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, August 16, 2017

FEU proud of its Gilas products

FEU proud of its Gilas products
by rick olivares

Far Eastern University Athletic Director Mark Molina brims with pride when he sees former Tamaraws excelling in both the national and international stage.

Following their 2015 UAAP Men’s Basketball Championship, the core of that title squad has gone on to the Philippine Basketball Association and the national team where they have proven to be vital cogs.

Suiting up for the Gilas squad seeing action in the ongoing FIBA Asia Cup are Roger Pogoy and Carl Bryan Cruz. And there of course, is Terrence Romeo who although wasn’t a part of that UAAP championship squad, played on two FEU teams that went to the UAAP finals.

For the other Gilas squad that will compete in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, there’s Mac Belo and Mike Tolomia. Center Russel Escoto is part of the squad but isn’t fully recovered from a knee injury.

“We’re all very proud of them,” said Molina in an interview with ABS-CBN News. “We teach our players to ‘Be Brave’ and we constantly remind them to practice this in their lives. I am so glad this group of Tamaraws have shown this spirit on the international stage.”

The Athletic Director also pointed out that many of these former Tams came from nowhere to make a name for themselves. “Nothing beats the values of hard work, discipline, and sacrificing for the team. Maybe except for Terrence, none of them were high school stars and heavily recruited. But they all had the hunger and dedication to make their lives and families better and the discipline and commitment to put the team ahead of their interest.”

In an interview with Cruz on the day of Gilas’ departure for Beirut, Lebanon, he pointed out to the current program that was installed during the time of former head coach Nash Racela whose older brother Olsen is continuing. “Yung discipline at values na-push ni Coach Nash malaking tulong yun.”

Molina cited Cruz as an inspirational story. “Bryan was a walk-on and even spent some time on Team B. He just accompanied someone we were trying to recruit and asked if he could try out. He just improved every year. It’s even more impressive that he is doing this after tearing his ACL a few months after graduating from FEU.”

On his part, Olsen Racela pointed to one of their young stars on the current Tamaraws squad, Kenneth Tuffin, the Fil-Kiwi who during his freshman year last season was already named co-captain. “This is one kid who is not only coachable but is also is an achiever. He does very well in school and balances the duties of being a student-athlete very well.”

Pogoy also points to the basketball system in FEU. “Malaking tulong yun tinatakbo namin sa FEU ay yung sistema sa Talk ‘N Text at sa Gilas. Siyempre, binigyan ka ng pagkakataon at kumpiyansa ng mga coaches from Coach Nash to Coach Chot (Reyes). Malaking bagay yun.”

The success of the FEU players also goes beyond the basketball team. Molina pointed out Janelle Frayna. “Being the first Woman Grandmaster and one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines reinforces that FEU produces winners. You cannot really say if these increase enrollment per se but is definitely adds value to the FEU name.”

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