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.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

AMA joining the PBA is good on many levels

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AMA joining the PBA is good on many levels
by rick olivares

AMA University announcing that they have applied for a slot in the Philippine Basketball Association is great. On a couple of levels that is.

For one, it is always good to have more teams in the PBA. So much talent and not enough playing time let alone teams. And there are lots of very good coaches on the sidelines, many who are working as assistants or consultants. Why let all that talent and smarts go to waste? So realistically and in my opinion, 14-16 teams sounds about right.

It’s a coup for AMA because they are – at least to my memory if it serves me well – the first school to apply for a slot. That enhances their image among their peers and would really help in recruiting for their college team that participates in NAASCU. It would also be a nice thing among college-bound students who could surmise that AMA is really huge that they could afford to apply for a PBA franchise.

This will have some major schools thinking about that as well. That’s a plus too for the pro league that has always tried to tap into the college basketball crowd to follow the games.

It doesn’t follow that college basketball fans also watch the PBA. Although college ball has become commercialized in many ways and the spirit of amateurism has long been dead, many still hold on to the premise of playing for the sheer love of the game and the school.

I believe that sometime during the start of the new millennium, there was that exact migration of college hoop fans who followed their schoolmates to the pros. We’ve seen iterations of pro teams featuring a bunch of players from one school such as Alaska with quite a few La Salle Green Archers and Red Bull, San Miguel at one point with many former Ateneo Blue Eagles.

While semi-pro or even pro teams with the majority of players from one school doesn’t guarantee hardcourt success, it remains intriguing. Can it be done?

But I have to give it to AMA and of course, the PBA. Whether the application is approved or not, it is good for both parties. While we know the league is fine, is furthers the thought that the league is healthy.

I remember back in the mid-1980s when an article was floated that the Tanduay Rhum Makers were considering tapping then-Philadelphia 76ers forward Charles Barkley as an import. Man, that was newspaper fodder back then! Imagine if there was social media at that time. While it ultimately proved to be false and was in all likelihood generated for some publicity it had people buzzing about the Rhum Makers and the PBA.

Now if AMA does join in three years’ time, the last couple of teams to join – BlackWater and Mahindra will have been fully developed and have built themselves up. So it will be good for some new kids on the block – and I figure there will be another to follow in AMA’s footsteps – to find their way.

For now, it’s good news.

SBP submits bid to host 2023 FIBA World Cup

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SBP submits bid to host 2023 FIBA World Cup
by rick olivares

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) submitted its bid application questionnaire for the Philippines to host the 2023 FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Cup today, Wednesday, January 18, 2017. 

The bid application questionnaire proposes that the Philippines will co-host FIBA's premiere basketball event along with Indonesia for the Group Stages with the former as the sole host for the semi-finals and finals. 

Previously, all FIBA events were held in one geographical location. However, beginning with the 2023 World Cup, basketball's governing body has optioned the provision for multiple country hosting for the group phase. 

The Philippines, as the lead country for the bid, is partnering with Indonesia as they are building new facilities for their hosting the 2018 Asian Games. Coupled with the Philippines' population, that equates to close to 400 million people who will watch the World Cup alone.

The Philippines previously hosted the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships as well as the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Both events firmly placed the country as a preferred choice for hosting world-class sporting events.

FIBA will announce the candidates for the 2023 World Cup hosting this coming February on a date that has yet to be announced. The decision on which nations or region will be awarded the hosting rights will be made by December of this calendar year. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Young basketeers you should look out for

Young basketeers you should look out for
by rick olivares

With the SM-National Basketball Training Center National High School Championships in full swing, some 700 schools from all over the country are battling to make it to the finals in Manila this coming March.

In Olongapo City last Sunday, January 15, some of the city’s best battled in the quarterfinals.

Kalalake National High School defeated Old Cabanlan High School, 72-65, to open the knockout phase.

The Columban High School Knights piped their arch-rival and city defending champion, St. Joseph’s Crusaders, 71-69. The two schools, according to Territory Head Cesar Lobo, are Olongapo’s version of the Ateneo-La Salle rivalry with Columban wearing the blue color while St. Joseph’s donning the green and white jerseys.

One of the other matches saw Gordon College dumping AMA Computer University, 63-5. One more match was taking place as of press time.

Of the first two matches, some players who should merit watching my coaches from metro Manila’s top college programs include the following players.

Kalalake National High School
Menari Baturiano – 6’2” forward-center and is 17 years old. A growing big man who should he selected to play in Manila could play the four spot. He can bring down the ball meaning he has dribbling ability. Has an array of moves in the paint – can spin around the baseline, can drive towards the basket. Strong in putbacks. Needs to be more intimidating on defense though.

Gerald Manalo – 5’11” small forward and is 17 years old. A forward who likes to attack. Can sidestep oppose ng defenders and glide in for a lay-up. Needs to work on his perimeter shot though.

Joemari Manalastas – 5’3” point guard and is 16 years old. Will remind one of the University of the Philippines’ Diego Dario. Can shoot, drive, pass, has great vision and can hit that chest pass on the run from just past the half-court line. Plays defense too. Unlike Dario who has a terrific outside shot, this kid needs to work on it. But he has range.

Columban College
Aldrin Malonzo – 5’11” off-guard and 16 years old. A predator on defense. Makes good reads and raids the passing lanes. Can finish the break and likes to drive to the basket.

The city championships will end this January with the regionals taking place in February. The finals will be played in Manila at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

San Beda College is the defending national champion. The NBTC is the official grassroots program of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.