing in a memorable three-game series to Pocari Sweat.

In the middle of that run, I frequently chatted with Jennifer about life in the Philippines, the NBA (she’s a Cleveland Cavaliers fan), food, and volleyball. It took a while to get into the swing of things but when she did, she began to enjoy her stint here. In one of her last few nights in Manila, the team closed the tournament with a dinner at a restaurant in San Juan where we spoke for about 15 minutes. “I really appreciate this team. They made me feel very much welcome and I appreciate that.”

Now back at home after an operation to remove the tumor, she is undergoing chemotherapy. Keddy’s family turned to “gofundme” to help with all the medical expenses. “It was actually my mom’s idea to start the ‘gofundme’ page. I had no idea what it was and didn’t expect much to come from it. Then all of a sudden there was so much support and so many donations I was amazed and touched so I am thankful for everyone.”

Keddy described the treatment routine: “I’m doing chemo and the acronym for my chemo is called BEP for Bleomysin, Etoposide, and Cysplatin. My chemo regimen is three rounds with each round lasting three weeks. One round looks like this; week one, chemo Monday through Friday, 4.5 hours each time. Week two, chemo on Tuesdays only and week three chemo Tuesday only.”

Her BaliPure coach, Roger Gorayeb posted a message of support on Keddy’s Facebook page, “Me and your teammates will always be here for you, Jen,” he wrote. Teammate Jorelle Singh added, “Love you, Ate Jenny. Keep on fighting.”

If anyone would like to offer words or even send donations, they can reach out to Jennifer Keddy’s Facebook page or the GoFundMe page: Help Jennifer Keddy Spike Cancer.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Second gen stars lead way for DLSZ in BBI hoops wins

Second gen stars lead way for DLSZ in BBI hoops wins
by rick olivares

Second-generation hoopsters stamped their class for different age-division teams of De La Salle Zobel last weekend in the Smart Breakdown Basketball Invitationals Cherifer Tangkad Sagad Tournament at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center in Quezon City.

Dwyane James Miranda, son of pro player Dennis Miranda, top scored for DLSZ’s 12-Under team in a 73-39 demolition of Rich Golden Showers Montessori College. The younger Miranda led the way for the Junior Archers with 13 points.

Miranda has another 10-year old basketball playing son also for DLSZ, the eponymously-named Chris Paul Miranda.

In the 10-Under category, Kristoffer Favis scored 13 points while Daniel Sta. Maria, Dominic Joaquin Arejola, and Kiefer Alas each added nine points in a 53-41 win over Ateneo. Kristoffer is the son of former DLSZ and UST star Binky while Daniel is the son of former Green Archers forward Adonis Sta. Maria. Dominic Joaquin is the son of former DLSU guard Eric Arejola who is now with GlobalPort team management in the PBA. Kiefer is the son of former Adamson star and current Phoenix Petroleum coach Louie Alas.

Xavier School bounced back from a disappointing weekend the other week with a 12-Under clobbering of La Salle College Antipolo, 86-24, and a 17-Under triumph over Our Lady of Perpetual Succor College, 87-60, behind Batang Gilas’ Miguel Tan’s 21 points with Martin Sadhwani adding 12. The Golden Stallions held LSCA to below double digits in each of the first three quarters.

Agila, a club team of Ateneo players in the 10-under bracket laid waste to OLPSC, 82-33 behind Derek Domangcas’ 19 points and LeBron Nieto’s 12 markers. Nieto is the youngest son of former Ateneo Blue Eagles Jet Nieto whose other songs, Matt and Mike recently helped their seniors squad cop the UAAP title.

In 12-Under play, Disciples defeated Ateneo-Paya, 57-49.

The Smart Breakdown Basketball Invitationals are sponsored by Smart, Cherifer, San Marino corned tuna,, and Mared Rubber.

Ateneo Blue Eaglets continue to roll

Blue Eaglets continue to roll
by rick olivares

The Ateneo Blue Eaglets kicked in the afterburners in the second period to destroy UST, 78-54, to remain undefeated in eight matches in the UAAP Juniors Division at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

How did they get the win?

UST started out well (same as they did in their first round encounter) with superb shooting from Jezreel Villapando while playing with a lot of energy and a willingness to take the game inside to the Eaglets. Villapando drilled two triples and a medium range jumper to inspire UST.

Defensively, Ateneo didn’t close down the shooters and gave the Tiger Cubs lots of space to make their shots. Furthermore, after surrendering an early layup to Ateneo courtesy of a nifty crossover by Joaqui Manuel for an all-alone layup, UST’s zone forced the Eaglets to attempt three triples next time down the floor. And they forced Ateneo into two 24-second shot clock violations.

Ateneo didn’t help themselves by missing six free throws in the first period. However, they ended it on a positive note as they played better towards its end despite being down 18-13.

If an opposing team wants to stop Ateneo, they need to prevent them from running because they are dangerous in the open court and a free-flowing game. SJ Belangel, Dave Ildefonso, Joaqui Manuela, Jason Credo thrive in this kind of game.

It was also the entry of Credo late in the second period (he didn’t enter right away as he had uniform problems) that changed the game. He immediately spun around CJ Cansino for a layup. Then he wreaked havoc on the defensive end. He stopped Villapando from doing any more damage and gave CJ Cansino fits. Credo relishes the defensive challenges and has more often than not taken on the opposing team’s top scorer. A lot of this denial and tough D does not reflect in his personal stats.

As a whole, Ateneo turned the game around on the defensive end.


Steals 5 to UST’s 1

Blocks 9 to UST’s 0.
Defensive rebounds 45 to UST’s 28.
Their willingness to contest UST’s shots saw the Tiger Cubs’ shooting drop from the high 30s in the first quarter to 26% the rest of the way.
Aside from Villapando who was held scoreless after the first 10 minutes of play, UST center Bismarck Lina only scored 2 in the second half. Gunner Vince Dolendo also bled for points in the second half. 
UST is also the top fastbreaking team averaging averaging 18.5 a match. Ateneo held them to 4 points in their match up.

Ateneo retained its status as the top defensive team allowing only 55.6 points per game. That’s 17.4 points less than the second-ranked squad Adamson’s 73.0 points allowed.

It was a tough loss for UST that was looking to gain ground on NU after the Bullpups were docked a win for fielding an ineligible player in their first game of the season.

NU earlier came from behind to defeat FEU, 86-81. The Tamaraws folded down the stretch while the Bullpups thrived in the endgame.

In other UAAP Juniors matches, DLSZ crushed hapless UE (their lone win is due to the overturned loss to NU in the first round), 93-74. The Adamson Baby Falcons also hammered UPIS, 76-58, to close out the weekend matches.

Ateneo 8-0
NU 6-2
UST 5-3
FEU 4-4
Adamson 4-4
DLSZ 3-5
UPIS 1-7
UE 1-7