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, May 23, 2014

Cebu Diary Thursday (for the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup road games)

Cebu Diary Thursday

Thursday, May 22, 2014
NAIA Terminal 3 just joined NAIA’s legendary infamy. In one area – Section D of the airport – there were less than 10 counters servicing flights to General Santos City, Tacloban, Zamboanga, Caticlan, Davao, Iloilo, Bacolod, and two flights to Cebu.

This had all the makings of chaos.

True enough all these angry folks couldn’t restrain themselves any longer. Rather than have one dedicated line to a flight to a certain destination, one could line up anywhere. It didn’t help when the clerks would ask those who were running late for their earlier flights to go to the head of head of the line.

I arrived more than three hours before my scheduled flight. By the time I clear the final security check to go to my flight’s designated gate, there were only 25 minutes left until boarding time.

I refused to let this muddle my day (and this was at 5:30 in the morning). It helped that as soon as I buckled up, I was fast asleep.

When I arrived in Mactan International Airport, the chaos that was NAIA had also infected the local airport. One carousel was serving two flights! Can you believe that? Where in the world does this happen --- only here! Luckily for me, I only hand carry my stuff.

We’re staying at the Sarrosa International Hotel (somewhere in Mandaue) along with the UE Red Warriors (who were scheduled to arrive before lunch).

Wifi in the rooms are terrible so I hung out at the lobby to mooch the wifi and try and put in some work.

Around noon, a tour bus stopped just outside hotel. One of the first persons out of the bus was Charles Mammie and Roi Sumang. Soon the hotel lobby overflowed with people as participants swarmed 18 tall rock stars from a seminar for newly elected barangay officials from Leyte who mingled for photographs and selfies.

I politely asked one lady barangay captain if she even knew these UE Red Warriors. “Sumang! Chris (Javier) and Charles lang ang kilala ko!” the fiftysomething official gushed. “Sorry pero hindi ko kilala yung iba.”

Nevertheless, she and her fellow officials pose for photos even with the rookies. Amazing, I thought to myself.

“I’m excited to be here,” said Charles Mammie. “Basketball takes me to different places.”

The Red Warriors aren’t playing today though they do have practice at the Mandaue Sports Center.

The day’s matches feature an exhibition match between Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu and CEC. The Magis Eagles crush the life out of the Baby Dragons, 104-52.

I am impressed with several of the Magis Eagles – Joshua Sinclair, Alex Visser, Jose Longa, and Steven Co, and Jed Colonia. There were the old reliables like Felix Jaboneta and Anton Araw-Araw and some who didn’t play like Zach Huang. But the five I mentioned are darn good. Though still young, they have potential given more training and skills development. Except for Co, Colonia, and Araw-Araw, the others play forward-center. I was in disbelief as they outran even the opposing team’s point guards for fastbreak lay-ups and putbacks.

I watched only the first half between the Southwestern University Cobras and the University of the Visayas Green Lancers. The latter were in the game for the first 15 minutes before the Cobras begin to put some distance. The Cobras have some 50 maritime students all identically dressed in white shirts and jeans cheering for their team and they sure made their presence felt with their cheers and drums. A couple of them held up a streamer that read, "Unleash the Venom." 

Jasper Parker’s shooting and Landry Sanjo’s inside forays give their team a 28-17 first half lead. I later heard that the Cobras destroyed UV, 69-45 (behind the three-point shooting of Anton Pardo and more of Sanjo's inside points).

I left at the half to join Coach Rommel Rasmo and his Magis Eagles who I had written about during the NBTC. The Magis Eagles were treating me out!

We had dinner at Litang’s Barbecue at Barangay Pardo, Cebu. The father of Anton Araw-Araw is a partner for Litang’s and owner of Araw-Araw Halo Halo in an adjacent street.

Dinner was fantastic! Stripping the coconut wrappings around the puso rice and dipping the barbecue, lechon manok, and longganisa in their mélange of soy sauce, kalamansi, vinegar, eating with our hands – made for a hearty dining experience. I sat with the parents and Coach Rommel talking about basketball and Cebu stuff.

For dessert, we walked about a hundred meters away to Araw-Araw Halo Halo and this was the literal cherry on the icing. The Mega Special costs P85 yet the servings are way more generous than any other halo halo I have eaten in this country. In case you’re in Cebu and looking forward to try Litang’s or Araw-Araw Halo Halo, the address of the latter is 41-I. Tabora Street, Pardo, Cebu.

I take the opportunity to talk to some of the players and offer them some words of advice about the game and what they can do to become better players.

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