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.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Two Thumbs Up for Smart Gilas

Two Thumbs Up for Smart Gilas
by rick olivares

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas expressed satisfaction regarding participation of the Smart Gilas Men’s national team in the recently concluded 20th FIBA Asia Champions Cu in Jakarta Indonesia from May 12-20, 2009.

The Smart Gilas team finished 5th place out of a ten-team field and was second in its Group during the elimination round.

During the Eliminations, the Philippines wound up with a 3-1 record good for second behind undefeated Mahram Iran at 4-0. A shocking and disappointing loss to Al Arabi Qatar in the quarterfinals sent the team tumbling to the consolation round where it had to beat Sangmoo Korea and Satria Muda Indonesia to finish the tourney at the five-spot.

SBP Executive Director Jose Emmanuel “Noli” Eala described the squad’s first international competition was “a huge success for the SBP and our long-term national team program.”

The National Team’s Head Coach Rajko Toroman noted that the team could have gone farther had it not been for bad breaks that was due to the team’s inexperience and spotty officiating in the final minutes against Qatar that prevented the Philippines from advancing deeper in the tournament.

Added Eala, “Jakarta revealed that indeed our developmental program is on the right track and yet more work has to be done.”

Team officials are looking to improve on defense, strength and size in the future to further improve the country’s chances in 2011 towards its goal of reaching the 2012 London Olympics.

The National Team management group was pleased with the performance of its locals as well as the performance of its American reinforcement Chester Jarrel “CJ” Giles. “CJ has shown dedication to the team and has been embraced by his team mates warmly as truly being one with them,” said Eala summing up the collective two thumbs up sign given by team officials. “I don't think you can look for more with what he has shown in Jakarta. Many other supposedly good foreign imports would not and could not have done what CJ did, i.e. continuing to play despite an injury for a team in which he had no guaranteed long term contract, thus clearly risking his career and future.”

Giles was clearly one of the stars of the tournament and other teams expressed interest in acquiring his services.

In the meantime, the SBP is in talks with Giles over his continued tenure with the Philippines as well as possible naturalization.

Naturalization, as I have always pointed out, is a process the SBP will not trivialize or trifle with,” pointed out the Executive Director. “The grant of our citizenship is a serious and even sacred act that we in the SBP are all aware of. Thus, while CJ has already shown interest in going through the naturalization process, we will continue to evaluate CJ both on and off the court, particularly in our final moments with him to make sure that whatever decision we reach will be for the best interest of the Philippines, the SBP and all concerned.”

The Philippines will be leaving this week for Japan for a four-game friendly series with the host country’s national team.

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