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, July 31, 2010

Did Clark Bautista make that shot?




Did UST's Clark Bautista hit that shot? Oh by the way, that's me at the immediate left of the basket where the Samsung is (that's press row where I usually sit). Only half a head. Bwahaha.

Looking at the Ateneo-NU match

This is the first time where there's not going to be a clear cut winner as the two teams take on each other. Both teams are coming off tough loses. There's the infamous meltdown against La Salle 66-63 and the Bulldogs error at the endgame (where the pick and roll between Joseph Terso and Kokoy Hermosisima was baldy played and broken up) that saw them lose to UST 60-59.

Ateneo is at an even 2-2 while NU is at 2-3. 

Surprise here... the Bulldogs are the number one defensive team as they surrender only 62.6 points per game. I was surprised however that NU failed to dump the ball to Emmanuel Mbe or Jewel Ponferrada late in their match against UST. I though that their insistence on taking the ball from the outside did them in. This is the last ride for Ponferrada, Hermosisima (who spent time on Team B), and Baloran all who will finish their playing years after this season. So expect these hombres to give it their all. And if Glenn Khobuntin comes to play (he was absent on defense and thus it hurt his playing time in their match against the Tigers) then that will give NU four guys who like to attack the basket from the outside (including Terso, Hermosisima and team captain Mervin Baloran).

Now the question is -- how do the two teams respond after a loss? Either team cannot afford another one when we're only halfway through the first round. 

Ateneo has the advantage of its deeper bench but that bench is only good on potential and on paper thus far. The games have shown a maddening inconsistency that reminds me of 2007. The one constant there was well Ford Arao and even Chris Tiu. This year... it has only been Kirk Long although Justin Chua is really on the verge of getting things going. If he keeps it up against NU then one can say that it's no fluke. But there's still that doughnut hole in the middle that I've been talking about since the summer. Will it be plugged? I don't think so. For now at least. We don't have any one bigman who has the mobility to run out to the perimeter and recover like Nonoy Baclao. But we just might see JP Erram do something soon.


But there seem to be more questions about Ateneo after the loss to DLSU. But doesn't that happen to either team after a loss? But questions about some players being big game flops abound as do some about their value to the team. The last time the Blue Eagles took a back-to-back loss was -- I'm not sure here either the 2006 Finals or in 2007. A loss today would be damaging for their quest for a three-peat. That will be answered by day's end.

The Bulldogs goals have been very clear -- to be the top defensive team and to get into the Final Four. They have somewhat accomplished the first in spite of their record and the second seems to be wavering a bit. If Ateneo can keep Mbe off the floor or even Ponferrada then that augurs well for the Blue Eagles. 

Should that happen then this is not going to be close.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Stuff

Post-UST-NU match interview with Pido Jarencio



- I think that at the height of the walk out and petulance showed by the French National Team in South Africa, I wrote that new coach Laurent Blanc should not get any of the players for national duty. And in an upcoming international friendly against Norway, they'll be bringing in an entirely different squad to play. Yes, there's really nothing at stake like the Euros or WC qualifiers but it's good. Maybe the ban should be extended up to another couple of matches.

- Still more fallout from the World Cup -- Diego Maradona is not renewed as Argentina coach. Now that was something coming his way. His allegations of "betrayal" by football association officials is standard reply. Just as much as coaches who blame the officiating for their troubles win or lose. 

- On my final words on the WC in South Africa, here is my first XI: 
GK - Iker Casillas
Back Four - Maicon (Brazil), Lucio (Brazil), Carles Puyol (Spain) & Philipp Lahm (Germany)
Midfield - Thomas Muller (Germany), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Xavi (Spain), Wesley Sneijder (Holland)
Forwards - David Villa (Spain) and Diego Forlan (Uruguay)

I was tempted to list Arjen Robben in the midfield but Xavi was so crucial to Spain's success. Ditto with Portugal's Eduardo as keeper but Saint Iker was better throughout the tournament. The same for Miroslav Klose but he's a better poacher and Villa was superb in the World Cup taking shots from the outside or in.

- Tough loss for DLSU in yesterday's match against FEU. I thought in their final play in regulation, the ball should have been given to Joshua Webb so he could take it to the basket. As it happened, Joel Tolentino was the one who drove and got smothered. It was a reversal of their win against Ateneo where they were in the lead for pretty much the whole game until they ran out of steam in the last few minutes of the game.

- Big games today at the NCAA. Mapua takes on Letran while in the main game it's JRU versus San Sebastian. Letran needs the win if they want to get back into the hunt for a Final Four seat. A loss would doom them because they'd be at 1-4. That gives Arellano some leeway. Remember the Chiefs finished at #5 last year (or was it sixth?). As for the main game, the Heavy Bombers need to get a lot of players involved in the offense and to rebound some if they want to win against the Stags who are heavily favored for this game. If Raycon Kabigting, Nate Matute or Alex Almario are hitting their shots from the outside that would open up the lane for the Lopezes -- John and Mark who are great athletic specimens -- and Joe Etame. But anytime you throw in Calvin Abueva in there, this guy creates havoc both figuratively and literally. And if Ronald Pascual (great lift on that jumpshot and the best I've seen since Don Don Hontiveros) is active on both ends then it's going to be a long afternoon for JRU.


I'll say this about JRU -- if John Wilson were playing they'd be a heavy contender. As such without him... it's just a San Sebastian-San Beda affair.


-- I cannot believe that Roy Oswalt might have a chance to go to the Philadelphia Phillies. They have Roy Halladay and if they get Oswalt now those guys are going to be unbeatable. 


-- The sooner Alex Rodriguez hits #600 the better it will be for him and the team. All those at-bats and waiting causes some anxiety and that excess energy is better off left for something else.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Halikinu Radio Season 6 Episode 4



Episode 4 of Season 6 of Halikinu Radio. For guests, we those guys From the Stands Paolo and Carlo and the National University Bulldogs: Kokoy Hermosisima, Mervin Baloran and Jewel Ponferrada. And it sure was nice to have Mhel Garrido back on the show now his sked permits. Hey, Marts! Where are ya, bud?


Thanks to National University management for sending over their players in spite of a tough loss today to the UST Growling Tigers. Having another team on the show was a refreshing change of pace. And it's nice to hear a different perspective, don't you think? Mhel, nabaliw sila sa 'yo. Watching out for my piece on the Bulldogs in the next issue of Rebound. It's titled: Respectable Street (with a nod to New Wave band XTC).

FEU goes to 5-0

The Far Eastern University Tamaraws are 5-0.
by rick olivares and brossi gonzales

But that hardly begins to tell the story as they eked out a hard-fought 84-80 win, pushed to the brink by the De La Salle Green Archers who squandered two opportunities to upend the front-running Tamaraws.

The Tamaraws led in their early goings of the first quarter before the Green Archers ran off a 10-0 run to seize a lead they would not relinquish until FEU’s Ryan Garcia picked off a midcourt inbound to scoot in for a lay-up. The Tamaraws had problems with La Salle’s full court pressure defense. But the full court defense eventually told on the Green Archers who began to miss badly in the endgame due to fatigue.

La Salle still had an opportunity to pull out a win but Joel Tolentino missed a lay up with 1.5 seconds left that saw the game go into overtime. The sophomore guard also missed a crucial free throw with 18.5 seconds left in the first overtime that would have given the Green Archers the lead but the score remained notched at 74-all to go into the first double overtime match of Season 73 of the UAAP.

In the second overtime, graduating player Paul Sanga and Cameroonian Pippo Noundou gave their side badly needed breathing room by scoring four points apiece. Noundou also pulled down two rebounds in the stretch including a crucial offensive board after a missed Garcia jumpshot that all but killed La Salle’s chances of bringing down an 83-78 lead.

Last Saturday, the Green Archers came back from a nine-point lead to beat Ateneo in the endgame. This time around, it was the Tamaraws who turned the tables on them.

FEU head coach Glenn Capacio drew a great performance from Brian Cruz, the transferee from Metro Manila College in Novaliches, who tallied 16 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 1 steal as he waged a battle with DLSU’s Maui Villanueva who also had a monster game with 11 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. 

Joshua Webb continued his resurgence after the strong game against the Blue Eagles as he scored a team-high 17 points. Three-point specialist Samuel Marata scored 16 points but had none in the extra periods.

FEU’s Garcia overcame a slow start to finish with 18 while Noundou added 14. 

Thursday Stuff

Back home after a quick jaunt to the Lion City. And I'm jumping immediately back into work. Mercifully, the early symptoms of a relapse quickly dissipated. I'd chalk that up to Chinese medicine. Someone gave me this old Chinese stuff take and looks like it worked. Will look it up here. Now, if I can only remember its name.

Will be back in Singapore for the F1 in September. Am going to jump the gun here. What did I get? There's the Tokyo Police Club, Broken Social Scene's Forgiveness Rock Record (check out my entry about the band here), Kula Shaker's Pilgrim's Process, and Snow Patrol's Up to Now (with the DVD). A book (Foul! by Andrew Jennings). Wanted to get the Cholly and Flytrap hardcover from Radical Comics but no more dinero. Next time. Wish I stayed longer but work calls.

Had a nice long chat with a former local cop who now works with the United Nations based in the Congo. He was with his wife and son who was studying in Singapore (through a UN grant). So many interesting stuff about the continent. Ironically, as someone who helps implement programs for the poor. Now this guy has my total respect. Well educated guy for a local cop. I guess his experiences really opened up his mind. Have a safe flight from Manila back to Africa.

Will be catching the UAAP games today while finishing other stuff. Then there's Halikinu Radio tonight. And my many other deliverables. Check you guys later.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Didn't we see something similar locally about a year ago?

The red badge of courage for investigative reporter Andrew Jennings is being banned from all FIFA events. This is a great read and you'll understand the why the things that happen on a global scale also affect us locally. Not to say that this doesn't happen here.

Not sure if this is available locally but you can order this through Fully Booked or Powerbooks (maybe even Amazon). 

Got my copy at Prologue @ Ion Orchard, Singapore (4th level) for $22.50 in paperback. There's one more copy left. None at Kinokuniya, Borders, or Harris.

How's the weather over there, Hammam?

Andrew Jennings also wrote The New Lords of the Rings (about corruption in the International Olympic Committee). 

What a goal celebration!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

5J801



The view from my window seat 5F. That means first row by the window. And that also means I get out of the plane ahead of most. Whew. Just worked on a few stuff throughout the flight while listening to my iTunes. Finished my piece on the National University Bulldogs and the Ravena family for the next issue of Rebound. But it's ironic that I love sitting by the window when I have a severe case of acrophobia! But in first row, I love the extra leg room. Need it when you're tall.


Yes, ma'm!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bleachers' Brew #219 Man in a Suitcase Part 2

Here is Part 1 from May 2009.

Man in a Suitcase Part 2
by rick olivares

Last year while attending a FIBA tournament, I became friends with one of the American imports of Al Riyadi Lebanon, Chris Charles. Former Villanova Wildcat and friend of NBA hoopster Randy Foye. I wrote about Chris and other American basketball players plying their trade in leagues all over the world in a piece titled “Man in a Suitcase.”

Chris Charles wasn’t even “the man” in Villanova. That title belonged to Randy Foye. In fact, he didn’t get to play much and that ended any chance of an NBA tryout. So he took his trade with him to the Middle East where he helped Syrian club Al Jalaa to the Syrian League championship and claimed several honors. His success there saw him get a stint with Lebanese team Champville prior to joining Al Riyadi in the FIBA Tournament.

After the FIBA tournament where Al Riyadi finished third, Charles went back to Lebanon to get his pay. Only it took him about a month before he got his full pay (and only after threatening to not come back) that delayed his return trip back to his native Milwaukee, Wisconsin for some much needed rest.     

His return to the Middle East was eventful in so many ways he never saw coming. This is the continuation of that story in his own words as he would learn later that “life has a funny way of sneaking up on you.” My notes in between are in regular font.

Going back home was great. During the season I didn't really get a chance to sit back and think about how successful of a year I had. So it was only back in Milwaukee where I was able to take it all in once things had calmed down. Coming back home as a "champion" for the first time in my professional career after going through so much just to land some gigs was extremely gratifying. I had just experienced my most successful year as a pro. The accolades came in one after another (center of the year in Lebanon, all-import team in both Syria and Lebanon, finals MVP, a championship and FIBA bronze medal) and I looked forward to thanking my loved ones in person when returning to the States. From being somewhat of a b-ball vagabond to coming home an MVP. 

My friends and family followed my progress via Facebook, Skype, Twitter, emails, and my blog. My best friend Adebisi who is the frontman for hip-hop act Fresh Cut Collective actually gave me a special shout out during one of his performances at a big Milwaukee festival. That was his "moment" in front of hundreds of people and he took the time to recognize my recent success. When attending my good friend Randy Foye’s charity event he told me how happy he was for me and that he knew I had success coming my way. It meant a lot because he has been one of the biggest supporters in my hoops journey being like a brother to me. 

My blogmates Philwaukee & Greendale Andy encouraged me to document all of these basketball adventures with videos so I posted clips of me winning the title in Syria & bronze in Indonesia. Most of the satisfaction came from knowing that I made my friends proud because honestly without their encouragement & support I wouldn't have had those opportunities. 

In October of 2009, I returned to Champville because I renewed my contract with them but about four months into the season I had a minor back injury that kept me out for a few days. They team was heading to Dubai for a tournament and I was told to stay back to rest and that they'd see me when they returned to Beirut. The day after they departed for Dubai I received a call from the management notifying me of my release from the team. My numbers had decreased from last year and I had a gut feeling that the injury gave them the opportunity to pull the proverbial trigger and hand me my walking papers. Shortly after things started to develop with Al Jeish, the Syrian team. Everything happens for a reason...

Al Jalaa is the perennial Syrian league champion while Al Jeish is one of those bridesmaids-but-never-the-bride types. Think of them in the vein of Toyota-Crispa, Real Madrid-Barcelona, or the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox.

The job with the Syrian team came when they received word of my availability back in January. After getting the pink slip in Lebanon I waited in Beirut for my flight to be arranged by the team to head home. Al Jeish, the Syrian team made a nice offer but wanted me to come directly from Beirut. The agent that I was working with wanted to be assured that my injury wasn't serious. I was briefly examined by a "doctor" in Lebanon but needed to get a real diagnosis so I told the agent that it would be in both of our best interests for me to get a professional examination when I went home. So I came back to the States and was cleared after about a week and a half in at home in Milwaukee I signed my contract with Jeish and was off to Damascus to continue the journey.

Actually the same day I left for Damascus I had a small cameo in my friend Dana Coppas video (http://vimeo.com/9927520) left the video shoot, said goodbye to some family and it was off to Syria!

It was an interesting scenario joining the same team that I had defeated in the finals last year. I have been told that each game is an audition and this situation proved that observation to be true. Jeish was impressed with my MVP performance against them that they wanted my services...flattering. Once I arrived my teammates were very welcoming and the coach really had faith in me. There was no bad blood from me being one Jalaa from last year. They would ask me "do you think we can beat Jalaa" and ask me to compare my experiences with Jalaa and now with Jeish. I chose my words wisely not wanting to offend my new teammates too soon haha. They were saying that I was the missing piece to them winning it all. Jeish had the guards to compete with theirs now they had someone to battle with their two big imports. Well, it was a fairy tale ending for Jeish and myself.

Charles parlayed his success in the Middle East into a tryout with his hometown Milwaukee Bucks. Although he wasn’t signed in the summer of LeBron, the opportunity to try out is something he will cherish. His adventures continue. You can follow them on milwaukeehoopers.blogspot.com.

Ya go, Pip!

Ateneo Blue Eagles Game #4 Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory



Defeat snatched from the Jaws of Victory
Ateneo 63 vs. La Salle 66
words by rick olivares photo by aaron vicencio

Since 2006, the Ateneo Blue Eagles have been mostly putting on the hurt on its foes with their brilliant endgame. This Season 73, the team has twice crumbled in the clutch.

So much for experience.

The game is just one of the many classic battles between the Blue Eagles and the La Salle Green Archers but it will be remembered not just for the outcome but the final and fateful six minutes.

The Blue Eagles had their foes on the ropes with a nine-point lead with 3:52 to play. In years past, this was when they were at their best – closing out the game.

Earlier, skipper Eric Salamat saluted the blue and white gallery after his first clear fastbreak finish of the game to give Ateneo a 62-53 lead. That was the end of a telling 15-5 run that was borne out of a double-pump buzzer beater from the three-point line by Kirk Long.

Yet in a shocking turnaround and uncharacteristic poor execution, the defending champions went from hitting their first eight shots to missing their final seven.

And that isn’t where the horror story ends, in between were a flurry of miscues – a pair of poor inbound plays, errant passes, poor ball handling, and badly missed shots.

And La Salle is the type of team to make teams pay for their sloppiness. Rookie Jarelan Tampus fielded two errant inbound boo boos and scored two quick baskets while point guard Joel Tolentino added two free throws to cut Ateneo’s lead 62-59.

Nico Salva, in the midst of a nightmarish game, added one free throw to give Ateneo some breathing room at 63-59 time down to 2:04. It would be the last point Ateneo would score for the day.

Samuel Marata, was 2-2 from three-point land. Good numbers on any day but not when he was continuously denied chances by the tight defense applied on him by Kirk Long and Ryan Buenafe. But Long had fouled out earlier when Tolentino made his free throws. With Buenafe on the bench and La Salle gaining more confidence, Marata pulled up on the three-point line to launch one.

Bang. He was 3-3. And La Salle was on the verge of completing an incredible comeback.

Another Blue Eagle miss, and this time with Buenafe back on the floor dead cold (he only played 15 minutes), the Green Archers ran a pair of screens for Marata on top of the key. Buenafe was a second late in getting a hand on Marata who had enough daylight to drop the hammer on Ateneo.

Simon Atkins added one free throw for a 66-63 lead and it left the Blue Eagles with a window to send it into overtime.

Ateneo had no choice but to go to the court of the last resort. But in a team bereft of deadeye three-point specialists (and Emman Monfort out on cramps) the Archers covered Eric Salamat, Juami Tiongson, and Bacon Austria. That left center Justin Chua – wide-open for a chance to tie it. He hit the right side of the rim and miraculously got the ball back. But his second shot was just as off.

The Green Archers ended their six-game slide to Ateneo and more importantly, climbed into solo second with a 3-1 slate behind undefeated FEU.

Heading into the match, the two teams were pretty much equal in statistics. It has been said time and again that when the two teams play, you can throw those stats out. But there were two particular stat lines that are worth pointing out.

The first was Ateneo’s atrocious percentage from three-point country. In their first three matches, they shot 15.9% (7-44) while La Salle shot. For the game, both squads hit five triples each but La Salle had the better percentage at 35.7% to Ateneo’s 29.4%.

The second stat that told volumes was in fastbreak points. Prior to the rivalry weekend match, Ateneo scored 14.3 fastbreak points per game. That’s not bad but it’s only good for second behind La Salle’s 15.0 per game.

In the first meeting between the two schools this year, La Salle stepped on the gas pedal and scored 16 fastbreak points while holding the Blue Eagles to a measly 5. They had done their homework as they jammed the outlet pass and quickly got back down on defense.

It was a painful loss for the Blue Eagles they had failed to close out what should have been a won game. The outcome also highlighted how the team is struggling to find consistency, dependable scorers, and defensive cohesiveness.

The team fell to an even 2-2 record alongside National University and UST. Although only four games have been played and in spite of UE and UP being 0-4, all the games have demonstrated that there are no automatic wins. Every team has go out on the court and win it.

But there are two sides to every coin. There are two positives. One is it looks like Ateneo has finally found its next big game center as Justin Chua scored 16 points, pulled down 8 boards, and more importantly was in the end game. He is starting to round out into his own and show why the recruiting class of 2008 (alongside Salva and Buenafe) should go down as one of the best in the school’s history. Had he made that triple to send the match into overtime (and assuming Ateneo would go on to win it), mayhap we lobby that one court in the college covered courts be renamed after him?

Yes the game ended with a loss and that’s where the second positive lies -- there are still 10 more games to play.


La Salle 66Webb 12, Marata 12, Atkins 9, Tampus 6, Andrada 6, dela Paz 5, Tolentino 5, Vosotros 3, Villanueva 2, Ferdinand 1, Paredes 0

Ateneo 63Chua 16, Monfort 11, Long 9, Buenafe 7, Salamat 6, Salva 5, Golla 3, Escueta 2, dela Cruz 2, Austria 2, Tiongson 0, Gonzaga 0



Sunday, July 25, 2010

UAAP photos: UP-UST First Round


The UST Growling Tigers wrenched the game from the UP Fighting Maroons last Thursday. pic by Brossi Gonzales

Some thoughts on yesterday's Ateneo-La Salle game

Sorry that I haven't written the game account. I have so many things to do and the deadlines are kind of tight. But by tomorrow the Ateneo-La Salle game account will be up. So maybe to placate those who have been asking questions via email, text or facebook, let this stand muna until tomorrow.

Why was Ryan Buenafe not only the floor during crucial stretches of the game?
Because Norman said he wasn’t playing defense.

Why did Emman Monfort go out during the stretch when La Salle made their run?
Because he asked out.

Going into the game, a lot of people asked me if I thought Ateneo was going to win. I was non-committal in my answers. Of course I am rooting for the team to win but I felt that both teams were kind of evenly matched. No way was this going to be a blowout. I said that whoever makes that mid-fourth quarter run would win it. Obviously, not all games are won in the middle. You have to close it out. The Blue Eagles didn’t do the job.

What has changed with La Salle’s offense?
Aside from the extra staggered screen to free up with Simon Atkins, Luigi dela Paz or Samuel Marata, they have a renewed confidence in them and the win against us just amped that up big time.

They have better three-point shooters. Always have. While outside shooting, normally a strength of Ateneo, is something we do not have at the moment.

Do you have a right to be upset and get mad at the team?
Let me make this clear. Even to those who form the circle around the team. You cannot hear only the good stuff, the praise and adulation. You have to take the good and the bad. It’s like saying, don’t pan James Cameron’s Avatar because we do not know how much he put himself into it etc.

Anything that is public domain is subject to opinions right or wrong or strong or tame.

Having said that we have to be also careful with what we say. Wag naman yung masyadong garapal and filled with venom. Yeah, I know that some are thinking some sold out etc. But c’mon. At one point or another, our boys have proven their value. So my answer is no. Our boys do not sell out. Yes, I know we can’t control what everyone thinks and says. Ganyan talaga.

No one was saying anything when we were kicking butt the last two years. And it’s almost the same crew.

Yes, the crew. Okay, it’s not the same crew and therein lies the answer. You will find people on the floor during certain stretches that have not played together. Okay some were there during Fil Oil but that’s Fil Oil not the UAAP. Let me give you a basketball analogy.

When the Chicago Bulls were going for the ’97 title they found themselves at one point floundering and unable to duplicate their 72-win season. There were injuires and new players on the floor like the late Brian Williams and Robert Parish. Williams was a late season pick up in case you don’t know. But they got the job done eventually. For football fans, just look at FC Barcelona this past La Liga to know what I am talking about.

Is Eric Salamat okay?
Looks like the early injury to him took something out of him because he doesn’t finish like he normally does. Norman thinks he’s okay but I do know that he ices his knees all the time.

A good friend with a malicious mind told me, “Ikaw kasi mabait ka sa players (well, I do help/counsel quite a few players and not all are from Ateneo) whereas ako, iniisip ko iba.”

If we accused every player or benta rito benta roon eh bakit pa tayo naglalaro. During the summer, one coach took me to task for defending Mark Barroca and taking to task FEU and he went on to talk about how dirty college hoops is. I was not born yesterday. I do believe that there are shenanigans left and right (ask me about the UST-UP game when you see me next time). And I have seen some really mighty suspicious stuff in many a game. But if there is something damning then why not bring it out rather than keep silent? I cannot believe the reason na “sisirain yung kinabukasan nung bata.” Er, isn’t that what you’re already doing? If everyone knows there’s something rotten then why aren’t they doing anything? Mahirap na kasi. Until they decide to do something about it then either they should put up or shut up.

Let me tell you this. During La Salle’s rally, I wondered why the staff kept Bacon Austria on the floor in spite of the miscues and missed shots. That is not say that I do not like him as a player. He just didn’t have it that game. Could he redeem himself like Jec Chia did in 2002? Of course, that is why Norman shows faith in him.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Epok Quimpo and I used to think that he was a turnover waiting to happen. But in 2002, when LA Tenorio went down with an injury, he played well all the way to the Finals. I don’t need to remind you of his shot in the finals.

Back to Bacon, I didn’t know that and I was angry too. After the game, I spoke with Norman about it. And I gotta give the coach credit right there. This is a more painful loss but he was more composed and more accommodating with the questions as opposed to the FEU one. But the true gentleman that he is, he apologized during the Q&A post-FEU if he was cranky because he said that it was a tough loss. We chatted for a while one-on-one outside and he was very patient with the discussion.

Look, I may not agree with the coach all the time but the one thing I’ve learned is to trust him. After all he’s earned it, don’t you think?

Conversely, someone told me that in the midst of our run, one player from La Salle was getting it from behind his bench from people on his side. It’s like that for Ateneo and La Salle. Really rabid fans.

But the loss --- simple, they beat us. They aren’t exactly chumps you know.

As I answered up above,
If we were to pan every player who doesn’t play well then no one would be left on the team maybe except for Kirk Long who has been the only consistent player all season long.

We cannot remove a player like a school can remove its coach. Unless they try to choke the coach like Latrell Sprewell or be disruptive like Ron Artest. They are there. That is the team.

If you’re hurting then so are they. Much more even. So now they are down, we gotta help raise them up. I for one am excited about the next game!

One Big Fight!

This gets you really inside the huddle: Kobe Bryant & Zinedine Zidane

A couple of years ago while on a vacation abroad, I was browsing through the sports section of HMV's DVDs when I saw Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait. It was the only copy left and I picked up but kind of hedged initially because of the price (don't ask how much). When I finally got to watch the 91-minute film (same length as a football match including injury time), I was enthralled by it. I had never seen anything like it. Filmmakers Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno trained 17 cameras on Zizou during a Real Madrid-Villareal match at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid. He was miked throughout and the only noises you can hear are the occasional conversations between players, Zidane's grunts, and the sound of his boot crushing the grass. The music of Scottish experimental band Mogwai plays softly in the background. The film has its high and lows because for one, the pitch being larger, it's harder for any real conversation to be heard. And just when you think Zizou is going to do something spectacular he doesn't either because the shot missed or what. Nevertheless, I thought it was intriguing. 

Then last night, while wondering how to write about the Ateneo-La Salle game, my column, and some work stuff while still battling the flu, I decided to take a break and plop in Spike Lee's Kobe Doin' Work DVD. Spike, said that the Zidane film was an inspiration for this and he took it a level higher. Lee trained 30 cameras on Bryant for one game of the LA Lakers against the San Antonio Spurs and the smaller setting makes for more soundbytes. And watching this, you see how much Phil Jackson transferred what he had in Chicago with the Lakers. Right down to the "Game time.. huuuu."

It's a great film to watch whether you're a Kobe fan or not. To hear his thoughts on bungled shots, Bruce Bowen, Pau Gasol, Phil Jackson etc... it's a treat for the basketball fan. 

Try checking it out.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Looking at the games of Ateneo & La Salle heading into today's match-up

Here's looking at the stats of the first three matches of Ateneo and La Salle:

Ateneo:
68.6 ppg
44.0 rpg
15.3 apg
6.3 spg
4.3 bpg
12.5 tpg

Stats to look at:
- Ateneo outscores its opponents by an average of 4.0
- 7 of 44 in 3-point shooting for 15.9% THE WORST IN THE LEAGUE SO FAR
- 26.3 FTs/g MEANING WE GET TO THE LINE A LOT
- 14.3 fastbreak points per game (2nd to DLSU)
- 17.0 points in the fourth quarter. Yep, we scored 17 against FEU, 17 against Adamson, and 17 against UST.
- In every game they've played, they average around 9 lead changes meaning the team always has a run in them.

La Salle:
71.6 ppg
44.3 rpg
15.3 apg
5.6 spg
4.6 bpg

Stats to look at:
- DLSU outscores their opponent by an average of 10.2 in their two victories
- They are tops in fastbreaks so far with 15.0 per game
- They average 18.3 free throws per game.
- In their two wins -- they led every quarter of the way.
- In their two wins, the Green Archers averaged 80 points. So we know that they can score some. High-scoring games favor them. Suddenly I'm thinking of Pido Jarencio's "swerte number eight" here.

So what does this all mean? Both teams are almost evenly matched (though you can pretty much throw out the stats when the two teams play) and the team that scores that the decisive run in the mid-fourth quarter can pull it off.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I thought I'd take a break from all the sports stuff and post something that cheers me up while I'm on my sick bed.



Pido Jarencio post-UST-UP game

Thursday, July 22, 2010

RIP Ralph Houk


Major's gone, Yankee brothers. Sound them mournful Taps for Father Sky as he joins Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Elston Howard, Clete Boyer, and Johnny Blanchard in the diamond in the sky. Sad sad last 10 days for the men in pinstripes but we'll honor them with #28. 

UST outlasts Aboy Castro-less UP


This appears in the Friday July 23, 2010 edition of the Business Mirror.


UST outlasts Aboy Castro-less UP

The University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers ripped the hearts from the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons in overtime 87-81 in the first game of the UAAP Season 73 double header at the Araneta Coliseum last Thursday, July 22, 2010.

The Maroons had a chance to seal the game in regulation with the score at 69-68 and Woody Co on the stripe with 6.2 seconds remaining. But the fifth-year forward missed both free throws and allowed UST to grab the rebound.


A Mike Silungan foul on Tiger Jeric Teng put him on the stripe but the second year guard could only tie the game at 69-all too send it into overtime.

In the extra period, the Maroons faltered while Tiger Aljon Mariano caught fire with 7 points of his 18 points. “Talon a, nabuhay pa,” exclaimed UST head coach Pido Jarencio of Co’s missed free throws. “Pero puso na talaga yan.”

UST’s Jeric Fortuna torched UP for a career-high 29 points including 8-10 from the three-point arc. The last guard to score 29 points in a game was La Salle Jayvee Casio who achieved that marked against UST in August 28, 2008.  The 16 triples made by UST were the most since Adamson pulled the trick against NU in September 27, 2006.

For UP, Magi Sison and Martin Reyes led the way with 19 points each while Mike Silungan added 16 and Alvin Padilla 10.

The game was nearly overshadowed by conspicuous absence of UP head coach Aboy Castro on the bench. According to Leilani Gonzalo, UP’s board representative to the UAAP, the third year coach sent a text last Wednesday saying that he was going to take a “Leave of Absence.” As such, the coaching duties would by handled by committee – Assistants Potit de Vera and Jerry Codinera and team consultant Boyet Fernandez. “Castro is still the head coach.”

Gonzalo declined to comment on whether Fernandez was a university appointee.

However, I learned from sources within State University that Castro as early as last Monday, two days after their 66-59 loss to Adamson, was asked to submit his resignation by the UP Alumni Association. Another source of conflict was the appointment of Fernandez that was not approved by the university. 


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I thought it was comical how Ms. Gonzalo and Jerry Codinera gave conflicting answers. It was announced that Potit de Vera is the coach but in the huddle it was Boyet Fernandez calling the shots. Something that Chancellor Cao as against -- simply because they were not informed of Fernandez' inclusion. Well, Jerry said it, he's the coach. At least until the next few days when they sort this out.