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.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Soc Rivera Rule

Soc Rivera hasn’t played one minute of college ball and he’s already made an impact on UAAP college hoops. Although not in the manner he wanted.

Rivera just graduated from FEU-FERN and played on the Baby Tams junior squad that lost to the Ateneo Blue Eaglets in last season’s cage wars. Like anyone who harbors hoop dreams, Soc Rivera wants to play basketball. But he’d like to be a student as well.

Like some of his other teammates, they were being groomed to move up to the FEU seniors team that was going through an overhaul after a failed seniors campaign in Season 69.

Unfortunately, Rivera along with teammates, Dexter Rosales, Jomar Paulino, and Mark Lopez are no longer interested in playing for FEU and instead are trying out and practicing for the UP Maroons.

It was Rosales and Paulino who first showed up for the seniors’ team tryouts in November 2006. UP Team Manager Bombit Silva got in touch with FEU Athletic Director Mark Molina that Rosales and Paulino were trying out for UP to which Molina said was all right since it was only Jonas Paguia, Mark Lopez, and Socrates Rivera they intended to elevate to FEU's senior squad. A “gentleman’s agreement” was reached between the two schools regarding any more transfers of its recently graduated high school players.

A few weeks later, Lopez walked into the UP tryouts accompanied by two of his high school professors. The UP coaching staff apprised FEU’s Anton Montinola and Molina of the situation and a compromise was reached: they would release Lopez provided that he finish his stint with FEU in the Fr. Martin Cup’s completion in March.

But in January of 2007, Rivera asked Lopez to accompany him to the UP coaching staff to signify his intent to play for the Maroons. The UP coaches informed him of the agreement with FEU and that if he really wanted to move to the Diliman school, he had to secure his release from FEU on his own. Silva then got in touch once more with Molina to inform him of the latest developments. Rivera promised to inform FEU team management of his intentions.

From that point on, Rivera did not practice nor keep in touch with UP although Rosales and Paulino said that their former high school teammate was still bent on transferring to the Maroons.

Last April 11, Maroons’ assistant coaches Ramil Cruz and Jojo Villa went to Rivera’s hometown of Pampanga to once and for all ascertain his intent to play. They found Rivera playing for a Pampanga All-Star basketball team that was campaigning for a Gubernatorial candidate. The coach of the Pampanga All-Star squad was an assistant to Villa when he was the mentor of the Nueva Ecija Patriots in the now-defunct Metropolitan Basketball League. It was this coach who brought Arwind Santos and Rivera to FEU’s attention. Rivera apologized for his failure to keep the communication lines open owing to a lost mobile phone but he promised to settle matters within a week.

But last April 20, Rivera called UP from FEU to inform them that Molina agreed to release him to UP provided that he settle some financial obligations to the school. But when Rivera and his father went to the school registrar, he was surprised to find out that his scholarship was revoked and that he had to pay back the P116, 000.00 FEU paid for his scholarship. According to Rivera, he was never informed by Molina about his revoked scholarship.

But how can the scholarship be revoked after the school year when he had already fulfilled his academic and athletic obligations to the school? The registrar informed the Riveras that the directive had come from university management and that they should talk to Molina f they had any questions about the dues.

Curiously, last May 22, during the UAAP board meeting, a new eligibility rule was passed that stipulated incoming freshmen who were transferees from other UAAP member schools to sit out a year of eligibility before suiting up for their new school. The rule was passed 4-2 with Ateneo and UP voting against what is now being referred to as the Soc Rivera Rule.


  1. Suddenly, this ancient Article is relevant again. You can very well update this to Pinggoy Rule next Season (76) lol Small wonder that on both occasions, FEU had been and is now on the picture. Why are they losing their prized players? Go figure.

    1. athletes have to right to chose the school they want to play in. Probably better education and for some, under the table deals lure away homegrown talents to other UAAP schools. I think 1 year sitting out for athletes is sufficient, two years is strangulation.