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.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

From fastballs to fastbreaks: Rome De La Rosa’s field of dreams is the PBA hardcourt

This appears on the PBA website.

From fastballs to fastbreaks: Rome De La Rosa’s field of dreams is the PBA hardcourt
by rick olivares

Sometimes, a person choses another path wholly different from his parents only to find himself veering off course to align with what seems like fate.

Rome de la Rosa grew up in San Diego, California where he rooted for the hometown Padres. He played the hot spot of third base and at times catcher. And like every young kid who took up the sport, he had dreams of greatness on the baseball diamond.

“Baseball was my first sport,” recalled Rome. “I also played some flag football but baseball was my favorite. I loved it as only a kid can. I played it from sun up to sundown. But eventually it took a toll on me especially when I played catcher. It hurt my knees and the 90-mile-an-hour pitches and plate collisions left bruises and welts all over me.”

But life threw him a curveball.

He knew that his father Romy was a basketball star in Manila who famously played for the Shell Turbochargers alongside Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, and Arnie Tuadles. The elder De La Rosa later suited up for Sta. Lucia and Negros in the now defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association.

Eventually, Rome traded the fastball for the fastbreak as he took up the sport of his father and uncle (Reuben de la Rosa). Like them, he was a fearless slasher (no pun intended if you get this) who later developed a reliable perimeter shot. He also became a top-notch defender; a left over from his baseball days.

“Having played third base and catcher, you look at all the angles of where the batter might want to hit a ball. You work on your anticipation and try to make good reads,” explained De La Rosa. “So in basketball, that helped me with my anticipation for steals and even blocked shots.”

And so the six-foot-four stalwart showcased his wares with the San Beda Red Lions in the NCAA and the NLEX Road Warriors in the D-League, where he was a part of many a championship squad.

Now after five years in the amateurs, Rome is ready to follow in his father’s and uncle’s footsteps – the Philippine Basketball Association.

With the Gatorade PBA Draft 12 days away, Rome has been joining the workout sessions by Barako Bull and Rain or Shine while working out at the Athlete’s Lab.

“I’m nervous,” he admitted. “I talked to my dad about it and he told me to relax and simply concentrate on doing my best. Even if there are two more teams, you can never be sure. Until your name is called out that nervousness will be there. But even that is just the start. If I am drafted, I have to prove to my new team that I deserve to be signed up by them. That’s the challenge though.”

“And of course, it would be real cool to have a second generation De La Rosa in the PBA.”

And that curveball life threw at him?

Rome De La Rosa laughed.

“One thing that I am working on is my jumpshot. I’m just striving for more consistency.”

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