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.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Head cases and suspicious persons

Head cases and suspicious persons
by rick olivares

Early in the NCAA Season, the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates were playing great basketball behind Onofre Napiza, Rich Guevarra, Jhygruz Laude, and Allan Santos.

Santos himself was magnificent as he was regularly posting double doubles in points and rebounds. After the first round, he was second in rebounding only to Calvin Abueva. I even wrote that after being booted out of the Adamson Falcons by Leo Austria for disciplinary reasons, he had mended his ways and found a home with Lyceum.

Easily the Pirates the biggest story next to the floundering Mapua Cardinals. No one figured they’d be a contender. In fact, I even pegged them to finish last in the 10-team NCAA.

But towards the end of the first round, Santos began to play bad and soon not suit up at all. His numbers fell and he tumbled to #11 in the statistical points leaders. With him going down so did Lyceum.

Last Thursday during Game 1 of the Adamson-FEU Final Four series, Santos showed up at the Araneta Coliseum wearing a Falcons shirt. I spoke with him as he knew from those days when he wore Adamson blue and I was regular at their games and inside their locker room. I asked him about what happened and he was somewhat glib about the situation. “It will be fixed,” he said. But I remained unconvinced.

The following day, Pirates head coach Bonnie Tan pronounced that Santos was meted out an “indefinite suspension” from the team. What that means is he is no longer with the team nor with the school. Tan said that Santos had turned belligerent during practices and oft picked fights with teammates for no reason. His game had surprisingly dropped after his string of double doubles that saw him lead in statistical points somewhere behind San Sebastian’s Calvin Abueva and Ian Sangalang. The school tried to salvage the situation but it came to naught. Santos did express his intention to rejoin the squad but it was somewhat too late.

It’s a sad story because the LPU Pirates and Santos were in the midst of a Cinderella-type of season.

Head cases in sports are not unusual. But that does not make it any easier to swallow.

I have no idea how coaches and team management handle their players. The old school way was that they were simply coaches. But coaches and team managers are surrogate fathers or older brothers. Some can fill that role while others cannot.

Conversely, players are like children. Some are responsible while others are disobedient. And like everyone else, they can be victims of vice.

For instance, there’s this gentleman (I don’t think there is anything gentle about him though) who is always at the NCAA or UAAP games. He roots for no team in particular and can oft be seen in agony over shots made or shots missed. He always looks at the scoreboard and the time and texts and calls someone all the time.

Like yesterday during the second game between Adamson and FEU. In one play where Aldrech Ramos drove to the basket, he held his hands up from the Patron section as if he could stop the shot. When Ramos made the shot he was downright upset. He pounded his fist on the rail and stormed out. He did come back and seemed unhappy even with Jerick CaƱada hitting all those treys. So if he wasn’t rooting for either team then what was his business inside? And he is there for every game.

I have no idea what this is. All I know is this – Santos and this gentleman – it’s so damned tragic.

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