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.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hong Kong hopes to learn from its favorite team, Gilas Pilipinas

With Derrick and Dindo Pumaren

HK hopes to learn from its favorite team, the Philippines
by rick Oliver's

When Hong Kong plays the Philippines today in the final match of the second round of the 2013 FIBA Asia, they’ll be up against their ‘idols’.

“Yeah, we like the way the Filipinos play,” said center Duncan Reid while watching the Philippines’ 90-71 demolition of Japan. “They’re fun to watch and we hope to learn from them.”

In order to fully learn basketball that is a lower tier sport in Hong Kong, national team manager Lam Chik Cheong secured the services of former Philippine national head coach Derek Pumaren, first, as team consultant first for his Winling ballclub in the Hong Kong Basketball League (HKBL) and second, for the national team competing in this FIBA tournament.

“The assistant coach of the team is a friend of my younger brother Dindo and he asked if we would like to help their team out,” recounted Pumaren who first steered the De La Salle Green Archers to a pair of UAAP championships before moving to the PBA where he mentored Pepsi, Sunkist, Sta. Lucia, Purefoods, Fedex, and Talk ‘N Text (before current Gilas coach Chot Reyes took over). “It’s a new experience for me. Sometimes, I catch myself as if I am coaching a professional team.”

“The HKBL is like our Philippine Basketball League which is semi-pro in nature,” further explained Pumaren who is now on his third year working as a consultant in Hong Kong. “That means almost all the players have days jobs. Some are not able to practice because of work.”

Of this HK team competing in the FIBA Asia Championships, swingman Lam Man Chun is a fireman, guard Lee Ki and forward Wong Chun Wai are both university professors while others like Reid and shooting guard Chan Siu Wing just graduated from school. “We even have a policeman and a lawyer on the team,” added Reid who is looking to play in either in Canada or Hong Kong.

“Sometimes, I find myself pushing them like I would do to pro players,” confessed Pumaren. “Napapatigil din ako in the middle of a drill. But I enjoy what I am doing. They have potential and I have seen a great improvement in their games.”

The Hong Kong team only has six “official” national players in its lineup. “The others were unavailable because almost everyone has a day job,” revealed Pumaren who spends anywhere from two weeks to three months in the former British colony while running drills and teaching the players the finer points of basketball. “Some only arrived the other day because of work. But we also lost (shooting guard) Poon Chi Ho who had to fly back because his wife was due to give birth.”

The other players in the lineup were picked up from Winling.

“We’re not too disappointed when we lose. We know this is a learning experience,” pronounced Reid. “This tournament and even when we play the Philippines, it is an opportunity to learn from the best. And that is how we get better as country.”

With Hong Kong center Duncan Reid

1 comment:

  1. Is it appropriate to say that the level of basketball in Hong Kong is similar to the level of football in the Philippines?

    Regardless, my respect for Hong Kong basketball has just gone up.