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, June 1, 2017

Akhuetie, Arafat & other college stars help out RP 3x3 team

College stars help out RP team in FIBA 3x3 preparations
by rick olivares

The team that will represent the country in the upcoming Fiba 3x3 World Cup in Nantes, France is already star-studded with Kobe Paras, JR Quiñahan, Kiefer Ravena, and Jeron Teng in the line-up not to mention its multi-titled head coach Eric Altamirano. Joining in the preparations are quite a few current and former college basketball stars who are just as happy to be here.

Participating in the practices are Bright Akhuetie of the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, former University of the East Red Warrior Moustapha Arafat, the Arellano University Chiefs’ Kevin Gabayni, and the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals’ Sidney Onwubere.

“We’re just happy to help out the Philippine team,” said Akhuetie. “It’s nice to be seen as a mere African studying and playing in the Philippines. We feel like we are a part of the community.”

Onwubere, the half-Nigerian Filipino who has starred for Emilio Aguinaldo College since high school and is currently in his final season for the Generals in the NCAA is hoping that his being asked to help out will lead to opportunities for himself. “It would be nice to be a part of any national team in any level,” quipped the high-flying forward in the vernacular. “I am happy for the team. I do hope I am given the chance one day.”

“We’re practicing every other day,” related Altamirano during the Wednesday night practice at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. “We’re still trying to get used to the 3x3 competition rules and the ball that is smaller. The tall players like Bright, Moustapha, Kevin, and Sidney were chosen for their talent, height, and athleticism. They are great talents and a big help to the cause.”

Added the veteran coach, “Some of the nuances of 3x3 include -- when you’re up by five points what do you do? What do you do when you’re down? How to read the foul situations. When you get to the seventh foul. And 10th foul which means free throws plus ball possession. There’s a lot.”

For his part, Quiñahan feels like slipping on a familiar and used glove. “Masarap yun feeling na magre-represent ka ng bayan mo. Nakaka-miss din kasi 2002 pa yung last ko. Sa 3x3 pa yun! Sa ngayon, ang ma-share ko lang kila Jeron at Kiefer ay yung experience ko. Top players naman sila. Mga kasama ko magagaling din.”

Teng smiled at the compliment of the PBA veteran. “JR gives us a lot of confidence,” he put succinctly. “Our mindset it’s different because it is one step higher in terms of competition. It’s exciting but also nerve wracking.”

With the guys at practice!

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