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, June 14, 2017

RJ Ramirez is living his basketball dream with FEU

RJ Ramirez is living his basketball dream with FEU
by rick olivares

There’s a quiet change in the look of the Far Eastern University Men’s Basketball Team.

A cursory check of the Tamaraws’ roster in the summer leagues will yield a different sound and a different look. Aside from There’s Fil-Ams Jojo Trinidad, Jasper Parker, and Alec Stockton; Fil-Kiwis Ken Tuffin and Joseph Nunag, Nigerian Prince Orizu, and Fil-Canadian RJ Ramirez.

Last season, the team also had Fil-Norwegian brothers Steve and Ken Holmqvist.

Ramirez in particular has taken the team by storm. He alternatively starts or comes off the bench for head coach Olsen Racela. He’s got range on his jumper, can finish the fastbreak, can rebound, pass, and perhaps, what Racela likes most – defend.

“I usually place him on the opposing team’s top scorer in the one-two-three spots,” said the first year head coach who picked up the reins from younger brother Nash, who moved up to Talk ‘N Text’s main tactician this ongoing PBA season.

And Ramirez is up for the challenge.

“To be honest, I thought that nothing was going to happen,” shared the 22-year old Toronto native. “I came over, had a tough time adjusting, and was trying out for Adamson and a D-League team. I gave myself a little more time and if nothing happened, I’d go back to Canada and finish my schooling there.

Ramirez was enrolled in Humber College in Toronto when he made the big move to the land of his parents’ birth. “Back home, I played in school, in the Filipino leagues. I knew and was friends with guys like Norbert Torres and Matthew Wright although they are older than me. Yet there wasn’t an inclination to come over here and see what I can do.”

“Eventually, I learned what Norbert and Matthew were trying to do and I decided to pursue my basketball dream back here. No regrets. It wasn’t easy for a while but it’s all good now. No regrets.”

During the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup last Monday, July 12, Ramirez scored the last seven points of the game to led FEU to a 68-61 win over rival Group B pace-setter, San Sebastian. The victory allowed FEU to seize the top position of Group B for the quarterfinals. The leader position means that FEU will face the fourth seed of Group A which is either Ateneo or La Salle.

What made it special for Ramirez was the faith that his coaches had in him. Prior to his end game splurge, Ramirez committed two consecutive turnovers that allowed San Sebastian to look like a cinch to clinch the match and the top spot of the group. “I’m grateful that the coaches trust me with closing out games for them,” said a relieved Ramirez post-match. “And hopefully, I can help them to another championship this year.”

“I am living my dream now.”

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