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, November 8, 2016

The MVPSF Coaches Convention: the coaches get coached

The coaches get coached
by rick olivares

There is nothing like watching a champion basketball coach (what more a bunch of them) at work. Having known current San Beda head boss Jamike Jarin for a decade now, I have followed him up close with his work with the Ateneo Blue Eaglets where he won a smattering of championships then with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Talk ‘N Text, and Meralco as an assistant. Save for the Meralco Bolts, Jarin has been a part of many champion teams from the Ateneo Blue Eagles and the TNT Tropang Texters.

I know of his mania for detail and intricate plays; his demand for focus and awareness as well as a quick understanding the game rather than being instinctive. To play in Jarin’s system, one must be bright or be prepared to be in his doghouse.

This past season, beginning the summer, I saw him build the Red Lions based on the style he espouses – fast-paced, relentless, and multi-faceted.

There was this play that he ran with a lot of cutting, ball movement, screens, sliding into one position after another that had a lot of options that depended on what the defense gave them. And the Red Lions ran it to near perfection with opposing teams mostly confounded.

Seeing him teach this (via walk through) to some 700 basketball coaches from all over the country during the MVP Sports Foundation Coaches Convention from October 26-28 at the Filoil Flying V Centre was fascinating and fun. It was so intricate with so many things happening at the same time. Labyrinthine and at times, befuddling not only for opponents and Red Lions alike.

I remember thinking during the summer, “this is the work of a mad genius.” And I guess so did everyone else.

In an informal poll where I spoke to 10 participants from different regions, every single one of them named Jarin’s show and tell as the best of this sixth edition of the Coaches Convention.

One coach, Rodel Camacho of Santa Clarita International School in Iloilo and is in his third year of attendance, expressed his thoughts: “I learned a lot from what Coach Jamike taught us. It is one thing to see it on television and another to see how the play develops with the walk-through. There is a lot of thinking and coaching to be done for this kind of basketball and it is all good. And It’s good to learn from the best.”

That best also comprised of national team manager Butch Antonio, Chiang Kai Shek College and Adamson High School coach Goldwyn Monteverde, skills coach Kirk Collier, and Koy Banal. Monteverde has led CKSC to an unparalleled era of success.

The Blue Dragons have become one of the powerhouse high school teams in the past four years. Their alumni are now top recruits playing in top programs in Metro Manila.

Banal has won titles with the Far Eastern University Tamaraws and San Beda; one of the very few to have achieved the feat.

While some might think that the Coaches Convention is a showcase for Metro Manila-based basketball minds, that isn’t the case.

Former Ateneo De Naga head coach Noli Ayo’s program (he is now based in Davao) has been lauded and used as a best practice that was cascaded amongst participants.

“One reason why we organized this Coaches Convention is to not only transfer technology but to improve the quality of basketball throughout the country,” said National Basketball Training Director organizer Eric Altamirano. “And we’re seeing a lot of very good programs come out across the country. In fact, (current La Salle and former Letran head coach) Aldin Ayo came up through this program as well.”

The Coach Convention precedes the Regional knockout phase for the 2016-17 season of the National Basketball Training Center that culminates in the national championship this March.

“We’re continuously growing,” pointed out NBTC Program Director Eric Altamirano. From what started out as 16 teams 11 years ago, has now expanded to over 700 high school squads from 62 cities. “Now we have a Division One and Division Two.”

The MVPSF Coaches Convention is under the SM-NBTC Program and is recognized and sanctioned by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas. The Coaches Convention jump starts the annual NBTC season.

With the Alaska Aces

Koy Banal talks

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