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.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hail to the Coach

There have been a total of 35 head coaches in Ateneo Blue Eagle history beginning with Fr. John Hurley who got the team started in the NCAA before he passed it on to the recently departed Fr. James Martin who died at the age of 103 in Georgetown.

I am not counting the coaches like former Standford U mentor Peter Flanagan, who handled the team during the pre-NCAA years.

Here's a breakdown of those coaches:
- There have been 6 priests who coached the team -- 5 Americans and 1 Filipino (Fathers Hurley, Martin, Matthew Kane, Joseph Geib, Denis Lynch, and Cipriano Unson).
- 7 Americans have coached the team (the 5 priests and Albert Dunbar, Bill Russell's teammate at USF, and Norman Black)
- 1 former Green Archer (Perry Ronquillo)
- 1 former JRC Heavy Bomber (Cris Calilan)
- 1 UP Maroon (Joe Lipa)
- 1 Mapua Cardinal (Joel Banal)
- 21 former Blue Eagles of whom 12 won championships as a player
- 4 served two tours of duty with the team (Rafael Roco, father of Atenean Bembol, Albert Dunbar, Honesto Mayoralgo, and Mark Molina)
- 2 served three tours of duty:
Baby Dalupan who incidentally coached Robert Jaworski in UE and the Senator's son, Dudut with the Blue Eagles in 1993, and Cris Calilan
- 3 coaches won titles with other schools: Baby Dalupan with UE, Nilo Verona with Letran, and Joe Lipa with UP)
- Rafael Roco and Baby Dalupan are the longest-tenured benchmasters for a total of six years)
- Baby Dalupan and Perry Ronquillo didn't finish out one season. Dalupan walked out after losing two players to QPI while Ronquillo was let go after the team floundered.
- 9 coached in the PBA: Baby Dalupan (Crispa, Great Taste, Purefoods), Bong Go (Great Taste), Ed Ocampo (Toyota and Pepsi Cola), Tony Vasquez (Alaska), Perry Ronquillo (Shell), Joe Lipa (Shell, Air21), Joel Banal (Talk N Text), Chot Reyes (Purefoods, Coca Cola, Magnolia, Talk N Text), and Norman Black (San Miguel and Sta. Lucia)
- 2 played in the PBA -- Matthew "Fritz" Gaston most notably with U-Tex and Crispa and Norman Black, the first ever recipient of the Mr. 100% Award
- Only 1 won a title while coaching the Blue Eaglets, Dodie Agcaoili
- 4 who won a title as a player and as a coach: Primitivo Martinez, Bing Ouano, Nilo Verona, and Matthew Gaston.


Fr. Unson who preceded Fr. Raymond Holscher as Athletics Director took over the team when Baby Dalupan walked out in protest over losing two players to the QPI -- Conrad Banal, Joel's older brother, and Toy Dalupan, his only son. Toy came back to get his degree before tragically passing away at a young age. Coach Baby was eventually persuaded to come back the following year. By then he had the great Steve Watson who was only in high school but then playing for the seniors' squad. Hahaha. Steve, if you're reading this, I plugged ya. We should play pick up ball again, dude.

Coach Baby lent me some photo albums that had him in an Ateneo bivouac with Aquilino Pimentel and during football and basketball games. Thanks for the friendship, Coach!

Coach Baby wasn't the first to walk out on the team. Nilo Verona did after winning a championship in 1969 when he lost half the team to grades. There was one player then who went to him to ask him about playing for the Blue Eagles. And that person was Lim Eng Beng who eventually went on to La Salle where he led the Green Archers to two titles along with cool hand luke Mike Bilbao.

In 1979, we had three coaches because Bobby Littaua left to join Ed Ocampo in the PBA.

I wrote this old yarn about the 1958 champion team several years ago that was supposed to come out in (they never ran it). That was a great story as the team won a hotly-contested battle with La Salle. I got to talk to some players and Fr. James B. Reuter (who was my dad's teacher in 4-A) about that era and what they went through was just as incredible.

On another note, when I was a copywriter for Avellana & Associates working for all-time Blue Babble Battalion great Totoy Avellana and his son Joey (who went to La Salle and ADMU), I was working on a Philippine Centennial commercial for PLDT (our client at that time) that featured Gregorio Del Pilar. It was axed eventually by our client, Tony Samson, a fellow Atenean who writes for Business World and has taken my place at the Ateneo website. Mr. Samson axed two of my productions (that I must admit crushed me) before approving the "Master" internet commercial. It was nominated for a few awards but won Best Production Design as done by the great Leo Abaya who also worked on the film, Rizal. My fascination for Gregorio Del Pilar has not abated. It has been taking me quite awhile now to to write a short play on the boy general. Time is always a problem. So many things to do. So little time. Hopefully it will see the light of day soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment