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, October 31, 2015

The Ateneo Blue Eagle Moms Talk Part 2

L-R: Janet Gotladera, Irene Tolentino, Carol Go, me, Bing Babilonia, Pam Pessumal, and Mozzy Ravena at Earth Kitchen.

Blue Eagle Moms talk Part 2
by rick olivares

The first article where the mothers of some Ateneo Blue Eagles spoke about their feelings about this challenging season was well received prompting a second get together. So last Thursday, October 29, we all met up again at Earth Kitchen in White Plains to catch up more so since the Blue Eagles have started to play much better. 

We discussed if the first article helped tone down the noise, Vince Tolentino getting hurt in a game, the John Apacible incident, and social media. As always, the mothers’ thoughts were telling.

In attendance were those present the first time around, Bing Babilonia, Pam Pessumal, Janet Gotladera, and Irene Tolentino. Making it for the first time were Carol Go and Mozzy Ravena. 

Parts that are off the record have been chopped because it is none of anyone else’s business to know those things.

Rick: So did that first article help? I hope it did?

Bing:  Yes, it did. Si Gboy found it a little funny that we talked about those things. He thought we were just having dinner. He found it okay naman. And it has been positive since.

Pam: Von said, “Good answers, mommy.” (laughter all around). Yes, it helped. I wonder though what we will hear again when the team loses. Sana naman people are kinder and more understanding.

(yeses all around)

Janet: It turned out to be positive yung nangyari. Siguro meron nagsabi sa girlfriend ni Fonso about the article. Nagusap kami and I told her, "Thank you for being Fonso’s inspiration." And she said, “No, Tita. You’re Fonso’s inspiration.” 

All: Aww.

Janet: She said, "I am just there to support on the side." She got my vote with what she said.

(laughter and awws)

Janet: Sabi ng anak ko about our get together, 'Mama, ang cute niyo naman. Puro kayo mga mommies nag-ganyan kayo.' Eto yung mami-miss ko when Fonso graduates.

Irene: Same. I think it was good for all of us. Positive din. Vince didn’t expect this. He thought dinner lang. But when he read it he said he was fine.

Rick: Carol, were you aware of what was written? How did you feel about it — the reactions of the moms?

Carol: I was able to read it and I was able to relate. (nods from everyone) Since I am new to the team and this samahan of the moms, I don’t know everybody very well. But through the article I was able to know them better. It was a good start. And it is the same. Hindi lang pala ako nag-iisa.

Mozzy: Obviously, I was aware of the interview and what Rick wanted. I wanted to attend the first get together but a part of me didn’t want to go to because I wanted to hear from you. Kasi lagi akong ini-interview so it seems people hear from me all the time. So palaging voice ko. I wanted to see if the other moms have the same thoughts and feelings. Baka ako lang. But it turned out that we more or less have the same feelings. It was the same for everyone. First and foremost, they are our kids aside from being Ateneo players. It was really good. And everybody could relate.

If you cross the story with the basketball side, it became clearer with basketball fanatics how we are and what we experience. It isn’t to make paranig or scold anyone. It was just to make our thoughts known. Yes, Kiefer read it too. He nodded. Agree siya!

Rick: That’s good then! Hope it holds up. Masusubukan tayo ulit when we face adversity. But let’s hope for the best.

(everyone says yes and agree)

Rick: Since our last get together, Ateneo has been on a win streak. However, there was that game against Adamson where Vince (Tolentino) was yanked to the court and could have been really injured. As mothers, what did you think that moment Vince hit the floor? What did you think? Did you fear for Vince and your own son? Let’s go with your first, Irene, so anak mo yung involved.

Irene: Actually, the moms have a Viber group and I said, “See this is what I dread the most. More than anything I am worried about injuries.' I have a daughter (Katrina who is with the Ateneo Women’s Volleyball Team) who is playing sports and still in the stage of recuperating after a knee injury. She is going through a very difficult phase where she is wondering if she should play again after repeated injuries. You cannot imagine how it also bothers me to see my daughter’s dreams up in the air. But I want what is best for her. Sometimes you have to say something and sometimes you have to give them space. It is hard for me as I can talk. And then when Vince got pulled down, I went, ‘Oh, my God! My son! Not another child!” I was praying, please, no. Wag naman sana na injured or he is hurt. 

As moms, no matter how much we want to support our kids, that we want them to have lots of playing time, there is that fear of injuries where they could experience something terrible. In fact, most of the articles I clip about my son are about what happened to Vince. You want it to be about his contributions and not him being hurt.

Of course, what our children want is more playing time. So my prayers are always for Vince’s safety and also of his teammates.

Rick: Did you run down from where you were seated?

Irene: No, it was my husband who stood up and checked on my son. I stayed seated and was frightened. My daughter was next to me and she helped me get through all my nerves. She said, “Mom, look at Vince.” She was pointing to the big screen above where they were poking cotton buds in Vince’s nose. But she said it in a manner that was funny because Vince doesn’t get too many close ups on the screen or TV and now he was. Her being light about it and of course, Vince was alright, helped me get through that difficult moment.

Mozzy: Rick, do you know that Irene’s daughter Katrina has gone through two injuries?

Irene: Three actually.

Mozzy: See, Rick… three na pala si Katrina. (shakes her head) It is hard for Irene and it is hard for all of us parents. 

(everyone agrees)

Carol: As a mom, our first concern is for our kids to be safe. More than playing time. Most of our sons here (at dinner) are guarding the foreign players who are bigger, stronger, and taller. We have that fear they could be hurt. My son is a rookie and very inexperienced compared to the others. Seeing Vince get pulled down, it was like seeing my own son get hurt. I was concerned too for Vince. We all were.

Rick: Isaac got hit in the last game (versus NU). He was still smiling. What were you thinking at that time?

Carol: Actually, he felt something. But that is his personality — he always smiles. 

Rick: So you were not worried? 

Carol: We were definitely concerned. After we saw the replay of what happened, we asked him, ‘How come you were still smiling; were you not hurt?’ Isaac said, ‘Mom! What do you expect me to do — cry? I have to get back to the game and help my team.'

Rick: That’s a good answer.

(everyone agrees and claps)

Carol: Yes, but the day after that, he said, ‘Ma, I think there’s something wrong with me.' While doing gym work, the right ear felt heavier and he felt cross-eyed…

All: ohhh.

Pam: Oh, my God. I hope it is nothing bad?

Rick: I hope it’s not a concussion.

Carol: Actually now he is under observation although he is feeling better now. We saw a doctor and it was more of trauma. He is better though. Thank you for your concern for my son and of course, kay Vince din.

Bing: Kami naman there was that incident where GBoy dislocated his shoulder. As Carol said, you pray for the safety of not only your son but for all the players. Even the players on the other team. Nga-flashback ako when I saw what happened to Vince.

Now I think this proves that you care not only for your son but also for the team.

(everyone agrees)

Pam: When I saw Vince fall, I feared for him. I prayed for him but I also got these flashbacks to Von’s injuries through the years. To this day, I do not want to look at pictures of Von’s injury (the finger injury he suffered two years ago where his bone stuck out after getting jabbed). I don’t think I can. I don’t want. All I could do at that moment was pray that Vince is okay. Thankfully naman he is all right.

Janet: I got scared for Vince and also Fonso. I realize injuries are part of the game but wag naman sana masama. Hindi naman maiiwasan but you can only pray it isn’t bad. Two years ago when Ateneo played La Salle, Fonso got hit behind the head. I knew he got hurt so I told my sister that we need to get a scan for him. That is one of the reasons why I don’t sit in the patron section, I am afraid. Once I sat next to Mozzy and tulala ako. Wala akong sinasabi. She said, ‘Okay ka lang?’ I said yes, but I keep quiet. 

I want Fonso to do well but I always get nervous. Ayoko lang makita nasasaktan anak ko. Minsan naghubad ng shirt at black and blue yung likod niya how can you need fear for his health and safety?

Irene: Hindi lang yung bruises, meron din mga kalmot.

Bing: Oo nga. Some people need to cut their nails. Ang hahaba kasi!


Mozzy: I wasn’t in the venue when Vince got hurt. I knew about it through text. So I watched the replay. I felt bad  for what happened but at the same time, I felt proud of Kiefer for going to the defense of his teammate. 

Rick: Si Vince got up almost immediately and like Kief, went toward Nalos…

Irene: I asked Vince what was he going to do and he said he just wanted to tell Nalos that what he did was not cool.

All: awwws and laughter.

Irene: I think it was also nice of Kiefer to go up to the Adamson bench and apologize.

Bing: You can see that the team watches over each other. They are growing din as a team.

Rick: Moving on, the team is now winning. Sana tuloy tuloy na (knock on wood). More players are contributing. Carol, …. Isaac is now getting playing time.

Carol: We are very happy that Isaac is being given a chance by Coach Bo. Previously, every time we watch, we say, 'Just get ready because you can be called any time. Give quality minutes.’ Pero most likely hindi siya makakalaro. But not he is given a chance and I will not deny that when we see him get up from the bench, excited ako. Pero may concern na baka hindi maganda ipakita niya. 

We always encourage him to be prepared. He understands his role in the team. He knows he still lacks experience and needs to develop more skills. He needs to catch up. He accepts that he will not have much playing time. But he always gives it his best and the senior players always encourage him.

Right now, his goal is to continue to work hard so when called again, no matter how, little, he can contribute to Ateneo.

Rick: This one is a little more sensitive — after the John Apacible incident, did you talk about it with your son?

Bing: Naawa ako sa bata (John). Siguro na-lost lang siya along the way. I do not know how Ateneo will judge the case but if you look at social media it is harsh. Naha-harsh kami. I think it is incumbent upon us to help bring him in and provide positive feedback and what he can do. It must be very hard for him.

Carol: As a mom it is my responsibility to remind my son how to behave. When faced with mistakes, how to move on. That is important. I admire my son and his teammates. Although they know what John did wasn’t right, they support him in making good and coming back from this. They are just like brothers. No one wanted this to happen but they still help each other. I think that is admirable.

Irene: This is a first experience for me as a mom with a child here. What bothered me is how social media drives this world. When Vince told me about it, I was concerned with how social media is ruining this boy’s life. I feel bad for John. He made a mistake and he must find ways to make good after all is done. But he is harshly treated.

The truth is I am new here. Should we moms try to do something for him? Since I am new, I am not sure what the protocol is here. If this happened in Canada, I know that I will do something about it to help him rebound from this. This is a time to help him and not ostracize him.

Janet: Ako I constantly remind him (Fonso) being in a varsity team nama-magnify lahat ng ginagawa nila positive or negative. Pag gumi-gimmick sila people talk about them. I said, ‘Be careful, anak. Mahirap mag-explain sa lahat. Once you commit something negative, ang hirap I-redeem sarili mo. Whether you like it or not, you are role models so people look up to you. There is a responsibility.’ 

So even if they are young, they have to think many times bago meron silang gawin. Just be careful. Lalo na in this age of social media. 

Rick: Having said that, social media, do you caution your son about how they interact in social media?

Bing: Yes, all the time. They can be very opinionated. They should be wary of what they say. I tell them they should be responsible with their opinions. Pwede sila makasakit. Just because it is their opinion that doesn’t mean they are right. And they have to understand the repercussions of their actions.

Pam: I want to share this. May pinost ang daughter ko about what happened to John. She said, ‘Why did you have to post this? Why did you have to video this?' I said, ‘Darling, I agree with you. But when you post these sensitive matters, just keep it to yourself and your friends and not open to the public kasi maraming bashers. There are a lot of nasty people out there. Some people can take that but some people cannot.

So my daughter made this only available to her friends.

Mozzy: At the time of what happened to John, a lot of reporters were asking me for Kiefer’s number trying to get a quote from him about it. I told my son to wait for Ateneo’s response. Ateneo should make the statement and not him. 

Si Kiefer, I don’t know if it is a blessing or a curse that a lot of people watch what he does and will look to him to say something. Either they will love him or hate him. It is very hard. Half of the time, people will connect a quote to an incident and an innocent remark can be misconstrued. Sometimes, putting out even a simply picture — people will misinterpret it and say something. 

Rick: So you openly discuss it with your kids?

Mozzy: Yes. I also want it to come from my boys naintindihan nila yung situation and they know what is right and wrong.

Carol: Isaac has his Twitter but he hardly posts anything. 


We always discuss social media and the dangers of it. We also talk to him about his opinions and how he should communicate them. Like all the moms here, we talk about it. Every single day we remind him of responsibility.

Irene: When there is something I strongly want to tell Vince, I chose and pick the time to do that. And social media is one of that. As a mom, I tell him what his role is. I always recommend that he open communication lines because we have to guide him. If we cannot, he should ask his professors or the team managers. It isn’t bad to get advice from others, I tell him.

Vince works very well with his dad. So they talk about those concerns. 

Janet: Para silang public property (the Blue Eagles and other teams). Napapanood sila sa TV. When people see them having fun when they go out, kung ano nakikita sa kanila, people talk about it. Yung ang sinasabi ko kay Fonso to be careful. Talagang prino-protect yung image niya. He really wants to have a good image lalo na here in Ateneo. 

Rick: Speaking of the effects of social media, two years ago, Kiefer got injured before the start of the season and that heavily affected Ateneo’s performance. Social media was constantly buzzing about Kief that time. What was it like for you and your family, Moz?

Mozzy: Traumatic experience para sa family namin yung na-injure si Kiefer two seasons ago. Alam mo hindi mo masabi o ma-kwento lahat. At the bottom of it all, partly may kasalanan kami. Pero wala kaming choice but to keep quiet. But it was hard. Kailangan lunukin mo lahat yung sinasabi. I saw how it affect Kiefer in a way we never saw before. He was often quiet. Hindi siya nag-open up about his feelings inside. Doon namin nakita the real value of basketball was to him. 

Bing: For GBoy, he adapted the philosophy of not paying attention to what people say. Wala ka naman magagawa sa mga sinasabi? Why when it will affect his game even more?

I told him that even if he disregards what the public thinks, he still has to think and act responsibly. 

Rick: So, moms, hindi niyo naman binabawal sila from social media?

Bing: No. Just be responsible. 

Janet: No. Even if you do they will be curious and find ways to engage in it. So tama yung sabi lahat ng moms, constant reminders.

Pam: That is what we are here for as well.


In case you missed the first article of the Blue Eagle Moms talk, click the link below:


  1. Enlightening stuff. Glad to have this (and the first part too). Thanks, Rick!

    1. Thanks, Exie! The dads daw are too cool and macho to show any emotion. Now working on another one with the moms of another team.