Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Mad Bomber & An Emotional Rescue (RIP Jayson Nocom)


The Mad Bomber & An Emotional Rescue

by rick olivares


After the Angeles University Foundation Great Danes stuck close to the Jose Rizal Heavy Bombers in the first half of their match up last week, Head Coach Ariel Vanguardia railed at his players inside the locker room.

To guard JR Bulangis, he railed, “Ang trabaho mo ay patakbuhin yung opensa natin. Hindi naman ikaw yung points guard dito. Meron tayong mga designated scorer ditosi (James) Sena, si (Mark) Cagoco, at si (John) Wilson.”

Bulangis steeled himself with the stinging rebuke. When he went out for the second half, he ran the show and made the extra pass. A few of his assists found John Agas for a couple of treys that provided the degree of separation between the two squads.

Wilson himself hit some pretty big shots himself that netted him the Player of the Game Award.

As his jubilant team got dressed, the kid from Mandaluyong City entered after coming from a post-match interview. “Buti na lang pumapasok yung mga tira,” he said to no one in particular. Wilson had a reputation as a player who was without remorse as he took shots from every conceivable angle on the court. When he was on he was a sight to behold. When he was off, the Mad Bomber was a gruesome sight who couldn't hit the side of an ocean even if his life depended on it. But Vanguardia was proud of his combustible guard. His enthusiasm and derring-do had bailed his team out on so many occasions.


Little did they know that Wilson would be called once more in a dark hour.

A few days after that win that saw them go up 5-0, an emotional JRU team took the court of the San Juan Arena as they wore patches on their left shoulders in remembrance of former team captain Jayson Nocom who tragically died in a motorcycle accident last Monday in Batangas. Vanguardia dedicated the game to Nocom as they looked forward to a pummeling of hapless Mapua that languished somewhere below the ten-team standings.

Unfortunately for the Heavy Bombers, at first their effort did not match their desire as Mapua Coach Chito Victolero’s boys hit every shot and played inspired ball.

Vanguardia once more thundered inside the locker room. This time he harped on desire and intensity and the memory of a departed teammate. Only it got worse as Cardinal Macky Acosta drained consecutive three-balls to give his side a 55-37 lead with 7:28 in the third quarter.

But the Heavy Bombers clamped down by playing stifling defense that allowed them to slowly nip at the 18-point bulge.

In the last four minutes, JRU finally got over the hump and behind Wilson, upended the upset-minded Cardinals 83-78.

Wilson launched three treys – quick release daggers that gave Mapua no quarter – as they hit all net. Wilson completed his heroics by scoring 11 points in the final minutes, 20 in the second half, and 25 overall as they remained undefeated alongside San Sebastian at 6-0.

Wilson pumped his fist and screamed. Then he tapped the tape with Nocom’s name on it. “Teammate ko siya,” said Wilson. “Teammate.”



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For Jayson Nocom.

Here is the very first piece I wrote about JRU. There's a group picture with me and the Heavy Bombers.

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