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, August 27, 2008

Clarifying some points on Ateneo coaches

I rechecked my notes and cross-referenced it with some official documents, yes, Virgil Villavicencio did not coach the Ateneo Blue Eagles. I should have asked the coach straight up since I know his number anyway. But he did try to pry Richie Ticzon away to go to Taft. Hahahaha. Thanks, Coach Virgil!

Nevertheless, Norman Black remains -- as I previously stated -- the 35th coach in Blue Eagle history as I penciled in someone I previously missed out. Nevertheless, here's that summary:

In 84 years (NCAA/UAAP combined), we've had:

- 6 priests coaching the team (5 American & 1 Filipino). The American Jesuits were Fr. John Hurley, Fr. James Martin, Fr. Matthew Kane, Fr. Joseph Geib, and Fr. Denis Lynch. The Filipino priest was Fr. Cipriano Unson.
- 7 Americans (5 priests and 2 lay of whom both were products of Jesuit schools -- Al Dunbar of USF and Norman Black of St. Joseph's University)
- 1 DLSU Green Archer - Perry Ronquillo who quit with 6 games to go in the season (because of them damned alumni)
- 1 JRC Heavy Bomber - Cris Calilan)
- 1 UP Maroon - Joe Lipa
- 1 Mapua Cardinal Joel Banal
- 21 former Blue Eagles who won titles when they were playing
- 2 who coached the team three different times: Baby Dalupan and Cris Calilan
- 4 who coached the team on two different occasions: Jing Roco, Al Dunbar, Honesto Mayoralgo, and Mark Molina
- 3 who didn't finish their season: Bobby Littaua, Baby Dalupan, and Perry Ronquillo
- 4 who were former team captains: Primitivo Martinez, Bing Ouano, Amador Obordo, and Ogie Narvasa
- 1 who was team captain of a title-winning squad and coach of a title-winning team: Bing Ouano
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)
- 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.

Even then, the league (whether the NCAA or the UAAP) was trying to derail Ateneo's campaigns. After winning back-to-back titles in the mid-70's, the NCAA decided not to let coaches in the PBA mentor in the NCAA, so that knocked out Baby Dalupan. The Maestro remember was clobbering everyone with the Crispa Redmanizers. The Blue Eagles, in the off-season wore Crispa's colors where they had for a teammate Bernie Fabiosa who was an almost-Blue Eagle (he opted to go pro).

Two years later, when we moved to the UAAP, several of the team's players opted not to play anymore. So it was tough for Dodie Agcaoili to form a competitive team. But nevertheless, compete they did and they won only a couple of games and finished in the cellar. That team included:
Bambi Kabigting (the only player on this squad to go to the PBA)
Eu Puyat
Edgar Jayme
Mon Cruz
Danny Daez
Dicky Eustaquio
Ogie Narvasa
Rayboy Narvasa
Rene Banzon
Marco Lorenzo
Fred Ortiz
Al Morabe
Kenneth Wendling (who quit the team midway through the campaign)
Edwin Chow

There were no cheerleaders during the games and the only ones watching were family and a few friends. It was so demoralizing for the team that many did not suit up the next season. Bobby Littuau took over the dispirited squad but before he could actually coach before the start of the UAAP season, the board decided too not to let pro coaches on the sidelines. Bobby was an assistant coach in Tanduay in the PBA. Rodolfo Ledesma, the Lady Eagles' WNCAA coach, took over and that only disillusioned the team further. The Blue Eagles finished dead last and went 0-12.

So much for the greener pastures that Fr. Joe Cruz said the UAAP would be, remarked one player who refused to be identified.

When I talk to many players of that era, especially the last NCAA Blue Eagle team, they are all of one mind that they lost the title that year because of infighting. They were no longer one team but a fractured one. Many carry with them that disappointing loss to this day.

The Blue Eagles began to show signs of life a few years later when Chot Reyes and his AHS teammates moved up to the senior ranks.

Watch out for the full-length Norman Black feature that will also come out in the Business Mirror. And there's that shot at the Hall of Fame.

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