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.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Wesley Gonzales might have found a home in Coca Cola. The veteran forward scored 13 points to help the Tigers upend the suddenly struggling Purefoods TJ Giants squad in their PBA match Friday night.

Coke 93 - Gonzales N. 17, Espino 15, Gonzales W. 13, Bono 8, Ross 7, Macapagal 7, Cabagnot 7, Rodriguez 6, Cruz 6, Singson 5, Catli 2.

Purefoods 79 - Yap J. 15, Raymundo 13, Canaleta 12, Maierhofer 11, Yap R. 9, Pingris 6, Allado 6, Artadi 4, Simon 3, Timberlake 0, Adducul 0.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Daddy comes home to the Bronx

Ain't she majestic? Baseball's most hallowed cathedral right in the best city in the world. Always did give me the goosebumps. Always. On game day, she was electric. This time it's to write a new chapter in pinstriped history.

Traffic jams. Big city lights. Fans. Baseball. Batter up, baby! Batter up! 
My favorite New York Yankee, Paul O'Niell, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. We miss ya, Paulie!
The sign board on Broadway said it all: Pedro Martinez returns to the Bronx. That was very specific considering the longtime Yankee villain pitched not just for the hated Red Sox but the crosstown Mets. But I never hated Pedro even if he threw Yankee bench coach Don Zimmer to the Stadium turf in 2003. I always thought he was a great pitcher who reveled in the rivalry between New York and Boston. Nevertheless, Yankee fans serenaded him since 2003, "Who's your daddy?" Martinez got his revenge when he helped Boston win in 2004 and forever reverse the curse. And in this Game 2 between NY and Philadelphia, he sure brought his stuff. In fact, he showed Derek Jeter his entire repertoire in that lead-off KO. Maybe when he came off in the 8th inning I would have applauded. But I did feel bad the the fans continued to jeer him. Who knows, this is the last time we could see Pedro Martinez in Major League Baseball? 
Pitching is always the key to any post-season success. After Cliff Lee amazed the Yankee side in Game 1, it turned out to be a pitcher's duel between Pedro and AJ Burnett. The Yankee starter had his arm going for him and breathed life into New York's post-season life. Nice to see him come out of CC Sabathia's shadow and dominate on this big stage.
Mark Teixeira broke out of a post-season slump and belted a dinger to the stands to tie the game at 1-1. He's been perfect at first and not since Tino Martinez was there did we have that great D at the corner.
Boy, am I glad this guy has remained a Yankee. Hideki Matsui -- Godzilla -- knocked in an HR to the short right field porch that gave the lead to NY and if anything showed a chink in the armor of the defending champions Philly. Now if only A-Rod got in the act.
Truth to tell, I love it whenever they play Frank Sinatra's "New York New York" after a win. And it has been quite some time -- what since 2003? I've always enjoyed when the home team goes on to the field for the traditional high five exchange after win. Now it's on the road to Philadelphia. 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

PBA to render Smart Gilas games as non-bearing?

PBA to render Smart Gilas games as non-bearing?

by rick olivares

The hammer has been dropped on the turbulent stint of the Smart Gilas Pilipinas National Team in the current Philippine Cup Conference in the Philippine Basketball Association. In a letter sent today to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Executive Director Emmanuel “Noli” Eala, league Commissioner Renauld “Sonny” Barrios gave his predecessor two choices: 1) for Smart Gilas games to have no bearing on PBA teams, and 2) for Smart Gilas not to field CJ Giles in any of its remaining games that will have a bearing on the PBA teams.

The first choice nullifies the wins of Burger King, Talk N’ Text and Barangay Ginebra against Smart Gilas earlier in the tournament. Smart Gilas is slated to play Coca Cola in the first week of November.

The decision by the PBA was arrived at following a meeting with the Board of Directors in the wake of a congressional hearing regarding the incident where Burger King guard Wynne Arboleda attacked Alain Katigbac, a fan who was seated courtside and who was alleged to hurl insults at the pro basketball player that led to the mauling.

“We recognize that CJ Giles is a very vital part of the national team, the reason why he is considered as a candidate for naturalization for Filipino citizen. He is seen as the “good big man” the country sorely lacks to be able to compete with the powerhouse teams in Asia today. It will not help the team’s cause any if Giles is not allowed to play with the team,” the PBA Commissioner explained.

“We are convinced that it is in everyone’s best interest if both teams go into the game with the same mindset that the game has no bearing. Both Smart Gilas and the PBA opposing team, and their players, will thus be on equal footing as far as their outlook and approach of the game are concerned.

Some teams complained about the game between Smart Gilas and Talk ‘N Text where CJ Giles, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, and Chris Tiu did not suit up. Giles played for five minutes because the National Team Coach Rajko Toroman benched him for his lackluster play owing to the illness of his son Jayden who was rushed to a hospital in the United States. Al-Hussaini did not suit up because he had been down with a fever for three days while Tiu was nursing a thigh bruise that also saw him sit out the game versus Ginebra.

Yet in spite of the explanations for the missing national players, many feel that the remaining teams would be at a disadvantage when all three are back in harness.

“Some players have pointed out that the different treatment almost always means a difference in the level of intensity that may give rise to physical play and unwanted incidents,” Barrios said who concurred with Ginebra mentor Jong Uichico who noted that teams seem to get up more for the games against the national team.

But should the games of Gilas be rendered as non-bearing, Barrios believes that it will not reflect on the way other teams play them.

Even the Big Guys are reading Rebound

Dylan is perplexed why we never considered him to be an MVP contender for Season 72. Okay, so I made mistake by pegging Nonoy Baclao to win it (I figured he would raise his game but I guess teh injury prevented him from doing that). But at least I got it right that Ababou would lead the league in scoring.

Ateneo Heritage Series: A Run Through History and For Tradition

A Run Through History and For Tradition

by rick olivares

Very often, the difference between winning and losing largely depends on a team’s lasting power or endurance.”

Thus said the Reverend Fr. Austin V. Dowd S.J. when he pushed for a cross country race program at the Ateneo de Manila more than half a century ago.

Contrary to popular belief, the cross country race began in the University of the Philippines Los Baños and not at the Ateneo de Manila. And it started 20 years before the Fr. Dowd introduced it in the Loyola Heights campus in 1957.

A professor at the agricultural college, Nicholas Machan, used it as a means to condition his runners. Something he brought with him to the Manila campus of UP when he was assigned there years later.

Fr. Dowd saw how it benefited the UP tricksters and he decided that it was time to try it out at Loyola Heights. He went around the college to personally recruit and invite students to participate. It wasn’t easy at first as the attendees gradually thinned out after the first few practices.

Undaunted, the priest who would go on to coach several champion track and field teams of the Ateneo, stalked the cafeteria during lunch to recruit even more runners. “Everybody should go out and run in the afternoon it makes you strong,” he said by way of persuasion.

And for the inaugural cross country race at the Ateneo held on a Wednesday, July 17, 1957, there were 65 runners, but many more looked on in wonder and amusement. A lot was riding on the success of the inaugural event that kicked off the intramural season in the college. The runners had to run five kilometers not just around the campus but along Katipunan Road.

All the participants underwent a 15-minute period of stretching and just before Fr. Dowd fired the starting gun to begin the race, he bellowed, “Balderdash and bamboozlement!”

And off took the 65 running and elbowing their way to the run.

Ramon Falgui led almost all throughout but in the final 115 yards, Romulo Lacerna overtook him and finished at a time of 20 minutes and 16 seconds. Falgui, dead tired and panting heavily came in six seconds after while Donnie Gallardo placed third.

As good as the three were, the real favorites for the race were cheerleader and track star Jesse Paredes and teammate Tony Longa. But the two also took the opportunity to jaw one another throughout the race and as a result of the extra curricular activity, Paredes and Longa finished eighth and ninth respectively.

The race also featured a future star of the sport and athletics in Ateneo --  freshman Eduardo Raymundo who ran the entire race barefoot. It became his signature style for all future events.

It was so successful that four other cross country races were held that year. Among those who participated were the NCAA basketball champions Blue Eagles led by Ed Ocampo, Bobby Littaua, and Jimmy Pestaño.

The cross country race meant running through fields, a forest, over streams, or any obstacle along the way. Following the inaugural race, it became a team sport where squads generally had seven runners and only the fastest five runners per team were eligible for the points system. It meant that whoever crossed the finish line – even if he was the first to do so – counted only as one point. The first team to get five runners across won the race.

Eventually, the team concept was scrapped and it became an individual race  once more. But over time, the school-wide cross country race was eventually confined to the Ateneo High School in the 1990’s.

And now, well, we’re reviving tradition. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Because some people need to be in the spotlight (Why do you vote for these people?)

House probes Arboleda incident today

The House Committee on Games and Amusement chaired by Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing had summoned for a hearing today officials of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), along with all the personalities involved in the reported Oct. 16 mauling of a PBA spectator at the Araneta Coliseum.

Invited were PBA chairman Angelito Alvarez, commissioner Renauld “Sonny” Barrios and the head of the league’s technical committee. Also summoned were Burger King player Wynne Arboleda and PBA fan Alain Katigbak, the two protagonists in the fracas caught on video.

Bagatsing stressed that officials of the PBA and its competing teams, especially Burger King and Smart Gilas, as well as the management of Araneta Coliseum must shed light on the incident.

He stressed that measures must be put in place by the Games and Amusements Board, the PBA, the teams and the management of the latter’s playing venues, including the Cuneta Astrodome, to avert a similar incident in the future.

Invitations to the hearing had also been sent to GAB chairman Eric Buhain, Burger King coach Yeng Guiao, Smart Gilas mentor Rajko Toroman, Marlou Aquino of the Sta. Lucia team, Danny Ildefonso of the San Miguel squad, Coaches Commission head Fritz Gaston, Araneta Coliseum general manager Rene Cayetano and sales director Sienna Olaso, and  Ricky Vargas and Noli Eala of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.

The hearing starts at 1 p.m. at the conference room of the Mitra Building inside the Batasan Complex in Quezon City.


AAA Sesqui Cross Country/Fun Run

Rallying all Ateneans, families and friends! Join the Sesqui Cross Country Fun Run, and help support the Ateneo Sesquicentennial 500@150 Scholarship Drive! 6:00AM, Sunday, November 15 at the Ateneo de Manila University High School Grounds.

In line with the Ateneo de Manila University’s Sesquicentennial celebration, the AAA is bringing back an old Ateneo tradition -- the Cross Country -- an annual high school run that began in the 1950s and lasted four decades. The Cross Country routes varied through the years, even running through La Vista and Maryknoll. In its final days, the route began and ended in the High School flagpole.

The Fun Run will have Boys and Girls, Men and Women, Grade School, High School, College, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51 & up and Open categories covering a distance of 2.8K (5.6K for Open), and is set within and around the Ateneo de Manila University campus. First 1,000 registrants get a free singlet. Call 926.6067 for more details.

This event is brought to you by the Ateneo Alumni Association, in cooperation with San Miguel Foods Corporation, BPI Foundation, Knowledge Channel, and Pilipinas Shell with our radio sponsors, RJfm and Magic 89.9

Monday, October 26, 2009


There's this song by Irish mega rock band U2 "40" from their great opus "War" where some lines go, "I will sing, sing a new song. I will sing, sing a new song. How long to sing this song?" And since 2001, the song of the New York Yankees has been one of lament and regret. And after beating their longtime tormentor -- the Los Angeles Angels -- 4-2 in the American League Championship Series for the club's 40 pennant, they are one round away from their 27th World Series title. Will they sing a new song?

Living in the Big Apple, I had one creed that I lived and breathed every single day -- "I have to be responsible." That meant I had to bust my ass at work and do my best at all times. Once I've accomplished all that, that meant I had the money and the clout to be absent on game days more so the World Series. My boss would ask, "Where's Rick?" And my officemates (those poor fools who don't love baseball) would invariably answer, "Oh, he's at the Stadium."

Damn right I was. Even when they were losing. And I still have every single ticket to every game I've seen including that crushing loss to the Florida Marlins in 2003. So I can identify with that kid in the picture who says he's playing hookey for Games 1 & 2. 

In the old Stadium, as New York Times' writer Tyler Kepner wrote, "Now the Yankees' core is older, the park is new and the World Series is no longer a birthright. But the stage is theirs again."

Damn right. And watching Game Six this morning. My hair was standing up. My nerves were frayed. But with Mariano Rivera on the hill to get the last six outs... it was as sure a thing in baseball as anything. I leaped up and yelled. And just like old times, I did a jig. And old fool with a passion for baseball.
When the Yankees acquired CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Mark Teixeira I was darn happy. I thought that they would help right away. Some friends said that Sabathia wasn't going to do well in the Bronx. Well, he didn't arrive at the Stadium like Kevin Brown did from the Dodgers as damaged goods so I was plenty confident. As for Tex... he can sure hit. Always admired his tenacity with the Texas Rangers and I was sure he'd bring the same thing Tino Martinez did when he was a seattle Mariner. That was three additions (including Burnett). When NY got Nick Swisher, I was ecstatic. Swisher like Johnny Damon was a former Oakland A. Swish was solid in his long stint with Oakland. I knew he'd be a neat utility player in case Tex went down at first base or he could play the right field that current Angels outfielder Bobby Abreu used to patrol. And Swish once more came through.
I have always been an Alex Rodriguez fan. Never mind the effing haters. And this year, he is flat out on the road to redemption. Trivia: in his first year with New York, he switched from short stop to third base and made the All-Star Team! How's that for awesome?
And now the stage is theirs again. Four more wins. It's important to win the homestand because the middle three games are at Philly; a terrible place to play. Make them pay a price in New York, boys!
Photos are by Barton Silverman of the New York Times and from Sports Illustrated. 

Pride restored

Reeling from four successive defeats, Liverpool arrested its worst skid in years, and what better what to get back on track by hammering Manchester United 2-nil in Anfield. The win reasserts their two year mastery over their long-time rivals and puts them at 5th place in the English Premier League Standings. After misfiring on early chances, Fernando Torres broke the ice and put the pressure on the Red Devils with a strike after ditching Rio Ferdinand. David Ngog scored in injury time with both squads reduced to 10 men after Nmenja Vidic was sent off again (versus LFC I might add) for United and Javier Mascherano for the Reds. Now, let's see if Rafa Benitez' boys use this as a springboard to rattle off some huge wins. The pic shows LFC keeper Pepe Reina jumping into Ngog's arms after the killer goal. YNWA!
Congrats to Ato Agustin and the San Sebastian Stags for winning the NCAA crown against a really tough San Beda squad. Nice chatting with former player Rommel Adducul who showed up to show some support for his alma mater. This squad will only lose Jimbo Aquino who should have been this year's league MVP were it not for his suspension after punching the Red Lions' Jake Pascual. Well, losing Aquino will be a lot but they still have a potent crew and some players on Team B ready to step up. (photo by the Philippine Star's Joey Mendoza)

Bleachers' Brew #180 A Tale of Letran (an edited version of a longer story)

A Tale of Letran

by rick olivares

“Now, hail the men from old Letran.

Tried are they both good and true

On their palm see victory true

While on their breast sits friendship too.”

He is not from these parts. He’s a Pangasinan boy who played ball in the big city. But he, like any true basketball fan, knows his adopted school’s rich history and tradition. After all, when the school – Colegio de San Juan de Letran – is located within the Spanish era Intramuros, you can’t help but be immersed. 

In front of the Muralla entrance of Letran is the Baluarte de San Gabriel, site of the old Spanish bastion designed to protect the Walled City from any invasion from the north. Once upon a time, canons and sharpshooters lined its ramparts to form its defense.

Defense. It is here that the Knights have carved out their fearsome reputation in NCAA college basketball. They were punishing on and off the court. The old taunts of “manalo matalo bugbog kayo” though still existing today are bywords the rough and tumble 1970s.

Despite being in the midst of wars and changes of government, Letran has no bunker mentality. Far from it. There’s a 21st century air about the school that is in the midst of constant modernization. They take pride that theirs is an English speaking campus.

But on the court… come get some from the 16-time NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions.

Defense here means a relentless full court pressure for the entire game.

In the days before the start of the NCAA Final Four, with the sky threatening to rain, Louie Alas, the ninth year head coach of the Knights, was sweating profusely from the heat. Coach is a creature of habit. Even away from the television cameras, he is in his long adidas shirts; a far cry from his peers who prefer long sleeves or collared shirts. He likes things to be simple and uncomplicated yet rarely does he get that.

Alas, was the first non-Letranite to coach the seniors team. Even if he’s won three NCAA titles with the Knights, there are some within the school who want him replaced. But he can’t worry about that. “What happens, happens,” he shrugged as he waved to the fourth professor who stopped by to wish him luck. He is every bit as popular and iconic as his players. He has brought back a winner’s mentality to Letran basketball.

But Alas isn’t so much concerned about his place in Letran or college sports history. At the moment picking his poison. He laughed at the joke. His team is pegged at the fourth seed and is just waiting for San Beda and San Sebastian to settle their differences so they could get the Final Four action on. Everyone wants to face his wounded team that they deem to be easy pickings now that forward Rey Guevarra is out of action due to a knee injury.

With the high-leaping Guevarra’s all-around game, they had a chance – slim though it may be – to unseat the league leaders. The moment Guevarra crumpled to the floor in pain, Alas knew that his prized player tore up his knee. The slim chance had become slimmer than an anorexic.

Alas experienced something similar 29 years ago and that incident prevented him from playing with Purefoods, the pro club that drafted him. That was a different time when not many players were able to work their way back from a knee injury. However, it did start him on his coaching career where he’s had great success and is considered one of the bright minds of the sports in this country. "One door closes another opens," he smiled.

The parallelisms with Guevarra’s injury are similar - it is an ugly and most forgettable way to end one’s college career. Not only does it prevent him from trying to win a title in his final playing year for Letran but it also keeps him out of the Smart Gilas Pilipinas National Team’s stint in the PBA. Alas knows that Guevarra’s injury will force him to think of his career and life’s direction.

Guevarra is a jovial person but when it’s basketball, it’s all business. Earlier when one teammate was causing chemistry problems with his bloated ego, he said one thing, “Kahit ikaw yung tama, boy, ikaw ang mag-adjust sa amin. Team tayo rito hindi individual.”

Now it was time for Letran to adjust.

Instead of Knights’ customary daytime practice session, they had to make time for their final examinations. The Dominicans insist that the players who come here are students first and basketball players second. That sits well with Alas who knows that though the sport is the most popular in the country, there aren’t enough jobs for hoopsters to make a living.

As he strides the streets of Intramuros, it is obvious how Alas has come to love this school. Not many are even aware that he went to play college ball at Adamson. He has become so identified with the Letran and it’s fine with him.

Staring at the face of an African invasion of college ball, the school’s stand is to use only homegrown players. “Even if it means not winning a championship then so be it,” said Alas.

On their practice jerseys is a stenciled motto “Don’t give in. Don’t give up.” It is not there for show. It’s a mantra. A creed. It’s something the school has adopted even during cheering.

“Good luck, Kevin,” offered a colegiala to Alas’ son, a freshman on the team.

The younger Alas, doesn’t look comfortable with people asking for pictures. It is the father watching from afar who helps him ease into a celebrity mad world. “Kev, akbayan mo naman para mas special,” encouraged the coach.

The son obliged and it made the day of a schoolgirl.

“Now,” declared the coach. “It’s time to make the impossible.” For the first time in a week, they have a hard practice and begin in earnest the task of winning with a man down. “We have to find someone to replace Rey's 15.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.”

Rafael Joey Jazul, Guevarra’s teammate in both Letran and Smart Gilas embodies that. “We’ve come this far so we can’t give up,” he said during a short break during practice.

Two days later, the Letran Knights faced the three-time defending champions San Beda Red Lions in their Final Four match.

The Knights, true to form, pressured the more experienced Red Lions into turnovers and scored 28 points off them. Letran even led after half 35-32.

By the third quarter, San Beda got their fastbreak going and took the lead. Alas’ team stayed with striking distance. With Jazul held scoreless in the last quarter by the tight guarding of Rome de la Rosa, it was up to Kevin Alas to carry the load but it wasn’t enough.

The Knights, banged up and all, lost 82-76.

It was a tough loss for Letran that was hoping to stretch it to a sudden death Game 2. Alas, battling his emotions, put on a brave front: “I’m proud of my boys despite the fact that we played minus Rey Guevarra who has been a pillar of this team. But we never gave up the entire game and fought up to the last second because everyone gave their best though it wasn’t enough.”

The coach went to the locker room to console his team.

“We are the men from old Letran

Ne’er dismayed on field or track,

Push on victory to the van

Rah! Rah! Letran! Anack!”

Pics at Letran

Coach Louie Alas takes a look at Letran's Sports Hall of Fame inside their Gymnasium. We spent a while talking about the Letran heroes. It's a who's who in sports. Impressive.
The front of CSLJ. Of my uncles, only one went to school at Ateneo in Intramuros. All the rest went to Padre Faura and Loyola Heights. There are times when we go to Intramuros just to look around. Kinda fun just to see the old schools there including Letran and Lyceum among others.
The official 1960 NCAA jersey of the Letran Knights. Wow. Iba talaga nung time na yun.
Click on the image to read what is written about Baluarte de San Gabriel along Muralla Street. I have this cool cool hardbound book on Intramuros. Just love it to pieces.

Philippine Patriots defend home soil with a 74-61 win over the Thailand Tigers

Philippine Patriots defend home soil vs Thailand Tigers
by rick olivares

"Our biggest problem is team chemistry," pronounced Philippine Patriots coach Louie Alas some two hours before their first home game against the visiting Thailand Tigers. "Kahit sa fastbreak nagkakahiyaan pa. But hopefully, with our new additions and this time that the team will be in Manila for our home games, we can address that."

Alas was referring to new additions Val Acuña, Elmer Espiritu, and Nonoy Baclao to a squad that was formed two months ago for the fledging Asean Basketball League. The team played two away games winning their first assignment against Satria Muda Indonesia and losing to the Singapore Slingers for an even 1-1 slate.

There was some concern at first whether people would come out to watch the Patriots play at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. But by halftime, several hundred people trooped in to cheer on the home side.

And as hoped, Espiritu and Baclao provided the spark to get the Philippines going with their defensive intensity and all-around game. 

Espiritu's high wire act netted him 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Baclao on the other hand finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 5 blocks. 

The Ateneo Blue Eagle captain's umbrella-like defense on Thailand's American imports Ikenna Nwankwo and Chaz Briggs had the crowd roaring. He stayed step-by-step with Nwankwo as he drove in for a lay up only to have it sent back down. And minutes later, Baclao rejected a Briggs slam as the hammer was going down.

Nwankwo played for the UCLA Long Beach 49ers while Briggs played for the West Virginia University Mountaineers in the Big East.

"They (Baclao and Espiritu) gave us a lot of energy," said a satisfied Alas after the 74-61 whitewashing. 

After a closely fought first quarter that saw the Patriots go up 18-14, the Filipinos behind Rob Wainwright and Jerwin Gaco dropped a 24-8 bomb in the second quarter where they threatened to turn the match into a rout. 

But Thailand's American coach Chuck Davisson, who served as an assistant to Sidney Lowe in the Minnesota Timberwolves before mentoring the Dallas Defenders of the Premier Basketball League, got his team to play a tighter zone at the resumption of hostilities. The visitors outscored the Philippines 28-18 in the 3rd Quarter to make a game of it. But by the forth quarter, Baclao and Espiritu put the clamps on the opposing team's Americans to help the Patriots' debut on home soil a smashing one.

Philippines 74 - Gaco 15, Powell 9, Wainwright 9, Dixon 9, Espiritu 8, Baguion 7, Baclao 6, Daa 5, Ybañez 4, Acuña 2, Sta. Maria 0, Mirza 0

Thailand 61 - Briggs 15, Doruelo 15, Nwankwo 12, Ricafuente 8, Piroon 7, Kruatiwa 2, Lertmalaiporn 2, Kaedum 0, Ruankum 0

Sunday, October 25, 2009

LA Express

Saturday, October 24, 2009

SMU frosh scores a 95-foot goal


NCAA Season 85 Awardees

Seniors Division
MVP - John Wilson (JRU)

Mythical Five
John Wilson (JRU)
Sudan Daniel (SBC)
Giorgio Ciriacruz (AU)
Calvin Abueva (SSCR)
Rafael Jazul (CSLJ)

Rookie of the Year - Sudan Daniel (SBC)

Defensive Player of the Year - Sudan Daniel (SBC)

Most Improved Player - Elvin Jake Pascual (SBC)

Juniors Division
MVP - Louie Vigil (JRU)

Mythical Five
Louie Vigil (JRU)
Jarelan Tampus (CSLJ)
Glen Khobuntin (CSLJ)
Joshua Saret (JRU)
Baser Amer (SBC)

Rookie of the Year - Baser Amer (SBC)

Defensive Player of the Year - Louie Vigil (JRU)

Most Improved Player - Cris Javier (SBC)

Smart Gilas vs. Ginebra San Miguel: No Answers

No Answers

Ginebra San Miguel 100 vs. Smart Gilas Pilipinas 72

words and pics by rick olivares

The Fearless Ronald Tubid sent a three ball into the hoop at the start of the game to make it 3-0 for Ginebra. They way he jacked it up and looked at the bench of Smart Gilas Pilipinas after the barker affirmed his marksmanship was as if to say, “No sweat and it’s going to be like this all afternoon.”

And it was.

The Gin Kings’ lead was a mountain to climb for the nationals who struggled for fluidity and consistency on both ends of the floor without CJ Giles who is on the verge of being booted out of the team for differences with the coaching staff. When Gilas managed to tie the match at 47-all early in the 3rd Quarter courtesy of a trey by Japeth Aguilar, Ginebra, still very much the crowd favorite, detonated a telling 13-4 bomb to take the wind out of the nationals’ sails once and for all. This with more than a quarter to play as Ginebra cruised from there on to a 100-72 victory to go 3-0 in Philippine Cup play.

When Gilas Head Coach Rajko Toroman sued for merciful time, he looked beaten, exhausted, and bewildered. “I don’t know what to say,” was the first thing he said.

While the 10-game PBA stint for the nationals is supposed to give the team competition, Gilas has virtually offered no competition. In three matches, they’ve been blown out by 10, 33, and 28 points. And in their first game of the conference, they were bullied into submission.

The startling results, considering that Gilas has been soundly beating the pro clubs in scrimmages, have instead begat more questions. Ones that will increase in frequency and bite the more they lose and if they continue to lose big.

Their running off their national counterparts Powerade suddenly seems a lifetime ago and some see that win now as an aberration. And perhaps more painfully, the nationals can’t win without CJ Giles.

In the post-game press conference, the Gin Kings’ Head Coach Jong Uichico explained that despite the losses of Gilas, it’s all part of the process. “Ganyan din naman kami noon,’ he said in reference to those nascent days of the Northern Consolidated Cement team that Gilas is patterned after and of which he played for under American mentor Ron Jacobs. “They need to grow together and learn from these loses. But to compete in the international arena today, they will need to naturalize. If they had played Giles, who knows, the outcome might be different and we would have played them differently.”

For the third consecutive play date with Gilas playing, the venues – Araneta Coliseum and the Cuneta Astrodome – saw a huge crowd come in for the 230pm game. For the third consecutive play date, they came away disappointed and grumbling. Once more a fan yelled (or implored) Gilas to score during a drought. “Umi-score naman kayo,” he yelled from the upper section seats.

If the fans were waiting for a Japeth Aguilar or CJ Giles slam, none was forthcoming. The crowd was cheering for both sides early on but as Ginebra asserted its might due to its heft and experience, the crowd began to show their loyalties. And when its high-flying swingman JC Intal skied for a two handed stuff to hike the pro team’s lead to 66-53, the Astrodome was theirs.

With under 6:17 to play in the first quarter, Aguilar rejected a reverse lay-up by Tubid. But the Gin Kings’ swingman grabbed the loose ball and unleashed a hook shot to make it 14-4 for his side.

As Gilas sued for time, guard Jayvee Casio, the sweat dripping all over his face, couldn’t hide his frustration. “Walang tumatakbo sa fastbreak,” he said to no one in particular. In a match up between two speed teams, Ginebra won the match up 16-9. On the offensive boards, Gilas was clobbered for the third straight game 63-46.

No rebounds, no fastbreaks.

With the nationals’ game in a funk, the fans were instead treated (not just to a Ronald Tubid Show) but the match up between the last three centers of the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

At the 11:37 mark of the 2nd Quarter, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, who returned to action after missing the Talk ‘N Text game because of a fever, posted up Enrico Villanueva. The former missed and the latter returned the favor on the opposite side by hitting two free throws after baiting the taller Al-Hussaini to a foul.

Both players acquitted themselves well with Al-Hussaini scoring 14 points while pulling down 10 boards and blocking one shot. The Raging Bull finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Along with Aguilar later on, from another standpoint it was interesting to see players from past and recent Ateneo teams go at each other. Intal’s and-one off Aguilar was spectacular as he dropped the ball in the rim instead of stuffing it home. In his best game of the conference, the Rocket also finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 shot blocks.

In previous games, the question asked of Gilas in the locker room was: “How do you respond to this?”

The question should be asked not just of the players but the coaching staff and team officials as well.

It certainly doesn’t augur well when the team did not respond to the constant badgering during the game that at one point cost 2 points because Mac Baracael was paying attention to what was being yelled from the sidelines by his coach rather than watch his man.

With the Giles situation hanging up in the air, the questions swirl.

When will this be resolved? Does the team go back to square one? Has the team’s motion offense been properly scouted by the PBA teams and how will the Gilas braintrust adjust? How will they respond to this (San Miguel is on deck for the national team)?

For now, there are only questions.

Ginebra 100Tubid 22, Helterbrand 15, Intal 11, Villanueva 11, Wilson 8, Cruz 6, Mamaril 6, Baguio 6, Salvacion 6, Kramer 4, Alvarez 3, White 2

Smart Gilas 72Barroca 20, Al-Hussaini 14, Casio 11, Baracael 9, Aguilar 7, Ramos 4, Jazul 3, Cawaling 2, Ballesteros 2, Ababou 0


The Smart Gilas National Team will need to work as a team -- coaching staff and team officials included -- to get back on track.

Machida vs Rua

How about this for a bad ass fight? Brazilians Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida versus Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in UFC 104 (Sunday Manila time). On the line is Machida's UFC Light Heavyweight title and a 15-0 record. But am not sure about Rua who definitely has power but seems a little undisciplined as a fighter. It's going to be an interesting fight but I see it going the martial artist Machida's way via KO.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Special Mo-ment

This picture of New York Yankee closer Mariano Rivera was taken by photographer Robert Gauthier of the Los Angeles Times. I love it because it shows the pitcher's eyes full of intensity and focus. With the Bronx Bombers on the verge of making a seventh World Series appearance in the last 14 years, I am positively giddy. But I am not yet celebrating because the last time the Yankees were at 3-1 they lost the last three matches of the ALCS to the Boston Red Sox. So I'm for taking care of business first. 

The last time I watched a World Series, New York lost. That was such an empty feeling as they just did not play well against the Florida Marlins to lose in six games. Seeing them win now and hopefully they go all the way is like a balm on a fresh wound.

Some have asked why I am so passionate about baseball and football. They were the sports I played and watched while growing up. I was a late bloomer for basketball ad playing the game, I only got better at it later on. 

Whenever the baseball season's on, I think of my late grandfather who introduced me to the game. He was a Yankee fan who grew up watching Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. I inherited that love of the game and the team from him. That was augmented later on when I learned about the team's history through an almanac that mom got for me (she used to work for the US government). 

I followed the team through that long long drought that ended in 1996 when  Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mo Rivera were only in the second season of their pro careers. And 14 years later, they're still chugging along and playing huge parts of this great ballclub. This season must be real special for them as it's in the new stadium where they had a season full of great memories.

This morning, I forced myself to clear up whatever was left from my lost belongings (due to Typhoon Ondoy). I lost all my Yankee books -- One Hundred Years, My Life by Paul O'Niell, and the Yankee magazines I saved from 2002-04. The stuff I saved from Sports Illustrated are gone too. My baseball cards from my teen years are worthless pieces of cardboard. My personalized autographed pics of former players Jason Giambi, Scott Proctor, Bernie Williams, and Kevin Brown are missing. What I still have are my five DVDs of Yankeeography and 100 Years of the New York Yankees.

I plopped one inside the DVD player and lost myself for a couple of hours. 

Let's go, Yankees!

More thoughts on the Arboleda issue and that pro club called Bad Karma

Some friends of Coach Rajko Toroman from Europe got in touch with him the day after the dirty game with Bad Karma and they all expressed shock at the kind of game that was allowed. They saw it on youtube and video streaming. It's not like this doesn't happen elsewhere but this was borderline criminal. It was a legalized assault by men in tank tops. It wasn't basketball but basketbrawl. Honestly, it was painful to hear the comments relayed to Toroman. Of course, it's the Philippines so it hurts but it's all true so how can I not agree?

Like I said on the night of the game, four flagrant fouls were called in the span of 9 minutes and there were two that were not called. The crowd was really worked up during the game and you really cannot blame the fan for calling out Bad Karma in the worst terms. Was he the worst? Not even by a mile. The fans in the lower box section really let Bad Karma have it. One man went with his two daughters and he could not help himself at seeing the dirty game. He was even calling out the entire Bad Karma team to a fistfight. It was really bad. 

What many did not see off cam was how Wynne Arboleda went after the fan as they were both exiting through the south basket pathway. He had to be restrained by event security again. Yes, the fan gave him the finger again as he was leaving. Both were wrong but again... it boils down to the provocation. 

You think this is bad? You have not watched the UAAP where the taunting is 12x worse.

But why just Arboleda? That goes all the way up. C'mon. Let's not play stupid here. As I wrote also, I found distasteful that their coach was heckling Gilas by saying: "O, yung import niyo pasok na" and "Wag na kayo mag-zona walang import." He repeated it three times at different intervals. Do you actually yell out instructions like that for all to hear? For many who were watching, they found it distasteful. 

I used to be a fan of his. No longer. I stopped being one during the Powerade team's stint in Tianjin. He didn't scout, totally snubbed SBP (you may not like the Executive Director but respect the position), and then cussed the refs in the vernacular on international television. 

This is another low moment in the PBA's history. And to think of all their bum moves this early... threatening to ban Japeth Aguilar (dude, some of your teams did not sign three first round draft picks). So what is your argument now? Should we fine those teams? I don't hear anyone protesting now? 

I wrote before that Japeth had a change of heart about playing as he didn't want to play for an organization that sells its players because it needs the cash and to play for a coach like that. One former player of his from Red Bull said, "We lived and played in fear."

I'm interested to hear what the international office of Burger King has to say about this.

Smart Gilas vs. Talk 'n Text: A Bad Day

A Bad Day

Talk ‘N Text 103 vs. Smart Gilas 70

words & pic by rick olivares

The offensive set of the Smart Gilas Pilipinas National Team is best described as a motion offense with multiple options. In fact, that kind of game reflects its progenitor – Rajko Toroman.

The Serbian coach of the national squad is not one to sit still for long. He is in a constant state of motion with his mid ablaze with a hundred and one things. Even during his pre-game talks that if basketball weren’t serious business the scene of Toroman pacing back and forth would be comical.

But after his squad’s 103-70 massacre at the hands of the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters, he sat forlornly inside the team’s dugout. He spoke briefly. Pointed out glaring mistakes and the failure to run the system. But he reiterated several times that he owned the loss and said that no one should blame one another.

He was not prepared for the game. Not Talk ‘N Text because he knows his team can match up any time any place. What he was not prepared for was his team being so affected by the benching of Chester Jarrel Giles. While the team is trained to read defenses and how to beat them, they are not trained for trouble from within. As was the case during the dirty game with Burger King, the nationals were playing combinations they are not used to. And for the second straight game, there was turmoil.

It has been quite a week for not just Gilas but the local sports scene that is still abuzz and reeling from the actions and results that stemmed from the Gilas-Burger King match. Toroman, on the other hand, has had to deal also with Giles, the team’s candidate for naturalization.

The former Kansas Jayhawk has had nocturnal pursuits that he’s oft been attending practice at less than 100%. That set off Toroman who regards the team’s mission of making the Olympics and putting back the country on the basketball map as a sacred mission. He has on several occasions said that he would die just to do his job and give glory to the country.

And to think that he is not the candidate for naturalization.

As the game with TNT got underway, Giles corralled a rebound off a missed shot. Before he even planted his feet on the court, the American threw the ball  -- without looking at where his teammate could be -- straight into the hands of  Jimmy Alapag who dished off to Mark Cardona for a basket.

Within minutes, Giles was replaced by Jason Ballesteros. His day – maybe even his stint with the national squad -- was done and so was the team as they quickly fell into a deep hole. The team was already short-handed with Rabeh Al-Hussaini in sickbay and skipper Chris Tiu nursing a thigh bruise.

One thing that Toroman lamented about the match with Burger King and the reports that followed the match was that Jayvee Casio’s efforts went largely unnoticed. The former La Salle Green Archer scored 28 points, the best performance so far by any local in the new Philippine Cup.

In their second PBA outing, the team offered the game to Rey Guevarra who earlier in the day underwent a successful operation on his damaged ACL. Instead, there was no fight in them. It wasn’t the loss that ate at him but the manner in which they lost. Toroman understood. The team was distracted. Players like Japeth Aguilar tried to compensate for Giles but it took them out of the carefully designed system.

Unbeknownst to Toroman or the rest of the coaching staff earlier in the game, Giles’ young son, Jayden was sick and in a hospital back home in Seattle. The American found out only hours prior to the match and did not inform the staff except for a few. The staff mistook his lethargy for an unwillingness to play and as such benched him. They only found out after the game but by then the damage had been done.

An uncommonly large crowd showed up to watch the 2:30pm match and several fans voiced their displeasure at the rout and poor play. One said in a mix of veiled anger and frustration, “Mahiya naman kayo Gilas. Score naman kayo. Suot niyo kulay natin.”

Shouted another, “Nanood kami para makita si Giles at si Japeth mag-dunk at manalo kayo tapos ganyan ang ipapakita niyo.”

These words were a far cry from what was exchanged between Wynne Arboleda and Alain Katigbak but these ones stung deep; maybe even more and perhaps with longer lasting repercussions for team chemistry and its future.

The players held a separate huddle after the halftime meet inside the dugout. They were down 46-36 and were still in the game. But a 19-4 blast by TNT to start the third canto pretty much ended any chances of a comeback as the Tropang Texters coasted to their second straight win matching their feat when last season en route to their Philippine Cup championship.

During the half, Giles had the team's trainer Jim Saret write down his son's name on the tape that was wrapped around his wrist. He was hoping that he'd be given an opportunity to bounce back during the game. But with 5:47 left in the game and his side down 86-67, Giles tore off the tape and threw exasperatedly flung it to the bench where he was earlier seated. 

The Gilas program officially got underway in November 15, 2008. Since then they’ve played a lot of games home and abroad. There have been great victories and crushing defeats. Their loss to Talk ‘N Text marks their worst outing since their last game in Serbia when Gilas played KK Metalac Valjevo.

After Serbia, the team traveled to the United States where Giles joined them before taking part in the FIBA Asia Champions Challenge Cup. There they took off until that loss to Qatar that prevented them from advancing further into the competition.

Inside the dugout after Toroman gave his passionate post-game talk (where he also praised TNT for a great game), SBP Executive Director Noli Eala refused to gloss over the latest setback and its origins. “This is the team for the people and the entire country. If anyone doesn’t want to play there are many others who will want to. Those who don’t want to play then there’s the door. We will fight to continue this mission because no one is bigger than the mission and the team.”

And for the second straight game, the team exited the dugout with a question hanging above their heads: “How do you respond to this?”

Talk ‘N Text 103Cardona 16, Alapag 14, Dillinger 12, Castro 12, Peek 10, De Ocampo Ranidel 9, De Ocampo Yancy 8, Belasco 7, Escobal 5, Isip 3, Carey 4, Ritualo 2

Smart Gilas 70Barroca 16, Casio 14, Aguilar 14, Baracael 8, Cawaling 7, Ramos 5, Ababou 3, Jazul 2, Ballesteros 1, Giles 0


For the coaching staff and team officials, it's all about having faith in the system. They know now is all about learning. Better for the mistakes and problems to happen now than later. Like any other team, it's always a problem when you throw in new players into the mix or have players who are gone for a while then try to get used to the system again. Obviously, it's not about winning the PBA because they are merely a guest team. You'd like to see them execute. The new problem that cropped up was totally from left field and no one saw coming. One opposing coach was joking in the corridor post game that if Gilas doesn't have a foe on the court it's from within. The learnings of losses will be for nothing if they don't make adjustments individually and collectively. 


Carlo Ricohermoso Hope Giles stays.

Mayla Ibanez Just realized how high the expectations are with Gilas.

Ares Penales Gutierrez di ba ang objective naman was to toughen up and test game situations instead of winning games?

Enrico Paolo C. Banzuela i was there at cuneta! It was really heartbreaking. Ako yung nahihiya para sa kanila dahil national team sila. It's expected that they should win, and win big. Today, they played like amateurs and not deserving of the name "philippines" in their jerseys. Toroman always tells them about character... i hope that in this very dark hour, their character would shine through. Kailangan eh. Ginebra na susunod...

O... meron pang sumawsaw na ibang mga bwisit

According to a news report by the Business Mirror, the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) will create a three-man fact finding committee to investigate the incident that led embattled Burger King guard Wynne Arboleda to attack a heckling fan at courtside during his team’s match with the Smart Gilas Pilipinas National Team.

GAB’s Dioscoro Bautista, Chief Officer for Professional Basketball Regulation, asked the PBA for a copy of their own findings as well as a video copy of the game. GAB has the power to revoke the license of athletes due to Presidential Decree No. 871 that gives authority to the body to do so.

Former Ginebra San Miguel cager Rudy Distrito’s license was revoked by GAB following a tackle on Alaska’s Jeffrey Cariaso during a match in 1995.

My take on this is… medyo OA na ‘to. Let the PBA deal with this. Wala na ba kayong ibang trabaho? Yung mga ibang super visor nga ninyo pupunta ng mga game meron pang fee. Hindi ba pwede invesitage itong mga mokong na to?

Bakit hindi niyo investigate din yung coach at team officials? Bakit hindi niyo kaya?

Punyemas kayo. Pero yung mga magnanakaw sa gobyerno walang nakukulong. So anyone notice that since Ondoy no one has been talking about the Dacer case? 

Dare to be Fit 'n Right

On October 23, Friday 7 pm, Del Monte Fit ‘n Right will launch its newest campaign Dare to be Fit ‘N Right in Taste Asia at the SM Mall of Asia. The Dare to be Fit ‘N Right launch will be a bloggers event that features the revolutionary F.I.T workout by sports scientist and Master Coach Jim Saret. Coach Saret obtained his MS Sports Science degree from Brigham Young University in the US. He is a core training expert and a sports and fitness writer and lecturer. Currently, he is the Lawn Tennis Sports Program Head of the Ateneo de Manila University and the Strength and Conditioning Consultant for the POC and various teams in the PBA.

The F.I.T Workout or the Fast Interval Training is a four-minute workout that makes you burn at least 400 calories and continues to burn even when you’re done with the workout! Plus, you don’t have to be a gym buff to enjoy the workout. It doesn’t require much space and equipment. It’s scientific, very visual, designed for non-athletes, with measurable results and it’s easy!

And, if you partner your F.I.T workout with your Fit ‘n Right fruit juice drink, you’ll see faster results for Del Monte Fit ‘N Right contains the breakthrough L-Carnitine that helps burn fat and B Vitamins 1, 6, 12 that help speed up metabolism.

A clinical study done by the University of the Philippines through Dra. Leonora Panlasigui and company has proven the effectiveness of Fit ‘n Right. In that study, it was found that one can lose as such as 16.7% body fat in just 6 weeks with regular consumption of Fit ‘n Right, diet and exercise. There are studies that indicate that 1000mg per day is ideal in helping you lose weight along with proper diet and regular exercise. Each Fit ‘n Right bottle contains 300mg and the recommended daily intake is at least 3 bottles, at least 2 hours before exercise or physical activity to maximize the fat-burning benefit.

B Vitamins 1, 6 and 12 are known as energy boosters and they help reduce fatigue and increase endurance by facilitating conversion of carbohydrates, protein and fat into energy. With L-Carnitine, B Vitamins can optimize metabolization of carbohydrates, protein and fat into energy.

Now, who says you can’t have fun while working out and losing all those calories and unwanted fats? Who says you can’t have a refreshing way to burn?

Dare to be the first to try the F.I.T Workout. Dare to be the first to know about it. Dare to be fit. Dare to be right.


Coach Jim and I will be working on a website; something we've been talking about since the FIBA Jakarta tournament. Look for it soon. See you at Mall of Asia!