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.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Ateneo Blue Eagles heading into the Fr. Martin's Cup & the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup

The Blue Eagle Summer: Tempering expectations
by rick olivares

Bo Perasol doesn’t know what to make of the two wins.

The Ateneo Blue Eagles won their first two assignments in the Fr. Martin’s Cup against Fatima University and St. Clare.

Perasol’s troops needed an extra five minutes to get past the Phoenix for an 89-84 win but had a relatively easier time against St. Clare, 77-65.

The summer is the summer and the early competition is hardly the crème de la crème with all due respect to the other teams. These are the games that don’t count only but they do. Perasol knows it’s damn if you do, damned if you don’t. After all, this is Ateneo. Depowered or not, the fan base is passionate, loud, and proud. At the same time, it’s a good sign too, that the team is getting somewhere.

However, the grim reality is starting to settle in. These Blue Eagles are stratospherically challenged. The graduation of Greg Slaughter, Justin Chua, Nico Salva, and Oping Sumalinog has decimated their battle-tested frontline.

There are a host of schools itching to get some payback for all the hurt inflicting upon them by the Blue Eagles in the last five years (and more). Teams are not only bigger and more athletic but also much taller. The demands of matching up with these behemoths will fall to the four-headed monster of JP Erram, Frank Golla, Kris Porter, and Giboy Babilonia.

For those with short memories, it will be like Season 73, when the unheralded Justin Chua, Golla, and Jason Escueta platooned in the middle and built a bridge between the Rabeh Al-Hussaini-led Ateneo teams and the Greg Slaughter-led squads. For those with longer memories, it will be like the Blue Eagles circa 1990s – small ball, not much centers, run and gun, and hard-earned wins. But here’s where those who lived through that Second Dark Age will have to cross their fingers – those small teams didn’t win much less make the Final Four of the UAAP. That streak too is in jeopardy.

The bigs. Golla who not soon after Season 75 called it quits on his final year of eligibility is now back. But the how does he find that confidence again after taking a backseat the last two years while caddying for Slaughter?

Erram was the best big man off the bench for Ateneo but he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second round. He only began practicing in the last few weeks and has still yet to recapture the form that has made him such a valuable substitute in the last few years. Only now, he’s going to be the main man in the middle.

Perasol also asked for the tempering of expectations because it is only now that his team is realizing fully well that there’s a gaping hole in the middle. “I was able to get back Frank Golla but he is not in playing shape like JP Erram who only began practicing a week ago after more than half a year of inactivity. The goal is to get them ready by a month or so.”

The former Powerade head coach and UP Fighting Maroon also lamented the fact the forward-centers Porter and Babilonia are oft injured. Perasol will have to tap Vince Tolentino who has moved up from Ateneo Team B after serving his residency after coming over from Vancouver College.

“Without our big men, no matter what we have in Kiefer Ravena, Ryan Buenafe, or even Chris Newsome is negated by the vacuum inside,” added Perasol. “We are work in progress. Hopefully, Jerie Pingoy can suit up soon because that will be of great help to us.”

But will Jerie Pingoy suit up?

That was the question on everyone’s minds during the press conference for the Master Game Face All-Star Basketball Challenge of the upcoming Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup. Even tournament co-commissioner Ato Badolato wanted to know.

The former FEU Baby Tamaraw turned-Ateneo Blue Eagle Jerie Pingoy is listed in Ateneo’s roster. Pingoy, whose decision to transfer zip codes, earned the ire of the high school alma mater, FEU, is the subject of the now controversial two-year residency rule that has been challenged by many quarters including two senators in Pia Cayetano and Teofisto Guingona III.

According to Filoil tournament director Joey Guillermo, “He (Pingoy) can play provided he is released by his old school since Filoil adopted the residency rule two years ago.”

Prior to the summer collegiate league’s adopting the residency rule, San Beda was able to field Ola Adeogun while Adamson also played then-player Austin Manyara. “We used to allow teams to play their two foreigners at the same time but we decided to change it because it defeats the purpose of a pre-season when the focus is on helping the teams for their respective tournaments when the school year starts.”

“We listed him Jerie just in case by the second or third game of the tournament he is allowed to play,” said first year Ateneo coach Bo Perasol. “He is still adjusting to his new team because for a while on and off yung pag-practice niya. But now, he’s there all the time. But it’s clear na nakikita mo yung pupuntahan ng team because he is someone who can lead them.”

In that match against Fatima, Pingoy went out with a late ankle injury (that is nothing serious as he played in the next game) after compiling 7 points, 8 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. He played again in their next match where he tallied 11 points and 5 assists.

Perasol though has to worry about the here and now. From the one to the three-spot he has some of the best if not the best in the league. That’s Juami Tiongson, Kiefer Ravena, and Ryan Buenafe with Chris Newsome playing an important role. It’s also time for players like Von Pessumal and Gwyne Capacio to step up to the plate. The coach preaches an uptempo game but before you can run you have to rebound.

“We are going to find out more about who we are this summer. At least there’s time to make adjustments.”


  1. We will win the 6th! Have faith! The 6th man is our number 1 strength.

    6th man
    6th Championship
    in Season 76

  2. I hope Adornado makes the team. Perimeter shooting is essential in small nall tactics so it could open up the paint. Our lack of big men in my opinion makes Jomar a necessity.

  3. DLSU will eat ADMU alive on the court.. sorry it's over for Ateneo

  4. Wasn't there another center in Ateneo Team B that could have helped reinforced the frontline? Forgot the name, but back when Erram was in Team B, they were the twin towers of that team.

    And yeah, I with agree with another comment that Perasol should take a look at Adornado.

    Finally, a good part of why we won in Season 73 was because of Norman Black's smarts. I don't think Perasol is a tactically sound as Black, but I'd still give him the benefit of the doubt.

  5. ^ That was Jeric Estrada. He came in with Erram then. Dunno where he is right now. Hopefully John Lasa can finish his adjustment to Ateneo Student-Athlete life.

    1. Now I remember the's Paul Siarot I think, not Jeric Estrada. Saw his name while reading a Yahoo! blog article about Team B members.

  6. Lol, I was hoping to see the import of Dlsu today against Ust's Abdul, but it seemed the small import did the damage. Dlsu has two black imports! Wow. Parang Rodman. No. 2 lang ba to? Maliit eh. Po-problemahin din ng Ateneo yong guard positions. Pag di pa naman talaga nanalo ang Dlsu nyan, itatapon na kayo ni Cojunagco sa kangkungan.

    On another note, di pala televised yong 3rd game. Gusto ko panuorin how Perasol will solve the import-laden visayan team. Oh well.