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.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Snapshots from the 20th FIBA Asia Champions Cup Tournament

This was taken before we all headed to the game venue for the final game. Greg copied a bunch of stuff from my iTunes for his iPod. Jayvee and I chatted about the games here and what the whole experience means to him. He was teasing me about the name of the blog. "Bleachers Blue" dapat pangalan daw. Hahahaha. "I said if that were so then I can't write about anyone who isn't of blue pedigree.

I'm with Arynnn here. She writes for the Indonesian version of SLAM magazine and is an immense hoops junkie. I don't have a picture with this guy whose handle is "Insane." Insane is the top streetballer in Indonesia and is a huge PBA fan. In fact he watched all the Smart Gilas team's matches here. During the final battle with Indonesia, he came to the Britama Arena wearing a Danny Ildefonso San Miguel Beer jersey. He asked me a favor if I could hook him up with his new idol, Mark Barroca. They had their picture taken after the win against Indonesia. Said Insane, "We learn the game from Filipinos! I am a big fan!"

You're all right, brother!

Rashad Dominic Powell and Nakeia Jovon Miller both play for Satria Muda Indonesia. They are two of the most competitive players you will ever meet. In fact, Miller is fun to watch because he totally leaves his heart on the floor. I chatted with him after their quarterfinals loss and he was devastated that he let his team down. He isn't one of the most consistent players in this tournament for nothing. This was in the morning shootaround where both Americans were playing a game of horse from the halfcourt line.

When we go down for breakfast, our usual na kasabay was the Korean team. Every team hads its own set of tables and there was hardly any intermingling save for the coaches. I was the only nosy one who would move from table to table chatting and making friends with the other teams. The Korean Coaches Lee Jun Hae (left) and Jang Chang Gon (right). On Tuesday morning, Comm Noli Eala sent a box of Ponkan to their table (courtesy of a friend of Gerry Tiu). So over Ponkan we spoke about Korea (not hoops) but its tense relations with its northern neighbor. Who said that life is just hoops?

This was truly a great experience for me. And one of the best things about it was making friends in the foreign media from Lebanon to India to Indonesia to Iran. Here are my friends from Indonesia (L-R: Valentino, me, Arnold & Jul) who are all Liverpool FC fans. Between writing stories and press conferences, we talked about football and the Reds who we all worship. The cool thing is we will all see each other in Singapore this July to watch LFC play there! YNWA!

By the way, the guy who snapped this shot -- one of the media relations guys -- is a MUFC fan. He was ribbing us about his team winning the Premiership for the 11th time. I said, I don't care if you won, you still all suck! We had a big laugh.

Hey, Valentino! Thanks for the Alessandro Del Piero shirt! I also am a fan of Juventus.

Last Monday, I joined the Kuwaiti team shopping first at the Mall of Indonesia then at the Mal Kalapa Gading. This is the tres cool entrance of MOI with Qadsia's Macedonian Coach Jordancho Davitkov. On the first day, I nicknamed him, "Don Nelson" and the code name stuck. But you really have to ask everyone about Coach Davitkov, one of the true characters of this tournament. After all, he did turn Jayvee Casio into an "addict." Bwahahaha. Ask him about it or anyone on the team -- Davitkov.

Notes: I have two more stories to tell about the Smart Gilas team. One is about CJ Giles and the other is about the American imports who played in the tournament. The latter story might be broken into two with one used for my Monday column in Business Mirror.

For the story, I'll feature Joe Box of Qadsia Kuwait, Chris Charles of Al Riyadi Lebanon, Priest Lauderdale of Mahram Iran, and Joshua Jones of Al Arabi Qatar.

Oh I also have a short piece on Mario Palma, head coach of Jordan and formerly National Coach for Angola.

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