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.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ateneo Blue Eagles Life with Bo Part 1

Ateneo Blue Eagles Life with Bo Part 1
by rick olivares

There’s an air of excitement that’s wafting from the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center. The Ateneo Blue Eagles are in a practice session. New head coach Bo Perasol is back after being out for a few days. He gets himself all stretched out before the practice. “Lead by example,” he says. The coach is noticeably thinner. I wonder if it’s because the MLSC is a sauna. Perasol laughs. “The work begins and I am excited about it.”

The Blue Eagles have themselves another teacher.

“Have you seen our practices lately,” asks team manager Paolo Trillo. “It’s different but it’s pretty good. Different from Coach Norm’s – that is expected. But it’s not bad. You can see the interest level in all.”

This is not your five-peat champion team, Ateneo. Aside from missing Mr. 100%, the team is without Greg Slaughter, Nico Salva, Justin Chua, Oping Sumalinog, Tonino Gonzaga, and Frank Golla. It’s not a tall team and already other squads are feasting on thoughts of revenge. Pre-season prognosticators have already shifted their focus to Taft Avenue where the boys in green are plotting a return to the Mount Olympus of college hoops.

This year will be similar to the three-peat year. It won’t have much height but it will run. And gun.

There are the holdovers – Kiefer Ravena, Juami Tiongson, Von Pessumal, and Ryan Buenafe. It is Perasol’s personal mission to bring out the best in Buenafe. The Buenafe who tantalized with his otherworldly talent but did not put it on display on a daily basis. The Buenafe who was Mr. Triple Double in San Sebastian College High School. And Buenafe seems a lot more loose. Happier.

Ravena and Buenafe push each other in practice to get better. They both understand that they will be leading this team. “Ry!” yells Kiefer from across the court. There’s eye contact and you know what that means, the practice’s intensity is going to kick up another notch or two higher.

Buenafe’s team in the D-League was eliminated. He conducted himself well and his experience should serve the Blue Eagles well in his final year in Katipunan.

First assistant Sandy Arespacochaga calls out, “New!”

Chris Newsome ambles over to the huddle. He will finally be able to make his debut with Ateneo after patiently serving his residency for two years. “I would have wanted to be on the title teams but this way, if we do it again, I get to be a part of something huge,” he says. “No one expects anything except maybe to beat us. But we’re going to be in there doing our best.”

Hope is in large supply in these four walls of the MLSC.

It comes in all sizes. And colors. There’s a hue of green in former La Salle center Alfonso Gotladera is there. He regrets moving back to Loyola a year late. Maybe even two. He was supposed to go to Ateneo after his junior years with the San Beda Red Cubs but was told to wait for a year on Team B which he didn’t like. He opted to go to La Salle where he rode the bench for two years. He thought about leaving after his freshman year. The regrets are there but at least he’s where he thinks he should be.

There’s College of Saint Benilde forward Alison Brandon Carlos who is trying his luck out as well.

There are a few others as well from Team B and elsewhere. But Perasol is waiting for the return of JP Erram who can only begin practicing in a month or so. “There’s time to get him into the scheme of things,” notes the coach.

He excuses himself then moves back into the middle of the court. He’s teaching the offense he wants them to execute and everyone pays close attention.

The Blue Eagles have themselves another teacher.


Another story on Bo Perasol as Ateneo head coach: The Builder Coach Cometh

Watch for our upcoming show -- Coffee with Bo.


  1. Any word on the team b players who have movedto team a?

  2. What happened to Frank Golla and Nico Elorde?