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.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Aris Dionisio: Meet one of the best college basketball players you don’t know

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Aris Dionisio: Meet one of the best college basketball players you don’t know.
by rick olivares

On the strength of his game during the past summer – Fr. Martin’s Cup and the Got Skills tournament, Aris Dionisio drew rave reviews with his blue collar ethic and nose for the ball.

The six-foot-five forward parlayed that into a MVP performance when he averaged 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks a game during the just concluded NAASCU season en route to St. Clare College’s first title in five years.

Dionisio had zero plays called for him. He scavenged for rebounds and put backs, tip-ins, drove for lay-ups. Hit turn-around jumpers. He ran the break and finished them. At times, he zipped no look passes to cutters. He guarded centers and foreign players. He blocked shots with aplomb yet never celebrated boisterously. He just ran to the bench and exchanged high fives. Never engaged in trash talking or taunting.

Aris Dionisio just played ball.

Oh, aside from his double double average, Aris also led the league in rebounds and blocks.

And now, the 21-year old lad from Bustos, Bulacan, is now being targeted by two schools in the UAAP (all based in Manila the city and not Greater Metro Manila) but Dionisio is determined to finish his schooling with SCC before he turns pro.

“Sa akin, good news din na meron kilalang school na nagkaka-intensyon sa laro ko. Pero ayaw ko lumipat,” said Dionisio who after helping the Saints to a title over tough Our Lady of Fatima University last Friday, went home to Bulacan.

St. Clare has had a few players pirated by other colleges including one who after transferring elsewhere was further enticed to transfer to another UAAP school with some sweet package. When the other school said no, this new school brought in a lawyer that threatened a lawsuit.

Former PBA star Jimmy Manansala, father of SCC current head coach Jino Manansala believes that Dionisio has pro material written all over him. While chatting with us during Game 5 of the current PBA Governors’ Cup Finals at the Big Dome last Sunday night, the elder Manansala bared plans of moving their prized player to the three-spot to take advantage of Aris’ ability to shoot from the outside as well as his mobility.

“He’s got talent,” summed up Manansala.

The eldest child of a seaman and a housewife, Dionisio grew up playing sandlot basketball. “Naka-paa, naka-tsinelas mula pagsikat ng araw hanggang gabi naglalaro lang ako,” recalled Dionisio over lunch at Robinson’s Magnolia three days before the opening of the last NAASCU season. “Nagii-imagine lang naglalaro sa Ginebra. Ganun lang buhay ko.”

Eventually, he was brought by a relative to PSBA to play for former Crispa Redmanizer Philip Cezar after which he transferred to SCC.

And now he’s not only a college ball champion but also a MVP. “Hindi ko in-expect ito,” dispelled Aris. “Sa pagkakaalam namin lahat si Paeng Rebugio (the SCC Saints dazzling point guard who also transferred after a less than fruitful stint with JRU in the NCAA) ang dapat. Siya main man namin sa team. Sixth man lang ako sa Saints.”

Sixth man. Mythical Five member. Most Valuable Player. Champion.

Yes, it is about time you heard about Aris Dionisio. After all, some UAAP schools have as well.

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