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.

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