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, December 16, 2009

An excerpt from the intro

An excerpt:

Introduction: What’s the Story (Old Glory)?

At the east end of the Blue Eagle Gym proudly fly 13 championship banners won by the Ateneo de Manila collegiate basketball teams. The men’s basketball squad contributed eleven of those banners while the other two came by way of the women’s teams.

The Lady Eagles added their names in Ateneo sports history with their first-ever national collegiate title in 2005 while adding another two years later in 2007.

On the western side of the court are 15 banners won by the Junior’s squads. The fact that the two are almost a hundred feet apart shows the disparity between collegiate and secondary school hoops. The ultimate bragging rights for any school, after all, are the number of Seniors’ titles one has won.

If one were to look closely, one would notice that all the banners hanging from the rafters of the venerable hoop house along Katipunan Avenue were won from the time that the Jesuit institution moved from the crowded confines of Padre Faura in Manila to the sprawling lawn of Loyola Heights in Quezon City.

The banners were commissioned by the University Athletics Office in 1999 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Loyola Center now known as the Blue Eagle Gym. No one knew it at that time but it heralded a new era for Ateneo basketball.

The Nineties was a bleak, if not utterly forgetful, decade for Ateneo basketball; -- it was the first decade where the school failed to bag a seniors’ championship.

If in the National Colleges Athletic Association (NCAA), Ateneo was the roundball king, in the rival Universities Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP), the Blue Eagles had to pay its dues first as the league doormat before they scaled the summit. But the years on top were fleeting as Ateneo slid into more than a decade of mediocrity.

From Fr. Nebres' foreword:

"When Rick Olivares asked me a couple of months ago to read the draft of The 18th Banner, the story of the 2008 UAAP Senior Men’s Basketball championship drive, I readily did so and very much enjoyed the experience. As he says in the book, these championships do not come easily or often to us at the Ateneo and so we savor them all the more. Moreover, while all champion teams attain legendary status in the school’s collective memory, every team has its own uniqueness and we thank Rick for giving us this legacy of memory of the champion team of 2008."

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