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, July 30, 2012

Livesteam chat with Coach Erik Spoelstra




What’s up, NBA fans?!!!  Your very own NBA Champion,  Coach  Erik Spoelstra is in Manila and Gatorade is giving you exclusive access to a LIVE STREAM VIDEO CHAT with him  on the Gatorade Philippines Facebook page!

Ten 10 lucky fans will also be invited  to the actual LIVE CHAT to meet Coach Spo in person take pictures with The Larry O’Brien trophy and get cool Gatorade gear on Saturday  August 4 at The Marriott Hotel, Manila .  Join now and fuel your thirst for Basketball with Gatorade and The NBA!!!!!!!

Here’s how to join:
Become a fan of Gatorade Philippines by visiting www.facebook.com/GatoradePH
Submit your question for NBA Coach Erik Spoelstra on the post that will be pinned on top of the Gatorade Philippines Timeline.
The best Ten (10) questions will be  selected as determined by Gatorade Philippines and will each receive the following prizes:
Exclusive invitation to a Meet and Greet with Coach Spo on Saturday, August 4 at the Marriott Hotel (10 winners and each winner can bring one guest)
Coach Spo autographed Gatorade Ball and Gatorade Elite Training Gear (Sports Bag, Hydration bottle, Towel and ID lanyard)

In addition, Twenty, (20) winners will be randomly chosen from fans who posted questions on the  Gatorade Facebook page and will each receive the following prizes:
Two (2) tickets to the NBA Finals  Viewing Party  at the SM Mall of Asia  Center Stage Cinema  (20 winners, each winner will receive 2 tickets)
Gatorade Sports Packs (Sling Bag, Hydration bottle, Gym Towel and ID lanyard):  Two (2) Sports Packs per winner

Note: All winners will be required to secure their own transportation to the venues to attend or claim their respective prizes.

Promotion begins on Monday, July 30 2012 at 12:01 am and will end on Wednesday, August 1 2012 at 11:59PM. Winners will be announced on the Gatorade Facebook page on August 2, at 5:00pm and will be asked to email their contact details to ph.gatorade@gmail.com  so they can be notified how to claim their respective prizes. Winners who fail to confirm their details by 12 pm on August 3, 2012 will be deemed to have forfeited their prize. No substitutes will be selected.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Five defensive gems Ateneo pulled on La Salle



Five defensive gems Ateneo pulled on La Salle
by rick olivares pics by brosi gonzales

At the height of the first three-peat wave of the Chicago Bulls during the early 1990s, Boston Celtics great Bill Russell was asked of the feat of the team from the Windy City.

“Not much,” he succinctly answered. It wasn’t meant as a sign of disrespect but merely because Russell’s Celtics won eight straight titles and 11 of 13 championships available during his career.

After La Salle and NU beat Ateneo during the summer tournaments, many said that the Blue Eagles were on the verge being unseated and were clearly not their dominant self (somehow they conveniently forget that in nine games in 10 days, Ateneo picked up the Fr. Martin’s Cup after losing the FilOil Premier Cup).

When people asked me during the summer what I made of the losses, I replied, “Not much.”

The only thing we have in common with those guys in green from Boston is that we only make room for NCAA and UAAP banners in the rafters of the venerable Blue Eagle Gym. Everything else can go hang elsewhere.

And that leads to the first Ateneo-La Salle encounter for Season 75. When I arrived at the Mall of Asia Arena, several people (my colleague and batchmate Philip Sison is one of them) asked me how I would call the game. I thought that LA Revilla will give us some trouble but we will take away their strengths and win by 10 or more.

We sure did for a 71-61 victory – there’s your double-digit margin -- and here’s why.

We stopped their bigs.
A staple of their dribble drive offense is having LA Revilla or Jeron Teng drive from either wing. Both Revilla and Teng have quick first steps. If they beat their man and help arrives, they shovel it to the middle to Norbert Torres or Yutien Andrada who slides in from the weak side for a lay-up. Andrada has especially made a living off this.

The best way to counter this is either deny the penetration or if unable to, then for someone to rotate over to the cutter for the steal. The Green Archers were only able to get (by my count) two points off this and this was in the fourth quarter.

Take a look at the production of La Salle’s frontcourt players.


Papot Paredes and Ponso Gotladera played nine minutes and combined for zero points and three rebounds.

In contrast, Blue Eagle center Greg Slaughter who averaged 13.3 points and 9.3 rebounds in his first three matches, scored 20 points but hauled down only seven boards. There’s a trade off you definitely like if you root for the blue and white.

We took away the confidence of Almond Vosotros.
I always thought that Almond Vosotros was one of DLSU’s most fearless players. He’s a sparkplug who tries to help his side by either scoring or by his hustle plays. Being the primary back up for LA Revilla, his role is crucial because Mark Tallo is still feeling his way around.

After a poor opener where he didn’t score a point, the points guard came alive in La Salle’s next two games where scored 5 and 8 points respectively.

As soon as Vosotros entered the court with under two to play in the first quarter, Kiefer Ravena promptly stole the ball from him for a fastbreak layup. Soon after, he had his layup blocked. Although Vosotros had two steals of his own, he didn’t score a point. Tallo and Thomas Torres made forgettable cameos where in five minutes of play both committed one turnover each but contributed nothing more.

And that forced La Salle to play Revilla for 32 long minutes.

Revilla isn’t the only Green Archer starter to play that many minutes. Teng and Torres did as well.

Only two Blue Eagles played over 30 minutes – Slaughter and Ravena.

Well, aside from foul trouble, the Blue Eagles’ bench mob played well too. They outscored La Salle 15-13 and every single player contributed something to the collective effort be it a point, rebound, assist, steal, block (the Green Archers fielded three players who were not able to contribute anything to the stat sheet – Thomas Torres, Gotladera, and Tallo).

We forced a five-second inbound violation on Jeron Teng.
With 44 seconds left to play and the score at 67-61 for Ateneo, Jeron Teng tried to inbound the ball from their side of the court.  Kiefer Ravena, who had picked him up later in the match, sagged off while looking where the receiver would come. Luigi dela Paz was covered by Juami Tiongson (who for the first time had more turnovers than assists 3-1) while Tonino Gonzaga closely guarded Revilla. Both dela Paz and Revilla were unable to shake off their defenders and Ravena stepped back a bit to help out. Just before Teng could throw it in, Ravena jumped back out forcing the La Salle rookie to keep the ball five-seconds too long. Referee’s whistle. Five second-inbound violation.

Ateneo had its crucial stop. In fact, in the fourth period, the Blue Eagles forced La Salle into seven turnovers while scoring six points off them.

We adjusted well to what La Salle was trying to do.
With their dribble drive offense stopped, La Salle resorted to a familiar tactic – staggered screens to free up a shooter. Heading into this match, La Salle was the worst from beyond the arc. In an effort to control the lane, Ateneo somewhat (and inadvertently) conceded the outside and La Salle hoisted up their biggest number of three-point attempts so far with 18 (and they nailed four).

At the start of the game, the Blue Eagles would weave their way above the screens. A La Salle switch later in the game saw Ateneo once more adjusting by fighting under the picks to prevent those pick and rolls.

We saw Tonino Gonzaga put the late clamps on LA Revilla.
Remember that key moment when Rich Alvarez guarded La Salle’s nigh unstoppable Mike Cortez in the 2002 Finals? That was unexpected. Ditto when Emman Monfort stopped that scoring machine known as RR Garcia in consecutive UAAP finals. You can add Tonino Gonzaga to that honor roll with his late effort against the supremely talented LA Revilla.

It is no secret that Gonzaga has thrived since being inserted in the starting five against NU. The graduating swingman admits that he was sort of looking for his shot in the first few games but he had a realization that he would be able to help his side more if he committed to defense.

He picked up some early foul trouble trying to stop the tank that is Jeron Teng. Playing a little more smartly, when he returned to action, he stayed in Revilla’s face. The ace La Salle guard didn’t score a point after the 7:43 mark of the fourth quarter. Even worse, Revilla turned the ball over thrice in the game’s final minutes.

Zags didn’t score a single point but he pulled down seven boards including a huge offensive carom with 1:50 left that allowed Ateneo to chew off more precious seconds in the game clock.

The game looked to be headed for a blowout but a series of unforced errors saw La Salle score some easy baskets that got them back in the game. When they did take a lead, Ateneo re-took the lead on the next possession. There were only two lead changes and that was that. A masterful response to the challenge of an old foe. It’s one game and there’s still a long way to go.

Four down and 10 to play.

-------------------

Check out the homepage of my blog bleachersbrew.blogspot.com for more Ateneo Blue Eagles stuff on my personal Drive for Five analysis series. I also work on material for other teams.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Who is this man and will he be the next head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles??


Will this man be the 36th head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles? He was at the game today in the blue side wearing blue.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Summer Olympics Special issue from Time Magazine


Good sportswriting is hard to find outside Sports Illustrated, the Associated Press, and the awesome dudes at espn.com. Time Magazine, while mostly featuring worldly stuff, occasionally features terrific profiles and stories of athletes and sports events. And the Olympics is one event that they have done a great job of reporting. The latest issue has about five different covers (three different ones in the United States alone with one for Europe/Africa and one for Asia (see image below). Purchased my copy the other day but began reading it late last night. Will finish it tonight then offer my two cents' worth. From what I read so far the research as well as the amount of detail is fascinating. That's what sets them apart from other media bureaus -- their attention to detail and reporting while retaining a literary flair. 


If you like good sports writing and reporting then do yourself a favor and pick up this issue. 


Thursday, July 26, 2012

The grounded Adamson Falcons

This appears in abs-cbnnews.com

The grounded Adamson Falcons
Missed free throws. Missing six players. And missing #6.
by rick olivares

Years ago, I attended a practice of Adamson at their campus gym. Alex Nuyles had a year of UAAP experience under his belt and Rodney Brondial was serving his residency. Job de Leon was about to begin his first year of courtside reporting for the Falcons after having taken over the slot from Aaron Atayde.

Leo Austria took me aside and spoke highly of Nuyles and said that the lad from Bicol had loads of potential. “He will be a star one day,” said Austria. Knowing coach had an eye for talent, I took his word for Nuyles.

I remember Brondial very well and as I recall it, he was from Australia and had good skills but was still raw.

“Mayroon potential ‘tong team na ‘to,” pronounced Austria. Not only was he a great evaluator of talent but also he had the makings of a modern-day Nostradamus.

After falling flat in Season 74, the team lost six players – Lester Alvarez, Jerick Cañada, Genesis Manuel, Janus Lozada, Jan Colina, and Austin Manyara. Austria still had Nuyles for his final year. There was bullstrong Eric Camson who could put up a ton of points one moment but disappear in the next. Brondial had shown what he could do in Season 74 and no doubt could only get better. Roider Cabrera, I thought, was the x-factor here. If he could score in the UAAP like he does in the pre-season then opposing teams will not be able to key off on Nuyles, Camson and Brondial. Ryan Monteclaro was definitely not made of the stern stuff of a Cañada or Alvarez. But all he had to do for now is to be steady and then the Falcons would be a potent crew. You know. Like the 1986 Boston Celtics. A starting five that could compete with the best of them and one sixth man who can contribute. That’s it. 

I wasn’t the very least surprised that they hung tough against Ateneo for about 25 minutes as they still had that carry over pride from beating the Blue Eagles in the final game of the second round of Season 74. But Ateneo is a team that doesn't take loses lightly. They can't wait to repay foes back in spades. And that I think is something that Adamson has yet to learn or adopt. That killer and give-'em-no-quarter instinct. 

Against the surprising FEU Tamaraws, a team that knocked them out of the title picture last season, I thought they'd come in with snorting nostrils and all. Well, the Falcons gamely battled them for a good 14 minutes before a spate of errors and missed free throws allowed the Morayta-based team to put some space between them at the half, 35-28.

I turned to Jan Colina (who I had become pals with over the years and I did write a nice piece about him for Rebound) who sat behind the south basket of the Araneta Coliseum. “Miss mo to, no?” I probed.

“Sobra,” he answered shaking his head. “Hindi mo alam kung ano yung ma mi-miss mo kapag wala na.”

We spoke a bit then he pointed to his left. “Sir, si Jerick…”

Holy cats! It was Jerick Cañada! I didn’t recognize him as he put on weight and wore long hair.

The former Adamson guard offered an embarrassed smile.

“Hindi kita nakilala. (he laughed). Akala ko nag-audition ka sa Eraserheads. (more laughter).

I turned to the court and noted of this current edition of the Falcons. “Ang sama. Hindi ma-establish yung tempo at yung gusto nilang laro. (both Colina and Cañada nodded in agreement). At masama laro ni Alex.”

Heading into Season 75, knowing that they were minus six of the crew that helped them to a great finish last year, I felt that they would go only as far as number six (Nuyles) could take them this season. I like the kid but I am not sure if he could strap this team on his back. I remarked to Coach Leo two years ago that Alex would make a great pro basketball player. “He has to be strong and focused every game,” intoned coach.

And that was not the Nuyles that was playing right before me and everyone else. He scored only one basket and that was in the first quarter. By the game’s end, there would only be two turnovers next to his name in the official score sheet. But in truth, he should have been tacked on with much more. He suddenly reverted to the unsure rookie that he was years ago as he fumbled drives, drop passes, and his decision making. In the Falcons’ final play, he was given the ball to do something with it. Instead, he passed off to Camson. Truthfully, I wondered why he was kept on the floor. Jericho Cruz will one day lead this squad in scoring but for now, he is what Nuyles was during Season 71, a talented but unrefined player. I felt that Cruz along with the equally talented but gangly Harry Petilos should have been on the floor with Cabrera, Camson and Brondial.

Instead, the Falcons shot themselves on the foot with Cabrera hoisting up three consecutive bricks without so much as a conscience. That and the flubbed freethrows did them in (18-28 from the 15-foot line).

Had Nuyles even been one half of his usual self then Adamson would have won this (he finished with five assists but you have to watch the game to see how out of it he was). But instead, they succumbed to a second straight defeat while the Tamaraws, getting heady plays from their three-guard lineup of RR Garcia, Terrence Romeo, and Mike Tolomia came through in the clutch. It was, incidentally, their third straight loss to the Tams after losing twice in last year's Final Four. Streaks. For sure the Falcons hate them.

And once more, the outcome came down to the final shot but this time FEU got its largest winning margin of the season --- three points, 65-62. But that’s not so bad considering they are 3-0.

I looked to Colina after the game. We both shrugged. “Matagal pa naman,” he hoped.

Sure it is. But Adamson has yet to play contenders DLSU, NU, and UST. Ouch.

But who knows? When you’re down the only way to go is up.

-------------------

Next in my UAAP series: The UE Red Warriors.

Spain & the United States: a growing basketball rivalry?




The days of a Fernando Martin gushing about the Americans’ basketball prowess are over.

If you don’t remember Martin, he was the star of Spain’s basketball squad when they faced the United States of America during the gold medal match of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. That was the game where Michael Jordan, still a sophomore at the University of North Carolina, wrote on a piece of yellow legal pad a message for then coach Bobby Knight: “Coach, don’t worry. We’ve put up with too much shit to lose now.” Knight forwent his pre-game speech and the US thrashed Spain 96-65 to win the gold.

After that game, all Martin (who later played 24 games for the Portland Trailblazers) could do was exclaim in halting English, “Jordan… Jump, jump, jump. Very quick. Very fast. Very, very good. jump, jump, jump."  READ MORE

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Owning a piece of history: The Jordan Dream Team jersey


Ordered this retro Dream Team jersey. The only one missing from my Jordan collection (I have the Laney, UNC, Chicago, and Washington jerseys). 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A letter to my granddad about Ichiro Suzuki going to the Yankees


Dear Granddad:

I woke up this morning knowing I wasn’t well. I felt weak and my joints, hot. Telltale signs that the flu that I contracted the other day had not abated. But I had to get up because I invited over an indie band to perform in my class.

As I normally do, I went online to check my email and see what was new in the world today. And… and… Ichiro Suzuki is a New York Yankee!

That was like penicillin, medicine or what have you to make me feel a little better. I had to re-read what was before me because it might have been a typo or some April Fool’s Day joke in August or whatever the hell that is. But no. Ichiro Suzuki is really a New York Yankee. And with Jeremy Lin in Houston, Ichiro will be huge in the Big Apple as he attracts the Asian audience to the Stadium. How many marquee names do they have now - Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and now Ichiro Suzuki.

I thought of several things, Pops, when I stopped hyper ventilating (that my dog thought I was going to walk her that early in the day).

Here’s what I thought:

… Is the injury to Nick Swisher a lot more serious than anyone thought? With Brett Gardner out that’s 2/3 of the starting outfield that is out of the lineup. Thank God that Brian Cashman kept Andruw Jones and got Raul Ibañez. Not since those great Yankee teams of the 1990s was there a team that I liked. Aside from Jeet, Andy, and Mo (the oldtimers here), I like Swish, CC, Russ, Cano, Grandy, A-Rod, Eric Chavez, Tex and well pretty much everyone. It’s like all my fave baseball players are in my favorite baseball team.

As biased as we are for the Yanks, Pops, I have to confess that I do watch other teams – the Philadelphia Phillies, the Oakland A’s, and the Seattle Mariners. I love Seattle. If I weren’t a New York fan I’d root for the Mariners. If I don’t settle down once more in New York I’d go to the Emerald City. But if Swish comes back where do they place Suzuki? Is that a good problem for Joe Girardi?

But look at this, Pops. This is the current batting order (without Brett and Swish):

Jeter (SS)
Granderson (CF)
Rodriguez (3B)
Cano (2B)
Teixeira (1B)
Ibañez (DH)
Jones (LF)
Suzuki (RF)
Martin (C)

That’s one baaad lineup.

… This is like getting Rickey Henderson way back in those woebegone 80s when I said, “Well, there’s always next year.” I still have that old Sports Illustrated issue with Henderson on the cover that says, “Rickey’s a Yankee!” I thought that I had died and gone to baseball heaven. The sport’s dangerous baserunner and leadoff hitter in pinstripes? But that was about it. New York had good teams but never won the World Series much more go to the playoffs wasting the careers of Dave Winfield, Donnie Baseball and Henderson. They even had Steve Sax!

…  Is this lightning in a bottle? Like Shane Spencer? Pops, they called Shane, 'Roy Hobbs' after that character that Bernard Malamud wrote about in "The Natural" and who was played by Robert Redford in the film adaptation. He was a late season call up and he hit a bunch of homers that was incredible to watch. Well, if the move from last place to first place galvanizes Suzuki and he becomes his old dangerous self then wow! That’s danger in the eighth spot of the batting order. But will he enjoy batting from there because there’s no way he’s going to lead off or be in the top of the order with the other guys still there. But aside from his rookie season where he won the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Award and where he went to the post-season, it has been nothing but disappointment for him and the Mariners since. They’ve never been back.

I remember how Suzuki’s Mariners eclipsed the 114-won games by New York with 116 of their own. But New York won the World Series that year. This time he has a chance to compete for a World Series title and who knows what he can do?

… I thought with Suzuki in pinstripes that makes how many former Mariners in recent years to play for our team, Pops?

After losing in 1995 (to Seattle) that ended Don Mattingly’s career (I cried, pops), we brought in Tino Martinez from the M’s to play Donnie’s old first base. It was like if we can't beat them then let's bring in one of the guys who beat us. But really, it was our time back then. You don't win four World Series in five years if the team isn't special. Anyways, Martinez became 'Tino Bambino' for his prodigious hitting exploits, right? I wish you were still around to see our team turn things around and become a dominant power like they were meant to be.

And there was Randy Johnson who joined us when he was clearly done and not the guy who beat us in 2001. We did get Alex Rodriguez and am so glad to be a part of that time when we urged him to consider New York instead of Boston. We also got Freddy Garcia who is not the pitching stud that he once was but has been good in pinstripes these past two years.

We won with Tino and A-Rod. Hopefully, we can win it this year with Ichiro and Freddy. 

… And lastly, I thought of you, Pops. I miss you, Pops. It is because of you why I am a huge sports fan and am doing what I love for a living. We played a lot of baseball when I was kid. You’d take me to the park to play and work long hours on my pitching, fielding and batting. I became a Yankee fan because of your great admiration for Mickey Mantle, Bill Martin, Whitey Ford and all those guys. Every time I went to Yankee Stadium I thought of you and said to myself, “We’re doing this, Pops.”

Ichiro is a Yankee. I hope that he does well and Cash keeps him pinstripes until he retires. He might not go into Cooperstown as a Yankee but he was with us for a while.

I have no idea if you can watch ballgames up there. But I’m here, Pops. I'm here. I’ll write you again.

I miss and love you, Granddad. This is a good way to remember you on your death anniversary.

Rick

-----------

My grandfather was the one who introduced sports to me. He was the one who brought me to the ballpark to play. In my school annuals, you’d always find me with a mitt and a bat (if not vinyl records). If anyone asks me what my favorite sport is, well, it’s baseball then football. And then basketball and hockey. You think I’m good at calling a football match, you should see it when I do baseball. Today is my granddad's death anniversary.


 Photos by Elaine Thompson and Otto Greule. Thanks!

Monday, July 23, 2012

From AP: Bin Hammam audit finds irregular spending (former PFF President named in report)


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- The man in charge of Asian soccer, once a candidate to oust FIFA president Sepp Blatter as the sport's leader, enriched himself and handed out hundreds of thousands of dollars to friends and relatives, according to an audit obtained by The Associated Press.

Mohamed bin Hammam, a 63-year-old Qatari whose life ban from soccer was overturned in a sports court this week, is accused of using the Asian Football Confederation bank accounts to conduct his private affairs.

The audit was prepared by the international accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers and dated July 13. A copy of the report was obtained by the AP. Its contents were confirmed by two people with direct knowledge of the report who spoke on condition of anonymity because it hasn't been made public.

The report offered rare details of the usually secretive accounts of not-for-profit football bodies handling hundreds of millions of dollars. And it portrayed a man who was running Asian soccer like a family business, negotiating contracts on his own and mingling his personal and AFC bank accounts.

The audit was especially critical of bin Hammam's use of AFC accounts for personal expenses, although there was no evidence of direct payments to bin Hammam.

"It is highly unusual for funds (especially in the amounts detailed here) that appear to be for the benefit of Mr. Hammam personally, to be deposited to an organization's bank account," the audit said.

He received millions of dollars from individuals linked to AFC contracts, according to the audit, and spent tens of thousands of dollars on items like a honeymoon for his son and dental work, haircuts and cash payments for his family.

It found he spent $700,000 from AFC coffers on himself and his family, including $100,000 for his wife, $10,000 on a Bulgari watch for himself and nearly $5,000 for his daughter's cosmetic dentistry.

Payments were also made to Asian, African and Caribbean soccer officials, including $250,000 to Jack Warner, the longtime strongman of Caribbean soccer.

"The arrangement with Mr Hammam's use of the sundry debtors account is, in our view, highly unusual and reflects poor governance," the audit said. "This use by Mr Hammam of the sundry debtors account continued even after the external auditor's recommended that it be stopped. Our review indicates that it was common belief that this account was for Mr Hammam personally and all funds flowing through it were his personal monies.

"We question why Mr Hammam would conduct his personal financial transactions through the AFC's bank accounts when the documents we have seen indicate that he already has several personal bank accounts in various countries," the audit said.

The Asian governing body, which he has led since 2002 was advised to seek "legal advice in respect of ... whether the actions of Mr. Hammam, and other parties identified in this report, constitute criminal and/or civil breaches." Bin Hammam was suspended for 30 days by the AFC following receipt of the report last week.

Bin Hammam was not available for comment. His U.S. lawyer said the allegations were a FIFA tactic to block his return to world soccer.

"If there were ever any question about the political motives behind FIFA's vendetta against Mr. Bin Hammam, it has been answered by the outrageous and baseless new charges that FIFA and AFC are bringing against him," lawyer Eugene Gulland said in a statement.

The audit found that a contract for commercial rights with World Sports Group and its subsidiary World Sports Football were no-bid contracts that were "considerably undervalued." A $14 million payment from companies with stakes in WSG, Al Baraka Investment and Development Co. and International Sports Events Company, was made to the AFC for the "personal use of its president," the report said.

Bin Hammam also approved several lucrative, no-bid contracts for commercial rights, including one for Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera Satellite Network.

The audit said its review of the AFC accounts found that it routinely handed out tens of thousands of dollars in cash to federation presidents and their relatives. Most of it went to their personal bank accounts and none of it was for soccer-related expenses, it said.

Gaurav Thapa, whose father heads the Nepalese federation, received $100,000 while Filipino soccer official Jose Mari Martinez received $60,000 and had $11,226 in hospital expenses paid. Another $50,000 went to East Timorese soccer official Francisco Kalbuadi Lay, the audit found.

Another $25,000 went for tuition expenses for a Bangladesh soccer federation spokesman and $20,000 to cover the cost of cancer treatment for the federation's general secretary.

Also, nearly $2,000 was spent by bin Hammam to buy 14 shirts for Blatter and nearly $5,000 went toward the purchase of suits for Issa Hayatou, the CAF president.

The acting head of the AFC called for an end to spending abuses.

"I think this development also makes one thing very clear to all of us -- there is no place for unethical practices anymore in AFC," Zhang Jilong said in his opening address Thursday to an executive committee meeting. "I ask this (committee) to prevent any abuse of power and misuse of privileges by any office bearer."


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

------------------------------

Here are some of the articles I wrote while fighting the PFF years ago: 


Starting them young: my Ateneo students blog about their One fighting Championship presscon experience

Gave some extra work for some of my Ateneo students by asking them to attend the presscon for the One Fighting Championship. This is the third straight year where I had my students attend sporting events (PBA, Azkals, and now One FC). 

For this, I had them interview the fighters and blog more about the experience. The actual interview stories will be done this week.

Here are the links to their thoughts about the presscon & event:





Five key moments for the Ateneo Blue Eagles against NU


Five key moments for Ateneo against NU
by rick olivares

Games can be won or lost on a single play. Athletic events are difficult to pigeon hole. There are ebbs and flows, momentum shifts, or even matches when one team has complete domination.

As the Ateneo Blue Eagles entered the game against title-contender National University in a huge game as they were coming off a loss to UST, I wondered where the team that ran great FEU squads to the ground or dusted off UE, UST, and Adamson who dared to tug on Ateneo’s cape had gone.

This match, the third in a week’s time for the Blue Eagles, was a huge litmus test. They had run the gamut of contending teams one after the other while others seemingly have the easier route.

There were all sorts of questions heading into this game. But at the final buzzer, they had answered adversity. And here’s how…

Opening tip to 9:37 of the 1st Quarter:
If you were wondering how Ateneo would respond to the disappearance of its free flowing passing game then they answered it right here in the opening play.

Greg Slaughter won the jump ball and Juami Tiongson secured the ball. Tiongson, who has been superb at the one spot this season, passed off to Nico Salva who in turn dumped the leather to Slaughter. Still probing the defense, the Blue Eagles’ mammoth center threw the ball back out to the kid they called 'Magic" (back in high school) who immediately swung the ball to the left to Kiefer Ravena. The sophomore guard then threw the ball inside to a cutting Tonino Gonzaga, who started for the first time this season. The ball, however, had too much mustard on it and the graduating swingman had no shot. Gonzaga saved the ball from going out of bounds and dropped it out to Tiongson who set himself at the right corner pocket. Bang. Three ball in.

All five players touched the ball in seven passes. They stretched NU’s defense and the rotation --  Magic's opposite number Gelo Alolino – was a tad late.

Ateneo finished the game with 24 assists. That was nine more than NU and eight more than their total in the UST game. In their first two matches, the Blue Eagles had two players in double figures for each game. After the win over NU, they had four – Salva 21, Ravena 17, Slaughter 14, and Chua 12.

See what happens when you share the wealth?

3:14 1st Quarter
At the 4:07 mark, Ray Parks connected on a triple that brought down Ateneo’s lead to four 17-14. The champs came back with a Gonzaga layup off a drop pass by Slaughter. Parks threw up another three but missed. After another defensive stop, Salva found Ravena streaking forward with Parks the only player holding the fort for NU. Last year’s Rookie of the Year pumped on his drive and baited last year’s MVP who grazed his arm. The shot went in. And one.

Actually, it was more of an and-two for following Ravena’s made free throw, the officials correctly reviewed that Parks’ earlier trey was a two-pointer as he stepped on the line. So it was like a four-point play. Couple with the Gonzaga bucket, the lead was 22-13. The four-point lead was the closest NU would come to Ateneo as the lead ballooned. 

Talk about answering a run with one of their own.

At the buzzer to end the first half
Both Slaughter and NU’s Emmanuel Mbe are arguably two of the league’s best big men. Mbe was nearly MVP two years ago but the award went to FEU’s RR Garcia by a slim margin.

While both squads have talented guards and forwards, how Ateneo and NU ultimately fare is where their big men take them.

In the first half, the two redwoods went at each other. Slaughter had 12 points on 6-9 shooting to go with 9 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks. Mbe on the other hand only compiled 10 points and 3 rebounds. But the Cameroonian missed three shots against Slaughter.

With time running down in the half, Mbe attempted a jumper but missed. In the final offensive of the half, Slaughter showed his counterpart how its done when he hit a buzzer beater to give Ateneo 55-34 lead.

How big was the shot by the Big Fella?

Big. Plenty big.

At the buzzer to end the third quarter
The game featured two of the best coaching minds in the country today in Ateneo’s Norman Black and NU’s Eric Altamirano. Both had won titles in the PBA as players and as coaches.

At the start of the game, the plan was to force Parks to pass the ball to his teammates by sending Slaughter out to the perimeter to harry him. NU was quick to adjust by having the wingmen attack and find teammates for drop passes; you know, very much how like La Salle does it. Once Ateneo shut down that option, Parks began to post up his guard and he got away with a lot of points from inside and the free throw line.

Midway through the third quarter, NU went on an 8-0 run to cut Ateneo’s lead to 61-44.

Gonzaga doused cold water on the rally with a deadeye trey to bring up the lead once more to 64-44. The Bulldogs refused to give up the fight and brought the lead back down to 15.

With the seconds slipping away from the third quarter clock, Ryan Buenafe, hit Ateneo’s fourth and last triple of the game. It was at the buzzer and for a 72-54 lead.

Buenafe would finish the game with only three points but he also pulled down 5 rebounds and dished off 3 assists.

His trey was huge because it swung the momentum back to Ateneo for the start of the fourth quarter.

Another rally squelched.

4:51 4th Quarter
Theoretically there is still a lot of time left with 4:51. But with the lead at 81-57, if you didn’t get a few quick licks in the next minute then maybe it was time to throw in the white towel and fight for another day.

There was no basket made at this point. It was actually a turnover as Juami Tiongson was whistled by the referee for an eight-second backcourt violation.

Earlier in the game, the Ateneo coaching staff was seen on several occasions to urge their guards to bring up the ball quickly because they went into attack mode with seven seconds left in the shot clock. You do not get much of a high percentage shot with the shot clock winding down.

Tiongson has ably stepped into the shoes of the graduated Emman Monfort. While the booming treys have not been there, he has more than made up for it with his solid quarterbacking.

In this match, Ateneo had more turnovers as compared to NU, 15-11. But perhaps the most glaring TO was Tiongson’s backcourt violation.

You see, up to that point, Tiongson’s assists to turnover ratio was 6.3 to zero. But of course, nothing is perfect in this world and the Blue Eagles’ point guard did score eight huge points including Ateneo’s first six points to get the party started.

Hey, Ateneo. You have a legit point guard! Take a look at how Magic stacks up to the best of the league (per game):

Juami Tiongson, Ateneo: 26 minutes, 19 assists and 1 turnover
Gelo Alolino, NU: 25.5 minutes, 13 assists and 3 turnovers
RR Garcia, FEU: 34 minutes per game, 11 assists and 4 turnovers
LA Revilla, DLSU: 31 minutes per game, 10 assists and 9 turnovers
Jeric Fortuna, UST: 32.5 minutes per game, 8 assists and 4 turnovers

It’s not just all about key baskets but also key stops and answering runs with one of your own. That all added up to a 89-65 win that sent the Bulldogs crashing back to earth after their 45-point romp over a punchless UE squad on opening day.

It was the best way to bounce back after the loss to UST and at the same time, what a way to get ready with La Salle around the corner.

Three down and 11 to go.

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In the comparative stats between Juami and his counterparts, other guards have different roles on their team. Like RR Garcia alternately runs the offense alongside Mike Tolomia and Terrence Romeo. 


Here is my other piece on the same Ateneo-NU game that appears on ateneo.edu. 


For other stories on Ateneo's Drive for Five, please check out bleachersbrew.blogspot.com