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.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

At the book launch of FIVE (the Ateneo Five-peat) June 7 at the Ayala Museum

The coffee table book FIVE was launched last night at the Ayala Museum. If this is the first time that you are reading this, it is about the Five-peat of the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles. In the picture above, that is the special edition where the book has a silver stamping on the cover and is personalized (there are only 100 personalized copies). The special edition comes also in a handsome felt-lined slipcase and a bag. Amazing, huh? The regular copy is just as swanky as the dust jacket and the cover are specially designed as if you were holding a basketball. The proceeds of the book go to a foundation and to the Ateneo Sports Program. That's giving back to the school three times over as it documents the five-peat and it helps the programs. AMDG!

Prior to the start of the launch, I sat in one corner with Miggy Mendoza chatting when Tita Celda Santos came over to ask how I was feeling. I arrived about 15 minutes earlier and was thinking of the people near where I work at BGC. Several buildings were evacuated due to a bomb threat. Some streets were cordoned off with scores of cops and firemen in place. It turned out to be an unfunny hoax. But I thought of that and the people in the area while at the Ayala Museum. "It looks like all the butterflies of a nearby garden are in my stomach," I said. I was nervous. I always am but I never show it. Learned that from elocution contests and football matches a long time ago. Of course, I was worried. You want people to show up. You want people to buy and like the book. You want to give back to the school. 

When the people started arriving, it was a fullhouse. By the night's end, I was still seated but in the opposite side chatting with people when Tita Celda asked me, "So how are the butterflies?" I replied that I had set them free and was now replaced by hunger pangs (I didn't eat at all). We laughed. And that is as good as anyway to end the night.

Last night's program was emceed by former Blue Eagles Marco Benitez and Charles Tiu as well media folks like the lovely Mav Gonzales and Sel Guevarra. It sure was nice to see them all. Marco and Charles are two guys who I talk when I can about sports in general and these guys are very knowledgeable and brainy when it comes to that. I really enjoy those times when we just hang and talk.

Sure was nice to see Norman Black again (it's not like I do not see him since I also go to the PBA). And Ambassador Harry Thomas as well who kept taking pictures. At one point, he called me over and showed the pics he was taking. Nice shots. He's got an eye for taking pics. Thanks for attending and the invite to the July 4th party!

I read the prologue of the book and it's based on a conversation I had with Coach Norm right before Game 2 of the Season 75 finals. I missed Game One because I was in Singapore with the Loyola Meralco Sparks and before Game Two, he said that he missed my being there for Game One and he wanted to know my thoughts on the game. Aside from being fellow New York Yankees fans (much to Kirk Long's disdain who roots for the Kansas City Royals), we talk about other sports and on occasion life too. Never in a million years did I think Coach Norm would read my stuff and I am happy to know that he does. During Season 71, I wrote a piece about the NU Bulldogs titled 'the Gym Dogs' and during one practice, he told the team to read it so as not to forget who they play and their own blessings. I remember several players, Chris Tiu and Jobe Nkemakolam in particular, telling me about that. Imagine! 

The coffee table book FIVE also complements the DVD documentary I penned titled THE DRIVE FOR FIVE (that's available at the Loyola Bookstore at the MVP Center at the Ateneo). And there's also a special edition DVD set of all the championship games from Seasons 71-75. But I know it's pricey as it's specially done with the assistance of ABS-CBN.

The prologue also talks about his decision to comeback and why Greg Slaughter opted to suit up for one more time.

Aside from my dad and the team that worked on the book, I wanted a picture with these two guys - Norman Black and Paolo Trillo. Especially Paolo who really treads beneath the radar but is every bit as vital to the Blue Eagles' success. When I wrote The 18th Banner, in a section on Trillo, he retold how he tried out for the Blue Eagles but was unsuccessful because he just came off a knee injury. But he also found a way to be a part of the team. Great story.

Nice to be in the company of fellow Ateneans in the media - Mikkel Bolante of interaksyon and Jasmine Payo of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Thanks for coming, guys. I really really appreciate it. These are two folks I enjoy conversing with and exchanging notes and observations when it comes to the things we cover. 

It was also good to see some of my batchmates -- Dindo and Peachy Cheng (we were on the track team as well) and Anthony Sun (and of course Gene Afable). It is never easy signing something for others. It's so unnerving. But I am thankful and grateful. Shoutout to my old Ateneo Alumni Association boss Mike Valencia for being there too! RJ Jacinto was there too! Plus past and former Blue Eagles (aside from Tito Arben): Franco Sevilla (who masterfully did the layouts) and who once used to guard Allan Caidic during UAAP games, Vince Araneta who played undersized center during those years Franco suited up, Wesley Gonzales, Marco Benitez, Rain Sison, Bajjie Del Rosario, Epok Quimpo, Paolo Bugia, Enrico Villanueva, Rich Alvarez, Magnum Membrere, Macky Escalona, Mike Baldos, Yuri Escueta, Charles Tiu, Kirk Long, Jumbo Escueta, Jobe Nkemakolam, Justin Chua, JP Erram, Ice Lim, Gwyne Capacio, Giboy Babilonia, Nico Elorde, Nico Salva, Oping Sumalinog, Tonino Gonzaga, Bacon Austria, Emman Monfort (my former student -- I was also his reader during his thesis -- who asked me to write his story; thanks for introducing me to your dad), and others who I cannot remember! Nice catching up too with the parents of LA Tenorio (Tito Art get well) and Larry Fonacier. Arrgghhh! Plus, Steve Watson (idol) wanted to go but got out of ABS CBN late. Sayang!!!! Old school Blue Eagles meron din -- Rico and Dodie Agcaoili.

Thanks to TV5 and GMA7 for covering the book launch.


  1. Hey Rick,

    How much is the DVD set of all the Finals games? Also, are the games in HD?

  2. Hello Sir! How can we get a copy? Thanks!