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, November 30, 2008

Back in the game

After a 3-1 loss to Getafe, Real Madrid seems unable to shake off the funk they've been in after ruling the Spanish La Liga for the past two years. And now Barcelona (after crushing Sevilla 3-0) is six points up in the standings of their rivals.

Yet within striking distance of the Catalan club are Villareal, Valencia and Sevilla. This is going to be a close race but Barca are beginning to hum after a slow start.

Who else am I rooting for right now? LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan. He'll be playing for Bayern Munich in his third stint in the German Bundesliga after two tours with Bayer Leverkusen. Donovan's addition will surely create more tension as Lukas Podolski continues to ride the bench. Whatever reason Bayern's manager Uli Hoeness has for keeping the German National striker cooling his heels isn't clear. But then again, there's Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose in the attack position. What a waste of talent and now Donovan's there.

The Philippine Homeless World Cup Team: Dateline Melbourne I

As reported by my friend Bill Shaw in Australia. November 29, 2008.

In Melbourne the Homeless world Cup is gaining momentum as the teams from around the world began to arrive. Team Philippines stepped off the plane as the 5th team in the country. By Sunday it will be one of 56 nations here, to play football, to bring attention to the issues of homeless people and to see the lives of the players changed.

The team has a new focus. A medal for Marlon. Seventeen year old Marlon Lagundino, the youngest player on the Philippine squad and the team goalie has an infected right hand. He was hospitalized Wednesday night. His hand was operated on Thursday. The doctors have stated that it would be dangerous for him to travel at this time.

Coach Marlon Maro expressed concern. “The first time I heard it I was worried. We lose the number one position on the team when we lose our goalie. We have switched Ricky to goal, but he has had not had the training, preparation time or game experience.”

“We cannot replace Marlon.” Coach Marlon added. “The aggressiveness he has shown is very important, We will miss him.”

William Shaw representing Urban Opportunities for Change, the foundation organizing the Philippine squad said. “When we first picked the team, the players didn’t believe in the reality of traveling to Melbourne. They liked the idea, but would not allow themselves to hope something this wonderful could happen to them. Gradually they began to believe in us and more importantly to dream bigger things for their lives. Losing Marlon just before the culmination of those dreams is very hard. We are all praying for him.”

“The team is concentrating on maintaining focus and preparing for December one and the first games.” Said Coach Marlon.

The team had a light practice Friday afternoon at Mitcham Baptist Church. The church has opened up their youth drop-in center and indoor soccer pitch to the Philippine team.

Sunday evening drawings will be held to place the teams in eight divisions of six teams. Team Philippines will play each team in its division one time. Depending on placement the teams will advance to their respective qualifying rounds.

The players are confronting the outside world for the first time. They were amazed in the airplane, at the terminals, the cool weather, which has hovered just above 15 degrees and the empty clean streets.

“Where are the people?” Nina and Russel wondered.

The Philippine Homeless World Cup team has made it to Melbourne. It is facing long odds, but long odds are what make this team special. They have grown up with long odds and right now every ball they kick, every person they meet, every site they see, is a win. Go Philippines. We love you Marlon.

More and more Deb and I are feeling privileged to be part of the Philippine Homeless World Cup team and the HWC tournament. There are not words that describe aptly what this opportunity gives to the participants of these games. For our team it has given education, hope, relationship, joy and trust, all things that being homeless take away.

Daily the team is preparing for the games, that will start December 1. We are waiting impatiently for the opening ceremonies and the “draw” that will take place Sunday night, but as the organizers and the coaches, we are also using this time to provide a window to the beauty of this world. We want this team to take home a great football experience, but we also want them to take home a lasting vision for their country and for their lives.

Saturday we experienced the wallabies, the Big Red kangaroos, Koala bears, and the little blues. We had been threatening to put Nina in a Kangaroo pocket, and it was with wonder when she saw there really was a pocket and a baby kangaroo inside. I watched our players, from the institutions of Manila, stand with birds on their heads, and feed with wonder animals they had not known existed.

The weather has been cold and it was colder still when we ventured to Philip Island and sat looking into the vast Antarctic to the South. We didn’t look like a football team as we sat bundled in coats and blankets on the sand, watching the waves crash in and waiting for the little blue penguins to surf in and trek up the beach to their burrows in the dunes behind us.

This is the Homeless World Cup and this is the reason we are here, to give opportunity and raise awareness. I can think of no better use of the money our sponsors have given than the first two days we have spent in Australia. The team is loose. The team is united. The team has hope for the future. The team is proud to be Filipino and proud to represent their country. All I can say is thank God we are here.

Two pictures above is our National team with the members of the England squad. Directly above is with Team Argentina.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Art imitates life. Or is it vice versa?

Believe it or not, as a kid, I was into art and illustration. I would go to art school during the summer and immensely enjoyed it more than swimming class and music lessons. Yes, I loved music but my teacher was an effing jerk who seemed to enjoy smoking pot more than teaching us how to play the guitar.

I was only later in Grade Six that I chipped in an article to the Eaglet, the grade school newspaper. Yes, i still have a copy of that. Hahahaha.

Eventually music became my passion and I stopped painting. And when I began to write more and get into more sports, I found less time for art. However, art and illustration was never far from my heart and I would not only go to museums but would doodle once in a while. My skills somewhat atrophied (boy, talk about an understatement).

But I still collect art and advertising books. One sentimental fave is Norman Rockwell.

I'm not sure if this book is in print but I got it at Barnes & Noble for $10.

Norman Rockwell is a book written by Elizabeth Miles Montgomery and published by JG Press in 1989. It is a hard cover book with jacket. There is a biography with many splendid pictures from the collection including a lot of his Saturday Evening Post cover paintings from 1916 to 1963. The first 32 pages are about his life, techniques and rare photos. The last 160 pages are fine works from his famous plates.

Someone remarked about the photographs I took for the San Miguel-sponsored exhibit -- I'd love to post them here but I am deathly afraid someone will copy them since one jerk photog already copied a shot I took -- and he said it was so evident that my shots are very similar to my writing style. In depth and a different side of things.

I guess like Norman Rockwell, it's about that slice of life. Of paintings pictures also with words. But you have to wait what we're cooking up at Fabilioh! It's going to be a doozy. Abangan in two weeks!

Maybe that's why I love reading Gary Smith, Rick Reilly, Nick Hornby, and Rick Telander. That's why I love watching Christiane Amanpour's reports on CNN. It's not just the facts, mam!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Enough of this Bull. What time is it?

In a terrible economy, one would wish that the team from Chicago is bullish at the least. But really, when the team gives up over a 100.3 points per game.

But what did you think? They start three guards in Ben Gordon, Derrick Rose, and Larry Hughes and two forwards in Drew Gooden and Joakim Noah. What the hell kind of combo is that?

You mean Kirk Hinrich is injured? So is Luol Deng?

Dagnabit! Don't you think that Ben Gordon shoots too much? He is the Black Hole of the Windy City. An assist for him means helping the elderly cross the road. They should have traded this guy and maybe another for Ginobili.

No can do that against the San Antonio Spurs more so Manu Ginobili is back. Put Tyrus Thomas on TD and Thabo on Manu. If Parker is back if he drives the lane flatten the summabitch! Let's see if he's gonna drive again.

Ahem... sorry. Bad day. Bwahahahaha!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Who's next?

Okay so that's two coaches who've gotten the axe this early... PJ Carlesimo and Eddie Jordan. PJ I kinda figured had it coming, but Jordan? Dude, they guy they should run out there is Abe Pollin. But as is the case with rich folk and who have the power, even if they're twisted and a bunch of liars like my former boss, they hold the cards.

So who's next? Here are a few of the possible coaches whose heads could roll...

Lawrence Frank (New Jersey)
In six years with the Nets, Frank has won 197 games and lost 183 for a .518 percentage. In the post-season, he's 18-20.
While they might not be that bad, after an upward climb in his first three years, the wins have plummeted in the next three 41 to 34 and he has 6 so far in 12 games this season.
While he starts the season for the first time without Jason Kidd, there is still pressure to hike those wins and make the post-season.
Any protracted tailspin and he just might be out after that.

Maurice Cheeks (Philadelphia)
In four years with Philadelphia, he's won 120 games and lost 140. He's made the play-offs once where they lost in six games and has never had a winning season at the City of Brotherly Love. Even with Allen Iverson.
Iverson thrived with Denver as his arrival boosted the team's win total in the two plus years he was there. So it only goes to show that he works well with good players. The one difference here is that his arrival in Denver was years 10 years after he made his league debut and he has learned to pass the ball and know that he wasn't the top dog in Mile High City but Carmelo Anthony.
Despite the blockbuster signing of Elton Brand, the Sixers are actually struggling and are only a .500 team. The difference between this year's Sixers and the ones with Iverson is that they have some pretty good players.
So they need to make the play-offs or Cheeks is gone.

Randy Wittman (Minnesota)
Yes the Timberwolves are winning more games by the year. But if they ever hit 50-wins theoretically its three years from now. And that begets the question, will this team be patient enough to develop their young talent and surround it with veterans to get them over the hump?
But Wittman, the former Atlanta Hawk and Indiana Hoosier, just might be saved this year because Minnesota is one of those wastelands that the NBA needs for top dog fodder.
If they don't make any progress this year.... at least by tens wins -- that's from last year's 22-32, then it's time once more for a change. The sad thing is what this team needs is a change in the front office.

Mike Brown (Cleveland)
You might be wondering... what the F? Why is he listed here when the Cavs rule the Central Division?

There are those who will claim that Brown is lucky to have LeBron James as a player otherwise this team will be the Los Angeles Clippers (now that's a team that needs an ownership change if anyone needed one). While I disagree to a certain point, unfortunately for Brown, it's not up to me.

'Bron could bolt Cleveland in two years time and New York is a sound destination as any.
If this team flames out in the playoffs, the higher-ups might decide that they need a stronger coach to take them to the next level.
Who will that be?

Please. Anyone but PJ Carlesimo. This guy ought to be outlawed from coaching.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Good luck, Chuck!

On the occasion of Charles Barkley's induction to the National College Basketball Hall of Fame, here are some of the Chuckster's most memorable quotes:

On social commentary

"If the politically correct police ever came into a professional locker room ... Oh my God ... we could start World War III every day in there."

"Sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel is a train."

"I don't create controversies. They're there long before I open my mouth. I just bring them to your attention."

After throwing a guy through a 1st floor window in a bar Charles was in front of the judge.
Judge: "Your sanctions are community service and a fine, do you have any regrets?"

Charles: "Yeah I regret we weren't on a higher floor"

Asked if he had ever been in the governor's office in Montgomery, Barkley said no. "They don't let many black people in the governor's mansion in Alabama unless they're cleaning."

Dream Team Summer

After an Olympic Dream Team victory over Angola, in which they won 116-48, Charles got into a physical altercation with a member of Angola towards the end of the game, he said afterwards, "Somebody hits me, I'm going to hit him back. Even if it does look like he hasn't eaten in a couple weeks. I thought he was going to pull a spear on me."

On the goal of the '92 Olympic Dream Team when playing Panama in the Tournament of the Americas: "To get the Canal back."

When the Dream Team was about to play the Angola national team, during pre-game interviews the other USA players provided diplomatic, face saving comments about how they would play hard and felt strongly they would win. When Chuck was asked about Angola and the game, he replied: "I don't know much about Angola, but I know one thing, they're in a lot of trouble."

During his years at Auburn
"When I was recruited at Auburn (university), they took me to a strip joint. When I saw those titties on Buffy, I knew that Auburn met my academic requirements."

On NBA basketball
"I always laugh when people ask me about rebounding techniques. I've got a technique. It's called just go get the damn ball."

On the Portland Trail Blazers (back when they were known as the Jail Blazers) serving Thanksgiving meals: "In between arrests they do community service."

Barkley on Hanno Mottola, who, as EJ remarked "is the first NBA player from Finland". Charles replies: "Of course he is the first NBA player from Finland, he's the only person in Finland."

On supersized Oliver Miller: "You can't even jump high enough to touch the rim, unless they put a Big Mac on it."

Barkley on Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith eating a box of hot Krispy Kreme donuts in front of him: "Both of y'all are going to hell for that. Y'all are going to hell with a first-class ticket. Is that how you treat your partner? Krispy Kreme might be the greatest invention in the history of civilization when they're hot. Y'all are cruel man."

After Kevin Garnett threw a ball into the crowd out of frustration and was ejected. They showed footage of the man that got hit by the ball being taken away in a stretcher and his daughter was crying. Charles commented that players take passes to the face all the time. He topped it off by saying: "You know why that little girl's crying? It's because she's thinking 'my daddy's a wussy'".

After retiring from basketball "I'm just what America needs - another unemployed black man."

If I weren't earning $3 million a year to dunk a basketball, most people on the street would run in the other direction if they saw me coming.

The only difference between a good shot and a bad shot is if it goes in or not.
In discussing ways in which the Knicks should be improved this 2008-09 season (and a veiled reference to Isiah Thomas), Barkley said, "I think they have a better coach. This coach probably won't try to kill himself."

"Any time a little midget does something like this, you gotta give him a 10 (regarding a Nate Robinson dunk at All-Star weekend)!."

Bleachers' Brew #134 Ajmo

Nothing seems to faze the man from Serbia. He’s seen his country disintegrate under the guise of separatist movements; torn about by civil war. He’s seen NATO bombs crater his homeland. He’s even survived a barber’s haircut that was so terrible that he didn’t leave his dorm for a couple of days.

So what’s another ACL injury?

If your introduction to Serbian basketball players was the Los Angeles Lakers’ Vlade Divac who learned the English language in part by watching the Flintstones on television, then let it be known that Marko Batricevic isn’t the bearded and chain-smoking sort who mangles the language and makes Erap sound fluent by comparison.

He learned English the proper way – at La Salle Greenhills -- but with a smidgen of Filipino from classmates, jeep drivers, fastfood chain service crew, and well, even a bit of TV as he will eventually admit.

Every now and then though he’ll lapse into his native tongue whether in the middle of a basketball game or when he can’t find the words to express what he’s feeling. “Ajmo,” he’ll yell at his teammates after a rebound and a fastbreak is in the offing.

Ajmo” (spelled hajdemo) means “let’s go” in his native tongue. And in many ways, it defines who Batricevic is – on the go, adventurous, and resilient.

As a young lad growing up in Vrbas, Serbia (population 26,000), aside form school he and his friends treated themselves to a heaping helping of martial arts and war films. “I wanted to become a ninja,” he sheepishly admits. “I saw a lot of Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Rambo movies. But I don’t think it helps to be a tall ninja.

The infatuation with Asian mystic warriors and those early karate lessons then gave way to a sport more earthly, er, watery rooted… swimming.

Yet like every other youngster growing up in the Balkans, they couldn’t ignore the siren call of basketball, the most popular sport in the region. The Batricevic brothers, Martin (who is a year older) and Marko got into the sport and it consumed every fiber of their being.

If you asked the brothers of their religious affiliation, they both ascribe to the Church of Hoops and Orthodox Christianity. “As every one in the world knows by now, basketball is a religion in our country,” proudly says James Naismith’s traveling Serbian disciple who roots for KK Partizan.

The rivalry with Red Star Belgrade is way beyond the Ateneo-La Salle rivalry that he’s found himself in the middle of in the Philippines. “It is more wild and it gets violent in a different way,” he downplays of one of the world’s most heated and intense sporting rivalries.

You have to remember that this was a time when there weren’t cellphones and I would disappear for long hours – almost the whole day,” fondly recalls Marko of those early years when he discovered the game. “It was my advantage because I got to play as much as I wanted. By the time I got home, I was very dirty and hungry.”

In Serbia, there are no school teams and Batricevic played for his hometown club KK Vrbas and later trained in Slovenia with Pivovarna Lasko (the regional equivalent of San Miguel).

When the opportunity arose to go travel 6, 019 miles to the Philippines to study and play basketball, he took the plunge. “Ajmo,” he laughs. “No regrets. You take what is given to you, yeah?

In his neighborhood, most of his friends gave up the sport. Sure it could mean fame, riches, and maybe a street named after them in their hometown, but it entailed total dedication where one had to surrender their life to the game.

It was hard because I liked to spend time with my family and spend vacations with them. My parents – Momcilo and Svetlana -- never force my brother or I to do anything. They never said, ‘Play basketball and you’ll have a chance to play in the NBA or in the Euroleague.’ Not even what we wanted to be after school. They simply said, ‘Go ahead and try and if it doesn’t work you can come home.’”

I always played with a fear that basketball is not forever so I knew I had to study and make something out of myself,” says Marko who is currently taking up Marketing in the College of Business and Economics at De La Salle University.

A strapping 6”5” Batricevic led his high school team in the NCAA but lost in the semi-finals to the San Beda Red Cubs that featured Ogie Menor, JR Taganas, James Martinez, and JR Tecson.

He felt bad for a while but the young Serb has no use for feeling down. “You have to get back up because tomorrow is another day,” he says with good-natured cheer. “Ajmo.”

Like that time he needed a haircut because he was going out with some friends. But it being late at night there was none open save for one barbershop at the Nepa-Q Market in Quezon City. “It cost me only PhP 25.00; cheap, right? But no wonder it was cheap; I never did get to go out.”

The Philippines has been a fun and learning experience for the young ball player who was taken in by his surrogate Philippine parents, Perry and Vangie Uy. “I found my new parents and they helped me function here.”

Even with a pair of ACL injuries that have ravaged his right knee one year apart that can potentially end his basketball career even before it got started.

The second time it happened; from the way I fell, I knew it was an ACL,” says Batricevic. “But I never thought about quitting. The only time I will stop is when my ligaments snap for good.”

Marko lists several things that keep him sane in this difficult time of rehabbing his surgically repaired knee.

There is his single-minded goal to return to the Green Archers’ line-up as he is diligently working to return to form. There’s the sinigang na baboy that the Uy’s househelp prepares that the young Serbian professes to love. And there’s his girlfriend back in their native country who is finishing her law degree.

When he isn’t going to class, training, or attending to rehab sessions, he can be found on Skype chatting the time away. “We all need inspiration and she is mine.

“And after I get my degree, I would like to work here and there. Wherever my talent takes me,” he says with an adventurous tone. “That is why we are here, right?”

You can almost hear him in his native tongue probably to properly express himself.


Post Script:
A day after this article went up, a Serbian newspaper saw the piece and contacted Marko. The Serbian Green Archer contacted me Tuesday night (Nov. 25) to tell me that they read the piece, loved it, and are doing their own story on him.

Here is the letter. Now I don't expect anyone to understand this, but it's cool to be mentioned by a Serbian writer. And to that guy from Belgrade who was asking for tips about where to go in Hong Kong, I can be your tour guide there.

Ja sam Aleksandar Radonic, novinar lista "Kurir" iz Beograda. Jutros sam pronasao zanimljiv tekst na internetu, autor je Filipinac Rick Olivares, a novine su

Bas zbog tog teksta sam resio da te kontaktiram. Preko moje koleginice iz rubrike Sandre koja je stalno na "Facebook" stigao sam do tebe. Zeleo bih da uradim intervju s tobom, jer je kolumna ovog filipinskog novinara stvarno zanimljiva. Koliko sam mogao da razumem ti si tamo bukvalno kosarkaski bog!

Pa, hajde da krenem na pitanja. Molim te samo da ti odgovori budu nesto duzi, a naravno trebalo bi da mi posaljes i nekoliko fotografija. Sto sa kosarkaskih terena, sto privatno. Nadam se da to nece

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Pix

Me and me mum at the Ateneo Alumni Association Job Fair at the AGS this Sunday. There was a photo booth where you could put on some costumes, hats, and wigs. Me dad was hilarious as he got everyone to line up for shots of their own.

This is where we hold our Sports Nation classes at Cubao Expo (behind Rustan's Cubao near the old Manila COD). Mucho cool classroom.

Two clubs. Two sucky situations.

Two events. Two cities. Two situations.

All season long in New York, Stephon Marbury was benched and was not so-politely told that he wasn't wanted in Gotham. After several players were traded away in the previous day, Mike D'Antoni asked the self-proclaimed greatest point guard in the NBA if he wanted to suit up for the match against Milwaukee since they were down to only seven players.

Marbury declined saying that it was an awkward situation and the Knicks were thoroughly bounced by the Bucks.

But who can blame Steph for not wanting to play? As much I think that he deserves the flak he's getting now for his being such a poor team player and a leader, this isn't how it should go down for Marbury.

And it's totally classless of Donnie Walsh and D'Antoni on how they've handled the situation. Now they make Steph look even worse when now it's not even of his own doing. After all their previous statements about moving on and Marbury can choose to sit or take a bite out of his contract?

Besides... that's the Knicks for you.

In London, Arsenal stripped and dropped William Gallas of his captaincy after his public trashing of his teammates following a loss.

Since last year, I've railed against Gallas and his poor showing as a team captain since he was made team captain. But that is hardly his fault as the team has gotten rid of the players who helped them ascend to the top of the English Premier League. They're the Red Bull Barakos of English football. No money. No real leader in sight. No Patrick Vieira in sight.

Where in Vieira anyways?

He was a leader in the Gunners' midfield and locker room during their assualt on the record books for an undefeated season.

After he was jettisoned to Juventus, he helped them to the Serie A title in 2006. I thought that was a great midfield line along with Emerson and Pavel Nedved for Old Lady an it's too bad that team was broken up in the wake of the calciopolli and the subsequent relegation to Serie B.

Vieira then went on to Inter Milan where he has helped them to three Serie A titles along with another former Juve player in Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

So Gallas took over the captain's armband and Arsenal hasn't won anything since. Last year's meltdown in a draw against Birmingham where his public display of his frustration saw him earn the ire not only of the fickle English press but Arsenal fans as well. He kicked an advertising board during the game and stood around totally uncaring to what was going on as an opponent took a penalty kick that equalised for the draw.

Things pretty much went downhill not just for his side but for his teams including France of which he is a starter. And Arsene Wenger has had enough. What to do now with Gallas? Dropping him from the club is probably for the best since his presence will further become a distraction for the club.

So the captain's armband has been handed over to goalkeeper Manuel Almunia who will soon be England's starting Number 1.

Salvation for both Arsenal and England is some time away coming.

In the meantime, the Gunners have to suffer more humiliation as they got their asses kicked too by Manchester City 3-0.

The soap opera for both clubs continues.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

UFC 91 -- Two thumbs up!

I only got to watch UFC 91 in its entirety last night. Previously I only saw the Main Event between Brock Lesnar and Randy Couture.

And here's what I thought.

In a Middleweight battle, Damien Maia beat Nate Quarry at the 2:15 of the 1st Round with a choke submission. The dangerous Brazilian remains undefeated at 10-0.

Gabriel Gonzaga vs Josh Hendricks. Gonzaga sent Henricks to the mat at 1:01 of 1st round with a big right hand. TKO for the Brazilian who stands at 10-3 in the heavyweight class. Was Hendricks in shape? Anyone notice all that flab on him? While Gonzaga, man that big dude is all muscle.

Matt Brown vs Ryan Thomas in a welterweight match. Thomas was getting to Brown early on in fact, the Immortal, as Brown is nicknamed, was sucking air. But Brown suckered Thomas into an arm bar submission in the 2nd Round with only 57 seconds gone by to hike his record up to 11-7.

Aaron Riley vs George Gurgel Easily the Brawl of the Night. Gurgel for all his talent seems to have an attitude problem. Time and again you could hear his trainer tell the Brazilian to stick to the game plan with kicks to Riley's body that was turning red. But instead, he chose to slug it out and got the raw end of all the exchanged. Riley won by unanimous decision and Gurgel no doubt should see a doctor because after the fight, his body surely was tenderized.

Dustin Hazelett vs. Tamdan McCrory. Hazelett, who just received his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu came out to Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Badmoon Rising." In a thoroughly entertaining match, he took affront as McCrory, the New Yorker tried to use him as a stepping stone to move up in the welterweight division. And he got Tamdan who stands 3 inches taller at 6'4" to submit via an armbar at 3:59 of the 1st Round. Hazelett is now at 14-4.

In a lightweight bout, Jeremy Stephens threw a vicious uppercut to Rafael Dos Anjos that sent the Brazilian to the canvass. From there, the Heather pounded Dos Anjos who was plenty tough for a 3rd Round knockout to go to 16-3.

Kenny Florian vs Joe Stevenson.
A tough and entertaining match-up. An impressive performance by Florian as showed various sides to his over-all game by grappling and an intelligent ground game to get Stevenson to submit in 4:03 1st round. Then Florian, the Boston, Mass. guy challenged champ, BJ Penn after being interviewed by Joe Rogan.

The Main Event. Randy Couture vs Brock Lesnar. I was hoping for Couture to beat Lesnar. Was I thinking of age here? Not really. I figured Captain America would beat Lesnar because of his relative inexperience which showed in the two rounds.

Despite Lesnar's advantages in height, mass, and speed, he didn't have it easy against Couture. He even looked winded when he was forced to the fence by the defending champ.

If you ask me, Couture made a mistake. He lowered his guard and Lesnar dropped him with a right hand to the temple. From there on, Brock pounded the UFC Hall-of-Famer and Mario Yamasaki stopped the fight at 3:07 of the 2nd Round to award the Heavyweight Belt to the challenger who is now 3-1.

No matter... am still a Randy Couture fan! Captain America rocks!

Over-all, UFC 91 had very good and entertaining fights. Maybe except for the Mark Bocek and Alvin Robinson match. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it was a technical match. Still....

And as always, great commentary and analysis by Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan!

Now on to UFC 92 next month where Rampage faces Wanderlei Silva and Forrest Griffin battles Rashad Evans.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Baseball, Moose and Changeups

I remember it so well. My family (my parents and my siblings along with and my aunts and uncles) were watching the 2000 World Series from my Tito Vlady's house in Elmhurst, Queens. Never mind that there was a game that was a subway ride nearby. The family was split in half -- some for the Mets and some for the Yankees. And there was me, the loudest Yankees and baseball nut in the brood. Well, everyone in the Empire and tri-state must have been glued to their tubes then if they weren't changing trains from the Bronx to Queens. My mum isn't a sports fan by any chance but she had no choice but so stay up late cause everyone was watching the games. When the Yanks finally won there was relief and anguish everywhere. I... was bleeping ecstatic!

The Bronx Bombers won their fourth title in five years and they didn't look to stop. They added Mike Mussina from the Baltimore Orioles that spring and I thought to myself, "Hey, they've now got Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Ramiro Mendoza, Ted Lilly, and Moose. That's a good staff! They could win the next one too."

I'm not going to forget that following year for so so many reasons. That was 2001 and I figure ya'll know what happenned. 9-11 changed the world forever because it changed the way we look at air travel, at people of different faiths, politics, and it begat a couple of wars. For me it meant personal struggle and baseball was that shining light that distracted people from their worries.

The Yankees didn't win that year as they lost in a memorable seven-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. I figure I wasn't alone with an empty feeling after Game 7. I don't think I read any newspapers or checked stuff on the internet for a good several days.

I thought that (perhaps like those who joined the Chicago Bulls for one year hitches and the San Antonio Spurs later) that Mike Mussina would finally get his World Series championship ring when the Yanks went up 3-2 after five games. Nevermind if he was shellacked 9-1 in Game 1.

But it didn't happen. It didn't happen either in 2003 when they were back in the title game but lost to the Florida Marlins. Then things fell apart in 2004 after that monumental collapse to the Boston Red Sox.

Moose's consolation is his 270-153 over-all pitching record. He won 123 of those games with New York and in last season, won 20 games for the first time in a year. Are they Hall-of-Fame numbers?

Honestly, putting my biasness aside, I'm not sure. The others he passed had World Series titles to their resume. Some say that if he'd play again and try to go for 300 wins then he'd be a lock. But that is a selfish gesture that would put team goals aside. And as Moose said, he's not sure if he can get to 300 in 2 years. Maybe three.

So Mike Mussina retired. And now there's no one in that fabled pitching staff left save for closer Mariano Rivera who is porbbaly good for two more years before he hangs up his pinstripes.

If football was my dad's gift to me, baseball was my grandfather's. Last night while at the Sports Nation class, a good friend Eddie Ching said that he doesn't know too many people with an infatuation for the Grand Old Game and I'm one of those passionate fans.

Well, yes. I played baseball in the summer with my classmates from AHS and friends from IS and Xavier in the diamond behind the Ateneo high school covered courts. I played first base and pitched until my classmate Jun Sabijon knocked me off. Damn high kick! Think Louisiana Lightning! Hahahaha. We talked baseball and tried throwing a change up which was then the pitching rage back then. Hey, anyone remember Mario Soto of the Cincinnati Reds who started this pitch? Man, we were trying it out and didn't do to well with that off-speed pitch.

When you take a look at that picture above of Mike Mussina throwing the ball. My pitching form was somewhat like that save for his effectiveness and success. Hahahaha. So it was first base for me when I got demoted off the mound.

But thanks for the memories, Moose! It was great having you pitch at Yankee Stadium. I enjoyed chanting, "Mooooooooooossseee!" along with the stadium faithful when you took to the mound. And I still have those commemorative medallions from the New York Post. They're in my treasure chest along with all those other stuff a junkman like me saves.

A Bronx cheer for the Moose!

You bring the watermelon. You got it, King! You bring the hotdog. You got it, King!

A friend from adidas asked me why I figured this early for LeBron James to win the NBA's MVP Award (

And here's what I said:

The man is on a mission. He led the Cavaliers to the Finals two years ago and they fell real short to a deep San Antonio team. Bron has not forgotten that pain including his failed stints with USA Basketball.

In Beijing, he led the Redeem Team. He may have been second in scoring (15.5 ppg) to D-Wade but he was tops in minutes played (24.8 mpg), steals (19), and blocks (8). He was third in rebounds with 5.3 rpg.

If Kobe Bryant was this team's Michael Jordan, James was Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley all rolled into one.

And now, the King is ready to bring it to the NBA. Despite their sorry loss to Detroit, the Cavs are at 9-3 and are fifth in league scoring at 100.3 and they figure to get better in an increasingly better Eastern Conference (as of this writing the East has 9 teams that are .500 or better while the West have 7).

James in his 11 games so far is averaging 29.9 ppg, 7apg, and 8rpg in 37.4 mpg. The season has a long ways to go so we'll see how the King holds up, but he may lead the Cavaliers to the Promised Land but he can't do it on his own. This team is one starter away from crumbling. They might want to get some help for the long haul in the way Detroit picked up Allen Iverson. Mo Williams will help but they need more than that. What they need is some solid frontcourt scoring.

Making a list and checking it twice

Breakfast: Kellogg's Frosted Flakes & Pokka Cappuccino.

Patted my dog for a bit then gave her beef hash and a little milk.

Switched on my iTunes. Got both Barcelona bands playing (the Seattle version and the late lamented indie outfit from Virginia).

This I'm looking for to giveaway this Christmas. Hey, Timothy Zahn, you gotta have one of these. Them Dark Jedi's do not stand a chance.

So does Toys R Us carry this?

Hey.... take a look at this. Maybe Tom Brady ain't so bad after all.

Had a conversation with Mike Abasolo before the start of the second session of Sports Nation last night at Kolektib at Cubao X about my list of Top Coaches for the Year. Then howzabout Top College Coaches of the last 30 years.

Here's my take without ranking yet:
Francis Rodriguez
Turo Valenzona
Joe Lipa
Aric Del Rosario
Joel Banal
Franz Pumaren
Koy Banal
Derek Pumaren
Ato Tolentino (I won't comment about personal ehtics here so I'll be objective)
Roehl Nadurata

Since I'm doing lists, here are some guys who have yet to show up in this year's English Premier League:
Dimitar Berbatov
Didier Drogba
Robbie Keane
Fernando Torres
Emanuel Abdebayor

By contrast Roman Pavyluchenko and Amr Zaki have really made their presence felt for their respective clubs.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Le dunk de la mort

This was so awesome. I remember when I watching this game on TV and when I saw VC steal the ball and go on attack mode, I told myself, "Aww, shit! What's he gonna do?"

Take off from the Great White North! Save the women and children first, Marv! Vinsanity has infected the Land Down Under.


The Top 10 College Basketball Coaches This Year

The best-of or top-of lists are always hard to figure out if not controversial. We’d like to take a stab at the list of the best college basketball coaches for this year (make sure you understand what this means lest you come out stupid).

We took into consideration the titles won thus far with a small nod at what has been accomplished previously.

And here is our list of coaches from the Metro Manila leagues:

1) Norman Black (Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles) -- Champions for the Nike Summer League, UAAP, and Uni-Games. And counting... While having a solid recruiting program, his ability to produce great title runs by his Ateneo teams is something that cannot be overlooked. After LA Tenorio moved on to the pros in 2005, his Blue Eagles were pegged to collapse or fall into the middle of the pack. Yet they came within a JC Intal lay-up of winning a championship. In 2007, again without the key players who lead them to the 2006 title game, they produced another magical and masterful run that ended in Game Two of the Final Four. And this year, despite a bumper recruiting crop, no one knew how good they would be. And that has netted then three titles so far in a six month span. And there’s the matter of turning his players into solid big game performers.

2) Frankie Lim (San Beda College Red Lions) -- Steered SBC to the two straight NCAA titles in their historic three-peat. Critics may deride he not being a solid X’s and O’s man, but those two titles in the NCAA cannot be disregarded. Some may say that he has a solid crew there. Okay, here’s how I feel about San Beda, without Sam Ekwe, they wouldn’t win it at all. But he got this group to play together even through all their problems this past season. If some will say he won with Koy Banal’s squad (who won with Nash Racela’s team), this year was his alone. And San Beda is again on top of the basketball world.

3) Franz Pumaren (De La Salle University Green Archers) -- If we were handing out prizes for the best college coach ever then Pumaren wins it hands down. So far this year, his squad lost all its titles, but that doesn’t make him any less of a coach. There’s his ability to pick out players heralded and not-so ones then to get them to produce title runs year after year is astonishing and his Green Archers will be back with a vengeance. A great basketball mind of our time.

4) Leo Isaac (Arellano University Chiefs and Mapua Cardinals) -- Who would have thought this former Ginebra San Miguel had the coaching chops. He piloted his Arellano U team to several Fr. Martin II titles and to back-to-back NCRAA crowns. And in his spare time, he found the time to guide his alma mater Mapua to the Final Four of the NCAA.

5) Glenn Capacio (Far Eastern University Tamaraws) -- Here’s another former player who you can put into the category of who-could-have-thought-he-could be-a-good-coach? But Capacio is no stranger to reinvention. As an off-guard on star-studded National teams that featured Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codinera, Jojo Lastimosa, Nelson Asaytono, Ronnie Magsanoc etc, for him to earn a berth he became a defensive stopper who could stick the outside shot making him indispensable. And after a great PBA career with Purefoods, he’s now back at his alma mater where as a player, he won three UAAP titles. And he’s on the verge of leading the Tams to glory this time as the head coach. This season he kept his team in the hunt despite the Mac Baracael shooting and the departure of Robert Kave.

6) Ariel Vanguardia (Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers) -- He turned a lousy program around and the Heavy Bombers into a college version of those old Ginebra teams (minus the crowd darling tag). But beyond their rough and tumble game, his squads play every single minute of the game and for their efforts gave San Beda a fight in this year’s NCAA Finals.

7) Dindo Pumaren (University of the East Red Warriors) -- See the above praise lavished on Capacio and Isaac about former jocks turning coach. Almost as every bit as good as elder brother Franz. His UE teams have won a smattering of off-season titles but have yet to take home the big enchilada. Picked up from where Boysie Zamar left off and produced even more entertaining Red Warriors teams who demolish teams with their pressure D and pedal-to-the-metal game. So far this year won the Fil Oil Pre-Season Tournament.

8) Louie Alas (Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights) -- A great basketball mind who seems to win everywhere he goes. The Fabio Capello of Philippine college hoops. He wins even with non-descript squads. Coaches like he played – smart and steady even if below the radar.

9) Edgar Macaraya (San Sebastian College-Cavite Baycats) -- The former SSC Recoletos Stag stamped his class with his alma mater’s brother school by leading the Baycats to the NAASCU title by beating the defending champions STI. After losing the league scoring champion Jerome Cenita and high-scoring gunner Glen Bolocon, he changed his offense into a pressing team. And when his Baycats went up against the Olympians who played the same type of offense, his team with the faster and more athletic players reigned supreme.

10) Vic Ycasiano (Systems Technology Institute Olympians) -- You’re going to have fun watching him coach. Animated and highly-opinionated, he squeezes great performances out of his no-name players. He led them to a title defense of NAASCU but fell short when he lost do-it-all swingman Mike Cabangon to eligibility in mid-season. Cabangon was the missing link in the title game loss to San Sebastian.

Much ado about nothing

So Trevor Ariza and Sasha Vujacic got into a spat during their game versus Chicago. So what. Things like that happen to every team and in the course of a season. When in close proximity for a length of time, incidents, spats or disagreements happen. Of course in every team there are the malcontents and backward-walking Indians to borrow a phrase used by Phil Jackson. Now it's up to the coaches and team captains to rein him in.

The quote of the day comes from the New Orleans Hornets' Byron Scott after his team lost to an injury-depleted Sacto Kings squad: "They played harder. That's the bottom line. I told our guys, they are full of themselves if they step on the court and think teams are scared of them."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just imagine....

I'm one of the few MJ fans who roots for Kobe Bryant. And this pic of Black Mamba wearing an MJ Bulls home j is just so cool. Geek moment!

Do I think he'll be leaving the Lakers for the Windy City? Not a chance. Not when he's playing alongside Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum. They have a plenty good team and they will be in the thick of things (unless someone goes down with an injury) this second season. Kobe24 is a Laker for life.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Reach for the skies, gentlemen and empty your wallets

Completing the PCCL Cast

Nov 24
1 2pm - 4pm Ateneo vs. Lyceum-Manila San Juan Arena
2 4pm - 6pm San Beda vs. USJR San Juan Arena

Nov 26
3 2pm - 4pm Mapua vs. MLQU San Juan Arena
4 4pm - 6pm DLSU vs. USC-Cebu San Juan Arena

Nov 27
5 2pm - 4pm Arellano U vs. UCN San Juan Arena
6 4pm - 6pm UE vs. University of Visayas San Juan Arena

Nov 29
7 2pm - 4pm Letran vs. SSC-Recoletos San Juan Arena
8 4pm - 6pm JRU vs. Far Eastern U San Juan Arena

Nov 30
9 2pm - 4pm Winner G#1 vs. Winner G#3 Ynares Sports Arena
10 4pm - 6pm Winner G#4 vs. Winner G#6 Ynares Sports Arena

Dec 03
11 2pm - 4pm Winner G#2 vs. Winner G#5 San Juan Arena
12 4pm - 6pm Winner G#7 vs. Winner G#8 San Juan Arena

Dec 06
13 2pm - 4pm Winner G#9 vs. Winner G#12 San Juan Arena
14 4pm - 6pm Winner G#10 vs.Winner G#11 San Juan Arena

Dec 08
15 2pm - 4pm Loser G#13 vs. Loser G#14 (3rd place) San Juan Arena
16 4pm - 6pm Winner G#14 vs. Winner G#13 Championship

Left side of schedule – Light uniform; Right side of schedule- Dark Uniform

And the season isn't halfway done

Geez, Real Madrid loses three of its last four games (while Barcelona is only three points up on the two-time Spanish League champs) and people are calling for Bernd Schuster's head. Hey, they've only played 11 games thus far and in case anyone has been watching Los Blancos, they are without Ruud Van Nistelrooy who is most likely out for the season and Robinho who is in oblivion with Manchester City.

This is one club that has seen managers come and go and usually after a year's worth of service n the sidelines. It's prestigious to be the head gaffer for this club but like any other big program, you get hired to get fired. Let those dman people in media coach this team and if they can win a match or two then elevate them.

Thoughts about the team

In case you've noticed I've not commented or made much comments about recruits or who could be elevated to Team A. For one, I don't hang around the school or MLSC enough to know a lot and I have three sources within the team yet we don't talk too much now because there's a lot of other stuff keeping me busy. Unlike others who have a lot of time on theirhands, I don't so I don't get to watch too many games outside the UAAP and maybe the CCL.

Last summer when I made a simple post about my thinking that Jobe should be on the line-up eh may mga na-ruffle yung feathers. Even writing about Jeff De Guzman pissed off some people there. Obviously those people aren't too bright.

Regarding Jobe, that was my goddam opinion and I do not foist down my thoughts on Coach Norman. If you know Coach Norman at all, then you will know what I mean.

Second about Jeff... so what? It was about a guy who got cut plain and simple. He was cut in San Beda and in Ateneo. It does not question why he was cut but it was a story about a different path that was presented to him. The end of that story will be told eventually.

With regards to the current team, well, there are three open slots right now. Who's going to make it? It's way too early to tell. Some could even play for another school if only for the playing time. By summer time more or less we'll find out.

The high school boys, unfortunately, they're only way too small for seniors' hoops. Unless you have a player who is 6'4" and up who plays even bigger than his size then he can only avail of the backcourt slots. But they will need to hit the three-point shot and medium range jumper. A three-point shot makes you a threat but a pull up jumper makes you almost unguardable.

It's a bit of advice I've always told some of our Ateneo players and you have probably seen a few of them develop it.

Aside from his iron-clad will, it's what helped turn Michael Jordan into the player he became. Upon his advice and tutelege, it's that bit of advice that helped Rip Hamilton become an All-Star.

Justify Full
It helps create that degree of separation from one's guard for a shot and helps him drive to the hoop.

For Dumrique and Tiongson to make it, they have to be able to find the bottom of the net from the outside.

The current coaching staff places a premium on players who can play both ends of the court and are tall. With what's coming from FEU soon, Lord knows we'll need them.

If anything, everyone's gunning for us right now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Bringas back the bacon," says Awoo!

San Sebastian Staglet Arvie Bringas has committed to go to La Salle? But there are two other schools trying to still get him with an equally good chance -- UP is one of them.

And the other is National University. Hehehehe.

But as was with the case of Ryan Buenafe. We'll see come June.

By the way, someone who works in a TV outfit said that his company is trying to buy the rights of the life story of a disgraced basketball player who was one of the fall guys in a recent basketball scandal. I am checking it out if this is true.

$450K to pound the Natural (and we haven't counted the PPV royalties yet)

When Brock Lesnar made the jump from the WWE to the NFL, a lot of folks snickered at the move. But if Stephen Neal, they person he lost to in the NCAA Finals (wrestling) could do it, he probably could do better. In case you all want to know, Neal is with the New England Patriots.

Except that he got cut by the Minessota Vikings and went back to pro wreslting in Japan.

Now that he's in UFC, he's one of the biggest stars at the moment after he dethroned the heavyweight champ the Natural, Randy Couture.

Couture was overwhelmed in two rounds by Lesnar's speed and power. Not to mention his agility. Quite a potent mix, wreslting and the new MMA skills he's acquired.

Now it's time for him to fight some of the other bad ass guys in the UFC.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pics from the Bantay Bata All-Star Games

When I got to the Ynares Arena, a few asked me (from the media to the coaching staffs) who I thought would win both Juniors and Seniors games. I said, "UAAP."

As much as the other league may be more individually talented, that's exactly it. Individually. That's how they play in the NCAA.

And it showed in the final results. If you ask me, the Juniors match was more enjoyable. Shout out to an old friend, Lisa Elorde! Nico played well, huh?

Before the dunk contest, I was chatting with Chris Camus who I spoke to before in UST. He was our dark horse contestant. But I pegged Sudan or Elmer to win. Sorry, Chris! I know ya got hops.

I'll see ya soon, bro.

Bleachers' Brew #133 The Walk of Life

(The author has turned walking into more than just a form of exercise to beat stress but as a means to enjoy life and do some soul searching.)

The city is a pressure cooker of tension wires, never-ending emotional issues, and developing claustrophobes. Like someone who has been bouncing from one faith to another in search of something to assuage his inner turmoil, I’ve played various sports to sweat out the stress. They’ve been great help of course and there’s nothing quite like a soothing massage to cap it all off.

Yet for as long as I’ve been dreaming about being the next athletic marvel, the one soothing form of exercise I’ve engaged in is walking.

I was a young man when I first read Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken. For all the analogies about the paths and decisions we make, I thought that in some romantic and sentimental way, he made walking sound cool.

And so I walked (and ran too since I played a lot of sports). I walked with my classmates all the way from the Ateneo High School which is located at the far end of the 150-hectare campus in Loyola Heights all the way to Katipunan. Under an angry sun it might seem crazy but then when you’re growing into your teens and feeling more emboldened by the day, it’s not so bad if only for a glimpse of those collegialas who were a sight for sore eyes.

I walked (maybe marched would be an appropriate term too) from Cubao all the way to Luneta Park to demand that a dictatorship step down.

And later on into my adult life, for three times a week, I’d walk around Princeton University after coming home from work. Down Nassau Street all the way to back roads to Lake Carnegie where I’d sometimes catch the school’s rowing team ready to call it a day. The twilight at the tree-lined roads made me feel like I was a part of an Ansel Adams photograph. The long walk would hurt my calves and feet and I’d soak them in warm water afterwards but I felt it soothe my soul in many ways.

When I used to work in ad agencies, I remembered how’d they give us a blank piece of bond paper to look at after staring in front of our PCs all day long. The clear and clean paper uncluttered our tumbled thoughts. I must admit it worked but then as soon as I got out of work there was that stretch of horrendous Metro Manila traffic I had to face!

I remember how Frank Miller described how the fictional Daredevil made use of the concrete jungle of Manhattan as his own playground: “She hums with power and tickles my legs with a thousand flirting fingers, laughs at me, blows a gust of smoke in my face, tricks me with slippery stone…”

Were I a practitioner of Parkour then maybe I would have bounded about the city like some true-to-life adaptation of Stan Lee’s imagination. From time to time, I’d make the long walk from where I worked in East 86 and Lexington all the way to 42nd Street where I’d lose myself in neon glitter before I boarded the 99S bus at the Port Authority back to Jersey City where I stayed for quite awhile too.

My mom thought I was crazy to walk 44 city blocks. At first I was a little winded but in truth, the passing parade of ritzy Fifth Avenue was enough distraction as I wondered what went behind those apartment buildings I’ve always dreamed of living in. I heard Robin Leach in the back of my head talk about “champagne wishes and caviar dreams” and chuckle to myself. Along the way there was the Metropolitan Museum and the Central Park Zoo, then by the time I hit the Plaza, it was Frank Miller again: “She hums with power and tickles my legs…

For a couple of months, I briskly walked the area delivering pizza in the surrounding areas between Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue. Didn’t want to be late and miss out on that tip!

I think I walked so much that it wasn’t stress I was worried about but varicose veins going Spider-Man on me.

Back in Manila, I found myself drawn to three places in the metro: Bonifacio Global City before it was landscaped into hedonistic pursuits, the Marikina Sports Center where the oval gave me a tangible starting and finish line, and back in my old school in Loyola Heights where I do most of my walking.

On week mornings, I make time to walk my Dalmatian before I prep for work and on weekends I choose the quiet solitude to walk around my campus in the late afternoons. There are few cars so I don’t have to worry about carbon monoxide emissions and there are only others like me who wish to reclaim a vastly different school from Gen Y that has never had it so good.

And I walk down a lane lined with acacia, ipil, and fire trees lit with the last rays of the fading light, I think… of a song, of days when along with my classmates we thought we were kings, of home and hearth, of a freshly brewed cup of coffee, of things to do and maybe it’s time for certain dreams to come true, of a communion with nature, of a joke that I laugh out loud to and hope that no one hears me lest they think I’m going crazy, of another song that fills me with a certain vibrancy, of loved ones, of a prayer for my long suffering football club that hasn’t tasted a championship in almost two decades, of work deadlines that I dismiss after a thought before they bring the weight of the world on my shoulders, of walking until the bend before I tell myself I’m done but when I get there I go on still, of another song that shakes me to my very being, of whether the world will be a better place now that Obama will lead the way, of a nice back rub…

What's on my player when I walk:
Plus Minus - You've Got It All (you better gorram download this and you'll thank me one fine day)
Tears For Fears - Goodnight Song
The Blue Nile - Tinseltown In the Rain
Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone
Bruce Hornsby and the Range - The Valley Road
Death Cab for Cutie - Lowell, Ma.
Five for Fighting - Disneyland
Tom Petty - Freefallin'
'Til Tuesday - Love In A Vacuum
Smashing Pumpkins - Try, Try, Try
Rivermaya - Sunday Driving
Prefab Sprout - Jordan: the Comeback
Dream Theater - Another Day -- dude, Spyro Gyra's Jay Beckenstein on tenor sax!
Pete Yorn -- his album Music for the Morning After

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Better Red than Dead

The Liverpool Echo reported that it is very likely that the club might have to sell some of its star players in order to pay back loans and rising debts. Holy cow!

After Tottenham bounced them out of the Carling Cup with a 4-2 win (their second loss this season to the Spurs), LFC bounced back by shutting out Bolton 2-0 in a highly-physical match at Reebok Stadium. The win kept the Reds abreast of Chelsea which won a few hours later to stay tied in the EPL standings with 32 points apiece. They're 8 up on ManU.

Hey Fernando Torres! Wake up!

Even more controversy, the club applied for patent rights to their version of the Liver Bird, the city's mascot and symbol. But the club made it clear - their version of the Liver Bird that appears on all LFC merch that others have used unscrupulously. Other city orgs and committee's are up in arms over this move.

We're at the Loyola Bookstore!

All our One Big Cheer shirts -- Tiuperman, iamnonoy, and the 2008 UAAP Championship shirt are now only available at the Loyola Bookstore at the MVP Center in Ateneo.

But we have other new stuff that should be out in time for your Christmas shopping!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday around the horn

Neil Funk, the original "Ka-Boom" and "Down the well she goes," and ex-Bulls forward-center Stacey King are calling the match between Chicago and Dallas! But Funk should zip it. He talks too much like some local sportscasters who don't know when to shut up.

Nick Swisher goes to the New York Yankees. Now, they should get CC Sabathia because their pitching staff really sucks.

Did you see the way Shaq cleared them Rockets with one arm? Now that is Superman!

Big win by the Lakers over the Hornets at New Orleans! What a shot by Kobe over James Posey. Doesn't that remind you of Michael Jordan's shot over Gerald Wilkins when the Cavs acquired him from the Knicks to be the Jordan stopper?

Pacquiao vs. De La Hoya: One for his Legacy

One for his Legacy
Pacquioa vs. De La Hoya
by rick olivares

History is replete with athletes who hung around too long… Willie Mays, Muhammad Ali, and Dominique Wilkins are but a few.

Some have had a modicum of success like Michael Jordan and for people like Brett Favre, the jury is still out.

The Dream Match between Oscar De La Hoya and Many Pacquiao is what precisely it says, but it’s equal parts sell out for the Golden Boy and a huge opportunity to vault Pacman to heights previously unreached by any Filipino boxer.
So I’d say that it at the end of it all, it’s a Legacy Match with enormous ramifications for either one.

The numbers game isn’t solely about their take home pay but the traditional tale of the tape: Oscar is 35 years old and has in 16 years fought 44 times with 39 wins and 30 coming by way of knockout.
But already, Oscar is so far removed from his Gold Medal days in Barcelona. In the last several years, he’s fought so infrequently that he’s become a part-time fighter. Maybe even more tellingly, in his last two fights, he fought well in the opening rounds where he earned his points. But in the later rounds, that’s where De La Hoya faded.

Since his fight with Luis Ramon Campas in May of 2003, Oscar has alternated in wins and losses. If the trend continues, after he survived Forbes in a unanimous decision earlier this year, he’s probably due for a loss.
No one will put their faith in such trends although Oscar’s camp will pay attention to it. Maybe that’s why Angelo Dundee is also in his corner; they know it’s a huge fight with not only an enormous payday but a win will cement his legacy and allow him to retire. A loss will not entirely tarnish his reputation but rather lump him in that list of athletes who stayed way past their prime. It’s a sensational match-up all right: height, strength, and reach versus stamina, speed, and an iron-clad determination.

At this point, what ghosts is Manny Pacquiao chasing on his way to immortality?
The Catch-22 of boxing as a sport is one loss can undo a meticulously-crafted career. Pacquiao has kicked butt and taken names on his way to this bonanza. And it is of no surprise that he’s felled Oscar’s countrymen thus earning the sobriquet of “the Mexican Killer.”

At 29 years of age, Pacquiao is entering his prime. Already he has fought more than De La Hoya with 52. He has won 47 and knocked out 35 of his foes. He’s lost only thrice with only two draws.
Since he took it on the chin for a loss via unanimous decision to Erik Morales in March of 2005, Pacman has mowed down eight straight foes and a virtual who’s who list in boxing.

The match against De La Hoya is enticing not just for the riches he will amass form it but at this point, it’s also for his place in boxing’s firmament.
Word is Pacquiao has gotten stronger and his speed is even more blinding. He is in top shape and his willingness to mix it up will put Oscar on the defensive.

The Golden Boy has shown however, that he can take as much punishment as he can dish it out. But he’s not fought anyone who’s essential game plan is all-out action. Oscar will have to resort to a more tactical and methodical strategy if he wants to survive because he knows he cannot go toe-to-toe at his age.

Pacquiao will feel Oscar out in the early rounds just to see what his game plan is and what kind of shape he’s in.
Once they’ve tasted blood, the warrior in both will see them come out slugging. And that’s when it’s not about the money or legacy, but two of the best mano-a-mano fighters is how that at the end of the day they both want to be remembered. And Manny will be a handful for the Golden Boy who will might have to surrender that monicker at the fight’s end.

Say what you will, but you want this fight to happen.
And I see it Pacquiao in 8.

Guess who's teaching me how to post up?

To play in the NBA is any baller's dream. And it starts out with watching games on the telly before those moves are practiced on that makeshift court in your room, in the backyard, the garage, or even in the park. When things get more serious then you go to basketball camps where the game's fundamentals are drummed into you.

What if that process is circumvented in a good way when you're brought to four different NBA hoops hotbeds to learn the game from five of the game's biggest stars?

Well, not only will you be "NBA Tested. Brotherhood Ready" but you'll receive a massive dose of confidence that should help raise your level of play.

Twelve, unknown ball players from the U.S. and China were brought to learn the game of basketball and brotherhood alongside NBA stars Kevin Garnett, Gilbert Arenas, Dwight Howard, Tracy McGrady and Tim Duncan in adidas’ 2008-2009 start of season basketball campaign.

Captured in a four-part “NBA Tested. Brotherhood Ready.” film series, the young athletes’ side-by-side experience with the NBA stars brings to life the two playing styles a Brotherhood comprises: Commanders and Creators.

Beginning in Washington DC, the young players learn the aggressively smooth and stealth-like approach to running the floor from the definitive Creator Gilbert Arenas. Next, they travel to Orlando to learn what it takes to have unwavering physical presence and dominating effect in the paint from Commander Dwight Howard. The athletes come together as a team of Commanders and Creators in Houston as they play with Commander Tim Duncan and Creator Tracy McGrady. Ultimately, the journey concludes as a Brotherhood in Boston with Kevin Garnett.

Sports Nation gets started

The first class of Sports Nation got off to a great start and its a cool class made of alums from Ateneo, UP, DLSU, and UST. I think, we might have a couple of late additions in time for the next class which is still a good jumping on point before things get into overdrive.

No one from the class knew each other personally but after the ice breaker got out of the way, there were so many converging lines on how our paths cross! From in-laws, to having former teammates or coaches as friends or co-workers, and to... well going to school after one another.

After the first session, half the group stayed behind for coffee til midnight! Hahahaha. Cool!

Thanks to Vitto of BTV for the assist here!