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 30, 2008

The referee was offside

by rick olivares

Dennis Balore has called his last football game. The Universities Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and the National Capital Region Football Association (NCRFA) banned him for life from working any football games.

After working the University of Santo Tomas-Far Eastern University football game at the Ateneo De Manila pitch last Sunday, January 27, the longtime referee made his way to the locker rooms beneath the gym where the showers and dressing rooms for athletes are located.

The designs of the rooms are such that the walls between rooms do not fully extend all the way to the ceiling making any loud conversations or noises easily discernible to anyone in the next room. In the adjacent changing room were players from the women’s volleyball team of UST who also just concluded a match against FEU. While changing, UST player Hannah Mance saw a hand holding up a mobile phone from the other side of the room. For weeks there have been rumors among players of the different schools taking part in the tournament of someone taking shots of players but none have come forth with any formal complaint or proof. Mance immediately went out of the locker room and reported the malefactor to FEU coach Ernesto Pamilar who was leaving his team’s dugout.

Balore sensing that he may have been discovered quickly made his way out of the referee’s locker room but Pamilar and other coaches and players caught up to him outside the gym. They accosted the football referee and asked him if he was taking videos of the players. Balore denied any wrong doing but he was brought to the Ateneo Security office located outside the playing venue.

His Nokia N91 phone was confiscated and a player from the University of the East was asked to inspect the phone’s contents. After checking the folders, the player broke down in tears when she saw several pictures and videos of different players including her teammates. At this point, some of the team coaches began to take swings at Balore forcing the school security men to shield him from the wrath of the school officials, players, and concerned parents. Said one Ateneo security man who refused to be identified, “Galit na galit yung mga tao at malamang kung hindi namin siya pinasok sa loob ng isang office baka napaano na siya. Pero hindi naman kasi tama yung ginawa niya.”

I spoke to Ateneo’s Charo Soriano who was able to see some of the phone’s contents. She said she felt disgusted by what she saw because the pictures were rather distasteful.

During the melee, Ateneo security officials said that players and coaches from other schools took the opportunity to erase some of the files. It is believed that the phone contained videos of players from De La Salle, Ateneo, UST, FEU, and UE.

When I visited Balore at a common jail cell at the Criminal Investigation Unit at Camp Karingal in Quezon City, the 30-year old former player from Tondo High who also played with several club teams was apologetic. "Hindi ko alam kung ano yung pumasok sa isipan ko. May naririnig akong mga babaeng nagtatawanan and naguusap at tinaas ko na lang yung cellphone ko."

Balore also denied that he’s been taking videos and pictures of the volleyball players for sometime now something that the complainants dispute. If the videos that were left were of UE players, it is worth noting that their match was played in the morning. Balore was caught taking videos of UST players and their match ended at past 4pm. Several coaches believe that Balore had accomplices because for someone to actually take videos from outside would entail great risk of being discovered. A member of the Ateneo coaching staff said he “would need a lookout.”

He is grouped with 21 other detainees at the Criminal Investigation Unit at Camp Karingal. His fellow detainees who are jailed for various offenses such as snatching, thievery, and other similar crimes are wondering why he's in the same cell as he is. "Hindi naman ganun ka grabe yung ginawa niya," said one who refused to be identified.

After consultation with Ricky Palou and Rick Du from the Ateneo Athletics Department and Edwin Barber, UAAP Volleyball Event Coordinator from host school UP, complainants from UE were accompanied to Camp Karingal, in Cubao, Quezon City for the filing of charges. Two of the UE complainants are reported to be under age. The UAAP is also said to be deliberating on whether to file separate charges as well.

Palou clarified that only two security guards were requested by the host school and they were deployed inside the arena for crowd control. In light of the recent developments, another guard will be assigned to man the entrance leading to the dugouts where players, coaches, and school officials will only be allowed inside.

Balore who played football for Tondo High and various club teams is pleading for clemency. "Humihingi ako ng tawad sa pagkakamali na ginawa ko. Wala akong intensyon na ibigay yung kinuha ko kung kanino man. Sana mapatawad niyo ako para makalaya ako. Ako lang kasi ang inaasahan ng pamilya ko. Balore has four children with the eldest being 12 years old. He asked his son who loves football as well to concentrate on his studies since the sport doesn't pay well here in the Philippines.

It is sad, but Balore should have thought of the FIFA dictum of "Fair Play" before his moment of madness seized him.

In other Ateneo-related news...

while excavating the area in the site of the new dorms, a World War II-era bomb was discovered. School authorities now deny that the construction workers have shifted to looking for the fabled Yamashita treasure.


Coach John Flores rejected overtures to return to Ateneo. Look for him to join... ah, but that would be telling Too early. Abangan na lang dito sa Brew...

No comments:

Post a Comment