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.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

On the new (and delayed) PBA Hardcourt annual

Picked up my complimentary copies of PBA Hardcourt last night from the Inquirer office. There's a feeling of satisfaction, relief, and finality about this.

First of all, I didn't readily accept this job of overseeing the production of the 40th annual of the PBA. I was busy with other matters and thought that this would be too time consuming. Boy, it was more than that. More on that later.

I wanted to change the annual's look. I first began collecting Hardcourt in 1986 as a college freshman. I loved it as much as a fan could. And well, my tastes have changed. As has my sense of design and what annuals or even magazines and books should look like.

Upon getting the job as Hardcourt EIC, I wanted to make a few changes; a departure from what was previously established. The most obvious one is the cover. For the first time, you don't see a player on the cover. They usually feature some players that ranged through the years from the popular ones to those who receive awards. I was thinking -- it's the 40th anniversary and there are so many people who have made the league what it was. It would be an injustice to miss out on even one on the cover so why not be generic but have a striking image for the cover? The jump ball represents the struggle of the game. One player trying to get the ball to a teammate and jumpstart the offense. But no faces. 

I wanted the cover to jump out at you from the racks of the bookstore or news stand. I hope it does.

Overall, I wanted a coffeetable book approach. Big pictures and less text. Different page designs. I love coffeetable books. I have purchased them since I was old enough to buy them and have written quite a few of them. I wanted to bring a part of that feel to the annual. Hopefully, you like what we've done.

One other change was the table of contents wherein the chapters were in chronological order. Meaning from the Philippine Cup to the Commissioner's Cup to the All-Star Game and charities to the Governors' Cup to the PBA Draft and FIBA. I thought it would make more sense reading and appreciating the season that was.

I wanted a lengthier feature on the imports but page count was a concern. Previous versions of Hardcourt ran up to 200 pages. The 40th volume totals 230 pages.

It was both fun and frustrating to work on this. Did I get what I mostly wanted? I'd say about 80%. There are other things I wanted to do and try. Make it an even better fan experience.

I would also like to take the opportunity to apologize for the lateness of PBA Hardcourt. There were problems along the way -- foreseen and unforeseen. They took a toll on me and I did not relish the anger and frustration that I felt along the way especially since a lot of it could have been avoided. Having said that, I will not be doing this again. For me, it is one-time experience. I am one and done. It is a dream for a long-time PBA fan like me. And it sure is nice to give back to the league. Likewise, it's a gift as well to other fans and to the league as well.

Merry Christmas.

Enjoy it. And do let me know what you think.  

It should be out in bookstores and where publications are sold by this week's end. PBA Hardcourt 40 retails for P475.


  1. Which bookstore has a copy?

  2. I like po ang ginawa nyo sa hardcourt, pero may nakita po akong error. Sa NLEX ang nsa roster ay si Roy Villariaas (UE) instead of Byron Villarias (JRU). Wala rin po si Armando Arce. Pasensya na po sa pagbanggit sa mga ito, pero baka pde nman sya ma-correct next edition using po influence nyo. Salamat po.