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.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Career interrupted: Eric Miraflores’ longshot PBA dream

Eric Miraflores (left) with former San Sebastian Stag Leo De Vera, myself, and Fil-Am point guard Jerramy King.
This appears on

Career interrupted: Eric Miraflores’ longshot PBA dream
by rick olivares

Eric Miraflores knows all too well about missed opportunities.

In 2004, he was playing for the University of the East Red Warriors’ Team B under Dindo Pumaren alongside teammates Elmer Espiritu, James Martinez, and Rob Labagala among others. They were all ready to move up to the first team when Eric’s family migrated to Australia.

“It was a difficult decision to make,” recalled Miraflores of the decision to move to another country. “But I decided to go.” Yet even across the miles, the five-foot-nine guard who was born in Davao City before his family moved to Manila, kept tabs on his former UE teammates, the UAAP, and the PBA. When some of his college teammates were drafted in the pro league, his interest was piqued and imagination stoked. “What if I had stayed in the Philippines,” he asked.

In the meantime, Miraflores worked two jobs in addition to playing for the Craigieburn Eagles, a semi-pro team in Victoria. The two day jobs were because his girlfriend was on the family way. Basketball, was his way of living an aborted PBA dream.

A few months ago, Miraflores asked himself a different question, “What if I tried out for the PBA?”

“I had this itch I had to scratch,” admitted Miraflores. “I just need to try it out and that way, I could say that I tried."

Miraflores planed in from Melbourne last Thursday morning, August 20, and immediately made his way to the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong City, the site of the PBA Draft Combine. 

He walked in and quietly took part in the scrimmages. “I didn’t know anyone except for (San Sebastian Stags forward-center) Bradwyn Guinto who he played against in Melbourne. Like Miraflores, Guinto’s family migrated as well to Australia but he came back to Manila to land a spot in the post-Calvin Abueva Stags team.

Unlike Guinto and just about everyone else, Miraflores is a 32-year old hopeful. “I know it’s a longshot but I really have to try.”

During the 2014 PBA Draft Combine, there were a pair of thirtysomething applicants in 32-year old Erwin Estole who also played for San Sebastian and then 35-year old Emmanuel Pacquiao who was drafted by KIA Sorento to complete his dual role as playing-coach. 

“In these next few days, I will try my best to work out with different teams,” revealed Miraflores. “The odds are stacked against me but I have to do this. I missed a chance to show what I could do a long time ago. I just didn’t want to miss that chance now.”

In the unfortunate event that Miraflores is undrafted and unable to latch on to any team, he plans on going back to Australia where his two jobs, semi-pro league, and family await him.

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