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, February 16, 2016

Chris Newsome on his adjustment to the PBA

This appears on

Chris Newsome on his adjustment to the PBA
by rick olivares pic from the pba

Rookie swingman Chris Newsome believes that the Meralco Bolts and his personal development in the pro basketball game is due to the adjustments made between the PBA’s Philippine and on-going Commissioner’s Cup.

The Bolts have opened the Commissioner’s Cup with two straight wins a 90-86 conquest of the Star Hotshots and an 88-84 win over Talk ’N Text. In these two wins, Newsome, the rookie out of Ateneo de Manila University, is averaging 12.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.0 steals. "There is always an adjustment phase coming from the collegiate ranks to the PBA,” explained Newsome. “Everyone here is just bigger, stronger, and faster. You’re going up on a daily basis against MVPs of their own leagues, the best players of their respective college teams, All-Stars, legends, and even national team players. You have to raise the level of your game or you’ll be left in the dust.”

The two wins of the Bolts while it is something to build on is nonetheless something Newsome and his teammates aren’t celebrating. “We haven’t done anything yet but double our win total from the Philippine Cup (Meralco finished 1-10 including a nine-match losing streak). We have to aim for more and do better each game.”

The California, USA native experienced a modicum of success with Ateneo and a championship with Hapee in the D-League. “My regret is not helping lead Ateneo to a title. I won with Hapee but came up short with Ateneo. But playing for the Blue Eagles made me a better basketball player.”

The poor showing of Meralco in the Philippine Cup was more than he ever experienced with Ateneo or Hapee. “That teaches you that nothing is handed on a silver platter and you really have to work hard for any success,” he shared.

While he was playing for the Blue Eagles in the UAAP, Newsome was used as a do-it-all forward; someone who helped in the rebound-challenged Ateneo squad, one who defended the opposing team’s top scorer, and one who needed to score points. “It’s good training if you ask me,” noted Newsome. “In the pros, you have to be more multi-faceted as a player. Being one-dimensional hurts your value. People say that I am undersized as a forward at 6’2” and maybe that is so. For me to cope with those challenges, I have use my speed, athleticism, and work hard to get better in my perimeter shooting to help my team.”

When Newsome came to the Philippines, he was recruited by Norman Black for Ateneo. While Newsome never got to play for Black who went back to the pros with Talk ’N Text at that time, he showed his wares under Bo Perasol. Now in the PBA as the fourth overall pick of the 2015 draft, he is reunited with Black and Jimmy Alapag who Chris corresponded with while still living Stateside in New Mexico. “Coach Norman is giving me the confidence to find my game and to contribute while Jimmy is there to mentor me as he always has even while I was in Ateneo. It’s an ongoing process and we have a ways to go."

Newsome and the Meralco Bolts will face a supreme test to their newfound confidence when they take on the tough and battle-tested Rain or Shine Elasto Painters tomorrow, Wednesday, in the main match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

“Here’s where we see what we are made of,” summed up Newsome.

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