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.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Planning the Gatorade PBA Draft Combine

Planning the details of the Gatorade PBA Draft Combine at the Emperor Dimsum Restaurant along Wilson Street in San Juan (syempre near my home) with Coach Bong Ramos and colleagues Ton Gatmaitan and Marcia Cruz last Thursday night.

In the last few years, the annual Philippine Draft Combine has seen draft hopefuls be tested merely for biometrics (height, wingspan, vertical leap etc). It has been boring to say the least about it. 

This year, when my cool new boss at Gatorade (who I work for handling their public relations), Tony Atayde, agreed to sponsor the event, I proposed that we return the competitive drills and scrimmages for the benefit of the coaches, media, and the fans. And was I glad that it was approved, first internally by my colleagues and by Tony, and then by the PBA. After that, we set about planning it with my teammates Ton Gatmaitan, Marcia Cruz, and Anna Romero. 

There were two people we thought of leading the drills and scrimmages: Franz Pumaren and Louie Alas. Coach Franz was unavailable (he's out of the country) and Coach Louie agreed to do it until the last moment when Alaska wanted him to do some scouting that day (and it is but logical that he do so). 

I had one other name on the list of coaches I listed: Bong Ramos. I first made his acquiantance when I met him in Indonesia in 2008 during Smart Gilas' initial foray internationally. Coach Bong was then coaching in Jakarta. Since then we've become friends more so when he served as a consultant along with Bai Cristobal to the UE Red Warriors with their good friend Boycie Zamar.

Coach Bong as you all know was most recently coach Barako Bull Energy. He's also worked with Derrick Pumaren in Air21 and others. He also played with Leo Isaac and Junel Baculi in Mapua's early title teams of the 1980s. 

We sat down last Thursday night to hammer out all the details of the camp (that he will be running alongside Coach Bai Cristobal) where with the help of the PBA. We divided the camp into the Monday session for players whose surnames begin with the letter A-H and Tuesday for players whose named end in letters I to Z. Wanting to further make the camp more meaningful, I asked Asi Taulava (since our national players are all abroad at the moment) to give a short and inspirational talk about what it means to be drafted and play in the PBA and the challenges and responsibilities one can expect. But the Big Fella was also unavailable due to a practice conflict with NLEX. So I asked good buddy Renren Ritualo who we are currently working with on Gatorade's new legacy campaign. And Renren agreed! 

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am for this GATORADE PBA DRAFT COMBINE not only for our company but personally as well. Aside from writing for the PBA's website, I get to do something with the league (I used to discuss ideas all the time with the late Jun Bernardino that never happened because of his passing) that I have been a fan of since I was kid rooting initially Toyota and then Ginebra. 

It's something off my bucket list.

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