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.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

FIVB recognizes Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas

Please find a screen shoot of the actual document where the FIVB attests to its recognition of LVP as the national sports association for volleyball. I heard the PVF crashed the Philippine Olympic Committee's General Assembly the other day and asked if their case can be placed in the agenda. Furthermore, they brought some of the misguided players form their Amihan and Bagwis squads. That prompted POC Chairman Peping Cojuangco to quip: You are letting the children fight your battles?

Am trying to get my hands on some other documents regarding this matter.

Mo Gingerich: An air of excitment coming out of Diliman

An air of excitement coming out of Diliman
by rick olivares

During the Filoil Flying V Pre-season Cup coaches meeting yesterday at Brothers Burger along Meralco Avenue, new University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons assistant Moriah Joel Gingerich admitted there’s an air of excitement coming out of Diliman.

“I think it’s not just because we’re the hosts for the UAAP’s Season 78 but also because of how team management and the alumni have put together a veteran team with some blue chip additions,” enthused Gingerich. “Right now the goal is to get better every game. Use Filoil as a springboard for the UAAP, and shoot for a Final Four slot.”

“Coach Mo’ as he is now fondly called, has moved from the players’ end of the bench to as an assistant coach.

Gingerich, the Ohio-born kid who came out of Faith Academy in Antipolo City was a do-it-all player for the Maroons but in his latter two years, he made a name for himself as a defensive stopper. “My job primarily as a player was to stop the other team’s best scorer,” said Gingerich.

Even now as an assistant, the Sports Science graduate still multi-tasks. “I do a little bit of everything – scouting, helping out with the guards, work on offense and defense, attend press conferences for our team. I love my job,” Coach Mo enthused.

“I have to say that when I see our guys getting lit up, I wish I could be on the floor to do the job for them.  However, at the same time, it is gratifying to be able to teach what I have learned over the years to our young players.”

“We have lots of veteran holdovers in Mark Juruena, Dave Moralde, JR Gallaraza, Diego Dario, Andrew Harris to name a few (Mikee Reyes has been released). And coming back is Paul Desiderio who is a national team veteran, and Jett Manuel who hasn’t played in two years. We also have rookies Janjan Jaboneta and Pio Longa out of Ateneo de Cebu who will help us from the wing. And we are trying to get this tall player from Letran. We have two foreign players – Cheick Kone and Lionel Tekoudjou -- to rebound and play defense for us. With the Filoil tournament, we will be able to gauge where we are and what we need to do.”

Friday, March 27, 2015

Is Arnold Van Opstal out of the Green Archers’ lineup?

Is AVO out of the Green Archers’ lineup?
by rick olivares

When the De La Salle Green Archers take to the San Juan Arena on April 18 when the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup tips off, they will be without a familiar face in the middle – Arnold Van Opstal.

In the line-up submitted by third year head coach Juno Sauler, he listed holdovers Matt Salem, Julian Sargent, Jason Perkins, Jeron Teng, Prince Rivero, Thomas Torres, Kib Montalbo, Darryl Pascual and Abu Tratter; transferees Joshua Torralba from Emilio Aguinaldo College as well as Larry Muyang and Renzo Navarro from San Sebastian College; and rookies Jayboy Gob from La Salle Greenhills, Andrei Caracut from San Beda High School, and Jollo Go from Hope Christian High School.  

When I asked DLSU assistant coach Paolo Sauler, he merely said that was the lineup submitted to him.

Van Opstal is currently practicing with Sinag, the junior national team that will compete in a few weeks in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association this April and the Southeast Asian Games in June. Both tournaments will be held in Singapore. He is joined by former teammates Almond Vosotros and Norbert Torres. Curiously, Rivero and Teng are also with Sinag.

The 6’9” Van Opstal, who has one more playing year left, manned the slot for La Salle during its UAAP Season 76 title run. Van Opstal isn’t the only one who isn’t on the Green Archers’ lineup. Guards Robert Bolick moved to San Beda while Terrence Mustre transferred down the block to Adamson.

Filoil Flying V Premier Cup tips off April 18

This appears in

Filoil Flying V Premier Cup tips off April 18
by rick olivares

The ninth edition of the Filoil Flying V Pre-season Premier Cup tips off on April 18, 2015 at the San Juan Arena.

Eighteen college teams from the Metro Manila-based NCAA, UAAP, and NAASCU as well as from CESAFI will participate in the eagerly awaited summer basketball tournament that is seen as a preview to each team’s respective league. For many, it also provides as first look at the incoming rookies and transferees.

De La Salle University will be defending their title against revamped squads from San Beda, National University, and Adamson to name a few. Squads like Far Eastern University and the University of the East will retain a seasoned veteran core.

La Salle will parade rookies Andrei Caracut from San Beda and Jolo Go from Hope Christian High School.

San Beda will have a pair of transferees in Andre Paras who last suited up for UP and Josh Reyes, the former Ateneo Blue Eaglet. Should Kenneth Alas no move up from the Juniors ranks, this will be the first time since 2002 Red Cubs batch of Ford Arao, JVee Casio, and Yuri Escueta that no Red Cub will become a Red Lion.

The UE Red Warriors, with a full year under second year coach Derrick Pumaren, tabbed two former Chiang Kai Shek College Blue Dragons in point guard Fran Yu and forward Shannon Gagate.

The CEU Scorpions waylaid many a team en route to a third place finish that they parlayed into a successful title defense in NAASCU are back.

Making their Filoil debut are the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars out of CESAFI. They will be joining Southwestern University that will be making its third appearance in the league. Last year, the University of Visayas and University of San Carlos participated in the tournament alongside Holy Trinity College of General Santos City.

Bracketed in Group A are Adamson, Emilio Aguinaldo College, FEU, Jose Rizal University, Letran, NU, University of Perpetual Help, College of St. Benilde, and USJ-R.

In Group B, touted as the Group of Death, lined up are CEU, DLSU, Mapua, Lyceum, San Beda, UE, University of the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas, and SWU.

Ten squads will be competing in the Juniors Division including recently crowned UAAP champions Ateneo Blue Eaglets and NCAA six-peat squad San Beda Red Cubs. Other teams include De La Salle Zobel, JRU, Letran, Adamson, FEU, La Salle Greenhills, Mapua, and NU.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Stuck in the moment: Gwyne Capacio searches for his Ateneo moment

This appears in the Monday March 30, 2015 edition of the Business Mirror.

Stuck in the moment
As Gwyne Capacio enters his final playing year for Ateneo, he is looking forward to that one chance.
by rick olivares pic by philip sison

Basketball is a game of points. And moments.

In his third year at De La Salle Zobel, Gwyne Capacio scored 32 points in the Final Four against Far Eastern University. His performance towed the Junior Archers to the Juniors Finals against Ateneo where they fell in three games. But no matter, Capacio had his Juniors title in 2007. And it was quite a moment.

“I was only a sophomore at that time, but I can say that I contributed to that championship,” said Gwyne.

Cut to 2015. With the school year ending, Capacio is looking to finish his studies after one more semester and finally graduate from Ateneo. After a sterling high school career at DLSZ, he moved eastward to Loyola Heights where he became a Blue Eagle.

“I feel privileged,” proudly said Gwyne. “Being able to say that I was a part of the four and five-peat teams of Ateneo that made basketball history is a huge thing. Minsan lang mabuo yung ganyan na team and I was a part of that line-up.”

The Blue Eagle squad that Gwyne joined was a star-studded line-up with many of its players going to the professional ranks – Greg Slaughter, Nico Salva, Justin Chua, Raymond Austria, Ryan Buenafe, Emman Monfort, Juami Tiongson, and JP Erram.

Through it all, the quiet and reserved Capacio knew that he had to wait in line. But the waiting was killing him. “Like any of us, he wants to play,” related Von Pessumal who after guarding Gwyne in high school in the Juniors Division became his college teammate and a good friend. “He wants to be out there to contribute. He knows he can but he just needs the minutes and the ball to get his confidence going.”

As my longest teammate since grade school,” related Nico Elorde. “Nakita ko yung pag-improve niya lalo na nung second year namin. Biglang angat yung laro niya at siya rin yung key kaya nakuha namin yung championship. Parang kapatid ko siya. Madalas sabay kami umuuwi since taga-Paranaque kami. Sabi ko nga sa kanya nung summer last year stay positive lang siya kasi minsan nafe-feel ko na down siya. Alam ko na kailangan niya ng minutes sa court para mapakita niya yung kaya niyang gawin.”

“Before I graduated from high school,” recounted Gwyne. “I already had surgery on my knee. That really had a huge effect on me not only physically but also mentally. Ever since that injury puro kamalasan ang nangyari sa akin. It just so happened I had to undergo another surgery before the four-peat season. I didn’t have a chance to improve my game because I was recovering from my injury. Naunahan ako ng mga kasama ko. Nawalan din ako ng confidence sa sarili ko.”

The son of former FEU and PBA great, Glenn, Gwyne admits to feeling pressure following his father’s footsteps. “Syempre meron pressure,” acquiesced the younger Capacio. “Everyone wants me to be just like him. I mean he was somebody in the PBA where the coach could rely on him.”

“Pero para sa akin, masarap din maging anak ng PBA player,” countered Gwyne. “One of the main reasons is I get to learn first hand from a PBA great.”

During the 2011 University Games in Roxas City, Gwyne was quietly spectacular starring alongside Juami Tiongson and JP Erram in leading Ateneo to the championship sans Slaughter, Monfort, Buenafe, Salva, Kirk Long, and Kiefer Ravena.

After the five-peat team graduated to greener pastures, Capacio looked to be counted on to contribute to Bo Perasol’s squad. However, the nagging injuries slowed him down again curtailing his efficiency not to mention his minutes.

Last season, Capacio struggles continued. “All I am thinking about during games is that I should be ready whenever the coach puts me in. No matter how many minutes he will play me, dapat ready ako. But then again, there would be games where I think I can do more if given the chance.”

If one were to look at his Zobel team that won a Juniors title, Joshua Webb got lots of minutes during his freshman year but rode the bench of La Salle afterwards. Jed Manguera was in and out of the Green Archers’ line-up where he was eventually cut from the team just as it won a title in Season 76. Nico Elorde was famously cut before he found a home in Loyola Heights. Jeric Fortuna found minutes in UST but twice lost in the UAAP Finals. Migs De Asis and Martin Reyes went to UP where they were parts of teams that went nowhere. Capacio and Elorde are the only ones with seniors championship rings.

“Siguro may mga pinagpala talaga. And meron din malas. Pero that doesn’t mean na you should give up di ba? These challenges are all part of life. It’s up to us whether we keep on striving for the best or to be satisfied with mediocrity. In my case, nasa akin kung gagawin kong motivation yung pagkamalas or inspiration sa pagka-swerte ko.”

As the school year ends, Gwyne Capacio has the summer to complete his requirements in order to graduate. He remains undecided whether to call it quits on his college career and try his hand elsewhere such as the D-League. “I still have a chance to play,” he says wistfully.

“When I was a Junior Archer, we won the 2007 championship. As a Blue Eagle, we won the four and five-peats. Iba kasi talaga pag nag-champion ka. It is like as Coach Norman (Black) said, ‘pag champion, lahat bida.’”

“The championships are a blessing but as a Blue Eagle…” paused Capacio. “Wala pa yung hinahanap ko na moment. I am still waiting for that moment to come.”


Additional reading: Ateneo Blue Eagles take down the NORSU Tigers

For Under Armour, the game is afoot in the Philippines.

For Under Armour, the game is afoot in the Philippines.
by rick olivares

American sports apparel giant Under Armour recently opened in the Philippines and hit the ground running with a high-profile launch at Bonifacio Global City and the sponsorship of the eagerly awaited National Basketball Training Center High School All-Star Game held at the Meralco Gym.

Under Armour with NBA basketball star Stephen Curry as one its most high-profile athletes is known in the trade industry as a company with a strict adherence to ethics in all its endeavors.

In a recent conversation with Adrian Chai, Chief Marketing Officer for Under Armour Southeast Asia, bared that the response to the brand has been tremendous. “With the rise of the brand in the USA,” said Chai. The response so far has been tremendous. In particular, the basketball, compression attire and running range has gained quite significant traction with the technologies built in such as new "Charged Cushioning" and footwear being made and developed in a bra factory. What has been interesting is that the womens’ range has taken traction quite well with many athletes and personalities trying and feeling the difference technology products has to offer.”

Chai added that a few Filipino athletes have joined Under Armour’s pantheon of great stars. Volleyball megastar Gretchen Ho and champions swimmer Johan Aguilar are now part of the stable of athletes that aside from Curry, includes tennis star Andy Murray, Olympian Michael Phelps, ballerina Misty Copeland, and super model Gisele Bundchen. 

Regarding the recently concluded NBTC All-Star Game where UAAP Juniors Most Valuable Player Mike Nieto also emerged as the annual event’s best player, Chai shared his enthusiasm for the event, “We were working through Coach Eric Altamirano (NBTC founder) on some programs which may include involving up and coming basketball stars. Looking at the rise of basketball and the love for the game in the Philippines, it was a great opportunity for us to show our support for up and coming players just like the way they do it in the USA with the Elite 24 program.” 

Like any top athlete, Under Armour isn’t resting on its laurels. “We are constantly looking to find synergies with different sports to work with the brand,” enthused UA’s CMO. “It is however also important that we do not digress from the core competency of our apparel that involves training and our key sporting categories. We will embark on come exciting programmes in Basketball and also involve locals in our latest Earn Your Armour challenge where Filipinos across the country can join up and as a community to engage and train using Under Armour's recently acquired fitness tracking app Endomondo. We will tie this in with local on ground activations called Armour@The Fort where fans of the brand and others can join in and train up with our partner gyms and trainers.”