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.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bleachers' Brew #238 FEU's Anthony Hargrove Jr. : 3,000 miles from Philadelphia

This appears in the Monday, September 17, 2012 edition of the Business Mirror.

Bleachers' Brew #238 
3,000 miles from Philadelphia
by rick olivares

The kid from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania woke up on Christmas Day, took some greetings from his friends and teammates and freaked out, “This ain’t no Christmas! Christmas got snow!”

Meet Far Eastern University’s Anthony Hargrove Jr. The simple rule about the Tamaraws’ man in the middle? Never pigeon hole him into a certain something.

Now that sounds confusing so let me expound.

You think this Philly kid grew up rooting for the hometown 76ers? Nope. He was a Los Angeles Lakers fan. “I’m a huge Magic Johnson fan,” he laughs. Yes, for real!”

Many a folk from the East Coast dislike the snow and the cold weather. Hargrove? “I love it! Can’t have a White Christmas if you don’t have snow.” But the young man’s journey ironically finds him in hot and humid Philippines.

“I heard a lot about the passion that Filipinos have for basketball and I wanted to see how I’d do here. It’s physical and it seems that way here in Asia. But there are some who play dirty. Greg (Slaughter) and I must be the players who get hit the most and the league (UAAP) should really look into this. But the UAAP is everything and more than what I expected.”

Hargrove has been in the Philippines for three years now and although he misses the snow every once in a while, he loves it here. His basketball dream is actually to play in the Philippine Basketball Association or the Asean Basketball League as an import. “That’s my dream. It isn’t going to be easy but if I just work hard who knows what can happen?”

But first, Anthony has to figure out the vernacular.

He loves his FEU teammates but conversing is a pain. “RR (Garcia) and Terrence (Romeo) don’t speak English,” laughed Hargrove who is the dorm roommate of the latter. “They try to teach me words and I try to get them to speak English. But since they don’t really speak it regularly, man, it’s tough.”

“When my dad (Anthony senior) visited recently, he asked why English suddenly sounded funny. I said, ‘Ah, I don’t really get to speak English that much here.’”

Come tip off, Hargrove has to figure things out in a jiffy. “When Coach Bert (Flores) calls for a play, he starts off by saying, ‘Anthony, you do this and you do that.’ Then he lapses back in Filipino so now I’m lost. Terrence or RR try their best to explain things to me but I sometimes get lost and coach gets back at me and says, ‘Anthony, you are not following the play.’ I say, ‘Coach, I didn’t understand what you were saying.’ But I’m getting there.”

On the other hand, it isn’t that easy. Hargrove has to master another position. Back in the United States, Anthony would play the three-spot. With FEU, by virtue of being the second tallest player on the squad (after the 6’10” Christian Sentcheu), the 6’6” American has to play center. It is a different skill set but he has embraced it. There’s a passion to learn for Hargrove not just on the hardcourt but also in the classroom.

“Sometimes, I sit back and think that this is one strange journey,” reflected Hargrove. “It seems like the situations are opposite.”

He paused. Unsure if I understood what he was saying. But I affirmed what he was trying to tell me.

“I like to look at the whole situation with a little humor. But I know that I am here for a reason and I’m going to make the most out of it.”


  1. If I had to pick two guys to respect from the FEU team it's got to be Hargrove and RR. Everyone else comes off as just too unnecessarily physical.

  2. “Sometimes, I sit back and think that this is one strange journey,” reflected Hargrove. “It seems like the situations are opposite.”

    Loaded yon ha.