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, November 5, 2012

Bleachers' Brew #345 SBP’s grassroots basketball programs

This appears in the Monday, November 5, 2012 edition of the Business Mirror.

SBP’s grassroots basketball programs
by rick olivares

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas through its Executive Director, Renauld “Sonny” Barrios, yesterday bared the association’s grassroots program that brings together secondary school programs in Metro Manila and in the provinces.

Included in this program are the Seaoil National Ball Training Center, now on its sixth year of providing coaching and skills technology transfer to provincial schools; the Seaoil Metro Manila Basketball League, the secondary school post-season tournament now on its 30th year; the Seaoil High School All-Star Game that tipped off the inaugural event patterned after the McDonald’s All-American Basketball Game in the United Sates; and the Coaches Convention that is aimed at providing provincial coaches top-notch coaching from noted basketball minds.

Coming in to provide much needed firepower off the bench is the Manuel V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation (MVPSF) that recently partnered with the second staging of the Coaches Convention where some 300 coaches from all over the country participated in a three-camp at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City that saw multi-titled hoop mentors Tim Cone, Koy Banal, Eric Altamirano, Ricky Dandan, and Sandy Arespacochaga among others provide valuable insights on how they run their various title-winning programs. However, it isn’t solely skills and Xs and Os that are taught but character, leadership, and values formation that are aimed at developing responsible citizens.

Together these efforts will bring together over 300 schools from all over the archipelago in a centralized program that will greatly improve on the quality of the Filipino basketball player.

Eric Altamirano, Program Director of the Seaoil NBTC said: “The Seaoil NBTC League is a nationwide grassroots program which aims to: one, develop the skills of players and coaches in the High School level; two, Identify talented players for the National Youth Teams (U16 & U18); and three, create a national league that would serve as a pathway for the players and coaches to move to a higher-level of competition especially in the provinces.”

The Seaoil MMBL, on the other hand, is one of the longest running high school basketball tournaments. When the Seaoil MMBL tips off this coming November 10, 2012 at the Ynares Center in Pasig City, it will mark the 30th anniversary of the tournament.

San Beda High School’s legendary coach Ato Badolato founded the league as a means for high school players to continue their season that usually ended in October when the NCAA and UAAP tournaments were over. “We’ve grown from having seven or eight teams to now having 70 teams participating,” said Badolato, who serves as league commissioner, of the league’s growth. “And for the first time, we are having a girls’ division where eight schools are participating.”

Badolato acknowledges that it wasn’t easy getting the league started. The tournament coincidentally was organized not soon after San Beda took a sabbatical from the NCAA following on court violence in the late 1970s to the early 80s. “When we got it going, other schools we invited would ask, ‘sino kasali diyan?’ And when we’d say, ‘San Beda, Ateneo, La Salle…’ they would back out.”

“Outside the Seaoil MMBL, the other prominent post-season tournament for high school players is the National Basketball Training Center championship and that helps the provincial players,” expounded Badolato who is also involved with the NBTC that is run by its Executive Director and former professional basketball player Eric Altamirano and Training Director Alex Compton. “The MMBL, as the name states, is for Metro Manila. Not only do you get to watch players from the NCAA or UAAP but due to the size of the league many less exposed schools get an opportunity to compete."

Added Altamirano of the corporate sponsorship of Seaoil in grassroots basketball: “Seaoil is proud to partner with the Metro Manila Basketball League (MMBL) and is committed to sponsor the MMBL for the next four. "Alex and I believe that with this long-term partnership with Seaoil, it will greatly benefit more players and coaches especially the Schools in the NCR. This would assure the presence of NCR in National High School Championship. They will also be joined by the champion teams from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao."

Noted hoopsters who first got attention in the MMBL include Benjie Paras (San Beda) and Kirk Long (Faith Academy) to name a few.

The 30th edition of the MMBL will be played on weekends at the Ynares Center Pasig, the Philsports Arena, the San Beda College Gym, and St. Stephen’s High School.

Participating high schools include Adamson University, Chiang Kai Shek College, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, De La Salle Zobel, Far Eastern University-FERN, Our Lady of Fatima University, San Beda College, University of Santo Tomas, Arellano University, Faith Academy, National University, UNO High School, College of San Benildo Rizal, Escuela de Sofia of Caloocan, Southridge School, St. Jude Catholic School, Trinity University of Asia, Gymnazo Christian School, La Consolacion College Manila, Dominican College Sta. Rosa, Espiritu Santo Catholic School, San Beda College Alabang, St. Stephen’s High School, Casimiro Ynares Memorial School, Hope Academy, Ateneo de Manila University, Hope Christian High School, Malayan Institute of Technology, University of the Philippines Integrated School, Xavier School, Emilio Aguinaldo College, International School Manila, Kings Montessori School, Australian International School, Armanda College, Colegio San Agustin Biñan, Lourdes School of Mandaluyong, St. Andrew’s School, La Salle College Antipolo, Our Lady’s Angels School, Quezon City Science High School, St. James Academy, and The Seed Montessori School.

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