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.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Me & the UAAP Season 73 Men's Basketball trophy

Had my pic taken with the World Series trophy and now this year's UAAP Season 73 trophy. I should have gone to South Africa.

How San Beda survived a mugging on their way to a Sweep 16

While watching the second round San Beda-San Sebastian game yesterday at the San Juan Arena, I came away – once again, I might add – with my thoughts on why the Red Lions were not going to be beaten.

In the first round match up that San Beda won 88-76, head coach Frankie Lim was trying out different combinations to counter San Sebastian which led early in the game. Obviously, the Stags were overwhelmed by the size of the Red Lions in almost every position. Once the interior defense of San Beda was stabilized and the Stags’ MVP candidate Calvin Abueva began to flop all over the court, there went the ballgame for the champs.

Some mention was made on the shutting down of Stags point guard Pamboy Raymundo by his San Beda counterparts. I’m not sure I agree with that too much. I just thought that he deferred to his teammates a little too much. Aside from SBC’s Borgie Hermida, there aren’t many point guards in the NCAA who can break their man down with a quick first step and adjust in the air for their shots. During SSCR’s loss to Arellano University’s last week, in the botched final play of the Stags, Raymundo was able to drive through the lane and it was just a sorry play that he decided to dish to Ian Sangalang (which was also an option in the play) who lost the ball and the game eventually.

In the second round mugging match-up between SBC and SSCR, it was Raymundo who kept the Stags in the game with his 15 first half points. Abueva really didn’t lead his team much in the same span of time save for blocks, taunts, cheap shots, and fouls. With Ian Sangalang and Rey Gorospe hardly effective inside, that was San Beda’s game. Abueva did take out San Beda’s Fil-Ams Rome dela Rosa and Kyle Pascual out of their games with his physicality but the Stags' inability to cover Jake Pascual from medium range, Garvo Lanete from the outside, and Sudan Daniel from the inside totally killed them.

With Anthony Semerad a non-factor and his brother David DND-CD’d, Jake Pascual was the only one willing to call a spade a spade and give as good as he got. I also thought that the points that he scored right before he was thrown out were crucial as it kept San Beda ahead. But seriously, how can Pascual get thrown out and Abueva stay in the game? Obviously, the league is protecting Abueva who is being eyed to bag the MVP trophy (more so after Jimbo Aquino lost that after a suspension last year).

Anjo Caram was a surprise package when he came off the bench to score six points and pull off a heist after a miscommunication between Raymundo and Anthony del Rio up high.

San Sebastian initially dealt with the first wave of Bedan bigs but as they kept coming in waves, they were overwhelmed. Don’t be deceived by San Sebastian beating San Beda 37-36 on the boards. The story right there was in the field goal percentage of the Mendiola-based squad. They shot an incredible 52% as they took the game inside. No interior D. No shotblocking. You're asking for trouble against SBC.

The result was an expected 90-82 victory for a 16-0 slate in the eliminations and an automatic berth in the finals where whoever makes it via the stepladder format must beat them thrice. It’s a ridiculous idea because after that sweep they (NCAA) should have thrown the Final Four and Finals series out and handed the trophy right there to San Beda. But since some people want to mooch money off the fans and the public, a spectacle is necessary.

I said that the first time the two teams played this season, for the Stags to win, they must play basketball not basketbrawl. They somewhat played that, but minus Ronald Pascual, they didn’t have enough firepower. Abueva took himself out of the game in the first half with 1 point, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks. He did come alive in the fourth quarter with 11 points and 7 rebounds but he missed some shots and free throws that hurt his team. Raymundo scored a career high 29 points on top of 5 rebounds and 8 assists.

What I was ashamed of after the game was seeing how no one – save Anthony del Rio – who shook hands with their Bedan counterparts. And during the closing moments of the game, I thought that guys like Jaypee Mendoza and Rome dela Rosa were getting mugged in there by Abueva. At one point, I feared that dela Rosa would get bloodied after Abueva tried to deflect a pass while throwing down an elbow to his head.

I am a fan of Abueva’s high-energy play and willingness to mix it up with anyone inside. If this guy were as tall as Sudan Daniel then no way will his team lose. But the bad side is his dirty play. I vow next time to keep stats on cheap shots, bad calls, and dirty plays. Those were really criminal shots that he took on Daniel and dela Rosa. Before the game began, I took Sudan aside and told him that if there’s an altercation, he should just walk away. There’s too much to lose for him if he decided to duke things out. But credit Su who has been constantly reminded about that by his coaches and teammates.

Congratulations to the San Beda Red Lions for their Sweep 16. Their next game is just a formality.

Hey, did anyone see those Americans behind the San Sebastian bench? Looks like they’ve decided to play the import game. Of course, I could be wrong here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

At the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Alaska Aces @ the Dusit Thani Hotel


With Johnny Abarrientos, Roel Gomez, and Boy Cabahug. When Johnny played it was an era of great point guards. You had Ateneo’s Jun Reyes, La Salle’s Dindo Pumaren, San Sebastian’s Eugene Quilban, and the Flying A out of FEU. Johnny was exciting to watch and was very shifty. Unlike Quilban who was a little more showtime, what made Johnny special how he seemed to get a shot off against pretty much anyone in the league (UAAP and PBA). Incidentally, Pumaren was the only one who didn’t play for Alaska as Johnny, Jun, and Eugene donned the Milkmen’s colors.

Roel Gomez recognized me from covering the Philippine Collegiate Champions League. But for Elmer Cabahug, I used to cover him when he was playing for Swifts in the PABL under Yeng Guiao. He was one heck of a shooter in a team of superstars. In his Swift team then, the big local story was Ric Ric Marata going to play for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in Canada. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out the way he envisioned as he soon left for home and the PBA.

With Manila Standard’s Ruel Vidal, and former Sta. Lucia and Alaska center Nani Demegilio, and Alaska superfan Ray Tan.

With Sean Chambers who is now working as a vice principal for a middle school in Sacramento. He learned to speak Filipino by watching Batibot! Seriously. Seriously.

Thanks Coach Tim! I was here not as a media person but as a guest of coach. But duty calls! Sat in Table 16 with Larry Fonacier, Zaldy Perez, Ruel Vidal, Beth Celis, and Waylon Galvez. Nice catching up with Larry as always. The first time I ever spoke with Larry was following his final season as a Blue Eagle. We had lunch at his place and I remember he opened up about that disappointing final year in the UAAP. His mom was shocked because that was the first time he really opened up about that year. I never wrote about what we talked about then and I never will. I guess he appreciated that because we’ve become good friends since. We’ve done adidas and Samsung shoots and I’ve always enjoyed the downtime talking about hoops and small stuff.


During the UAAP Finals of Season 71, former DLSU guard Dino Aldeguer went to visit me inside the television room. He said that he was impressed with the game analysis and that (former La Salle head coach) Franz Pumaren should listen to what I said. Since then, we’ve been friends and with that I’ve struck up a friendship with his older bro Boris who I helped with the Perpetual Help case in the NCAA. His stories about his La Salle days are simply hilarious.

I’ve watched EJ Fiehl from his high school days with UST to college days with Adamson and to his stint with Ginebra and Purefoods in the PBA. I used to have a backstage pass for the PBA where I mostly sat behind the Ginebra bench. It was a thrill to be up close to all the action in the league. It’s nice to see EJ remember me from those days.



Alaska Aces celebrate 25th anniversary; retire two jersey numbers

Alaska Aces celebrate 25th anniversary; retire two jersey numbers
by rick olivares

The Alaska Aces celebrated their 25th year in the Philippine Basketball Association with a lavish celebration at the Dusit Thani Manila last Tuesday, September 28, 2010. The PBA’s second most-winning franchise with 13 titles (behind San Miguel Beer’s record 18 crowns) handed out championship rings to the players who helped annex the club’s 13th crown during the Fiesta Conference over the more-fancied Beermen.

The team also used to occasion to retire two more numbers – Rene Hawkins #16 and Johnny Abarrientos’ #14 after a stellar career by both who were an integral part of Alaska’s dynasty in the 1990’s when they won nine championships including the league’s fourth ever Grand Slam in 1996. The team previously retired four jersey numbers of six former players including Jojo Lastimosa (#6), Sean Chambers (#20), Bogs Adornado (#33), and Jeffrey Cariaso (#22).

“It seems only yesterday when I was negotiating to put up a franchise in the PBA,” related Alaska Corporation CEO Wilfred Uytengsu Jr. “I learned a lot from former Deputy Commissioner Tommy Manotoc who imparted some very important advice – ‘always ask for more.’” That was quite a bit of advice for me as I was only 23 years old back in 1985. And it was tough to swallow all that losing early on. But you don’t build champions overnight and I am pleased to know that we have won 13 championships in 25 finals appearances. And we’re not yet done. With the system and culture that we have in place, we hope to be the winningest ballclub in the PBA.”

The culture that Uytengsu speaks of is the “family atmosphere” that was imbued on every member of the organization in the beginning. “We encouraged everyone to bring their families not just to our games but to our events,” said head coach Tim Cone who has presided on all of Alaska’s titles. “That’s why we have many former players coming back to work with the organization is some capacity.”

And many of those former players were on hand. From the first ever Alaska squad that competed in 1986, forward Dennis Abbatuan, who flew in from London, England where he now resides and oversees his real estate business, was the only one present. But other players from those early years were also in attendance including Woodrow Balani, Hernani Demigilio who recently retired from working with Sta. Lucia, and Elmer Cabahug who currently coaches the University of Visayas Lancers. Former Best Import and Mr. 100% Awardee Sean Chambers came all the way down from Sacramento where he is currently a vice principal for a middle school.

“It’s a very good organization,” added Isabelo “Jojo” Lastimosa who was a vital member of the 90’s squad. “I am proud to be associated with it. It’s not just a winning attitude but also innovation. Alaska is the first to hand out championship rings to its players and to retire the individual numbers of players. We take care of our own.”

“We weren’t named after the 49th state of America,” said the CEO. “’Alaska’ is actually an amalgam of two words – ‘alas’ meaning ‘ace’ and ‘ka’ meaning ‘you.’ And when you put that together, it’s saying, ‘You are an ace.’ That essentially what it is to be on our team.”

In the team’s 25 years of existence, so far a total of 117 local players and 35 imports have suited up for the team.

“I like to always tell our players that to enjoy what they are doing now,” beamed a proud Uytengsu. “Not every player is blessed with a long career and when they play for us, we’d like to think that we give them all the support they will need to win a title. It makes for a great story to tell their grandchildren, don’t you think?”

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Game by Kirk Long. Fueled by Gatorade.


I co-wrote this Gatorade print ad of Kirk Long.

What kind of call is that?


What kind of call was that?

NBA vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson: "We're going to expand the universe of unsportsmanlike actions that will be penalized. They will include air-punching at an official. Waving him off as a sign of disrespect. Running up to an official from across the court to voice a complaint. Flailing arms in disbelief. Jumping up and down and pirouetting in disbelief or clapping sarcastically at an official. Those are some of the types of actions that really have no place in our game. NBA players complain too much and do so much more than players in other leagues. We have a great game with great players and we have a great product. Let's focus on executing offense and defense and being highly competitive, because complaining doesn't have a part in our game and has never changed a non-call to a call, or a call to a non-call. So focus on playing the game."

First of all, this has David Stern’s fingerprints all over it. The Commish has done a fantastic job but sometimes in an effort to turn the NBA into a Walt Disney film, it comes across as being too prefabricated. I find nothing wrong with etiquette and decorum since there is too much complaining but a rule like this... well, it is a little too much.

When I read this new rule change, I thought it is a bone-headed rule that is open to too much interpretation that will make it all the more confusing. This will give those referees with an ego an opportunity to make themselves an even bigger part of the game. The refs should be invisible. If people remember their names it’s not because they did a good job but because they fuck up calls, games, and people. Even gamblers. Let’s not forget them. You have not even solved the eternal problem of bad officiating and now, you give them another stipulation that makes them more God-like.

How do you interpret this? If you play basketball (or any sport for the matter), you will know that there are really bone-headed and suspicious calls in the game. How do you want to people to react? In the heat of a playoff match, in a crucial play in the dying seconds of an all-important match and there’s a blown call and you want them not to react? Let’s just walk away and play the game? Yes, ideally that’s the way. But that does not happen. This is just unrealistic.

You fine players and coaches (and Mark Cuban) for complaining and taking shots publicly. How about you? Who watches the watchmen?

Ever see referees jump up and down and being emphatic in their calls? How can that not add to the frenzied atmosphere? More so when he blows a call and it drives an opposing team nuts. How about putting those refs on a leash. Ah, but you censure them and suspend them without the fans knowing. So much for public image. In a time when conspiracy theories abound about who wins and who makes the playoffs, this does not help.

Imagine if this is implemented locally where the referees are even more stupid, corrupt, on the take, in cahoots with gamblers and unscrupulous team owners who are fooling the public.


 I'm the real NBA star here! So shut your trap before I slap you with a T!

Where is my mind?


With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there's nothing in it
And you'll ask yourself

Where is my mind?

My three favorite songs by the Pixies include “Debaser,” “Planet of Sound,” and “Where is My Mind.” As the New York Yankees limp home and even probably out of the play-offs, “Where is my mind” kept playing inside my head so much that I just had to actually play the damn song as a form of catharsis. What’s wrong with New York? Starting pitching. AJ Burnett has not recovered from his early season form, Javier Vasquez has flopped once more, Andy Pettitte just got back from injury and Ivan Nova has gone supernova. Should gotten Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, Brian. I’ve said that time and again. Most recently, when the Yankees limp towards the playoffs, they've been punted out of the first round. So much for that mid-season form that saw them top the league. But who knows? Can they turn on the jets? Damn. If not, it will be such a waste.

I’m so pissed here’s another song…



Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson
Joltin' Joe has left and gone away.
(Hey, hey, hey...hey, hey, hey)

Monday, September 27, 2010

"Wala" lang


This picture of a couple of media friends and myself was taken by Jan Dizon. This was during the San Beda-Letran match last week at the San Juan Arena that was a yawner of boring proportions. We were dissing one of the most stupid cheers or jeers ever known to man -- that cheer of "wala" when an opposing team attempts a free throw. Walang kabisa-bisa yung bwisit na jeer na yan. Wala lang. O di ba?

Bleachers' Brew #228 Fanatic

This appears in my column in the Monday September 27, 2010 edition of the Business Mirror.

Fanatic
Ateneo Blue Eagles fans are some of the most fanatic in all of sportsdom. Actually, that’s an understatement.
by rick olivares

As you wake up in the morning you flick on your computer. Once you’re done with showering, you check your email, ESPN, some news sites before you save the best for last -- the local sports sites and blogs for news, info, and gossip about the Ateneo Blue Eagles (and everything else about UAAP basketball).

Over breakfast, your kids drink their chocolate milk in those Jollibee tumblers that have “Ateneo Blue Eagles” all over it. You talk about the game last night, the game later, the game tomorrow, the game next weekend, or the next tournament. You tell war stories of yesterday’s champion teams and of a Dark Age that is now ancient history while sipping coffee from a mug with another Blue Eagle on it.

Breakfast is done, you go to your room to change. You open your closet and the wardrobe is blue and white with a sprinkling of other colors. Conspicuously absent is anything colored green.

You wear a blue shirt, slip on a blue baller ID with Ateneo Blue Eagles etched on it, and you’re off. Before you bound out of the house, don’t forget your Ateneo jacket. It’s like American Express – don’t leave home without it.

You save up on your leaves to use them on game days. If you cannot go on leave, you set outside meetings that actually are conveniently scheduled are games or near the venue. If you’re at the game clandestinely, you make sure you are not seated where the television camera can see you lest you get shown on screen and your boss or tattletale officemates might rat on you.

On weekends you watch with the family.  If the team wins, everyone eats out (buffet style) and it seems that the food never tasted so good (even if it’s of the fastfood type). You already saw the game live and you still rush home to watch the replay. If the team loses, you forego eating out to go home. You don’t talk to anyone, eat a little, maybe not even, then go to sleep. The following day, you’re catatonic. It’s as if you lost your home, your job, or your girl. It’s the worst feeling ever.

Officemates. By the time the college basketball season rolls around, the lines are drawn by team colors. You trade jokes, barbs, and buy Krispy Kreme doughnuts of your school color to give to your officemates when the Blue Eagles emerge victorious. When Ateneo loses, it’s your turn to eat humble pie, er, doughnuts. Losing has never been sweeter, I swear.

The wallpaper of your computer is the Blue Eagles. The avatar of your messenger is your favorite Blue Eagle. Your status message reflects the state the team is in. The ringtone of your mobile phone is… thank God, it’s not an Ateneo cheer but the Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius” that the Chicago Bulls once made famous. Wait a minute… you mean it’s not? It’s actually “Go Ateneo”?

The family you come from is true blue. That means your father, mother, siblings, cousins, nephews and nieces. When someone from another school – most usually it’s from that school along Taft – marries into the family, it’s the Blue Roast all over again.

During the course of the season, you wish that the season would speed up to its conclusion so you can get back to a normal life and pick up on the work that has piled up since July. But when the season is done, win or lose, you try to figure out what’s next. Life suddenly seems… empty, incomplete, not as vibrant or exciting. But look at it this way, there’s always the recruiting wars to talk about and the summer leagues. That should more than keep you busy.

Ateneo Blue Eagles basketball – it’s not just a passion. It’s a way of life.

Sparkplugs


Congrats to Emman Monfort for winning the Most Improved Player Award and to RR Garcia for taking home the PS Bank Maasahan Player of the Season Award and the Champ Award.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ateneo Blue Eagles UAAP Finals Game 1: Homeground


Homeground
Ateneo 72 vs. FEU 49
by rick olivares
pic by brosi

in the days that preceded Game 1 of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Finals, the words “hunger” and “redemption” were bandied about the media and blogosphere as reasons why the Far Eastern University Tamaraws would soon be crowned as champs. Why not? After all, they have the league’s best record. The newly minted MVP. The deepest team in the league composed of seasoned veterans and amazing rookies as well as the backing of a boisterous crowd that grows louder with every victory. They’ve been horribly waylaid in the past two seasons giving them extra motivation to win it all. And this season, they’ve beaten longtime nemesis Ateneo twice during the eliminations and in the clutch that was hitherto the Blue Eagles’ domain.

Right?

Unfortunately, they ran into a hungry and ravenous Blue Eagle team that wants to consume every championship in sight. They played an Ateneo team that read every pre-season and pre-finals prediction that they were has-beens.

All season long, they checked off the list one goal after another – making the Final Four, securing the twice-to-beat advantage, making the Finals, and lastly, bagging that title. Never mind the meltdowns, the unexpected loss here and there, injuries one after the other, and the defense that isn’t as impenetrable as it once was.

And because of that, even if they squeaked past Adamson twice in the eliminations, many said that the Falcons would finally breakthrough in the Final Four. Instead, they got a severe beating and it wasn’t close.

And because of their two losses to FEU, many said that the mental burden of having tried to beat the top-seed was a little too much to overcome so the finals was a mere formality for the Tamaraws’ eventual coronation.

The title. The boys in blue really don’t talk about the previous two titles. They take off from their coach who puts the past in the past while living for today and tomorrow. They talk about winning this particular title and even if they’ve been here before, it’s still like the first time – they’re happy to be here but with a sense of purpose. “The finals,” said senior forward Kirk Long, “is our homeground.

By the opening tip, you bet redemption was also on Ateneo’s mind.

In the days before Game One, Jason Escueta, suspended for a second flagrant foul, continued to practice with the team. With the forward-center out, JP Erram moved one notch up the rotation. And to prepare him, Escueta guarded and banged him to simulate the type of game that FEU Tamaraw forward-center Reil Cervantes likes to play in the post up. “He’ll be ready,” was Escueta’s stamp of approval on his teammate who saw himself starting to coming off the bench to burning a hole at the very end of the bench.

Both Ateneo and FEU’s practices were intense leading up to game day. But leave it to Ryan Buenafe to get a word in before tip off: “Makakatikim ‘tong team na taga-Morayta.”

Buenafe’s words weren’t about rough play. But if the Tamaraws dished it out, Ateneo was prepared to give it back. Emman Monfort made sure to send the message out but more on that later.

And from the opening tip, it was obvious that on offense, Ateneo was going to take it right to the heart of FEU’s tall fir trees and run when the opportunity presents itself. But the one way to beat the Tamaraws was to control the board and prevent their perimeter players from making outside shots.

Following Cameroonian Pipo Noundou’s jumper that gave FEU six points to Ateneo’s nine, the Blue Eagles tightened the screws as Eric Salamat hounded counterpart Jens Knuttel into a turnover as the ball bounced off his foot. With four minutes left in the first quarter, JP Erram entered the fray and immediately blocked two shots -- one from Paul Sanga and another from Mark Bringas. With the three defensive stops, Ateneo shifted to a higher gear and dropped a crippling 15-0 bomb to put the top seed in a deep hole right in the first frame. The score was 26-8 after the first ten minutes and many were rubbing their eyes if this was an NFL rout rather than UAAP Finals match.

A few days before Game 1, the coaches had dinner with team patron Manuel V. Pangilinan who opined that the team seemed to have a problem protecting leads. It was imperative that the team kept its focus and should they spot a lead, to build on it rather than hold the line. Going into the game, the team was aware of their shortcomings and promised to maintain their focus all throughout.

At the start of the second quarter, Cervantes and league MVP Ryan Garcia got their offense going as they combined for nine points. Only Ateneo’s offense was doing much better. They hiked the lead to 21 at the half 42-21.

One can debate whether championship experience is a factor. But you don’t have to look far to debunk that. In 2006, both Ateneo and UST didn’t really have much experience heading into the championship. And in 2008, despite the Blue Eagles being 14-1 entering the Finals versus La Salle, experience still wasn’t a factor as the Green Archers were the defending champions.

It boils down to desire, hunger, and serious business. As for the Tamaraws, they were mad dunking in the round robin thinking that they had the game in hand. And they still thought it was a show as their Pep Squad performed their awesome routine from the recently concluded Cheerdance Competition.

For the Blue Eagles and the Blue Babble Battalion, it was all business as they continued with their systematic demolition of the highly touted Tamaraws who look flustered as their halftime adjustments failed to crack Ateneo’s resolve. Continuing the American Football analogy, they had that look of a dazed and confused quarterback that repeatedly got blitzed from all sides. Ten of the 12 Blue Eagles sent in by Black scored. Even when the bench came in, they not only held the fort but put some heat themselves on the Tamaraws. 


When Monfort got elbowed, he gave it back and then some. Stick to basketball if you know what's good for you.

Raymond Austria, playing his finest game this season, scored eight points to lead the second unit. Tonino Gonzaga, sparingly used this season, came in and with no let up.

With the bench producing, Ateneo’s lead went up as high as 25 midway through the final quarter following an Emman Monfort lay-up. There was no let up as the Blue Eagles ended up with a devastating win that put them one game closer to the title.

The Blue Eagles had beaten them in almost every statistical category: 46-40 in rebounds, 18-9 in assists, 5-3 in steals, 6-3 in blocks, 15-0 in fastbreak points, 16-7 in turnover points, 42-22 points in the paint, 18-16 perimeter points, 40-37 starter points, and 32-12 in bench points.

The Tamaraws only led in second chance points 8-6, had 63 field goal attempts to Ateneo’s 61, and had 19 free throw attempts to the blue and white’s 17.

“We were completely outplayed.” said FEU Athletic Director Mark Molina in the post-game interview. “I tip my hat off to Ateneo. I think we were caught up too much in the atmosphere of playing in the finals. Para silang (the Tamaraws) deer stuck in the headlights.”

As happy as the Ateneans were with the win, they are well aware that FEU will be back with fire in their eyes come Game 2. “For sure they’ll be back,” said Long. “We have to play to a higher level if we want to win this.”

Added Black, “It takes two games to win a UAAP title. We have to continue what we’re doing. We’ll have the same preparation. We’ll have to figure out what they’re trying to do and how to win it. We did not get many individual awards this year, did we? The players are really concentrated on just winning the championship.”

Now in case you were not paying any attention that sounds like a very hungry team.

Ateneo 72Long 14, Chua 13, Salva 10, Monfort 9, Austria 8, Salamat 8, Erram 4, Gonzaga 2, Golla 2, Buenafe 2, Tiongson 0, dela Cruz 0

FEU 49Garcia 11, Romeo 10, Cervantes 7, Noundou 6, Ramos 6, Cawaling 3, Exciminiano 2, Cruz 2, Bringas 2, Guerrero 0, Mendoza 0, Knuttel 0, Sanga 0

Notes: The FEU Tamaraws stayed inside their dugout for two hours after the game. Said skipper Jens Knuttel, "Papatunayan namin na hindi kami bading."  The San Sebastian Staglet's Gino Jumao-as watched Game 1. Are you headed for Katipunan? The photo taken by Brosi that I used above says volumes about the game. If he could name it, said Brosi, it's DEFEND THE CROWN

Post Game 1 UAAP Finals interview with Ateneo Blue Eagles

While you're waiting...

Will only start writing the Ateneo-FEU Game 1 story later this afternoon so it will be up by around 7pm. Gotta finish my Monday column for Business Mirror and I have no idea what to write about. Well, I did, but I was so into Game 1 (even before the match) that I couldn't do anything else. Last Friday, while watching the NCAA games, my media colleagues asked me who I thought would win. During the Final Four game versus Adamson, I could see the blowout coming but chose to remain way conservative with the final margin. Against FEU, well, I did say by 10 or at least by 10 and while it was on the money I was still off -- by 13! I think I also posted that in the shoutbox. I'll explain later why I felt that way. Did I expect that? Yep. 

Anyways, why you're all waiting, I'll just throw some humor here (after all, Filipinos do that for every occasion and don't misconstrue this as anything else unless you've got shit for brains) from various folks.

Following Game 1 of the UAAP Finals
Joke #1 
Leo Austria of Adamson: "See it wasn't us! We just ran into a really good team."

Joke #2 
Jason Escueta was the MVP of Game 1

Joke #3
Leila de Lima is being brought in to investigate Game 1's massacre. Word is there was more than one shooter.

Joke #4
Headline the following day: "Major major upset by Ateneo"

And while eating at Jollibee (Recto/Morayta) the other day, I noticed that they have this UAAP promo with the school logos on different tumblers. The ones that were not available (ubos na) were from Ateneo and UP. Go figure.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

This is literally wearing your colors


They say that we in media should be objective and not show our colors. Well, screw them. I'm wearing Chelsea blue or Everton blue later. But these shoes received some quick treatment from photog Brosi Gonzales who actually went to both Ateneo and FEU.

Friday, September 24, 2010

On today's NCAA games



CSJL's Kevin Alas is blocked by SBC's Borgie Hermida (photo by Jan Dizon)


After the San Beda Red Lions disposed of a punchless Letran College 74-56, not only did it reinforce in my mind my pre-season prediction that the Mendiola-based squad would win the NCAA title but I realized that there seems to be no way this team is going to lose.

What I'm getting at is both Letran and San Sebastian have tried their rough 'em up tactics to no avail and have had the opposite effect. In the match against the Knights today, all that roughhousing instead put the Letran bigs in foul trouble. Now how is that going to help their cause when no one is going to rebound the ball? I thought that the Red Lions did not deviate from their game plan while the Knights either played one-on-one ball or were trying to bump and thump. 

That brings to mind what the late John Wooden would teach his Bruins teams. UCLA would practice their offense and not worry about the opposing team. Now I know that there are several schools of thought there but Wooden's point was, if they practiced their sets to perfection and ran them, stayed with them, and finished them, then how would other teams beat them? He was right in a way because his teams won.

Now with regards to the local NCAA, I thought that San Sebastian lost today to Arellano U because Calvin Abueva was out of control again. I'm surprised that he wasn't even assessed a technical foul by the referees for his whack on AU's Jerald Lapuz. Is the league protecting Abueva? Coddling him? If he gets thrown out or suspended that will jeopardize his becoming MVP and pave the way for Sudan Daniel to win it. When the Stags decide to play basketball instead of trying to cut down opponents to half their size then they'll start winning the games. There's the line that all-time greats love to espouse: respect the game and the game will respect you. In my From the Parking Lot column in the latest issue of Rebound, I wrote about Abueva and called him a "game changer." And I still believe so. But if the column was positive, I also now saying that he can change the game for the detriment of his team. In their first round loss to SBC, Stags head coach Ato Agustin pulled him out to get a grip on things. If he wasn't flopping, he was planting cheap shots on the Red Lions. Unfortunately, he met his match with David Semerad who used to play lots of rugby. Now rugby is a tough sport and I don't need to elaborate on that. 

I thought that all that non-essential play caused Agustin to not notice how AU coach Leo Isaac tweaked his offense in those final minutes by putting in taller players who could cause mismatches. The PhilStar's Joey Villar thought so too and when we asked Isaac about this he confirmed it. Now way can the Stags' Gilbert Bulawan guard the Chiefs' Andrian Celada who takes the ball from the outside. He was a second late in challenging the game winning basket.

But back to the Red Lions.

It's obvious how much San Beda has changed in a year. The bully tactics don't work anymore. Now if team's decided to play serious basketball then that's the best way to knock them down. But that's another story altogether.

Ateneo Blue Eaglets on Halikinu Radio


Last nite, we guested member of the victorious Ateneo Blue Eaglets on Halikinu Radio on NU107 FM. Obviously, Keifer Ravena and Von Pessumal were not able to go while the others were stuck in the horrendous traffic that choked the metro because of the demolition incident near Trinoma.


It's the last year of Chuckie Dumrique here in Manila before he joins his family in Canada after the school year ends. Thanks for the great hoops, Chuckie! In spite of the players we are losing to graduation we will still have a plenty tough team. Good luck to Coach Jamike Jarin in the pros! OBF!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Have a laugh! It's on the house.



I took pics of some of the pages from Jay Leno's Headlines. I bought that book at a bargain bin some time ago and I read it from time to time to get a laugh. Then below is the video from youtube on Seth Meyer's opening monologue from the 2010 ESPY's. Mondo hilarious, I tell you.



The turnover: on Mark Sanchez & the Klinsmann disclosure

I think the New York Jets should turn over their offense to Mark Sanchez just to see what he can do with it.

The recipe for disaster? The Philadelphia Eagles proclaiming that Kevin Kolb is their starting QB then after Kolb gets knocked out with a concussion its putting in Michael Vick (who throws for a touchdown and ran for over a hundred yards), they do an about face and say that the latter will now start. If the Eagles win then it will cover up any issues stemming from that bit of management's prerogative. Should it fail... that's going to be worse that that headline of "squad helps dog victim." Bwahahaha. Pun totally intended. And now other teams are inquiring about Kolb's availability. At least that is what Philadelphia is leading all to believe.


What's going on with the US Soccer Federation is a result of politics. Why play it? If everyone were a little more forthright then this wouldn't have happened. I have always rooted for Jurgen Klinsmann but his video interview where he disclosed (at least his version of events) the reasons why the move to get him as coach of the US National Team never materialized. I'm still not convinced about Bob Bradley but he produced very good results in the Confed Cup and the World Cup. The reason why people are antsy is because the World Cup is every four years and some aren't convinced that Bradley is the man to take them to the next level. USSF President Sunil Gulati's lack of transparency led to this. After Klinsmann disclosed that the reason why he decided not to pursue the matter was that the USSF would not guarantee him control over a lot of team matters infers that Bradley doesn't have the same and is in fact, a lame duck coach. 

What I am getting at here is control over team decisions that cannot be second guessed by others. Take a Look at former US Ice Hockey Coach Herb Brooks who ran the team his way (much to the chagrin of US hockey officials) and was vindicated by a gold medal in the Lake Placid Winter Olympics Games.

Is that necessary -- control? The Philippine Men's National Football Team's former Coach Des Bulpin says that his decisions and plans were always countermanded by PFF officials making it hard for him to execute what he thought was right. While ceding control over team matters to the coach isn't always the right thing to do, it does help as well because then he cannot blame anyone else. That's Rafa Benitez' specialty. 

That is why it was crucial that partnerships such as the New York Yankees' Joe Torre (manager) and Brian Cashman (GM) -- before 2007 -- are important. You need that synergy, understanding, and friendship to make things work. Well it did until Torre turned down the one-year offer and wrote that book with comments about Cashman.