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.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Hans Smit is mobbed by his players. This win, according to the coach, is the most satisfying simply because of what they've been through in the last three years. The twice-to-beat advantage notwithstanding, they were tremendous underdogs against the Tigresses. In the end, they faced their fears and won.
The takedown is almost complete.
Pile on!
Before the awarding, his players doused him with water. Said the drenched coach: "Wala akong extra shirt!" Bet he didn't mind though. Congrats, Coach! Congrats, DLSU!

Bleachers' Brew #198 The Field

This appears in the Monday March 1 edition of the Business Mirror.

The Field

words and pictures by rick olivares

The Sto. Niño Playgrounds in Sto. Niño, Marikina is where baseball dreams go to live and die.

The land on which the baseball and softball field belongs to a rich man who lent the grounds because he has nothing better to do with it. The man who manages the field drives around in a scooter organizing tournaments while early a fraction of a pittance to keep the game alive. The man who takes care of the field is paid four thousand smackers every month. There are hookers who make that amount and more in a night. It’s no way to live but if one lives frugally then he has everything he needs in the world.

The field has no history after all, it’s only been in existence for 13 years. At least not like the stadium located along Vito Cruz where guys like the Babe and the Iron Horse blasted dingers over the outfield porch. The field has so many prints from cleats and it’s just apt that they’ve come from the nameless and the faceless who live to play another country’s pastime.

The grass isn’t mowed and weeds sprout here, there, and everywhere. The dugout is enclosed by nylon mesh and in the bleachers that squats a stone’s throw away reeks of piss, beer, and a bad case of someone not being able to hold down their alcohol.

And speaking of piss when the players need to relieve themselves, there are portalets nearby that charge three to seven bucks. But you wonder if it’s a relief to enter one as it sits under a red-hot sun with suspect maintenance.

On game days, a play-by-play announcer uses a karaoke system to broadcast the game. It sounds ridiculous when his voice echoes with every spoken word. Is this AM radio?

Over the years, the various associations of the sport have engaged in a form of bitter internecine feuding over control, cash, and accusations of corruption. Here in Sto. Niño, they want no part of that. “Play ball!” is the watchword here.

Some outside group came over and offered to put up a local team to play Singapore’s best baseball players. The organizers were asking PhP 85,000 per child. Like these are kids from the rich enclaves. So parents borrowed money, pulled out their life’s savings, and borrowed some more just to send their kids abroad. When they got to Singapore, they were playing kids pulled out of God knows where wearing tee shirts. “We’ve been scammed!” were their collective thoughts. Another group organized a six-nation tournament. Except that the teams were from the Republic of Sto. Niño, the Republic of San Mateo and blah.

The former town mayor who is now running for the highest office in the land, all he does is make speeches. His sole contribution to the growth of baseball and softball is to paint the railings, the bleachers, the benches, and the fences pink. This is a baseball field. And give more speeches. One time, a team from Japan played an exhibition match against a collegiate team and before the game started, the former mayor showed up to give a speech. One Japanese player was so thrilled. He thought the guy talking to them was Mr. Bean.

One time, a generous sponsor donated over 300 baseball gloves so that the kids from Sto. Niño would learn to play the game. Instead, in the hands of some local officials, they were being hawked in the nearby markets.

A team of kids from Cavite came over here to stay overnight for a game. They brought tahong for lunch and more tahong for supper. Another team, this one from Tondo brought with them tuyo for lunch and more tuyo for dinner. The playgrounds’ managers took pity on them, took away those more tahong and more tuyo and replaced it with chicken, beef, and quick cook pancit canton. It’s ordinary fare for most folk but here it’s a feast. Said the manager, “You have to put some meat in those bones, boy. How are you going to be a baseball player when the bat is bigger than your arms?”

The field isn’t the best by any standard. The ground isn’t even and the grass is well, wild grass. If an infielder is not careful, that grounder that’s rolling towards him might just bounce up right into his kisser. And it doesn’t get any easier for the outfielders. The ground is uneven and one could trip all over himself. A routine flyout could turn into a base hit and an error.

Oh, the local folks love to watch a game of baseball or softball when it’s on but if you ask them what an RBI is they’ll probably tell you that they love eating Spare RIBS. A hit and a run? Means some unlucky dude got salvaged. The only thing the wags, oldtimers, and people who fill the stands understand is that when a batter hit the ball then he better run like hell lest he get thrown out. Anyone gets thrown out or strikes out, he’ll hear it from the crowd. Even some famous actor who is a long-time endorser of a local brand of shirts and briefs got it. “Amoy kang brief!” cackled one heckler. The actor smiled. The crowd laughed and applauded. Hey, it’s all in good fun.

The distance between the outfield wall and home plate is straight away 300 feet. Short by Major League Baseball standards. Not many players have hit one out of the field except for this American from one of the local international schools who nearly had one except it was a foot short. Nevertheless, the playgrounds’ management tell the nearby homeowners not to park their cars around the perimeter on game days just to be sure. There used to be safety nets in the outfield but as soon as they’re put up, it won’t be long before someone steals them.

The players also have to beware of twisters or ipo ipos from the dust parking lot. No one has an advantage because a base runner could miss stepping on a base, a pitcher could bean the umpire, or worse, the dust will muddy up the Coleman some fool forgot to cover.

The field is just beside the Marikina River that is a good twenty feet down. During Typhoon Ondoy, the waters swelled up to 30 feet deep. And by the time it cleared, it left mud on the field that was two feet deep. Volunteers, baseball players, and barangay tanods helped clear the field. Many sporting venues have seen great battles. Here in Sto. Niño, the field is battle-scarred and a survivor.

But still players come – college teams, Japanese teams, Australian teams, and Korean teams. Why do they play in a field that is so far from their own that it’s like descending into baseball hell?

Baseball for sure, isn’t the only game in town. The Marikina Sports Complex is nearby. The field here was in the scheming and gleaming eyes of real estate developers until Ondoy happened.

There’s a purity to it here. The community watches and has embraced the sport. Sure the rent is cheap and sometimes it’s even free. The people cheer, heckle, and enjoy the game making for a fiesta atmosphere.

And this is where baseball dreams live and die.

First Leg Winners. First Time Winners.

Asia Urquico and Jessica Morado clinched first-leg honors of the 2010 Petron Ladies’ Beach Volleyball Tournament at the De La Salle-Health Sciences Institute in Dasmariñas, Cavite. The Ateneo duo defeated Philippine Christian University-Dasmarinas hotshots Ana Alicia Adolfo and Alyanna Marie Gorospe, 21-10, 19-21, 15-7 for their first win in the circuit.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Old time hockey

The NHL Oldtimers along with the fictional yet legendary Hanson Brothers of the Charlestown Chiefs (from the Paul Newman movie Slapshot) played the Leamington (Ontario, Canada) Police hockey team in an exhibition match on February 10, 2010. Those not familiar with the Hanson Brothers is that they are very much like Clark Kent -- they are not what they seem. They are weapons of mass destruction whose sole purpose is to pick fights on the ice. But out of the movie they joined the NHL Oldtimers looking exactly like they did way back in the late 1970s when Slapshot first came out and they can still skate and fight. Plus they wore their Chiefs jerseys! Wooo! The Oldtimers won 12-4. Thanks to In Play for letting me know about this.

Who knows what a Laker is but give me 'em Laker Girls

Can we re-write the lyrics of the Beach Boys' "Surfer Girl" to suit these cheerleaders? The Laker girl pictured below is Jessica. One of my all-time Laker Girl faves Lisa Estrada is directing the new bunch (well she's been in that capacity for a while now).

photos by John McDonough

Is it the Ice Age for Olympic Women's Hockey?

The Canadian Women's Ice Hockey team isn't done celebrating when the party poopers are out to burst their balloon. Not soon after their buoyant on ice celebration (not too long after the Gold Medal match with the US with all the spectators gone save for media and arena employees), the IOC is investigating them for proper decorum. Hmm. it's not like they went on tour of the USA to rub the win in every American's face. C'mon! And now, Time Magazine reports that Women’s Ice Hockey could be gone as an Olympic sport by the next Winter Olympiad much like the glaciers in the once colder climes of the world. What they are saying is the sport is dominated by Canada and the USA that both outscored its opponents by a ludicrous 88-4 margin in the tournament. Olympic officials also pointed to preliminary round matches where the final tally resembled an American Football game: Canada bludgeoned Slovakia 18-0 and the USA went Friday the 13th on Russia 13-0.

"There is a discrepancy there, everyone agrees with that," Jacque Rogge told reporters and Time Magazine. "We cannot continue without improvement," he added referring to the development of the sport.”

The international news magazine also noted that the cut Women’s softball from the Olympics in 2005 — its final Olympic games were played in Beijing in 2008 — after being heavily dominated by the USA. The sport recently lost a bid to be reinstated for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. IOC members cited a non-competitive field as the driving factor in its decision. Hockey is safe for the Sochi games in 2014, but if North America wipes out everyone again, the sport's future on the Olympic program will surely be in serious jeopardy.

Guy Joseph Redmond of Michigan wrote in to say that: "It Is Being Announced After The Olympics That It Is Over!!! Unbalanced Competition! Sad!"

My reply is: "Dude, that's not fair to Canada or the US. They should have waited at least after the tournament. Etiquette isn't an Olympic sport but it sure does count for something."

In other Olympic Ice Hockey news, Team USA barged into their own Gold Medal match after dusting off Finland 6-1. They wait for the winner of the Canada-Slovakia semis. Zach Parise!!!

photos by Associated Press

Friday, February 26, 2010

Everything you needed to know about UAAP Football Rules but were afraid to ask

The argument of the FEU Athletic Director is Rule 5.1 Section 11. Sorry. I amended this statement of mine just this morning. Kinda woozy from watching the PBA last night. I put the shot of the League Competition above to establish that they would go to the tie-breaking rules to settle things. Even if you say first round, they resorted to the tie-breaker. It doesn't make sense to follow it for one round and not the other. Again the terms "points" means what is accumulated from wins and draws. Goals is not included among the points. That is needed later for aggregate and differentials.
Using his argument, two years ago, in Season 70, Ateneo and FEU were tied at the end of the elims with 19 points each. FEU was awarded the twice to beat advantage because they scored more goals. Eh, di bakit doon hindi Best of Three? Did we protest? I think there are double standards present. 

Then take a look at these rules on tie-breakers. It is also patterned after FIFA's Rules. So is this a matter of interpretation? Well two of the rules are in favor of what the tournament officials decided. Is this a case of one is greater than two? Hell, I don't know. Whatever it is, it sure is confusing. The point I am trying to make is -- the Board was wrong. They have decided already and there's nothing Ateneo can do about it. But it still has to be pointed out. And at this rate, teams will keep an eye out for rule violations and what they can do to circumvent or bend them. Whew!I hope we kick their butts on the field this Sunday. Go Blue!


Ice Queen. South Korea's Kim Yu-Na gives her country some good cheer after she won the Gold Medal in Figure Skating barely a day after a Korean relay team in speed skating was disqualified for the second Olympic Games in a row when an Australian official judged their bumping a Chinese skater to be advantageous to their side. The disqualification enraged a Korean who threatened to bomb the Australian Embassy in Seoul.

On tie-breaks in UAAP football

Mark Molina FEU Athletic Director wrote me in explaining why the UAAP Board upheld their protest: "There are two UAAP rules that are relevant to this discussion. UAAP rule on football championship series 5.1: "If the top two teams shall have the same number of points, they shall play a best of three series" and Rule 5.3 which states "If the first team earned more points than the second team, the first team shall only need to defeat the second team once. However the second team must win twice over the first team.

No one is disputing the fact that Ateneo is the top seed in the finals and FEU is number two based on UAAP tiebreak rules and the FIFA tiebreak rules you mentioned. The point of contention is why did Ateneo get twice-to-beat? Does any UAAP or even FIFA rule say that the top ranked team gets twice-to-beat? None. The rules clearly say that twice-to-beat is given to the top seeded team only if it has more points than second place and if they are equal then it is a best of three as mentioned above. So the question still remains for the football officials: what is their basis for awarding twice-to-beat? What rule?

Rick: Agreed. However, there is a step-ladder format in judging tie-breaks. We use the FIFA code since we (the Philippines, the PFF, and the UAAP) are a member. Here are FIFA rules on adjudging tie-breaks:

The ranking of each team in each group will be determined as follows:

a) greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;

b) goal difference in all group matches;

c) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.

If two or more teams are equal on the basis of the above three criteria, their rankings will be determined as follows:

d) greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned;

e) goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned;

f) greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned;

g) drawing of lots by the Organising Committee.

The top-seed is decided not by the host school but by the tournament officials. Let's be clear on that. And furthermore, there's a note in the UAAP Rules that say anything not covered here, then the FIFA Rules apply.

Mark Molina: It is good that you mentioned the women's division since this was also explained in the letter we wrote to the board. Women standings ended with DLSU having 15 points UST 14 points and FEU 14 points. Under the rules DLSU get top ranking with twice-to-beat since they have more points than the second ranked team. UST is ranked second because it has a better goal difference than FEU so FEU drops to third and out of the finals. Same tiebreak rules apply for the juniors division and that is why Ateneo is top ranked as previously mentioned. But being top ranked does not mean you get twice-to-beat, you need to have more points than number 2 and I am now sounding like a broken record.

Rick: Take a look at the Women's Standings below. UST and FEU have the same number of points. UST made it to the championship round after a scoreless draw with FEU on the final playing day. If the UAAP rules on tie-breaks -- based on they way they interpret the rules -- then shouldn't there be another game between UST and FEU? Because the UAAP Rules mention only "points." "Points" is accumulated from wins, draws, and loses. In case of ties, the goal differences are applied. Why is it for the Women's Division the FIFA rules apply but for the Juniors it is different? So my question therefore is about consistency. All the decisions made -- and for years it has been this way -- by tournament and match officials.

Pics from UAAP Football Thursday Feb. 25

After Jose Oppus scored the winning penalty shot, his teammates rush over to celebrate thinking they had beaten the tough FEU-FERN team. See the story below on a new low on board thuggery.
FEU striker Jason Cordova covers his head after being thrown out for a second hit on a UST player. Whatever was going through his head no one knows.
Ronnie Aguisanda, a back-up keeper with the National Team, was magnificent minding the net for FEU. Here Tamaraws coach Adolfo Alicante watches Aguisanda's grab of a corner shot.

The UST Tigers go down to FEU with their first loss of the season

"Nakuha mo na yung gusto mo?"

UST Coach Marjo Allado was reasonably angry with star striker Christian de Juan who after diving was carded by the referee. It was his second dive of the game and he was warned for the first.

De Juan had been unable to get his game going in Game 1 against FEU in the UAAP Men's Football Finals. The Tamaraws, the second seed, had attacked relentlessly from the opening whistle as they marked the rookie along with line mate in a 4-4-2 formation, Mario Clariño. The latter, fleet of feet and able to slither through tight defenses, had some spectacular runs against FEU but the finishing was far from exemplary. De Juan, hardly perturbed by the roughhousing, seemed more overexcited. He was whistled for being offside three times leaving him shaking his head.

The Tamaraws put up the first score on the board when striker Jason Cordova was able to corral a well-placed cross inside the box by Jonie Lopez. The 6'1" Cordova, whirled and blasted in a powerful shot at the 22nd minute that UST keeper Johnson Lee virtually had no chance of stopping.

Ironically, it was UST that played better after that. It seemed that the Tamaraws were a little more physical after that while the Tigers concentrated on their game and were getting good shots at the goal that Ronnie Aguisanda covered well save for a near scores by Joe Villanueva, a late game substitution, and a shot by Clariño that hit the crossbar but bounced out. The game became rough and without clear pace. The blistering start of the Tamaraws saw them slow down and defend after a spell.

Said FEU Coach Adolfo Alicante after the match, the first loss of UST all season long, "Kahit nananlo kami, malaki pa rin yung nawala sa amin." The coach was referring to players Cordova, Romnick Jover, and Joshua Alminar who all received yellow cards (Cordova received a red card for kicking a UST defender; he earlier elbowed another Tiger for his yellow card) and will miss Game 2.

"I don't think affected yung mga bata," noted Allado. "Hindi lang naman nag-function si De Juan. Sa Game 2 ibang istorya na yan."

In other UAAP Football news, Marianne Narciso, scored her 11th and 12th goals of the tournament as she helped her side to a 2-0 win over luckless De La Salle. Game 2 or Sudden Death Sunday is on February 28 at 9am at the Erenchun Field in Ateneo.

What I thought of the game as well -- FEU are the masters of the short game. Excellent passing. Props to Glester Sobremisana for his excellent playmaking. He moved back when Cordova went out. But the Tams had a hard time adjusting to a man down. We saw this earlier in the season; was it their second game? And their defense on the left isn't very good. This is where Clariño was making his living feasting on slow footed defenders.

UST is also fun to watch. Sometimes their attack goes to a 2-3-2-3 to give them more options on offense. It helps that they have two players who can break out on their own. John Reginald Caballero is sent forward to attack to help out Clariño and De Juan. Their weakness? I'd say it's their midfield.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Another boardroom victory for FEU

FEU's Anton Montinola telling us there's at least one more game. Note his finger making the point. We spoke for the briefest of moments and I wondered why he said that when there was nothing yet. Within minutes, we were told they were placing the game under protest.

This morning, the Ateneo High School Football Team beat FEU-FERN 4-3 in a penalty shootout. As everyone was celebrating, FEU's Anton Montinola came over and was shaking everyone's hand and was saying there's a Game 2 and we'll all see them on Sunday. I was wondering why he said that. Turns out after the match, the UAAP Board met at the University Athletics Office and the Board -- fickle and who knows what the f*** goes on in their minds -- was saying that Ateneo should not have the twice to beat advantage since they were equal in goal difference.

UAAP Football Commissioner Jojo Rodriguez explained that in case of a tie, they look at the goal difference. Since both were still equal, the next in the step ladder format in deciding the top seed is the number of goals scored for. Ateneo had one more goal for. Hence, the twice to beat advantage.

The whole process degenerated into a shouting match between Ateneo and FEU officials. They were told to go out as the remainder of the board deliberated. When it was over, it was decided that it will now be the best of three finals. One board member said that only the UAAP Board can make decisions whether it's a one-off finals match or best of three series. What the F! Why doesn't the Board just decide who will win the Men's Championship?

It's this simple. If they decide on a Best of Three series then it should be before hand. Why only decide on it now? The games ended last Sunday. It should have been announced way before hand. Is there a way to see the minutes of their meeting? How they voted so we can take to task the Enlightened Ones? Who suggested what and so on and so forth? We can grade them like political observers grade sinators and tongressmen.

I'm wondering why FEU seems to get away with this -- first the Korean Coach Kim Chul-So who was supposed to be banned but was mysteriously able to sit on the bench again (who in the blue hell knows why) and now this. How was Kim able to return to the FEU sidelines when there was no ruling yet? How did Mr. Montinola know there was going to be a Game 2 when the Board had not met yet? Unless... alam na. How does the Board arrive at these decisions? Are they, in the words of Chris Jericho, gelatinous tapeworms? Is a frog's ass water tight?

Talagang win at all costs. Lutong Macau talaga. Seems they knew of the decision before the board even met or why else would he say that to us on the pitch? If I had any sympathy for their players or teams before now I have none. I hope we kick your f****** asses black and blue in everything from here to kingdom come.

You want the trophy that bad, do you? You didn't even win the 1991 Men's Basketball title. La Salle won that. They were robbed of a rightful three-peat. What technicality -- that a fouled out player was on the floor for an additional four seconds? Jerry Codinera was playing on five fouls in the 1987 Finals against Ateneo and he even finished the damn game! One can say that was an oversight by table officials. You know what? BS! As for La Salle forfeiting the 1991 title that was a boardroom decision. That's twice you've been the beneficiary of a title that you didn't win. Someone should put you in the UAAP record books at the team with the most boardroom titles. And with a nod towards Barry Bonds, an asterisk.

You should have seen our kids whoop it up then feel so bad that they had the title taken away from them. That was a cruel cruel thing to do. Is this how the US Men's Basketball Team felt when they were told by Olympic officials that they had to replay the final seconds of their gold medal match thrice in Munich in 1972? What I mean is you think it's over but it's not.

Oh wait there's more. Who is the idiot or are the idiots in the board who change their minds every year about who will win the MVP Award in Volleyball? One year the winner should come from a Final Four team and this year... coaches will decide and the winner doesn't have to come from a Final Four team. Who is the host of the tournament this year? And who won the award? This year, hands down, it should be Stephanie Mercado. And two years ago, it should have been Charo Soriano!

You know our consensus here -- may araw din kayo. Promise.

Mizuno officials also informed me that something similar happened in the NCAA Football Tournament when minutes before the start of Game 1, CSB was given a twice-to-beat advantage. I will ask my sources from SBC to verify this. If true, then that is so not fair. You do not change the rules right before the match because that is going to weigh heavily on the minds of the players and officials.

DLSU Women's Football: One More Game

One More Game

by rick olivares

On Sunday, February 21, several players of the De La Salle University Women’s Football Team went to watch one more game with great bearing on the finals cast for the Season 72 championship.

A win by either FEU or UST would propel them to the championship round with a twice-to-beat advantage as a reward for topping the eliminations. A draw by either side would send the defending champion Tigresses into the Finals over the Lady Tams because of a superior quotient.

The scoreless draw meant that La Salle had the top seed billing. But that doesn’t mean anything to either parties. Last season, with the same advantage, the Lady Archers fell. And in embarrassing fashion as their high-powered offense was rendered ineffective by UST. It was a magnificent coda to UST’s campaign. They beat La Salle in the Metro Manila Girls Football Association, Uni-Games, and in the UAAP.

The off-season was tumultuous. “An understatement,” corrected third year midfielder Samantha Nierras. “We feel like we’re cursed.”

And UST kept the hex on them once more by beating them again in the MMGFA and the Uni-Games for the second straight year.

To make things worse for La Salle, they lost leading scorer Jessica Ryon and Charm Lazaro who transferred to the College of Saint Benilde, Issa Camara and Clarissa Lazaro to graduation even if they one playing year left, Fiona MacKenzie to a heart problem, Michelle Severino who is abroad on a student exchange program, and Maan del Carmen who did not have enough units. That left the school’s long time and multi-titled coach Hans Smit scrambling to put a team on the field and to get them focused on the season to come.

“We were not on the same page,” admitted Nierras. “We had a team building session that was the best we’ve had in years.”

But Smit wasn’t leaving things to chance. “I said only one thing to them at the start of the year, ‘Do you want to become the first La Salle team not to make the finals?’”

“Ah, that’s coach,” pointed out Nierras with a wry smile. La Salle has made every single UAAP football finals for 15 straight years. “He loves to play mind games with us. Use that reverse psychology on us, you know?”

“She is a bright kid, I told you so,” laughed Smit in return. But the message sank in.

Despite the lack of scoring options and scoring only five goals and giving up two, DLSU finished at the top of the heap after eight games for 15 points. “This year exceeded my expectations,” said Smit who would love nothing than to win another title.

Except that beating UST isn’t an easy task. With one game left in the Lady Archers’ elimination round, they lost keeper Haya Ibarra, a candidate for Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament, to an ACL injury in a freak accident during practice.

Smit was at the back of the goal in the La Salle grounds when it happened. “Here we go again,” he thought to himself as he kept his sunglasses on.

The team had only one keeper in its line-up with no back up. Some may say it foolhardy but Smit says that he had no place for a back up on his team. Wingback Miel Ampil replaced Ibarra at the net and she gave a good account of herself although she surrendered a goal to UP’s Kaira Dimatulac in a 1-nil loss.

“Why are you crying?” Smit asked his players after the game. “We lost a game. So what? But we’re still in the finals!”

Game One on Thursday, February 24, will find the Lady Archers protecting Ampil and playing in zones. Their defense will dictate their offense and they have to find a solution to the Tigresses’ Marianne Narciso who scored 10 goals this year.

“One more game,” said Nierras after the UST-FEU game. “We want the season to end on Thursday.” Should UST win, the clincher will be played on Sunday.

“To win it in one game would be nice,” summed up Smit. “In two games, I’ll take it as long as it’s a win. But I hope that we don’t go to penalty kicks.”

The Lady Archers have not won (against UST) in three matches when it goes to penalties.

And it's Thursday...

Team USA beat Switzerland 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the Men's Ice Hockey Tournament. They got two goals from Zach Parise in the third quarter to beat the pesky Swiss for the second time in the competition. Now, Parise's full name is Zachary America and is from Minnesota (but he plays for the New Jersey Devils). When you're named after your country then the team's alternate captain has the weight of a country on his shoulders. How do you beat that?

On social networking, Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella said, "I'm really not a Facebook or Twitter guy, you know? I'm a prime rib and baked potato guy."

Jose Mourinho, the supreme egotist, put one over his old club as Inter Milan beat Chelsea 2-1 at the San Siro in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 match. Roman Abramovich must be gagging.

ESPN falls prey to another Howard Stern prank. How that even happens on Sportscenter is anyone's guess. Hahaha

Did Purefoods Coach Ryan Gregorio really say that Tim Cone is smarter than the Los Angeles Lakers' Phil Jackson? That's in the column of Tita Beth. There was no direct quote however. Lemme ask da coach who is a good friend. And his Purefoods team took Game 1 against Alaska. This is going to be one great Finals series. Enjoy it.

Is there something wrong here?

Nate Robinson, in his Boston Celtics debut, scored 4 points on 2-7 shooting against his former team. He also had a couple of turnovers in the Celts' 110-106 win.

Meanwhile in the opposite locker room, Mike D'Antoni, took a dig at Nate when he was asked if he was worried that the three-time Slam Dunk King would score a ton of points against the Knicks. "I really thought more about Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Rondo, Perkins. Then Nate. But he'll be supercharged."

Players' coach indeed. Mein Fuhrer.

What about Eddie House? He goes from a team that is contending to a sucky one with only a promise and a lick that they could land LeBron next season.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This will never be an Olympic sport? Or will it?

A sled race where its participants slid down a slope -- naked -- drew 14,000 spectators in Braunlage, Harz, Germany! Was this their way of venting after Germany's hockey team was pulverized by a vengeful Canadian team? First we have the Lingerie Bowl and now, Nude Sledding. What's next?

Al Michaels on The Miracle on Ice (taken from Joe Posnanski's excellent column in SI)

Al Michaels says that if he had thought up his famous line earlier -- "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" -- he never would have said it. The thing you have to understand about Michaels is that he's a pro's pro. Get the names right. Get the action right. Never jump the gun. Never say what you don't know. That's his blueprint. That's his life. And Michaels believes that if he had thought up the line earlier, he would have discarded it because in his head it would sound jingoistic or corny or both.

But he did not think up the line earlier... he was calling the game and the word "miraculous" popped into his head. That's what it was. Miraculous. The Soviets were the greatest hockey team on earth... better than NHL teams. The U.S. team was a bunch of college kids. This could not be happening. Miraculous. And as the puck came out with five seconds to go -- "How lucky was I that the puck came out," Michaels would say -- the words just came out of him.Do you believe in miracles? Yes!

Years later, Michaels would re-do the hockey commentary for the movie "Miracle." But when it came to that final, memorable line -- probably the most famous call in the history of American sports -- they used the original recording. "I couldn't do that line again," Michaels says. "No way."

This is in the Al Michaels-Bob Costas story, but it's worth repeating here... Michaels did not just leave after the game was over. He called the Finland-Sweden hockey game. So while he, of course, understood just how big the U.S. victory had been, he was unaware of the nation's reaction, unaware of the way Americans had poured into the streets of Lake Placid. When he left the game, he saw all the people celebrating, all the waving flags, and he made it back to the hotel, and someone said to him: "Wow, that was incredible what you said." And for a second Michaels thought, "What did I say?"

To read the original column by Sports Illustrated writer Joe Posnanski, click on this.

Don't you think the Russians jersey with a "CCCP" (Союз Советских Социалистических Республик) is way cool and menacing at once? I have four hockey jerseys -- Islanders, Blackhawks, Northstars, and the Devils. Now the Russian CCCP is awesome and I have always wanted to get me one of these. Hmm. How to get? On another note and I just have to say this -- the Mighty Ducks movies suck.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


The team is red has the Maple Leaf in front. The team in white, well, it says, "USA." But they wore their hearts on their jerseys and sleeves.

Before the match between the United States and Canada began, I kept thinking back to that Michael Jordan quote about having players with a fighting heart that will beat a more talented team any time. When the American roster for Vancouver was announced, the initial reaction from close quarters was -- they're short on Olympic experience and not that fab on paper when stacked against the Canadians and the Russians. But the plus factors that were underscored by coach Ron Wilson were this team's guts, smarts, hunger, and willingness to mix it up on the boards and throw themselves in front of the net for a save. Was Canada overconfident? Not by a long mile. Any time you play a rival you never head into a game with that in your mind. You can throw out stats and history when it comes to that. I thought that the team with all those stars hasn't really meshed. And more to it, they were nervous playing in front of a large home crowd. Hey, it's the USA. The Canadians want to shut their neighbors up after all those jokes.

The 5-3 win is huge because it gives the US more confidence as the advance further. Canada is still in the hunt albeit in a more difficult route to the Gold. Lots of heroes for the US in Brian Rafalski, Chris Drury, and Jamie Langenbrunner among others but net minder Ryan Miller was huge for them! Forty-two saves? Jeez. That last five minutes when Canada poured it on must have been the longest five minutes for the Miller and the team.Was anyone reminded of Jim Craig when the Russians were pouring it on against him in the second period of that game that sent the US to the Gold Medal match? What a harrowing experience!

I just made a reference to the Lake Placid Miracle On Ice team. But really, it's a little premature. Every team has its similarities here and there. But now, let's see how far they go. A couple more matches then we'll know. And maybe Jeremy Roenick can ease up on the team and cheer rather than take shots at Drury. I root for the woe-is-me Islanders and Drury is an, ahem... a Ranger but this a plenty good hockey team; USA is.

Somewhere. Canadians hate Rick Reilly more. See ya at the face off.

---------------- photo by Corey Perry ----------

Monday, February 22, 2010

We be jamming

Here's an old photo of the late reggae legend Bob Marley just having fun. Marley was a huge football fan. Not sure though of what club he rooted for but he was a fan of the world game.

Two of my favorite albums of all time (and they have a nice place in my CD collection) are Legend and Exodus.

The deluxe editions of both albums are worth the price since the previously hard to find alternate versions of "Waiting in Vain" and a few others.

UAAP Football News

I haven't seen the sked yet but it's like this:

De La Salle has the twice-to-beat advantage against UST in the Finals for the Women's Division. Yesterday's match between UST and FEU was the only bearing one in their bracket. FEU had to win in order to make the finals but the scoreless draw saw UST get in because of goal difference.

Ateneo and FEU will play for the high school crown after a 1-1 draw yesterday morning. The home team gets the twice-to-beat advantage for a similar reason to the women's tie-breaker for yesterday's game.

I guess you can say that FEU's football program is one of the tops now (aside from UST too don't you think). Their teams made the high school and college finals and narrowly missed the women's collegiate finals as well. In yesterday's game between UST and FEU that had no-bearing at all, the Tigers won 3-1. FEU rested almost all their starters. Among others, Glester Sobremisana was the only starter who played significant minutes. UST on the other hand started many of their usual players but shifted them around. They moved Dave Basa -- who wore the captain's armband -- to attacking mid. FEU started well and scored a goal early on. They could have added a couple of others but misplayed their shots on goal. UST got going and even without Christian De Juan, a legit candidate for rookie of the year and MVP, as well as Johnson Lee, and they scored two goals in the second half to win. I'm going to predict it here -- UST will take away the lion's share of the season awards.

Games are this Thursday with Women's and Men's playing in Erenchun Field. The high school game is at Ocampo Field.

Good last games for a couple of Green Booters. Kim Smit, last year's team captain was beginning to suffer cramps but he mustered just enough on a nifty cross that beat the offside trap by UP. Teammate Eric Romero-Salas cut right and booted the ball in as a surprised Gabby Tañada was unable to do anything. After the half, starting DLSU keeper was replaced by Martin Villaflor, also playing his last game. Patrick Deyto played a field position for the third time this season and nearly got a goal. Villaflor played well and stopped some scoring chances for the Maroons. Deo Segunial is a workhorse upfront for UP. Without the suspended Ayi Aryee, he's been having a hard time.