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

UAAP stars (Roi Sumang, Nico Elorde, Norbert Torres, Jansen Rios & Aljon Mariano) talk about their PBA dreams

Roi Sumang, Aljon Mariano and Jansen Rios during last Thursday's Gatorade PBA Draft Combine
This appears in the Saturday, August 22, 2015 edition of the Business Mirror.

UAAP stars hopeful about making PBA jump
by rick olivares

Of the 64 PBA Draft applicants, 19 come from UAAP schools. 

We caught up with five former UAAP stars who are hoping to make the next big jump in their basketball dreams.

Nico Elorde (Ateneo)
When I was in grade school, I didn’t dream about the PBA. You have plenty of other things on your mind. It was only in high school that becoming a pro basketball player became my dream. I told my parents about it and they supported my push towards that. My family is proud and excited of the fact that we have a chance to see an Elorde really make a name for himself in another sport. Hindi lang kami pang-boxing. I have won titles in high school, college, and in the semi-pro league. I have been fortunate to join teams with good systems, management, and teammates and that has helped me.

My favorite player growing up was JayJay Helterbrand. Grabe siya in his early years — yung speed, hustle, heart, tapang. And malakas siya. Kahit banggain sa pag-drive niya kayang kaya niyang tapusin yun play. As I got older, there were other idols — Jimmy Alapag and Mark Barroca. Mark plays great defense and is an all-around player. Jimmy is a leader. You can see that on the floor.

Practicing at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center with Talk ’N Text, I received some valuable advice from Jimmy. He told me dapat wag masyado magalaw. Not too many fancy moves because that some times leads to turnovers. And that when running the point, I should direct the team. I have taken that advice to heart.

Norbert Torres (La Salle)
Even as I was growing up in Canada, I always knew that there was something I wanted to pursue here in the Philippines. The RP Youth Team and Coach Franz (Pumaren) provided that bridge. 

Doing well in the Rookie Camp? That really gives me a lot of confidence especially since this draft class is deep and has a lot of talent.

Back in Canada, I would shoot a lot from the outside. I think that will help me should I get into the PBA. That is definitely a big plus to be able to shoot from mid-range. However, playing the four or five is something that helped expand my game. 

If I get drafted, I get a chance to follow my basketball idol Macmac Cardona who starred also for La Salle and did very well in the PBA.

Roi Sumang (UE)
Sa totoo lang, ang hirap at masakit yung desisyon na hindi na maglaro para sa UE ng final year ko. Pero kailangan na. Kailangan ko rin kasi tulungan yung pamilya ko dahil matanda na rin mga magulang ko. Ako yung panganay sa anim na magkakapatid. Dapat talaga tulungan ko na papa ko.

Nung bata pa ako doon lang ako sa mga kanto ng Tondo o ligang barangay lang naglalaro. Hindi ko inisip na makakapaglaro ako sa Letran nung high school at lalo na sa UE nung college. Hindi ko akalain na makakalaro rin ako para sa national team nung Southeast Asian Games (last 2013). 

Ngayon may chance magpunta sa PBA. Nung bata ako pinapanood ko lang yung mga laro sa TV. Ginebra fan ako. Si Vince Hizon yung idol ko. Pagnaglalaro ako sa mga liga noon, #12 yung suot ko

Sana matupad yung pangarap ko.

Jansen Rios (Adamson)
Noong bata pa ako sa Romblon, futbol yung laro namin. Wala akong alam sa basketbol. Liverpool fan nga ako. Dream ko maglaro sa mga big football teams. Yun lang. Then nung tumangkad ako marami na nagsabi na maglaro ako ng basketbol. Subukan ko. Late bloomer nga ako sa basketbol. Pero na in-love ako sa basketbol. So dream ko na after that to go to Manila para maglaro. At doon ako sa Adamson nagpunta.

Minsan pagnaiisip ko, ang hirap pumunta sa small school kasi iba yung opportunities. Hindi tulad kung maglaro ka sa Ateneo o La Salle. Proud ako sa school ko, Adamson. Pero ang hirap para hindi lang sa akin pero pati na rin sa mga teammates ko kasi hindi malaki yung programa namin tapos minsan lang kami manalo. 

Sa dami namin dito sa draft class na to parang ang hirap magpakita ng gilas sa mga nanonood na coaches. Sana rin mabigyan ng chance.

Aljon Mariano (UST)
Medyo nerbyos at excited ako sa darating na draft. Live in the moment lang ako. Prepare ng maayos lang para sa draft camp na to at sana magustuhan ng coaches yung laro or ano kaya kong gawin. 

Ang average height naman sa PBA mga 6’2” so sa height ko kaya ko naman maglaro. Natural position ko yung tres pero dahil small ball laro namin sa UST naglalaro ako ng four. 

Nung high school ako ang pinapanood ko si JC Intal sa Ateneo at nung nasa PBA na siya. Ginagaya gaya ko yung moves niya sa mga court. Mahirap din dinaanan niya pero kita mo ngayon nasa Gilas na siya.

Sana mabigyan din ako ng chance. Pagnagkikita kami ng mga dating teammate ko na nasa PBA at yung mga nauna sa akin tulad nila Dylan Ababou, nagtatanong ako ng mga advice kung ano dapat kong gawin para makaabot sa PBA. Nagdadasal din ako na may chance ako makapag-PBA. 

Former Green Archers manager Eric Ongkauko, Almond Vosotros, Yutien Andrada, and Norbert Torres

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