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, January 21, 2013

Sunday, Dark Sunday. Hope Christian High School defeats the San Beda Red Cubs for the MMBL title.

The 30th SeaOil MMBL Division One champions -- Hope Christian High School. 

Sunday, Dark Sunday.
by rick olivares

It was a Dark Sunday for San Beda High School last January 20 when its three Red Cubs squads were all defeated in the division championship play in the 30th SeaOil MMBL last Sunday, January 20 at the San Beda Gym in Mendiola, Manila.

The Red Cubs, arguably the most successful high school basketball program in the country for a couple of decades now, has ruled the MMBL since its inception as a post-NCCA/UAAP tournament was organized by their now retired but fabled coach Ato Badolato back in the 1980s.

San Beda sent three teams to the finals – their NCAA champion Team A as well as Teams C and D. Their Team B fell in the semifinals to National University.

“This has never happened before when all the San Beda teams did not win a single championship trophy,” said Badolato. “This also says a lot about how the quality of coaching has gone up as the other schools have better training and fundamentals. The other side about this that it also says something about the competition where anyone has a chance to win the MMBL. It gives other schools now a bigger reason to participate because San Beda cannot dominate this competition.”

Oliver De Guzman’s hot shooting gives NU Bullpups the Div 4 title
The National University Bullpups Team C blew away the Reds Cubs Team D with an incandescent shooting display in the fourth period to take the Division Four championship, 80-58. NU shooting guard Oliver de Guzman caught fire in the fourth period to break open what had been a close match. De Guzman scored 12 points including a dazzling spinning lay-up and a pair of huge triples to inspire the Bullpups to the championship.

NU scored 23 points in the pay-off period while San Beda managed only nine. The Bullpups also overcame the scintillating performance of SBC’s Shawn Velarde and John Mark Lagumen who finished with 23 and 20 points respectively but were shut down in the fourth period.

De Guzman top scored for his side with 18 points while teammates Karl Peñano and Paul Pujante added 13 points each.

Jordan scores 24 points to lead the Blazing Wolves past the SBC Red Cubs Team C.
In the Division Three championship, the Colegio de San Benildo Blazing Wolves bucked early turnover problems and poor decision-making by its players including a coach-player confrontation to turn back San Beda 77-64 for its first MMBL title.

With team captain and star forward Gabby Alvendia unable to get going against Red Cubs center Vince Saquian, it was up to the Blazing Wolves’ forward Jordan Sta. Ana, a candidate to make the RP Youth Under-16 National Team coached by Jamike Jarin, who carried the scoring cudgels for his side. And Sta. Ana single-handedly carried his team for much of the game with daredevil drives to the basket, pull up jumpers, and three-pointers. The 6’2” forward named after NBA great Michael Jordan, finished with a game high 24 points as he delighted the crowd of several hundred at the San Beda Gym in Mendiola, Manila with his derring-do. Even as SBC dictated the pace of the game, Red Cubs coach Manu Iñigo couldn’t find anyone to shut down Sta. Ana.

With the game going into its twilight zone, it was San Benildo’s Jayson Cervantes who struck the telling blows when he scored nine points in the last four minutes.

For all the firepower brought into play by Sta. Ana and Cervantes, it was reserve forward Dunray Geraldo who helped inspire the team to victory.

Early in the match, Blazing Wolves coach Christian Coronel called for time as San Beda went on a 6-1 run to take a 27-26 lead. Coronel, a former Metro Manila Basketball Association player with the Manila Metro Stars struck Geraldo on the chest during the huddle after he turned the ball over and got lost in their offensive set.

The blow was little harder than Coronel intended and the crowd of San Benildo supporters let out a collective gasp.

The incident however galvanized the team (prior to that CoSB had 13 turnovers). A Rob Legaspi trey gave Coronel’s team a 34-32 lead heading into halftime.

When the Red Cubs came out of lemon time smoking to re-take a 41-36 lead behind Saquian and forward Addie Velasquez, Coronel reinserted Geraldo into the game. Geraldo responded with a bucket here, two free throws there, and another jumper from 18 feet that gave the Blazing Wolves a 55-47 lead they would not relinquish. Following Cervantes’ fourth quarter shooting, Colegio de San Benildo had beaten a tough San Beda Red Cubs squad , 77-64 to take the Division Three title.

Doliguez’ 46-point performance inspires HCHS to Division One championship
For the Division One championship of the 30th SeaOil MMBL, NCAA champions San Beda Red Cubs took on Tiong Lian side Hope Christian High School that had undergone a rapid manpower buildup.

SBC, even without center Arvin Tolentino, were a picture of near-flawless execution and deep talent. They could do no wrong as Axel Iñigo found teammates for buckets with pinpoint passing. Andrei Caracut’s speed and three-point shooting dazzled. And Evan Furaque’s inside play gave Hope Christian High School fits.

But HCHS took it inside behind big man John Apacible and forward Clint Doliguez.

The two were difficult to stop with their physical presence but it was Doliguez who proved to be a thorn on the Red Cubs side as he would repeatedly beat his man off the dribble, drive coast-to-coast, or hit a variety of nasty fadeaways or triples that left SBC coach Britt Reroma wondering how to stop the 6’3” forward.

San Beda executed well and would go on a run but Hope Christian always responded. In the fourth quarter, the Tiong Lian team finally broke through on a jumpshot by guard Wally Villanueva to take the lead for the first time, 76-75. After the Red Cubs’ Radge Tongco and Caracut put the home team up 82-80, a Villanueva triple gave HCHS an 83-82 lead they would not surrender.

Doliguez hit a three-pointer from 30 feet away to beat the 24-second buzzer that deflated the Red Cubs as HCHS took an 86-82 lead with 45 seconds left. On the defensive end, Dolinguez blocked a Caracut drive then pulled down the board. He trooped to the free throw line after being fouled by Tongco to make it 88-82. Doliguez showed steady hands in the clutch when he nailed four more free throws that sandwiched two shots from the stripe by Arjohn De La Cruz for a 93-87 win over San Beda.

Doliguez, in an MVP performance, tallied 46 points while Apacible added 11. Caracut and Tongco led San Beda with 19 and 14 respectively.

“It’s a huge win for us and our school,” smiled head coach Steve Tiu. “We (Hope Christian High School) are never talked when it comes to high school basketball. We are hoping that this turns our program around.”

Red Cubs coach Britt Reroma was gracious in defeat, “It’s a tough loss lalo na dito sa homecourt namin. But that’s sports for you. Wala kaming sagot kay Doliguez. It’s not a good day for San Beda but we always bounce back.”

“I kind of foresaw this,” admitted Badolato of SBC coming up empty. “The coaching and the programs of schools has gotten so much better and we are developing better basketball players. This is what the MMBL also stands for. It’s a great learning experience for all.”

Division III champions College of San Benildo-Rizal

Division Four champions NU Team C.

1 comment:

  1. It's a pity, sir Rick, that Doliguez isn't considered eligible in the current Tiong Lian league (as far as I know) due to his age, but he should be a prime prospect for the Seniors division. Ditto with Apacible and another young gun from HCHS -- Jollo Go. Should be interesting where they'll end up , but I'm putting my money on UST, since they have a strong history of recruiting from Tion Lian teams and they currently have two other HCHS alumni -- Errol Villar and Janrey Garrido. I remember watching our Eaglets beat HCHS in the summer of 2012 during the Freego-FCBL. Bolek Vitangcol held his own against Apacible, but I guess Apacible has really gotten much better now.