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, November 20, 2013

The mourning after. Caloy Garcia and the Letran Knights get back to the business of winning in the PBA and the D-League.

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The mourning after.
Caloy Garcia and the Letran Knights get back to the business of winning in the PBA and the D-League.
by rick olivares pic from abs-cbn

Barely three days after their heartbreaking loss in the NCAA Finals, Caloy Garcia and the Letran Knights have to put everything behind them and concentrate on the here and now.

“Obviously, we would have wanted to gift the Letran community with a championship,” said Garcia who just concluded his first NCAA season at the helm of his alma mater. “We would have also wanted to win it for Franz Dysam who suffered a personal tragedy. But I guess it was just not meant to be.”

Dysam and his girlfriend were shot following a Letran NCAA match against Lyceum of the Philippines University. Dysam’s girlfriend Joanne Sordan were shot at by motorcycle riding gunmen at the corner of N. Domingo and Araneta Avenue in San Juan. Sordan succumbed to her gunshot wounds later at the San Juan Medical Center while Dysam suffered some bullet wounds.

Hours after the loss to San Beda, Garcia, assistant Mike Buendia and center Raymond Almazan flew to Davao to join the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters who were going to play the Alaska Aces for their PBA season opener.

Almazan, the Elasto Painters’ number three overall pick of the 2013 draft was not sent in as he had not sufficiently recovered from a hard game the day before. But it didn’t matter as ROS  white washed the Aces 87-74 before a packed crowd at the University of Southeastern Philippines gym.

“It was good to get a win,” said Garcia of Rain or Shine’s victory. “It doesn’t fully erase the pain of the loss but it’s still a win. You have to forget everything and move forward.”

Garcia got a second win as his PBA D-League team, Hog’s Breath crushed Wangs Basketball, 109-93, for their third straight victory in the Aspirants’ Cup. Hog’s Breath has four Letran players in Jonathan Belorio, Jamil Gabawan, Kevin Racal, and Ford Ruaya.

“There’s no time to think about it because there are other responsibilities,” admitted Garcia’s long time assistant, Mike Buendia after the Hog’s Breath win. “You have to be professional about it.”

The Knights’ starting point guard, Mark Cruz, suited up after the Hog’s Breath game for Cagayan Valley. “Sayang talaga,” rued Cruz. “At least lumaban kami.”

When asked about the weight of losing two consecutive NCAA Finals, Cruz acknowledged it was a heavy burden but it doesn’t mean that he or his team should give it up. “Susubukan na lang namin ulit next year,” he promised.

The Knights will be losing the league’s Most Valuable Player in Almazan as well as Belorio and point guard Franz Dysam.   

Garcia hopes to develop young understudies Chester Saldua who stands 6’5” and Felix Apreku who is a 6’3” forward. “Not enough pieces so we will have to look around as well,” noted Garcia of his pieces for Letran next season. Coming back will be Cruz, Racal, Gabawan, Ruaya, and their wondrous pair of tough combo guards McJour Luib and Rey Nambatac. 

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