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, September 19, 2007

Through the Fire - UAAP Game 15 Ateneo 69 vs DLSU 70

Through the Fire - UAAP Game 15 Ateneo 69 vs DLSU 70
by Rick Olivares

September 18, 2007
Araneta Coliseum

11:00pm September 18, 2007
I don’t have any clever headlines or even witty repartee for a comeback. All I have is my bruised and battered Atenean pride and disjointed thoughts that I wish I could share with someone, anyone last night. Like Tom Hanks’ character Sam Baldwin in Sleepless in Seattle to a talk show jock. Only the man on the radio is selling me useless information.

When we lost to the NU Bulldogs last weekend, I carried around a knot in my stomach that I thought would give me an ulcer. I had that feeling that we might have lost that one big chance to claim another title and that perhaps it was all over for us this year. I want to win not just for the school but to redeem last year’s finals’ loss. And in many ways for players like Ford Arao, Yuri Escueta, and Christ Tiu to win one at the end of the Blue Eagle career. Only we Ateneans are suckers for pain. And after having lost the precious second seed, I’ll probably be diagnosed also with insomnia and a mild case of depression.

Nono Felipe, one of the Ateneo Sports Shooters told me that in his sleep he was seeing those 13 NU three-pointers all over again. Me? I saw those blown lay-ups and putbacks from point blank range in the DLSU game’s final moments.

It’s not even losing to La Salle. It could have been to Adamson for all I care. I’m way beyond that and wish everyone else would de-emphasize them. If I had to choose between giving it that one big fight as opposed to winning at all costs, then my conscience is clear because I stand with the good old blue and white.

Nevertheless, I wonder how those two heartbreaking back-to-back losses will tell on the team. Now the Blue Eagles have to go through the proverbial eye of the needle. Remember a win against DLSU previously precipitated a three-game slide. And now we’re down to our last hand to break the coincidental and the historical. Only we’re up against UST in a literal win-or-go-home match.

I thought that we were courting disaster by trying to beat the Green Archers a third straight time. We’ve done that before but after a lifetime of dominance in the NCAA has a karmic balance been struck in the UAAP? Nothing has ever been easy for us, but as it is said, the journey is everything.

For a moment there I thought that we had an opportunity to pull another rabbit out of the hat, but a botched number of plays at the end did us in.

7am September 19, 2007
While the victors sang their hymn, team captain Chris Tiu pulled Yuri Escueta, Jai Reyes, and Eric Salamat in a short huddle. “Let’s put this loss quickly behind us because it’s not yet over,” yelled Tiu his voice cracking with emotion. “Let’s prepare for UST.”

They were right in front of me and I could see Reyes battling back the tears. Escueta’s expression showed that he was already calculating the difficult odds of a Herculean task, but he nodded intently. Salamat let out a howl of disgust but was quick to cast his lot in, “Laban tayo. Laban pa. Hindi pa tapos.”

Last night, all I saw were those blown lay-ups and putbacks from point blank range, but somehow that quick post-game huddle by the four Blue Eagles found a way to push the negatives out of my mind.

Hope springs eternal, Ateneo. We’ve got one more fight in us.

Let’s cheer for the Blue and White this Sunday.

Thanks to Nono Felipe for the picture.

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