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, September 30, 2016

Joy Cases and PAF don’t mind flying under the radar

This appears on

Joy Cases and PAF don’t mind flying under the radar
by rick olivares

Almost throughout the entire press conference to precede the opening of the Reinforced Conference of the Shakey’s V-League, all eyes, all questions were on Pocari Sweat, BaliPure, and even newly formed Bureau of Customs. Maybe if the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons were present (only team managers and some officials made it), they would have also been the beneficiary of the same.

Even new squad Philippine Coast Guard with their head coach Gilbert Odron jokingly saying as his team is the one to beat in the import-flavored conference got lots of attention.

Sitting quiet and unobtrusive were the girls, no, Airwomen First Class, of Philippine Air Force.

Joy Cases, the former star of Lyceum of the Philippines University, that bagged a bunch of WNCAA volleyball championships, doesn’t mind it one bit. “Ganun talaga,” she succinctly put with all the wisdom of a veteran. “Meron glamorosa, meron hindi.”

Cases is a freak of nature…. Not in the LeBron James mold of a towering physical specimen. She stands a mere five-feet-seven inches and is rail thin. She hardly looks the aerodynamic part. But man… she can sky and whack that volleyball like nobody’s business.

Success in the semi-pro volleyball ranks has been harder to find than during her collegiate days. Yet even then, she was playing for a small school that hardly merited any newspaper ink or online chatter. So you can say that she is used to it.

Or maybe not really.

“Motivation yan para sa akin,” she admits. “At sa team namin. Yung conference na may import ang pinaka-inaabangan na liga. Maliban sa televised, ang tingin namin ay chance muli itong para makilila ang Philippine Air Force team hindi lang sa Air Force community kasama na rin yung mga volleyball fans at sa lahat ng Pilipino.”

They nearly accomplished the impossible when they spotted Pocari Sweat a one-game lead after taking down the Lady Warriors during Game One of the Open Conference that ushered in this 13th season of the longest running semi-pro volleyball league in the country.

“Nakuha namin yung unang game pero ganun talaga hindi para sa amin,” she admitted. “Pero another chance ‘to para ilabas ang best namin. Sobrang motivation itong conference na ‘to kasi may mga import yung ibang team. Kami wala naman resources para mag-recruit. At bawal din kasi dapat naka-enlist. Chance to para i-test yung skills namin sa mga imports.”

Speaking of enlisting, Cases just signed a new three-year contract to serve in the nation’s military. When the Jet Spikers, as the PAF team is nicknamed isn’t playing, they have their military duties. During a tournament, to borrow their term, they are “detached” from their duties to concentrate on the sport.

Through sports, PAF and its brother and sister teams in other sports such as football, boxing, and track and field to name a few, use it a vehicle to create goodwill and to recruit for the military.

As for Cases, she pronounced herself happy with her career path. “Happy ako sa desisyon ko,” she smiled.

As for this tournament?

“Basta one game at a time talaga. Mahirap magsabi na ‘finals ulit’ kasi mahirap at very competitive itong tournament na ‘to.

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