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, April 30, 2015

This is PBA Life, the Official Lifestyle magazine of the Philippine Basketball Association

Several years ago, some of my friends and I got together to put up Rebound, a college basketball magazine that had a good run for about three years before we packed it in (not because of bad sales but because of the challenges of running a magazine when we all had day jobs). That sort of paved the way for my self-publishing my own comic books as well as creating outlines for three coffeetable books that I wrote (Ateneo's five-peat, Gilas Pilipinas' FIBA Asia run in 2013, and the NU Bulldogs' championship of 2014). 

And then came along the chance to become editor-in-chief of a new lifestyle magazine of the Philippine Basketball Association. Initially I came up with the name, CrossCourt, a reference to how we were crossing courts to say to the personal lives of PBA team owners, coaches, and players. When we moved from UNO magazine to Hinge Inquirer, I was asked to change the name and I came up with PBA Life. That stems from several things: one, it is a lifestyle mag of the PBA; two, chances if if you are a PBA fan you have been one for life. And lastly, in this mag, we truly hope to bring fans closer to what the PBA is all about -- the people who make up the organization and its teams.

As an old-time PBA fan who rooted first for Toyota and then Ginebra, this is a fanboy dream come true. As a kid, I read Sports Flash, Atlas Sports Weekly, Sport, and what have you. I collected them and saw that collection throw out by my mom when I loved to the United States. But the connection has always been there. An uncle of mine brought in a late 1970s Golden State Warriors team to Manila to play a PBA selection. My mother, who used to work for the US government, would host American imports at the Consulate for events. While working for Gatorade, we came up with a lot of tie-ups (from the last PBA Draft Combine where I brought back the drills and scrimmages to the PBA Draft) with the league. It also gave me a chance to make good on a promise to get an endoresement for LA Tenorio who has been good for the brand. Then Commissioner Chito Salud brought me in to contribute to the website and that paved the way for PBA Life. Much thanks to Rhose Montreal for that assignment! We worked together during the last PBA Draft Combine and Rookie Draft and it was a blast!

In the first issue, our cover personality is June Mar Fajardo who was terrific and very accomodating. We also feature in the maiden edition Calvin Abueva, LA Tenorio, Ryan Arana, Jimmy Alapag, Marcus Douthit, Tony dela Cruz, Ronald Tubid who cooked kare kare for us, Stanley Pringle who tried out Filipino food, newly weds JC and Bianca Intal, Willie Miller, some dude named Manny Pacquiao, and more! 

PBA Life will be out this May 15 in stores and newstands everywhere for P120.

Most recently, the Commissioner also approved another project of mine where the league will tie up with the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Having lived abroad, I have seen not only the United States military but also the British and that of our Asian neighbors' soldiers take part in major sporting events. And I wondered why doesn't this happen locally? I first pitched it to Colonel Arnulfo Burgos, former AFP spokesman and now exclusively with the Army, who loved it. Then I brought it up to Comm Salud who immediately approved it (READ MORE ABOUT THAT IN THIS LINK). Essentially, for PBA events such as the All-Star Game, Finals Game 1 and possibly Game 7, a military color guard will be on hand for the national anthem. The PBA will also provide seating every Wednesday for wounded and disabled soldiers beginning the Governors' Cup. The PBA will try to host CSR programs in military camps as well. Seeing the color guard before the singing of the national anthem of Game 7 last night, I felt proud. As someone with relatives, classmates, and close friends who served or are currently serving in the military, this means a lot. But this isn't for me but others, the fans and the men and women in uniform.

And that is all part of the PBA Life.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Looking at the JRU Heavy Bombers 2015-16

This appears on

Looking at the JRU Heavy Bombers 2015-16
by rick olivares

When I took my first look at this year’s Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, my first thought was, “What if Jaycee Asuncion, Michael Mabulac, and Philip Paniamogan were still on this team?” Or better yet, “What if Jordan Dela Paz, Paolo Pontejos, and Abdel Poutouochi played on last year’s squad?”

JRU finished third last season. I really thought that Asuncion and Paniamogan pulled their fat out of the fire on many an occasion. Had they a few more parts to boost their chances, I would wager they would have made it as far as the finals.

And that brings me to this year.

Before I break that down further, the Heavy Bombers shoot for their third win in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup when take on the University of San Jose Recoletos Jaguars at 11:45am at the San Juan Arena on Wednesday, April 29. The Vergel Meneses-coached JRU squad edged FEU, 57-55, in their Group A opener then held off the College of Saint Benilde, 72-66, last Monday.

Meneses now counts on its pair of high-scoring guards Paolo Pontejos and Teytey Teodoro, forward Marco Balagtas, and center Abdel Poutouochi to lead their team.

However, here comes that obligatory “but”…

FEU wasn’t complete as Mark Belo didn’t play. Maybe the Tamaraws were feeling their way around but they sure didn’t look as fluid as they were when they had Carl Cruz, Roger Pogoy, Ron Dennison, and Anthony Hargrove (when the spirit moved him) in uniform.

College of Saint Benilde is good but have had problems closing out endgames.

Yes, it is early in the season, but they need some players to really step up. In the past two matches, Meneses would sometimes go to a four-guard line-up with Pontejos, Teodoro, Gio Lasquety, and Dave Sanchez. You can pull that off against teams like Perpetual Help or even Benilde but not against a front-line heavy San Beda squad that is going for six straight NCAA Seniors crowns.

Marco Balagtas is contributing. But they miss their back-to-the-basket player in Mabulac. Balagtas, Poutouochi, and Abdul Razak simply aren’t post-up players. That showed in their nerve-wracking win over the College of Saint Benilde as the Heavy Bombers curiously kept flubbing possessions by giving the ball to their African players when they have either poor dribbling skills or suspect decision making. They shouldn’t make their Africans the option on offense. Let them scavenge for the ball and put them back. That makes it more difficult to guard them.

The Heavy Bombers already lack ceiling and they are missing Jed Salaveria from the lineup. Nick Abanto and Ervin Grospe should help but they seem to more natural threes than fours or fives. Jordan Dela Paz? Haven’t seen the all-around form that he flashed last summer before he got cut due to grades. Maybe Meneses should call for an all-points bulletin because Dela Paz has gone missing (or at least his game has).

Like I said about Perpetual Help’s Fab Four last year, you can steal a game here and there against some taller and heavily-favored teams but in a long series? No way. And I think that their barometer should be San Beda. I don’t think making the finals is a victory or a high-point. San Beda is vulnerable still. They don’t have that great a bench. Just a very good starting five with some key players off the bench who are mainly guards. JRU can match up there but it’s in the frontline where they will have problems.

But that is why you play the pre-season – to get better and to tinker around. Like I said last season, it is great to see Vergel Meneses grow as a coach. Maybe this team will learn from last season’s mistakes.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup: Looking at the UE Red Warriors & UST Growling Tigers

My thoughts and analysis on the FIRST GAME OF THE TOURNAMENT for both the UE Red Warriors and UST Growling Tigers.


UE squeaks past UST in Filoil tourney
by rick olivares

The University of the East Red Warriors lost a lead, rallied, and nearly lost it again before stopping the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers on the last play to eke out a 60-59 win at the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup at the San Juan Arena yesterday.

Rookie Joshua Gonzales hit two free throws off a foul by UST’s Jon Sheriff with 1:33 left in the game to make it 60-57. Sheriff redeemed himself by hitting a jumper to come within a point. In UE’s next possession, Paul Varilla, now UE’s leader after Roi Sumang opted out of his final playing year, turned the ball over. But the Red Warriors held fast on defense for their first win of the tournament.

UE posted a 10-point lead in the first period, 25-15, but the Growling Tigers, sans Kevin Ferrer, Louie Vigil, and Karim Abdul who are all out on account of national team duty or niggling injuries came back to take the half, 32-29.

The Tigers led by seven-points to start the fourth period behind the lane incursions of Ed Daquioag and Mario Bonleon who ironically was a part of the UE squad that won the Filoil tournament in 2013. Bonleon left UE after the summer to go back home to Davao. He went back to Manila last season but served a year’s residency.

The Red Warriors charged back with three triples courtesy of Varilla, Gonzales, and freshman point guard Philip Manalang to tie the match at 57-all with 3:40 to play. UE took the lead for good on a free throw by African Bertrand Awana.

Paul Varilla was the only UE player to score in double figures with 10 points. Bonleon and Daquioag scored 17 and 12 points respectively for UST.

UE 60 – Varilla 10, Gonzales 9, Javier 8, Awana 7, Manalang 5, Abanto 4, Alberto 4, Penuela 4, Batiller 3, De Leon 2, Palma 2, Charcos 2, Larupay 0, Cruz 0.

UST 59 – Bonleon 17, Daquioag 12, Sheriff 8, Lao 7, Lee 4, Huang 3, DeCapia 3, Caunan 3, Magno 2, Kakonda 0, Furaque 0.

The UE Red Warriors 2015-16
Paul Varilla, Joshua Gonzales, Chris Javier, Bertrand Awana, Philip Manalang, Nick Abanto, Dan Alberto, Ralph Penuela, Edson Battiler, RR De Leon, Emil Palma, Edgar Charcos, Omar Larupay, Jeremy Cruz.

Bleachers Brew grade on the UE Red Warriors after one game: C-
The post-Roi Sumang era began albeit prematurely after the ace guard opted out of his final year. They can say that he wanted to concentrate on getting ready for the pros but to my knowledge, Roi never bought into the coaching of Derrick Pumaren. In fact, he almost did not suit up last season.

But play he did only now he isn’t there along with a few other mainstays – Charles Mammie, Gino Jumao-as, Bong Galanza, and Moustapha Arafat.

That’s pretty much the entire offensive force from last season. Defense? With a full year and summer to implement his system, Derrick Pumaren has a team – not the perfect one, mind you – to do what he wants and that is his patented full court high-pressure defense.

Paul Varilla is now their leader while Renz Palma, another Doberman of Pumaren’s is the backup. Chris Javier is there to provide vocal leadership. Against UST, he had one run where he strung up all of his eight points in consecutive fashion. When he returned in the second half, he left his game on the bench. Chris can score. He just needs to produce consistently. More importantly, play better on the defensive end. He now has the minutes as Charles Mammie is gone. Bertrand Awana is still a few months from finding his legs and groove on offense and defense. Awana showed he can be a force defensively when he blocked a Mario Bonleon layup with 17 seconds left that could have given UST a one-point lead.

Why is that crucial? Because this UE team will have problems putting points on the board. As much as I like Varilla, I thought that he played better in a support role last season. Now, he is the man.

Varilla, reminds me of the Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler – a guy who can hit it from the outside albeit not consistently, he can finish, play defense on the opposing top gun, likes to attack the basket, is expressionless. Maybe this is a stretch but this is what came to my mind while watching UE in action against UST today – the Red Warriors are made up of several Jimmy Butlers – tweeners who can are utility-like players. Palma is in the same vein. Penuela, Gonzales, Larupay…

I was surprised that Pumaren did not bring back RR De Leon. RR has a decent medium range shot. He can rebound and block shots too. His best shot of the day, however, was when UST rookie Marvin Lee careened out of bounds towards the UE bench after mishandling the ball. As Lee, who played for FEU in high school, looked like he was going to crash into someone, De Leon stood up and shoulder blocked him nearly flattening the Growling Tiger. That was a message sent after Lee got a call (his way) on a three-point attempt that was charged to Dan Alberto. He later hit Philip Manalang after which De Leon sent a message – “Hey, rookie. Know your place.” Lee dispensed with the physical play after that.

Speaking of rookies, UE’s Manalang, late of the NU Bullpups, finished with 5 points, 8 rebounds (third best on the team), 4 assists, and 2 turnovers. All in 22  minutes.

He hit a crucial trey that notched the count at 57-all with 3:40 to play in the game. That was the last deadlock. He made his presence felt and I should say that one day he will own that position for the Red Warriors (that is until Fran Yu is elevated from Team B to A). He didn’t mind playing a little rough with some of the UST players. But he should be careful for what he wishes for as Kevin Ferrer didn’t suit up.

The UST Growling Tigers 2015-16

Mario Bonleon, Ed Daquioag, Jon Sheriff, Kent Lao, Marvin Lee, Zach Huang, Norrish DeCapia, Enrique Caunan, Jasper Magno, Christian Kakonda, Evan Furaque, Louie Vigil, Jeepy Faundo, and Kevin Ferrer (Karim Abdul is injured).

Bleachers Brew grade on the UST Growling Tigers after one game: C-

It will be difficult to gauge this UST team until their three main players are back. It is a very different team.

This one reminds me in some way of their 2006 team sans a Jervy Cruz. Marvin Lee, who they tabbed out of Far Eastern University will be a defensive pest; a guy who can make things happen with his hustle, aggressiveness, and toughness. If Norrish DeCapia can bring his medium range shooting and expand his range and play steady like he did in San Beda, he could be another Jeric Fortuna. Zach Huang, out of Ateneo de Cebu, when he figures out the college game and how to play bigger players will be a player who will provide a lot of intangibles. Has a good head on him so am not worried.  Enrique Caunan – the next Melo Afuang? Evan Furaque is he can hit the medium range shot – no way can he play inside as he is too small for the college game – will help. But I like his willingness to bang inside. And there’s Mario Bonleon who has never met a shot that he didn’t like, is fearless, can put the ball in the basket, yet has yet to figure out when he should shoot or make the pass. Give the kid props…. He’s got balls.

It is good for Ed Daquioag to be the go-to person. That will serve him in good stead come the UAAP season. Jon Sheriff is gaining more confidence with every game and with every shot he buries.

These Tigers are a better offensive team than UE. Defensively, not yet there. UE fashioned out a win because of defense. It gives the Red Warriors a little more confidence while if you are UST you can say, “ho-hum, we were missing four guys.”

They need to find their legs and their system. I was trying to figure out what exactly they were doing on the court. But no cigar. Of course, it is one game.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Looking at the Ateneo Blue Eaglets and the San Beda Red Cubs

We will be reporting on variosu teams from the high school and colleg ranks throughout the summer. This of course is an analysis based on one match. The challenge will be to see how they develop as the tournament goes on and the months go by.

SJ Belangel drives to the basket.

Looking at the Ateneo Blue Eaglets and the San Beda Red Cubs
by rick olivares

The 2015 edition of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup tipped off with Juniors action as the NCAA champions San Beda faced off against UAAP titlists Ateneo. The Blue Eaglets looked poised to blow out the Red Cubs early in the game as they raced to a 24-10 lead in the first period. The Red Cubs answered by holding the Blue Eaglets scoreless for 5:20 to come within one point. They finally took a five-point lead in the third period behind two triples by Joshua Tagala.

Ateneo finally wrestled control of the match in the fourth period as their bench – SJ Belangel, RV Berjay, and Jason Credo went on a 7-2 run to give their side a 58-48 lead. Ateneo held off San Beda the rest of the way for a 72-66 win.

San Beda Red Cubs 2015-16

Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup roster: Chris Samaniego, Joshua Tagala, Addie Velasquez, Rob Nyve, Luke Sese, Prince Etrata, Evan Nelle, Ry Dela Rosa, Germy Mahinay, Albert Bordeos, Peter Alfaro, Sam Abuhijileh, Jeshuel Ladao, Migs Bolanos, JM Lagumen, Bernard De Guia, John Aguirre, Joshua Quezada, and Jasper Collado.

Coach JB Sison’s thoughts on this year’s Red Cubs: Sampu ang nag-graduate from last year’s team. We are left with five veterans - Prince Etrata, Addie Velasquez, Peter Alfaro, Albert Bordeos and Sam Abuhijleh.

I told them that “wala tayong go-to guy but we have a go-to play.” Walang Andrei Caracut. Walang Chami Diputado. Walang Norrish DeCapia. That play means we are looking for a leader to emerge. In the meantime, yung play namin – it is knowing kung saan tayo pupunta at saan namin ibabagsak ang bola. Pero importante at kailangan dumepensa kasi yan ang magpanalo sa atin.

Sa mga bago, yung tinutukan si Germy Mahinay our back-up center to Sam. I am hoping he can deliver right away. He has good work ethic now. Noong dumating yan sa amin tatamad-tamad yan. Now iba na yung attitude. And he can see what he can do if he puts his mind to the job.

Sila Tagala, Bordeos, and Velasquez will have to carry the scoring load as well.

This team of Red Cubs -- isang motivation yung ayaw mahinto yung string of six straight championships sa kanila. Alam nila ‘yan kaya sa practice they go hard at one another. Nagpapakita sila ng kanilang kakayahan. Nakikita ko naman yung trabaho nila sa practices. As for games wala pa kami nakakalaban na big team so this game against Ateneo, the UAAP champion, is our first big test. Dito ma-gauge kung saan na tayo.

Bleachers Brew grade on the Red Cubs after their loss to the Ateneo Blue Eaglets, 72-66: C+

I have seen the bulk of the team play in the NBTC and MMBL. For the veterans, Velasquez can shoot and drive. Of the newcomers, Lagumen, and Tagala can shoot as well. They have a seemingly endless parade of shooters to open up the lane for Abuhijleh and Mahinay to work the post. One-on-one, because of the size of Mahinay, he will be difficult to stop. A double team with a good pressure D such as Ateneo, he has to learn to pick his spots. They were up against a smaller Ateneo team but they got outrebounded 56-48. Mahinay had Andrade and Ildefonso on him. They mostly played him straight up one-on-one. But the Blue Eaglets made it difficult for him to get the entry pass. How many passes were picked off with SBC trying to get him going? Three? Four?

I like Evan Nelle who transferred from De La Salle Zobel to San Beda two years ago. He plays the point. While he can hot some pretty big shots, he has to make better decisions with the ball. I am glad they are giving the kid a chance.

This team – like last year’s squad, will rely on its forwards and guards. Sure their bigs will produce but the last time the Red Cubs had some really good centers who played in the lane (rather than shoot from the outside), it was when Fonso Gotladera and Chris Javier were in uniform.

My prognosis? They've got talent. But they still have to mesh.

Ateneo Blue Eaglets 2015-16

Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup roster: Bryan Andrade, Gian Mamuyac, Carlos Gatmaytan, RV Berjay, Jolo Mendoza, Justin Eustaquio, Jaime David, Zack Bernardo, Shier Hassan, Amchel Angeles, Shaun Ildefonso, Alfonso Rosales, Martin Mendoza, Allen TaƱedo, Dale Termoso, Jason Credo, SJ Belangel, JM Berjay, Migo Santos, and Andrei Flores.

The Blue Eaglets were supposed to have the services of Enzo Joson who still had a year left but he was stricken off the line-up because of academic deficiencies. It is real sad considering that he was entering his senior year.

Coach Joe Silva thoughts on this year’s Blue Eagles: Well, we are preparing for the UAAP. This summer we are planning on giving our veterans to become leaders and for the bench and the newcomers to get a lot of exposure. We focus on the technical stuff, the discipline, the effort and the attitude.

They are more confident now. In a good way. We really police them so they do not act mayabang. We are the defending champions so the confidence is here. We already scaled that mountain.

SJ Belangel and RV Berjay will be vital contributors. Bryan Andrade and Shaun Ildefonso are greatly improved and will help out our main veterans in Jolo Mendoza and Gian Mamuyac. We have Martin Mendoza back in the line-up and he should contribute. Justin Eustaquio takes over the point from Matt Nieto. SJ will come in for him. But we expect the rest of the team to contribute and soak in this experience.

Bleachers Brew grade on the Blue Eaglets after their win over SBC, 72-66: B
Scoring: Better and more well rounded this year. Jolo Mendoza and Gian Mamuyac and newcomer SJ Belangel will be their Big Three. But do not forget Shaun Ildefonso, Bryan Andrade, and RV Berjay.

Bench Depth: If Andrade can consistently crash the boards and replicate what Mike Nieto did for the team the past season, he will give this team an added dimension. SJ Belangel has got a tremendous upside. He learns pretty fast, I’ll say. After he lofted an alley-oop when he had the open shot (it went out for a turnover), the next time he attacked the lane, he went for the bucket. There will be more contributors: Martin Mendoza, I like Rosales and Credo. David Jaime has to look to make better decisions with the ball.

Defense: Full court pressure? Check!
Hustle? Check!
Rebounding: A smaller team compared to the Red Cubs yet they won the battle of the boards, 56-48.
Depth: Better than last year that’s for sure.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ben Askren lands some verbal jabs

MMA fighter Ben Askren during a Skype interview
Ben Askren lands some verbal jabs
By Rick Olivares and Pok Estrella

THE SOCIAL STANDARD recently conducted a Skype interview with MMA fighter Ben Askren. And true to expectations, the curly-haired tough guy from Wisconsin provided some colorful commentary about his upcoming ONE FC match against Luis Santos, Georges St. Pierre, and performance enhancing drugs.

Askren, looked to be headed from Bellator to the UFC when he took a sudden turn… to Asia and its largest MMA promotion in ONE FC. The 30-year old fighter debunked any thought that he settled for whoever was left in the sweepstakes that left him hanging. “ONE FC is a growing organization they are already the biggest one in Asia by far and when it came down to it, they gave me the best offer and I saw the option to be a part of a great team so I took it,” he succinctly says. “It’s a win-win situation for me and for ONE FC.”

Askren’s two-year contract signing as well as the recent announcement that former UFC champion Rich Franklin (they also snagged top Brazilian fighter Bibiano Fernandes two years before)  has taken residence in ONE FC have put the young MMA outfit on the top of search engines.

TSS: You made short work of your first two ONE FC opponents. How do you see this fight with Luis Santos (61-9-1) who comes in with a sterling record?

Ben Askren: I expect it to go the way my last two fights did. I’m sure he’s tough but I’m a lot tougher. Regardless of who you are and what your record is, I have a style that is tough for anybody to deal with.

Those two guys I fought earlier, (Bakhtiyar Abbasov and Nobutatsu Suzuki) been tough guys with terrific records 12-2 and 11-1. But like I said, my style is unique. No one else who can emulate style. So when you’re fighting me, it’s like a brand new experience no matter what your record is whether you’re 11-1 or 62-9 whatever the hell Luis Santos’ record is.

Askren so far is 14-0 with a 2-0 record in the ONE FC with both wins coming in the first round via submission and a technical knockout. He has also dominated his foes with his superior wrestling. Coupled with his knowledge of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – the results have been explosive.

It is a fact that has been proven over and over. Six of the eight champions in the UFC have a strong wrestling base.

TSS: Is high-level wrestling the antidote to Brazilian jiu jitsu?

Ben Askren: It has been that way for a while. It’s not that wrestling is better than jiu jitsu. In mixed martial arts in 2015, you need a little of everything, striking, wrestling, jiu jitsu… you gotta know it all. It’s the best base in the ring and there is no arguing that. I think if he’s (a wrestler) a beginner and he has no striking he takes it to the mat. No problem. He’s fighting a great jiu jitsu guy, he brings it down because jiu jitsu guy can’t take it. So it’s a determiner where the fight is.

In Luis Santos’ last fight, he took down Abbasov in the first round to set up this explosive match-up with Askren.

TSS: He’s on a tear. His victims have been previously unbeaten fighters.

Ben Askren: (interrupting in a good and humorous sway) No, not Santos! You’re getting the wrong person. He doesn’t have a lot of good people on his record. He fights a lot of bums. That’s why he is there. I promise you he fights bums that is why his record is so good.

TSS: (breaking out into laughter) That’s fair enough. Thanks for setting the record straight. Okay, now we’d like to ask you about your opinion about the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). Recently, GSP said that the only time he will come back to the UFC is if the organization cleans up its PEDs act.

Ben Askren: It’s ironic that GSP is saying that. I think it’s great that the added testing is gonna enhance the competition. I’m a competitor first. There is a question, “Is MMA a sport or entertainment? It is both obviously. We all know if people are on PEDS they are going to fight longer and will look bigger. So entertainment-wise it makes it better.

The pure competitor in me wants to know who is the best competitor in the world without cheating? With PEDs it’s like giving one fighter a knife and the other a baseball bat. It’s like giving fighters a weapon. It’s giving fighters an unfair and undue advantage. That is kind of how I view this PEDs mess. Hopefully, the competition will be level because a lot of us don’t want to cheat. Because there are a lot of us who don’t want to take risks with our body. And we really don’t know yet the long-term effects of the use of PEDs.

Ben Askren will be headlining ONE FC: Valor of Champions on April 24, 2015 at the Mall of Asia Arena.