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, June 30, 2009

Time to get that loose ball, er... magazine & Look who else is into Rebound

Available now:
- Fully Booked Eastwood, Shangri-La, Gateway
- Total Petroleum stores
- Petron Wack-Wack
- Book Sale Alabang
- Book Express Marikina, Retiro
- Emerald Bookazine Alabang Town Center / RCBC
- National Book Store: Alabang Town Center, Festival Mall, Bel-Air, Cash & Carry, Market Market, Rockwell, Grand Central, San Lazaro, Sta. Mesa, Tutuban, Victory Plaza, Megamall, Podium, Shangrila, Quezon Ave and Superbranch
- South Supermarket Alabang
- Bufini Glorietta/Rockwell
- Tarazu Pacific Star
- Caltex Julia Vargas
- RB Magazine Exchange Megamall
- St. Francis Square Bookstore
- St. Luke's Hospital Bistro
- Petron P. Tuazon
- QC Sports Club
- Ramanor Del Monte

Also available provincially in:

- Mio Magazine Shop Baguio
- BaguioCC
- Christian Ventures Cebu
- Iloilo Magazine

By next week, it's everywhere!

UP Maroons Martin Reyes & Woody Co check out Rebound.
Thanks to fast Eddie C for the pic.

NCAA Day 2: CSB shows it's all about execution while Arellano U sends a message.

Day 2 of the NCAA Men's Basketball Games.

College of St. Benilde 87 vs. Angeles University Foundation 76
The College of St. Benilde Blazers got off to a rousing start by breaking open a close game with the Angeles University Foundation Great Danes by simply executing better than their Pampanga-based foes.

The Great Danes, coached by former FEU Tamaraws Enrico Gascon, must have thought they were still at their hometown as they tried to run without rhyme or reason and they paid for it.

For starters, their point guards Paulo Henson and Patrick Musni were huge liabilities. The pair played a total of 34 unproductive minutes and collectively compiled 2 points (from free throws at that), 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, versus 6 turnovers. They were slow to bring up the ball to their frontcourt and when they did they just passed the ball to the wings and their job was done. Zero playmaking. Zero drives to the hoop. One loss that opened up a list of questions.

In the first half, the Great Danes shot themselves further by committing a rash of turnovers that allowed the Blazers to take a seven-point lead 40-33.

If they seemed like they were going to get back in the game, the punchless pair failed to get Matt Carney into the game. The power playing frontcourt player scored 11 points after two quarters as his ability to carve some space in the shaded lane gave some fits to Blazers Jacob Manlapaz Robbie Mañalac, and William Johnstone. In the final half, he hardly had any touches and played only seven more minutes and had only two more attempts that bricked.

The Great Danes' forwards were faster in bringing down the ball and showed better playmaking by creating opportunities for teammates.

But that was one half of the equation. For the Blazers of former DLSU player and Sta. Lucia Realtor Richard Del Rosario, they showed more discipline in spite of being a young team and suffering key losses to personnel who were deemed ineligible to play prior to the start of the tournament (see Carlo Lastimosa).

The Blazers pounced on AUF's inability to read their basic plays when their forwards or centers would make backdoor cuts and with their opponents napping on defense, cut right back into the middle effectively sealing out their guards for almost point blank stabs.

Furthermore, the bulk of Benilde's points were coming off plays from the right side of the court whether through set pieces or fastbreak passes. CSB scored 23 fastbreak points off AUF turnovers.

Del Roasrio, who is trying to win as many games as he can in this first round, "para hindi kami maghabol," had his guards and forwards meet their foes before the halfcourt line making it difficult to get into their offense. "It feels good to get that first win," added the coach who is taller than all of his players perhaps save for Mañalac. "I didn't have to suit up," he quipped.

CSB's Gelo Montecastro scored a game high 22 points while teammates Chuck Dalanon added 18, Johnstone 12, and Jeff Morial with 10.

AUF's high-leaping Arnel Fuertez scored 18, Limmuel Manarang 16, Matt Carney and Aaaron Santos with 11 a piece.

Arellano University Chiefs 80 vs. Emilio Aguinaldo Generals 62
If AUF's guards were invisible, EAC's John Santos and Argel Mendoza showed a willingness to mix it up inside. Except that EAC went to war without any outside artillery.

The Generals' inability to bombard from the outside allowed the AU Chiefs to clamp down inside and from a 11-16 first quarter deficit, spring their trapping defense that had EAC on its heels.

The Chiefs played man-to-man in the first quarter as they patiently watched what the Generals were doing. The ball basically went down to forwards Russell and Lowell Yaya and Claude Cubo who combined for much of AU's first 8 points.

But AU was able to get inside the lane repeatedly revealing a donut hole in EAC's defense. Come the second quarter, AU sprung their fullcourt press and scored 11 fastbreak points off 8 turnovers (EAC had zero fastbreak points) as they turned the tables around for a 38-29 lead.

It got steadily worse for EAC that after three quarters, their boisterous cheering section had gone quiet while the small AU crowd taunted, Uwian na!" EAC had scored only 9 points to the 26 of AU.

Gio Ciriacruz and his brother Isiah outplayed the Yaya brothers as both showed an inside outside game that befuddled their opponents from San Marcelino. "That is a luxury we have," said a visibly elated Alfie Martinez who is in his first year as head coach for AU. "That our players can play multiple positions."

With only two shots made from beyond the arc, AU closed the lane and turned it into a block party as they made life difficult inside for the Generals. Arellano had 8 to EAC's 7 blocked shots.

Monday, June 29, 2009

No miracle in the jungle

I was doing the jig so early in the morning. Team USA spotted Brazil 2-0 after 45 minutes of play and the South Americans looked nervous. But Brazil showed why they are a football superpower when they scored 3 goals (should have been four though) in the second half.

I thought the Americans were vulnerable at set pieces especially at the corners where Kaka, Robinho, Fabian, and Maicon were able to get some good shots in. But their defense in the midfield was real good as the Brazilians were forced to try to attack with the long ball and using their speed.

I think the US will qualify for the World Cup in South Africa but wow, how tough is that going to be for them?

This one is going to hurt for a long time.

UFC 99: The Comeback. Is it over for the Axe Murderer?

This happened two weeks ago and I wasn't able to watch it until the weekend.

Best fights:
Marcus Davis vs. Dan Hardy. Davis, the Irish Hand Grenade from Bangor, Maine, USA let his hatred for Hardy get the best of him. As a result, Hardy tapped danced on his face.

Mike Swick beat Ben Saunders with a TKO in the 2nd Round.

I'm sorry Mike Goldberg, but that's mere speculation that Mirko Cro Cop beat Mostapha Al-Turk. That was a poke in the eye that helped the Croatian win.

Check Kongo. I was hoping he'd win his heavyweight bout with Cain Velasquez but he sucks at the ground game. Velasquez got hurt at the start of every round but always recovered nicely to take the fight to the mat where Kongo had no answer.

The main event between Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva and Rich "Ace" Franklin was a great main event. Silva really looks on his way out. Although he tagged Franklin good on several occasions, he himself got rocked even more times. I would have wanted him to win but he's slowing down. In his previous fight, Rampage Jackson knocked him out cold. Now he loses on a unanimous decision.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

He's back...

Bleachers' Brew #164 Pride & Glory: The JRU Heavy Bombers and the Letran Knights

This appears in my column in the Monday June 29 edition of the Business Mirror.

Pride and Glory
by rick olivares

Seven minutes and four seconds na lang,” announced one of team assistants of the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers. Those minutes were sure to fly fast as the three-time defending champions San Beda Red Lions had made mincemeat out of the Mapua Cardinals in the first game of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Season 85 as coaches emptied their benches. The Heavy Bombers were going up against Colegio De San Juan de Letran in the second match of the day. Perhaps the only one worth the price of admission for the third game was another mismatch as a souped-up San Sebastian Stags team was to face a young University of Perpetual Help System-Dalta squad.

Jose Rizal and Letran had meet twice in the Final Four in the last two years with both teams carving one series with over the other.

“O, huddle na,” commanded JRU Head Coach Ariel Vanguardia who was about to issue last minute game instructions. Then to the assistant, “Huwag ka magpapapasok kahit sino. Kahit sino.”

“Except si (Jose) Rizal,” joked Assistant Coach Lito Vergara. “Mahirap na. Baka magalit sa atin at malasin.”

The locker room atmosphere was electric. The room’s denizens no doubt took a cue from its energetic, quotable, and fiery coach. “No need to pump up these guys,” Vanguardia commented later. On the whiteboard, he scribbled in big bold words, “Defensive Intensity.”

“That is how we will win it,” he underscored. He then exhorted the team to several huge yells that further charged the atmosphere. “Last time tayo nandito natalo tayo. All our sacrifices will be in vain if we don’t follow what we’ve been training for since last year. We have played this team (Letran) before when they were much stronger. There is no reason why we cannot defeat them again.” he thundered. “Whatever the officiating is, whether the game is low-scoring or high-scoring, it does not matter. Let’s get the win.”

During the past summer, the team held a photo session for a sponsorship proposal to the top athletic apparel companies. Someone suggested they take the photo next to the 1972 NCAA trophy, the school’s one and only men’s basketball championship. Vanguardia’s mouth contorted into a frown then to a look of dismay. “The past is the past,” he rebutted. “The time is now.”

Vangaurdia was born that year but he admits he became acutely aware of JRU’s history was when he assumed the coaching chores four years ago. Every year they have gotten better and this year perhaps represents their best chance to seize that elusive title.

The ball was to go down low to center James Sena and to attack the interior where Letran was weak. “Marvin (Hayes), go in for the rebound,” reminded Vanguardia to his do-it all forward who has an uncanny nose for the ball that he converts for high percentage shots.

After the meeting, Hayes led the team in prayer. The player from Binangonan called out Almighty for strength and wisdom at least two dozen times in the minute-long prayer. “6-3-2-1!” yells the team as they bound out of the locker room. Vanguardia, with his yellow gold JRU shirt soaked with sweat sat on a chair lost in his thoughts.

Inside the locker room of the Letran Knights, the mood was more serene. The placid atmosphere however masked the focused intensity of Louie Alas’ charges. His team lost eight players to graduation whereas JRU, tagged as the pre-season favorite to win it all, was missing only two. “It’s a young team,” the coach noted. “Be that as it may, meron kaming tradition to uphold. We made the Final Four the past six seasons. We lost Kojak Melegrito, Dino Daa, Ray Dangcal at maraming iba but that doesn’t mean we will back down from anyone.”

The two basketball squads have developed a rivalry in recent years and Opening Day pitted the two once more in the main game of the afternoon.

In Season 83, the Knights, the league’s number two seed dispatched the Heavy Bombers 70-61 in the Final Four to advance to the championship where they lost to San Beda. The following year, JRU returned the favor by eliminating Alas’ squad in two matches in the Final Four to advance to the title series where they fell prey to a grand-slam seeking Red Lions team.

Each of the Knights dealt with the pre-game preparations differently. Senior Rey Guevarra had massive headphones on. RJ Jazul dressed up quietly and occasionally checked is phone for messages. Shooting guard Reymar Gutilban was in quiet conversation with center John Foronda. Any conversations were muted.

“Three minutes before game time,” said a television production assistant who poked his head inside the Letran locker room.

Alas, in his trademark blue adidas sweat shirt motioned for his team to gather around. The pre-game meeting was done earlier. Now was the time for some simple reminders. “JRU is a team that likes to score early on,” he said softly. “Tayo, ang advantage natin is working the shot clock. Be patient in finding the open man. Disrupt natin yung rhythm nila. Tayo mag-dictate ng pace ng laro. Play smart. Kahit ilan lang gamitin ko sa laro, lahat tayo may roles. Execute natin.”

He was counting on his two senior players – guard RJ Jazul and forward Rey Guevarra who both saw extensive action with the Smart Gilas RP Men’s National Team during the summer – to lead their team into battle and hopefully, score an upset.

It is the coach who led the team in prayer. Alas asked the Lord to give everyone the strength and courage to play and to protect his boys and opponents from injury. The team broke from the huddle with a loud, “Arriba, Letran. Team. Team. Team.”
Alas sat down on a chair and was lost in his thoughts.

The Heavy Bombers’ game plan didn’t go as planned. Instead of bringing the ball down low, JM Wilson bombarded from the outside except he was off target. Point guard Mark Cagoco, who in reality is better suited as a shooting guard was unable to set up the offense. Vanguardia sent in Jay-R Bulangis to steady the ship when Letran’s Guevarra tied the match at 10-all with an uncontested jumper.

A quarter is 10 minutes long but it took the two teams seventeen minutes to play it. Alas stood the whole time while Vanguardia sat down with 54 seconds left in the first quarter.

He made his adjustments and the Heavy Bombers took the half 36-30. Vangaurdia was upset that they could not control the game. They knew the Red Lions and their coaching staff were watching closely.

In the third quarter, the Heavy Bombers found their groove as they raced to a 13-point lead. But with four minutes left in the game, Bulangis fouled out. Letran capitalized on the loss of JRU’s best ball handler by pressuring the Bombers into turnover after turnover.

Guevarra’s two free throws brought the JRU lead down 68-66 with 1:49 left.

Down to the last 24 seconds, a misplay on Letran’s offensive saw the loose ball skitter towards Wilson who high-tailed it for a breakaway layup. Alas’ son, rookie point guard, Kevin, who saw significant action with the RP Youth team, committed an advantage foul on Wilson. Two free throws plus ball possession for JRU.

The freshman picked himself up and realized his error. Still JRU left the window open for a Letran comeback as Wilson connected on only one free throw 69-66. After another failed Letran offensive, Wilson was fouled once more with less than a second left. Despite his game-high 21 points, he succumbed to the pressure as he missed both shots. Foronda’s desperation heave from 90-feet was way short.

Both teams were quiet inside their respective locker rooms. Disappointment was all over the faces of the Knights as their rally fell short. The Heavy Bombers got the win but the mood wasn’t as charged two hours earlier. They had escaped. Maybe even worse, their suspect ball handling (especially without Bulangis) was exposed.

We’ll bounce back.” Alas coaxed his wards inside his dugout.

Vanguardia, who is feeling the pressure of all the pre-season expectations, knew they had dodged a bullet. “A win is win,” he mustered as he left the media room.


Thanks to Ariel Vanguardia and Louie Alas.

Letran Knights 2009-10

NCAA Season 85 Opening Day Notes

Condolences to SBC Head coach Frankie Lim whose father recently passed away... If anyone cared to notice, NABRO did an excellent job of officiating yesterday for all three matches. So okay, maybe two were blowouts so there's not much to call but the JRU-CSLJ game was intense and the calls were on the level. I asked Commish Aric del Rosario about why they did well in the NCAA but sucked eggs in the UAAP. Said the unflappable former UST mentor, "Eh, pinagmumura ko sila para maganda yung officiating." Man, we had a laugh... During the SBC-Mapua match, Red Lion Sudan Daniel protested one call at which he untucked his jersey in protest. Frankie Lim immediately yelled at him, "Su.... Tuck that back in!" The first year center complied. Said Lim after that, "Just play the game." When I asked Coach Frankie if he's grown more comfortable coaching, he replied with a hearty laugh, "Pare, kasi malaki lamang namin. Pero sana..." All the best to Mapua's Chito Victolero who is in his first year and inherited this squad from Leo Isaac. They got shellacked yesterday. I thought they were intimidated by SBC's frontline. They missed a lot of gimmes. Not too many team play. In fact the first real good passing I saw was late in the 3rd quarter when guard Allan Mangahas found MIT center Jason Pascual. Once the Cardinal slotman drew the attention of Sudan Daniel, he threw it out to an open Randolf Soriano on the weak side for a trey. More like that okay, Jason. And don't put the ball down low when you're inside, because how many times was the ball swiped from you?... Nice to see Binky Favis there behind the Letran bench. Binky's wife is the sister of Perpetual Help mentor Boris Aldeguer...

Was with Karla Bello, Steph Veluz, and Paolo Pareja who all watched the NCAA Opening. Karla works for one of the league sponsors.

Thanks to Coach Ariel Vanguardia for this cool JRU tee!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

With the Number One Pick in the Draft...

... the New York Islanders select John Tavares of the London (Ontario, Canada) Knights. With one stroke, they've added to their young and talented line-up with Jeff Tambellini, Kyle Okposo, Mike Sillinger, Andy Hilbert, and Rick DiPietro.

Tavares, a 6-foot, 185-pound native of Oakville, Ont., led the Ontario Hockey League with 58 goals this season and broke Peter Lee's 33-year-old league record of 213 career goals. Islanders fans filled Nassau Coliseum to watch the draft live on massive video screens from the Belle Centre (home of the Canadiens) in Montreal. When Tavares was announced as the pick, isles fans just whooped it up.

Unable to follow the draft since I was out all day, I too was ecstatic over the choice of Tavares.

Tavares is the Isles' fourth number one overall pick following Billy Harris, Dennis Potvin, and DiPietro.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Showdown in Chinatown 2009

The annual event hosted by Steve Nash with Tony Parker and Chris Bosch @ Chinatown, NYC. Featuring football stars Ryan Babel, Thierry Henry, and Claudio Reyna.

I remember several years ago when I chanced upon a pick up game of football at the Great Lawn in Central Park. I watched for a while and only later did I realize that Steve Nash was one of them and it was an annual event for them until they were shooed away by cops. So they moved to Chinatown.

My friend Miggy Mendoza was there yesterday and he snapped up these pics.

Grant Hill & Liverpool FC's Ryan Babel

Former Rangers player Claudio Reyna and Steve Nash

Steve Nash & Chris Bosch

Michael Jackson & Michael Jordan Jam!

Thanks for the great music, Michael. Am going to pull out my CDs of Off the Wall, Thriller, and HIStory. Rest in peace.

Outtakes from the feature story of the next Blueblood magazine

Busy day today. Didn't even get a chance to walk my damn dog. Bwahaha. Worked at the office. Went to the bank. Meetings here and there then off to Moro Lorenzo to shoot the main feature of the next issue of Blueblood magazine with Jay of BB and my Fabilioh mates Migs De Leon and Erwin Cabbab.

We got the whole team and the coaches and shots of the starting unit with Coach Norm.

The Lady Eagles and the Blue Eaglets will also be featured in the mag that is themed: Defend the Crown. The magazine and the story of last year's title run will be out this July.

In case you're wondering, the game between the 02 and 08 team will be July 3 at the Blue Eagle Gym. The time still hasn't been ironed out. Still working on things. Stay tuned here to get more info whether it pushes through or not.

One loyal reader of Brew wrote in and asked in what periodicals and publications have I written for. She informed me that she has a folder in her laptop of articles I've written. Wow. Well, I don't know what to say. She did ask where I've written since I started back in the early 90's (I only returned to writing in 2005 after a 12 year lapse.

Here they are: Philippine Daily Inquirer, News Today, Business Mirror, South China Morning Post, NBA Tower Sports, FHM, Men's Health, Maxim, Homestyle, Blueblood, Transit, Personal Fortune, Loyola School Bulletin, On the Hill, Philippine Free Press, Pinoycentral, and now, Rebound. I've had letters published in Jingle Magazine, Pulp, PDI, the New York Times, and comic books like Daredevil (Marvel), Fantastic Four (Marvel), Nexus (Dark Horse), Big Bang Comics (Image), and Aster (Fractal).

Inquirer. Yup. I wrote about alternative rock bands and music reviews, young entrepreneurs, comic books, and shopping. It was for PDI where I started experimenting with the style that I now use today. It was most obvious for the alt bands I was writing about. My piece on the Rizal Undergound was that first try then Parokya ni Edgar.

That love for music continued while doing racket work for pinoycentral where I was reviewing CDs (Prefab Sprout, X, Tool, and Unrest among many others).

News Today was an English tabloid spin-off from Times Journal which was co-owned by my aunt and Bejo Romuladez. That was my first ever stab at sports as I was the PABL beat reporter. After that I left for an advertising job. In addition to working in the Creative Department, I also did PR and research work for Sen. Leticia Ramos-Shahani, Mar Roxas, Ralph Recto, Fortune Tobacco, Greggy Araneta, and another columnist from a major daily.

LSB and On the Hill are Ateneo publications. Also in school, I chipped in all three level newspapers -- The Eaglet (GS), Hi-Lites (HS), and the Guidon (Coll).

Incidentally, I've been invited by the Guidon to be the guest speaker for the first General Assembly this July 17. A workshop is in the planning stage. Thanks, guys!

You know what magazine I really loved... and wish to continue (time permitting) -- Homestyle. I love that magazine.

Soon... a stab at travel writing for a travel magazine.

Lake Placid deja vu? Not quite yet.

I stared at my computer in disbelief as Clint Dempsey suckered Iker Casillas for the United States' second goal that finished off Spain, the world's best football team. Two and oh as Jozy Altidore blasted in the first that Casillas was unable to stop although he got a hand on the ball.

Now the Americans try to do the improbable and beat Brazil for the Confederations Cup title. Although brimming with confidence after the guge win against Spain, the Americans still have on their mind their 3-0 loss to the Brazilians only a few days ago.

“When you play against Spain, everybody are watching the game,” Fernando Torres, the star Spanish forward, said of the Americans. “So maybe all the people can see they have fantastic players, a fantastic team.”

I want the US to win because if they do, it will mean so much to the growth of the sport in North America. But without midfielder Michael Bradley who will be suspended for the finals because of a red card in the semis clash, the odds are even more stacked against them.

So where does hunger factor in?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Patriot Games

Patriot Games
The playoff for the future of Philippine Basketball
words & photo by rick olivares

If you ask Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Manuel V. Pangilinan why he champions sports, his answer is a swift and unequivocal belief that the young, through sports and their athletic achievements, can do so much for flag and country.

For youthful sports patron Michael “Mikee” Romero who is likewise generous in his support of various sports endeavors, the athletes are “a resource for our future.”

“They inspire us to reach new heights,” he summed it up with a hopeful note to let the message sink in.

Said National Team player Gabe Norwood about representing the Philippines in international play, “Man… any time you represent your country, it’s an honor. It’s huge and I can tell you that.”

The days of the Philippines being the eminent basketball power in Asia are spoken in the past tense. Although several decades removed from those glory days, they remain still vivid in many people’s memories.

The upside of championship photographs that are turning brown with age is that everyone knows that the Filipino is way too talented to stay grounded forever. Our so-called lack of ceiling be damned.

Following a humiliating suspension by Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA), the SBP rose from the ashes of the warring Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) and Pilipinas Basketball factions and has gotten the country back on the world’s basketball map. And as the organization and its national teams have begun their march towards redemption and a slot for an Olympic berth that will not only fire an entire nation’s imagination but open a world of possibilities for a country that is struggling to find itself in the 21st century, they find themselves locked in deadly battle with a foe much tougher than any constituted Dream or Redeem Team.

The “implicit threat” to the still new local cage group comes from a resurgent BAP which incidentally is not recognized as the national sports association by the courts of law and basketball’s international governing body, FIBA.

That is until about a month ago when the latter’s officials met with the BAP during a clandestine meeting in Hong Kong; an act that gave life to their dreams of ruling local basketball again.

At an early morning press conference last Wednesday June 24, 2009 at the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company’s corporate headquarters in Makati City, the SBP – Corporate Secretary Attorney Marievic Añonuevo, PBA Chairman Joaquin Trillo, Vice Chairman of the Board Victorico “Ricky” Vargas, Executive Director Jose Emmanuel “Noli” Eala, Romero, and Pangilinan –expressed dismay and veiled anger at a series of email and fax exchanges with FIBA regarding being summoned for an inquest.

The latest email dated June 20, 2009, was sent by FIBA Secretary General Emeritus Borislav Stankovic who was also named as the Chairman of the Special Commission whose members included Dr. Carl Men Ky Ching, FIBA Honorary President, and Dr. Ken Madsen, FIBA’s Legal Counsel.

Ching, pointed out Vargas, is a known ally of the BAP’s Go Teng Kok and Graham Lim. “This whole business of being summoned without being informed of the charges against the SBP,” underscored the longtime business partner of Pangilinan, “looks like a trap.”

In Stankovic’s email, he addressed SBP Chairman Oscar Moreno and Pangilinan as well as the BAP and its chairman, Luis Villafuerte and its President Prospero Pitchay: “Your organizations are herewith summoned to a meeting to resolve the ongoing controversy. This meeting will be held in Geneva on 20, 21, and 22 July 2009.”

The SBP took offense at the duplicitous nature of the proceedings given that FIBA, through its current Secretary General Patrick Baumann, wrote in an official memorandum dated 13 May 2008 that the FIBA Central Board decided “to disregard any communication coming from the former organization BAP as it has no rights to FIBA.”

And in a 16-page decision last November 18, 2008, the Philippines’ Court of Appeals Special 9th Division overturned the Manila Regional Trial Court’s ruling that recognized the BAP. The new decision upheld the SBP’s legitimacy and its Unity Congress that was held at the Dusit Hotel in June of last year.

Pointed out Pangilinan, who was visibly angry at the mysterious actions by FIBA, “This is really unfair not only to the national team but also to the country which has been the victim of this ongoing debate by the SBP and BAP. It is not right. It is not fair and I don’t think it’s just.”

The current row puts in jeopardy the Powerade National Team’s participation in the FIBA Asia Men’s Championship in Tianjin, China, from August 6 to 16 as well as the Philippines’ standing with FIBA.

Pangilinan also noted that despite the Philippines’ recent performance in international competitions and its mauling of its Asian neighbors, the country remains ranked at #63 in the world (India is at #46, Hong Kong at #53, and Malaysia at #61).

“Unless FIBA tells us what is the reason for this meeting, our stand is no, we will not attend,” said Pangilinan with the rest of the assembled SBP officials nodding in agreement.

“We should have a sense of pride as Filipinos.”

As the question and answer portion with the assembled media was about to wrap up, veteran sports writer and broadcaster Ronnie Nathanielzs wondered aloud how Graham Lim was allowed to head a sports body (he is supposedly the Secretary General of the BAP and one that isn’t even recognized ) when he was declared by the Philippine justice system as someone who is not a Filipino.

“Para sa bayan ‘to,” reminded Pangilinan of SBP’s efforts that span grassroots development, coaches and officials’ training to strengthening the national team. “Para sa bayan.”

After the presscon, all the sportswriters gathered around and shared some conversation with Noli Eala and Mikee Romero. It was pretty obvious that we were all not happy with the situation. Romero related how he could feel MVP's anger. If you ask me, the other visibly angry one was Joaqui Trillo who kept shaking his head all throughout. I've had long long conversations with Mr. Trillo about a number of things and he said that this one really outraged him.

In the table in front of me were Jun Capistrano, Bernie Atienza, and Moying Martelino. Said Mr. Atienza, "Go give them a piece of your mind, Rick."

I sought the advice of my editor Jun Lomibao and good friend Joey Villar of Philippine Star who both advised me to proceed with caution on this delicate matter. This is just the first salvo.

Look Who's Into Rebound

Thursday afternoon before the Ateneo Blue Eagles' practice, some of the guys take time to do some reading. High-fives are exchanged as they say, "Good job."

So far, we're getting good reviews from the coaches and those who've seen it. Thanks. Hope you all like it.

To Coach Leo Austria who can't wait to get his copy of this, next week, sir. By the way, in a pick-up game two nights ago, the Coach nailed the game winner. Somethings never change.

Emilio Aguinaldo College coach Nomar Isla goes the the first issue of Rebound.

Rebound NCAA Podcast

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

First Pre-prod meeting of new Halikinu Radio on NU 107

First pre-prod meeting for the new Halikinu Radio @ Shakey's Katipunan. Just found out that the main hosts for the show will be myself, Portia, and Martin! Whoa, Nelly! Chuck Araneta and Mhel Garrido will join us as well while Macky Escalona and Gabe Mercado will pop up when they can.

July 9 will be our first broadcast, peeps. 9pm over NU 107. It's not just basketball but all Ateneo sports. And we're planning something too with some friends from Taft.

Look Who's Into Rebound

What every well-dressed Atenean will be wearing in the UAAP games

Here's a first look at the Ateneo adidas apparel that will be in the stores this coming July. Click on the pics to enlarge them and to see the specs and prices.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stuff for everyone and Ateneans too

Got my advance copy of the magazine. Yahooooo! I am so proud of what we've done here. And I'm working with a good crew as well and that makes a huge difference.

For Rebound (which will be out in the stands this week), I chipped in the following articles:

* A Colorful Season Ends in Blue (UAAP Season 71 recap)
* Profiles on FEU's Ryan Garcia and UST's Jervy Cruz.
* Anatomy of A Champion (dissecting the Ateneo Blue Eagles and San Beda Red Lions) which I wrote with my buds as the Three Amigos.
* Previews on San Beda, Mapua, Emilio Aguinaldo, Angeles University, National University, and Far Eastern University.

For the succeeding issues of Rebound, I'll be following Ateneo, FEU, Mapua, and EAC. The stuff I write for Rebound will be different from the ones I submit for Business Mirror or

I've got a couple of features that I am writing about that I can't spill the beans just yet.

For Ateneans, be sure to get your Ateneo Alumni Association card. It will help you when you get UAAP tickets at the University Athletics Office, get discounts at Fully Booked, Banapple, National Sports Grill in Greenbelt 3, Cravings, Il Ponticello, adidas, and lots more.

There are also lots of plans for card holders that will be unveiled soon.

Go visit the site or go to the office at Bellarmine Hall. Bring one 2x2 ID picture with a white backgroundthere then fill out forms. Just check out the site for the FAQs.

For those who add me in facebook, kindly intro yourself if you're not a former classmate, officemate, or girlfriend. So I know who you are. I truly truly appreciate getting added but I also screen too. I hope you understand.

Add na rin Bleachers' Brew (my friend Eric Roa put it up in FB) and Rebound The Spirit of College Basketball to your faves/ fan pages. Thanks.


My faves on my iTunes have changed for the week:
Girl Overboard - Snowboy
Fantasy Island - MPeople
Being Boring - Pet Shop Boys
Under the Milky Way - The Church
Here I Stand and Face the Rain - A-Ha
Run-Around - Blues Traveler
Call Me - Go West
Your Number or Your Name - The Knack
Fall to Pieces - Velvet Revolver
Kapit - Brownman Revival

Mike Baldos' One Big Fight

Mike Baldos’ One Big Fight
by rick olivares

Michael Vincent Baldos is no stranger to disappointment.

In his third year in high school at San Beda, his Red Cubs team lost in the finals to Letran 82-80 when JC Intal scored on a lay-up off the window from a bullet-like drop pass from Chuck Ronquillo (who came from the Ateneo Grade School) as time expired.

Two years later, when Mike and his teammates transferred to Ateneo for college, he found himself on Team B where he toiled for four years.

During his third year playing for the aspirants team, he had all but given up on cracking the UAAP roster. He had come tantalizingly close, as he played on the Champions League team during Larry Fonacier’s final game in blue and on other occasions but the waiting game was something he was failing miserably at.

Baldos outlined two goals for himself when he went to Ateneo de Manila for college. The first was to graduate and get a diploma while the second was to play for the Blue Eagles and help them win a championship.

In his fourth year in high school, Mike and his teammates were talking about where to go for college and save for Jayvee Casio (who wanted to go to La Salle), the rest – Baldos, Ford Arao, Arvin Braganza, Jay Agbayani, Yuri Escueta -- went to Ateneo to see if they could matriculate there.

The Blue Eagles were deep then as they still had two-time UAAP MVP Rich Alvarez, Wesley Gonzales, Paolo Bugia, LA Tenorio, and Fonacier. With Agbayani off to UP Diliman, Baldos wavered for a moment as there was an opportunity to play right away for the Maroons. But he stayed.

It was a decision he would not regret but it was every bit trying.

I was in my third year in Ateneo and I didn’t want to play anymore,” he admitted of those days when it didn’t seem he’d make the UAAP team. “I just wanted to graduate and get my diploma.”

His Team B teammates Zion Laterre and Eman Nazareno moved up and Baldos was happy for them. Maybe there was still a chance, he told himself, so he kept plugging in. “At least napansin din ang Team B. They worked hard to get their slots so I was happy for them.”

Sometimes, good things come to those who wait. And think positive.

Martin Quimson left the team to concentrate on his graduation and begin working opening up a slot. Mike made the cut but it came at the expense of a good friend and high school teammate, Jeff De Guzman, who was also on Team B and had been playing well that year. “I felt bad because I thought that Jeff was more deserving. Pero excited talaga ako. I was close to realizing yung dalawang goals ko when I entered Ateneo. At sobrang sarap at enjoy playing with Ford and Yuri again.”

While in high school and on Team B, Baldos was a good scorer down the blocks, but making Team A was altogether something different. “The hardest adjustment I had to make was playing defense,” he laughed. “Alam ko sabi nila na wala raw akong depensa. In order for you to stay on the court and to play for Norman Black, you have to play defense so nagpalit ako ng mindset ko.”

But again, Baldos was in for disappointment as the Blue Eagles lost to La Salle in the Final Four of Season 70. “It was painful – yung talo na yun. Especially seeing our senior players na si Ford and Zion not winning it in their final year. I thought we’d go all the way that year. Lumaban yung team kaya lang we fell short. It was hard to accept at first.”

There’s a sports adage that before one learns to win he must lose and learn from it.

During Baldos’ senior year in high school, the Red Cubs returned to the Finals where they faced the defending champions Letran Squires now with PJ Walsham in tow. And this time, his team won.

After the pain of the Final Four loss in Season 70, the Blue Eagles returned the favor on their rivals to crush them in the Finals of Season 71 completing the two goals he penciled in for himself when he went to Loyola Heights.

However, there was one more matter to take care of.

Immediately after the buzzer sounded to end Game Two and crown the Blue Eagles champions of the UAAP for a fourth time, Baldos and Escueta quickly located for Arao who was in the Patron Section behind the La Salle basket.

“We told him that we won this for him,” reassured Baldos who met up with their former teammate at halfcourt during the post-game celebrations.

In a scene reminiscent of the wild and adoring celebrations that followed the 2002 title run, the Blue Eagles became media celebrities as they appeared on television aside from being the subject of many a magazine cover. He laughs at the notoriety although his parents are immensely proud. “Bonus ‘yan,” he downplayed of the jubilation.

As the Blue Eagles prepared for the defense of their crown, they were dealt a stunning blow weeks before the start of Season 72. Baldos, while taking up a master’s course, was ruled ineligible. He was in Cebu with the team at the time he found out.

Somehow he feels that it will all work out just fine for Ateneo. He got in when a teammate suddenly left prior to the start of the season. Then as in now, it opened the door for another to come in and contribute – this time Baldos’ replacement being Emman Monfort who previously suited up for two years.

“Bad trip ako sobra,” he recounted. “Pero at least now I have options thanks to my Ateneo education. Time na rin siguro to move on to my next goals – maybe playing in the Philippine Basketball League then getting a job. A real job. Hahaha.”

No time to worry. After all, he’s learned to cope, deal, and hurdle disappointment.

Mike Baldos played on the Ateneo Team B that I helped manage. The team then had Zion Laterre (Australia), Eman Nazareno (AHS), Mark Intal (AHS), Jeff De Guzman (SBC), Chester Chavez (Ateneo de Davao), Miggy Solitaria (Ateneo de Davao), Harry Hipolito (Ateneo de Davao), Gio Pasion (AHS), Jay Gonzales (AHS), Jurgen Estanislao (AHS), Gino Villame (LSGH), Zach Estoesta (USC), Mark Badua (Lourdes), Leon Hizon (LSGH), Arvi Malixi (LSGH), and Nico Frez (AHS). A year later, Yuri Escueta and Jobe Nkemakolam were a part of the team. Team B used to be coached by Gabby Severino. That was a great great season. A fabulous experience I will always treasure. I formed good friendships with many of the players here.

Previously, Team B was nothing more than a place where Team A players were getting some seasoning.

This team was different. With Nazareno and Badua as captains, they played total team ball. It was during this time that Team B became a popular team to watch by Ateneo fans.

There were several players who we thought could make the jump to Team A. Zion was the most likely. What game you saw during his stint with Team A is far different on Team B where he was a bigtime scorer. Mike Baldos, Nazareno, De Guzman, and Villame were the other players we worked hard with. Trying to get them to hone their skills. It was at this point that Raul Banzon also helped us with our endeavors.

Obviously, it was a success as three of them moved up. Then the following year, Jobe and Yuri went back up.

Man, those were fun days. Of trying to keep up these boys' spirits, going with them to training, driving them around making sure they went to extra training at Sportskamp then to classes even to parties once in a while (yup, like dads we were). Mike... well, those days paid off, brother.

He will not get to say goodbye at the Church of the Gesu. When we talked last night, this is his venue for that.

OBF, Mike. OBF!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The greatest Philippine high school basketball team of all time?

The San Beda Red Cubs of 1983.
Click on the picture for a bigger view.

Rebound Podcast #1: The mag, who, what, why, and when

Rebound will be out on the shelves this week! I'm getting my advance copies tomorrow Tuesday.

Anyone want to see it, drop by Bellarmine Hall on Wednesday and/or at Moro Lorenzo Sports Center 430pm. Holla if you hear me.

Be a fan in our facebook page: Rebound: the Spirit of College Basketball.

Here's the very first Rebound podcast featuring Mike Abasolo, Chris Soler, and myself. Sid Ventura couldn't make it for the recording.

Podcast 1 is out. The next ones will be on this Wednesday.

Podcast #1 Rebound the mag
Podcast #2 the NCAA
Podcast #3 the UAAP

Recorded today at Valle Verde IV over pizza and mojos.

From the mag's EEK Mike Yu:
"I'm happy to report that printing is in full swing. The magazine should start trickling into selected magazine stores by Friday this week and fully in all stores (I hope!) by the week of June 30, as expected.

The whole team has learned a lot about the in's and out's of the publishing business, including distribution, marketing, etc. All I can say is: the future is bright for REBOUND. :)

As a teaser, you just HAVE to get a copy of the magazine for the special feature called "Anatomy of a Champion", where The Three Amigos (Mike, Rick, Chris) do an in-depth analysis of last season's two champion squads. Excellent piece!

Keep spreading the word to everyone about the magazine, and grab your own copy very, very soon!"

To listen to the audio, click the player below.

Hey, chico. Pick your poison.

Arguably one of biggest gimmicks in sports entertainment that saved the pro wrestling industry. The New World Order of Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Hollywood Hulk Hogan spawned a host of imitators such as the Latino World Order, the Nation of Domination, D-Generation X, Legacy etc.

The first half of the DVD is cool but they missed out on so many of the great moments when the NWO expanded. Since Vince McMahon bought out Ted Turner's WCW, he turned this great team into a joke.

For the fan but it's nowhere near the real of a great documentary. Guess it's okay for the fan.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Blue Thursday (that's a knock on New Order's "Blue Monday")

The only radio show that's created by Ateneans, for Ateneans and Ateneo fans.

Starting July 2009, tune in every Thursday, 9 pm on the home of nu rock, NU107, and plug into the New Blue!

Mhel Garrido * Gabe Mercado * Macky Escalona * Rick Olivares * Martin David * Portia Silva *

Martin is my old officemate at Solar Sports is currently the Program Manager of BTV. It's gonna rock, brothers.

Going down to Liverpool (Singapore)

Yahoo! Our tickets arrived. Five blokes headed to the Lion City to watch the greatest club in the world. Off to Singapore July 25-27. Thanks bunches, Carl!

Bleachers' Brew #163 Get in the Ring

After devastating wins over David Diaz, Oscar de la Hoya, and Ricky Hatton, think that pugilists are shying away from Manny Pacquiao? On the contrary, there' no shortage as they're like moths to a flame.

This appears in the Monday June 22, 2009 edition of the Business Mirror.

Get in the ring
by rick olivares

Manny Pacquiao must feel like a kid inside a mega toy store.

Except that he’s got the clout to pick what he wants without anyone telling him that he can’t.

There’s Sugar Shane Mosley, who in the twilight of his career is still full of fight after surprisingly dispatching Antonio Margarito. Now the former champ is calling out Pacman to do battle with him.

There’s Juan Manuel Marquez who is still claiming highway robbery to anyone who would listen that he should have won his second fight with Pacquiao who was declared the winner via split decision.

There’s the unretired Floyd Mayweather Jr. who had his own megafight with Marquez postponed from July to September after sustaining a rib cage injury while training.

As Pacquiao sat ringside at the Madison Square Garden to watch the Cotto-Clottey fight, he tapped promoter Bob Arum and said that he’d like to fight Cotto next. A November 14, 2009 fight date has been declared; enough time to give the Puerto Rican time to heal and recover from a deep gash he sustained from an accidental headbutt by Clottey in the third round of their match.

I recall a few years ago when boxing analysts were saying that the varying title belts didn’t mean much and being “the People’s Champ” meant more instead.

Now we see fighters scaling the weight classes up and down in search of prey and a higher payday. When veteran ring announcer Michael Buffer emceed the Pacquiao-Hatton fight, he correctly pointed out the bottom line when he said, “With their places in the Hall of Fame secure, there can only be one winner.”

After mowing down the best of Mexico, Pacman is looking to gobble up the big names of the day. And if he does, he will make good on Arum’s bold statement in the wake of the Filipino’s annihilation of Ricky Hatton that Pacquiao will be the greatest fighter who ever lived by the time he hangs up his gloves.

With Pacman the current face of boxing, everyone’s lining up for a shot at the champ. Why not? The pressure is now squarely on the Filipino. His opponents see an opportunity to climb up the food chain and even if they lose, they know it’s to a better man and a gentleman at that plus they get a huge payday.

As was the case in the Hatton fight, Pacquiao showed no letdown in focus or intensity. In his quest to scale new heights, Manny continues to demonstrate a willingness to learn and get better.

Now his current standing, something he’s definitely earned means that he can dictate the class in which the fight will be held or even the purse split.

Before Pacquiao touched gloves with Oscar De La Hoya, people were saying that Manny would have problems at the welterweight level (147 pounds) but he tenderized the Golden Boy en route to an eight-round stoppage. Against Ricky Hatton, the Champ was back at junior-welterweight (140) and knocked down the Mancunian three times at a class where he previously never tasted the canvas.

With reports that Cotto and Pacquiao will meet at the junior welterweight class there are concerns among the boxing cognoscenti that the drop in weight will not favor the Puerto Rican. The last time Cotto fought at that weight was in June of 2006 when he beat Paul Malignaggi via unanimous decision. Cotto then moved up to the welterweight class where he’s been fighting since.

Whether the sudden drop in weight will affect Cotto remains to be seen unlike Pacquiao who has shown a resiliency and adaptability in winning titles in six different weight classes. But box, Cotto certainly can.

It was theorized that Hatton would do de la Hoya better who was a human punching bag for Pacquiao. The Hitman would not only hit back but he’d take the fight to the pound-for-pound champ. But the Englishman’s punches were largely inconsequential and the only licks he got in were during the clinch. And as Freddie Roach said in the post-fight interview, “He fell right into our trap.” He was unprepared for the right hook and when he was looking out for it, he was floored by the patented left one.

A part of boxing as a sport is the smack talk that the Muhammad Ali elevated into an art form (along with the poetry of the heavyweight champ’s longtime cornerman Bundini Brown who Floyd Mayweather Sr. does a great impression). Remember when Mike Tyson threatened to eat Lennox Lewis’ children? Definitely, er, forgive the pun, not for public consumption.

During the highly-charged weigh-in prior to the Pacquiao-Hatton fight, Oscar de la Hoya cast his vote for the Brit when host Mario Lopez how he saw the fight: “If I had fought Ricky Hatton he would have knocked me out.”

Where’s your pride, Golden Boy? You knew you’d lose? Then it’s a good thing Manny sent you into retirement. Pacquiao didn’t knock you out because of that thick skull of yours but he sure did mess up your pretty face that even during the Hatton weigh in you still looked puffy.

With Mosley short of calling the Champ as a fraidy cat, one must remember that when Cotto knocked Sugar out, critics said he was old and past his prime. Now after tap dancing on Margarito’s face and spleen, he’s suddenly the perfect match for the Pacman. After the draw between Manny and Marquez, it took a long time before the return bout materialized as Pacquiao was made to wait. Now all of a sudden there’s an urgency to complete the Trilogy.

Last I counted it was a draw and a victory in Manny’s favor. Do we do a best-of-seven ala NBA?

For all of Pacquiao’s accomplishments, there are still those grudging in their praise which is really fine. Like Freddie Roach is wont to say, they do their talking in the ring.

The Pacman would not have it any other way. It’s like going to the bank… get a number and fall in line.


The DVD of Pacquiao-Hatton 24/7 is on sale locally for PhP 300 (thanks to Martin D for my copy).

It's got the four-part HBO series, the 2-round fight between Pacman and Hitman, their weigh in, Manny's victory party and parade and a crappy interview.

It's only now that I realized that the narrator for the HBO 24/7 series is actor Liev Schreiber who last played Sabretooth in the Wolverine movie.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Letter from Nonito Donaire

Hi! Hows our favorite writer? We have to meet up when we get back to the Philippines. Anywho, we were wondering if you'd like to be a contributing writer to our site We'd be very honored to have whatever your write about on our site, if you agree. Let us know ok? Hope all is well!!
JunJun and Rache

Hey ya'll!
Am fine thank you. What's up with all of you? What are you doing now?
Hey, Jun, who are you fighting next? When are you going back here?
I'd love to write for you. That goes without saying. Let me know what's up with you all so we can prepare new materials for you.

Hi Rick! We tried calling so it was more personal but we understand that you are busy. I'm fighting Hugo Cazares next, as far as what Arum said. If its signed, I should be getting a contract soon. Ill be back there after the fight, Atan Penalosa is here already and Im waiting for the sparring partners. I took Rache on a honeymoon, as you can see from the youtube vids. Other than that, her birthday is Sunday and I've been just training. You know me. I tried this blog thing and it takes getting use to. Rache has been working her butt off on the website. Do you like it? She rarely sleeps and she's been training too so we try to get as much sleep as possible. You can send us questions and we'll answer. As for your contributions, just send it here and Rache will upload and link it to your blog!! GTG to sleep TTYL

I became fast friends with the Donaires during that weekend in Baguio where I attended his training camp. I enjoyed their company and we all had fun. It was also a privilege to be in their corner during the fight. I took some videos of the victory party at Kamayan but I did not upload it in youtube or anywhere else because I thought it was a private celebration that others didn't need to see. It was fun writing about him and to be honest there's still a lot to mine about him. That's a term, a personal one I coined, "soul mining" when it comes to my style of writing. can't wait to turn up one again.

I've written about three boxers -- Manny Pacquiao, Brian Viloria, and Nonito Donaire. There's another boxer -- who I will not mention for now -- who I've been following but it's kinda hard to write it. Maybe I'll find something about it soon.

Through Oceans, Down the Hill & Back

Through Oceans, Down the Hill, and Back
Homecoming the Ateneo Way
by rick olivares
Align Center
The Second Coming
Every first Saturday of December, Ateneans celebrate the Grand Alumni Homecoming, the culmination of a year’s worth of remembrance, events, get-togethers, and reconnecting with people and a school that have shaped the persons that they are today.

In truth, the first homecoming was held on April 14, 1859 when six Jesuit priests and four brothers disembarked from the Spanish ship Luisita after a two-month voyage from the Iberian Peninsula to the Far East where lay one of the Castillan Crown’s prized colonial possessions.

The Society of Jesus was back on Philippine soil two hundred and seventy-eight years after Fathers Antonio Sedeño, Alfonso Sanchez, and Brother Nicolas Gallardo (whose are all now honored with street names in Salcedo Village in Makati City) first arrived.

The common trait the two waves of Jesuits had was that they were builders of the faith, of men, and of country. Fr. Sedeño, centuries before was a trained architect who not only had a hand in the construction of the first school in the Philippines in the Colegio de San Ignacio and the Jesuit Mission House but also the residence of the Bishop of Manila and ultimately Fort Santiago (as commissioned by Governor General Santiago De Vera).

But some did not see the Jesuits that way.

Compulsus feci,” sadly muttered Pope Clement XIV when he signed the Divinus ac Redemptor in 1773 that ordered the disbanding of the Society of Jesus. It was a direct result of the collusion by the Catholic powers and other orders who believed that the Jesuits educating of the indios empowered them with ideas of revolucion and independencia. “I did it on compulsion.”

But in kinder times, came another proclamation from Spain’s Isabella II that would have even lasting and longer repercussions. An effect that has had a profound on modern civilization as we know it: “Bearing in mind the important services which the Society of Jesus has rendered to the conversion and instruction of the Islands and Spanish dominions in America, I ordain that the Society be reestablished in those lands…”

And thus came the homecoming if not a latter-day crusade to spread Christianity and knowledge after close to a century of absence in the archipelago.

Like Fr. Sedeño three centuries before, the band of fathers and brothers of Fr. Jose Fernandez Cuevas that arrived in 1859, immediately took over an important building that eventually became a noted institution, the Escuela Pia that became the Escuela Municipal and eventually the Ateneo Municipal.

Barely 50 years after their return, the Society could have once more been accused of conspiracy to commit treason for many of their students were at the forefront for the both the peaceful and armed movements for independence – Jose Rizal, the Luna brothers Juan and Antonio, Gregorio del Pilar, and Martin Delgado among others.

But then as it is today, they were Ateneans engaged in “Nation Building” as what was required of the times.

Fr. Cuevas, as recounted today's new Provincial Superior, Fr. Jose Magadia S.J., didn’t seem keen on deterring from their original task of converting Mindanao as he twice denied pleas to take charge of the Escuela Pia. But unlike Blessed St. Peter who thrice denied Christ, the third time was the charm and so the bloodline of the Colegio de San Ignacio was continued.

The Journey Continues
The dress of the day last June 14, 2009 was retro as Jesuits and alumni wore barong tagalogs, camisa de chinos and period clothing. But conspicuous amongst the Filipiniana were about a dozen disciples of another kind – alumni and current students who wore a simple white t-shirt that featured an old Spanish ship with a simple message… “The Journey Continues.”

Unlike the exhausting two-month voyage of Fr. Cuevas and company across dangerous seas, technology and progress has allowed modern man to retrace the steps of our founding fathers in the space of a few hours.

So it was a merry and introspective trip down memory lane from the cobblestone streets of Intramuros to the slick and cemented thoroughfares of Salcedo Village to Rockwell to Medical City and lastly to tree-lined lawns of Loyola Heights.

The Sunday drive and motorcade was leisurely and without the choke of the daily traffic grind, seeing the old Padre Faura campus as nothing more than a mall that has sadly become a symbol of growth in the country, made many offer a quick prayer of thanks to the late Fr. William Masterson S.J. whose foresight begat an exodus to Loyola that was a stroke of pure genius.

The retrospective was introspective to say at the least and it offered a fresh perspective on how the Ateneo’s history is closely intertwined not just with the city of Manila but with the country’s constant search and quest to establish itself first as an independent nation then to our place in an ever-changing world.

Ironically, it was Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim, a non-alumnus, who provided a novel moment of introspection as he quoted and paraphrased the preeminent Atenean, Rizal, with a JFK-like “ask-not-what-your-country-can-do-for-you” tone and challenge.

“Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa pinaroroonan.” He segued that with a note that brought many a nod and oh-yeah smile when he pointed out that when Ateneo left Manila for Quezon City, it opened satellite campuses in Makati and Pasig cities while the old campus in Manila had become largely forgotten as it remains the last true ruins in the Walled City that was destroyed 65 years ago. “Sana hindi lang dahil anibersaryo ng Ateneo ay saka kayo bumalik.”

Return to the aerie
Ateneo may have left the capital city and its vaunted alumni scattered throughout the archipelago and the world, but the school has not forgotten the people its graduates are supposed to serve.

In the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, they are currently training and preparing doctors with a social conscience. Men and women who will heal and cure in the face of urban decay and the forgotten hinterlands instead of fleeing the country.

In the Gawad Kalinga villages that have become a model in the fight versus poverty, there are Ateneans who not only are involved with building houses but also in teaching the young and impoverished because they believe that education is the great equalizer.

During those years in Intramuros, the bridge that connected the school with the Jesuit Mission House above Anda Street was a symbolism of detachment yet of being amidst of everything. There was also the Wall that surrounded the city yet at once, its graduates were encouraged to go out to the world.

By the time of the move to Loyola, it was still very much the same except that the metaphor turned to “the Hill between the earth and sky.”

But as the motorcade that retraced the Ateneo’s journey through Manila neared Loyola Heights, there was a feeling of pride that its participants were going home.

Home. It is such a powerful word that conveys all sorts of emotions.

When the Luisita left Cadiz for the far-flung reaches of the Spanish Empire, Fr. Jose Fernandez Cuevas S.J. re-read Her Majesty’s dictum that once more launched the Society of Jesus’ soldiers across the globe. When the ship arrived in Manila on the night of April 14, 1859, the Jesuits went above deck to view the lights that formed Manila, their new home.

They stayed on board for the night before disembarking and when they did, they knew they were continuing a story that had been suspended a century before.

What they would give to see where the journey led the Ateneo to 150 years later!

For Fathers Jose Fernandez Cuevas, Jose Ignacio Guerrico, Juan Bautista Vidal, Ignacio Serra, Pascual Barrado, and Ramon Barua as well as Brothers Pedro Inunciaga, Joaquin Coma, Venancio Belzunce, and Jose Ignacio Larrañaga.

Pathfinders. Trailblazers. Men for others.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.


Hey, when you drive through Salcedo Village, think of the good Jesuits Fathers Sedeño and Sanchez and Bro. Gallardo who helped develop much of Manila way way back then.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Golf, Bethpage, and Ateneo golf

It started a few years ago when I drove for Jaguar President Willie Soong in Sta. Rosa. I drove his golf cart and caddied for him on the course that day. He was trying to beat some golf record for the most rounds of golf in a day and it was an honor to go around with him. I never was able to write the story that day because my files got damaged in my office computer because of Typhoon Milenyo. Hopefully, we can do that again. But yes, they beat the record.

Not soon after that, we brought back golf to Solar Sports but at that time I was making the move from the Makati office to the Antipolo offices where the broadcast studio is.

My neighbors play and so do some friends. I've mostly confined myself to jogging, walling at first but a few sets of tennis lately. I'm even getting a pair of spikes soon because I'm going to be playing football on weekends -- finally! Playing hoops for the first time in a while, I was pretty good in the first five minutes then after that I was an embarrassing liability coz I didn't have my legs anymore. It's hard to get back to optimum playing shape when you've put on a lot of weight.

The cool thing about is... I'm playing again. As for golf, I'm getting into it.

Watching the Memorial on the tube in its entirety was fun. And now there's the US Open at Bethpage Black. I went there before as a spectator for some corporate tournament. It's a public course but the US Open being held there for the second time since 2002 enhances it image.

It's a beautiful course although somewhat difficult to navigate. And seeing as to the rains drown out Day One with lots of golfers unable to tee off how does everyone adjust now?

The fairways are rather long but they've been shortened by 35 yards. The grass on the greens has been mowed or cropped more to give golfers more short game options. But if the USGA taketh some away they'll sure give it back as they increased the length of the 13th hole (Par 5) from 554 yards to 604; the longest in the course. Not a problem for long hitters like Tiger Woods.

The fourth hole, perhaps the standout for this course as it is not only breathtaking but challenging since one has to avoid hitting into the trees (gotta choose a good driver to stay in the fairways, buds), has been shorted from a Par 5 to a Par 4 making it the longest Par 4.

Ten of the 18 holes have been upgraded with the premise that it will make for better golf. Talk about challenges, huh?

And if things work out too, I'm writing about golf for a local magazine. Yahoo! Hahahaha. I'll get to play for free.

On another note about golf, this year's Jubilarian batch has put on sale some Ateneo golf items you might want to check out here:

For Ateneo golf stuff, here's the official website:

See you in the driving range and on the links soon!