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.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Jonathan Uyloan’s first day with the Meralco Bolts

This appears in

Jonathan Uyloan’s first day with the Meralco Bolts
by rick olivares

Life’s a funny thing.

That’s a familiar line from the Alanis Morissette classic, “Ironic”. Maybe for six-year Philippine Basketball Association veteran Jonathan Uyloan, he wasn’t thinking of that alternative music classic, but he never thought he’d find his way with the Meralco Bolts.

The six-foot tall guard is one of the great stories coming out of the 2009 PBA Draft. Except that he was never drafted by any club although he was picked up by Rain or Shine that same year as a utility guard. Uyloan thought he had found a home with the Elasto Painters. There were PBA conferences where he played a lot and there were days when he didn’t. In fact, he got even more playing time that heralded TY Tang who burned a hole at the end of the bench. “You kind of hope that you’ve done something to prove yourself and you aren’t going to get cut or traded,” shared the Fil-Am combo guard. “Then you see teammates who are here today and gone tomorrow and you realize that you could go the same route.”

After five years with RoS, Uyloan was shipped to GlobalPort where playing time became even harder to find. And now he finds himself with the Meralco Bolts on Wednesday, July 13, after being traded for swingman Ronjay Buenafe. “Am just happy to have a job,” he confides. 

There’s a logjam at the point guard position. There’s Jimmy Alapag, who will go down as one of the best ever to lace up a pair of sneakers in the PBA; Baser Amer who has struggled in his rookie season; Anjo Caram who people didn’t rate highly but has found a place with the Bolts; and the comebacking Simon Atkins who hopes to be lined up for active duty.

“Jonathan can also play the two,” clarified team manager Paolo Trillo. “We like his steadiness and feistiness.”

“Meralco is a team on the rise,” pointed out Uyloan. “There’s excitement brewing on this team. They did well in the last (Commissioner’s Cup) conference and were a minute away from making the finals. And I heard they haven’t lost a pre-season game. I hope I can contribute.”

Uyloan understands it will be difficult given the two-import conference. Six-foot-four Iranian swingman Mohammad Jamshidi is arriving on Thursday after getting his paperwork squared away in his native country (according to Trillo, Iranian national players are supposed to secure their release papers in Iran before playing abroad). “I’ve been in this league long enough to know the drill — work hard every day and keep your head high.”

He can also take heart from a new teammate, Bryan Faundo, who like him, went undrafted in 2009. He’s bounced around six PBA clubs including one in the Asean Basketball League until he arrived in Meralco in 2015. Under head coach Norman Black, Faundo has found regular playing time and has been one of the team’s workhorses. 

“Isn't it ironic that for some undrafted players to find a home? Hopefully for me, I can help this team."

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