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.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The 2017 Blue Eagle Parents Talk Part 1

The 2017 Blue Eagle Parents Talk Part 1
by rick olivares

This is the third year that we’ve done this dinner with folks of the Blue Eagles. We didn’t get a lot like last time, but we got some of the new parents this time. We left out a lot of stuff that is not the concern of others. Suffice to know that this is the gist of it.

Who’s who:
Mike and Therese Verano.
Irene Tolentino
Carol Go
Gina Mamuyac
Jun and Tessie Tio

Venue: Backyard Inn at UP Town Center

Rick: Mike, how do you keep up with Raffy’s games and life?
Mike: When I watch his games on TV, I’m up til 3:30 in the morning. (laughter from all).
When I talk to my son, I don’t try to get into the nitty gritty. I just say, “you played well.” I don’t really say, “You messed up. You didn’t play well.” I just say, “Move forward.”

Rick: Irene shared this story the other year where they’d also be up at the same time as you and once, they were screaming and hollering and the neighbors thought there was a burglar. (laughter once more from all). You ever experience that? Do you shout?

(more laughter)

Mike: No. I just bang my head on the wall. (more laughter). When Raffy was growing up, I used to get so into it that it affects me. So what I did was I bought a video camera where I record all his games. So all I am looking at is the monitor of the camera. So I don’t get into the game as much. Fast forward now, the best I can do is bang my head on the headboard when there’s a bad play or misses his rotation. I just say, “What did you do? Then I bang my head.” (laughter)

Rick: Irene, it’s Vince’s last year. Does it make it any easier to watch now that it is his last year?

Irene: It’s not easy. (laughter from all). It’s even more difficult knowing that the games are getting more and more physical. Knowing what they have accomplished and what the other teams are doing to them, it’s harder. Lately, when I watch live now, I go out of the arena. I get so scared but I am super proud as a mom.

Rick: During the last game, Vince fouled out. He was obviously very frustrated.

When he fouled twice, I was outside. When he fouled out… what can you do? It happens.

Rick: Therese, Raffy had a rough start/ 
It’s crazier. I am crazier. Not only for Raffy but all the boys. The kids become your own kids. I am still animated and it gets more intense every year. When someone gets hurt, you also want to go down and see if they are okay or even help. Us as parents when they are all done, me and the other parents pagod din. I am so aliw how focused they are. When they are on the court, it’s pure business. Sometimes, you try to get their attention but wala. They are just focused.

Rick: Carol, Isaac has played to a higher level. How do you feel that people talk about him about his improvement? And how about that last game where he missed that last shot – is he fine?

Carol: To the last question, he was crushed but he recovered pretty fast. He had the assurances of his coaches and teammates. Everyone was supporting him. He has since moved on. In fact, I am the one worried for him.


As a mother, you cannot take away that feeling, how is my son? Is he all right? Isaac just said, I am fine, mom. He has to convince me. (laughter).

Rick: I thought it was a darn good play. (everyone agreed) Isaac just missed.

Mike: He was surprised that he was wide open.

Rick: O, Gina. Gian has played well. Were you surprised that he has done well? No ill effects of being on Team B?
Gina: Hindi naman. It’s all good. It served as good preparation for him because I don’t think he was ready last year. It feels good to see him get playing time and do well.

Rick: Let’s go to the Tios. During the past summer, Tyler told me that he was hoping there would be no more obstacles and that he can play. He wasn’t sure if he could go through another year and not play. Is it a relief for all of you?

Tessie: When it was happening we were so stressed. But when we look back at it, it is good because I don’t think he was prepared for it because the UAAP is different.

Rick: During the Filoil tourneys he showed glimpses.

Tessie: Yes, but iba yung UAAP. We know it is an adjustment phase.

Jun: It is part of the learning. After that first game, grabe yung expectations so there’s pressure on him. We tell him to relax and to enjoy the moment but he wants to contribute. He gets down about his poor play but everyone naman is doing their part to encourage him. At least, he remains grounded. His feet are planted on the ground.

Irene: You’re right, grabe yung pressure.

Jun: Tyler is feeling it. So we give him his space. He plays his PlayStation. It’s a coping mechanism for him. He wants to contribute so bad.

The funny thing is, hindi siya nag-ku-kuwento.

(everyone murmurs in agreement because they all experience the same).

Isang tanong, isang sagot. Only what you ask. Nothing more. No extra kuwento. So kami naman, siyempre we want to hear more but we give him his space. Maybe at some point, he will make kuwento. Kasi we want to know rin what is on his mind.

Therese: Yeah, it’s the same for me.

Irene: Ako rin! I understand that Vince wants to focus and concentrate, but as a mom, you cannot help but be thinking of your son.

Mike: We should trust the process. Just play your game.

Irene: But they cannot avoid it kasi – they want to contribute and they see others contributing. So he wants to help.

Rick: Thirdy Ravena struggled big time in his rookie year. (everyone agrees). Even Raffy struggled.

Therese: Raffy went through it too.

Mike: He (Raffy) was overthinking things. He was trying to hard and going beyond his comfort zone. As a result, he struggled. I told him to stick to what he does well.

As an athlete, all you can do is to focus on what you can do for your team and your game. People will say things but you have to block it out. And everyone will have an opinion there is nothing you can do but play through it.

Rick: For the newcomers, do you follow your son on social media? I recall Irene saying, she was a stalker. (laughter).

Therese: We are all stalkers. (laughter).

Gina; Yes!

Jun: Tyler’s mom follows everything – Facebook account, Twitter account, Instagram account – what else?

Tessie: I even follow his fans!

Irene: Me too! (laughter all around)

Tessie: And the fans are happy when I follow them, “Yehey, Mommy Tessie is following us.”

Jun: The boys don’t really read what others say but the moms do. (laughter so raucous)

Rick: What is the funniest thing you have read/ Hurtful? Meron na ba nag-propose online?

Irene: Wala pa naman! (laughter)

Gina: When they have a good game and my son has a good game, there are a lot of comments. Kami even at work, we all look at Twitter and others. Gian says, Ma, don’t read that stuff. But kami we keep reading it. Nakakatuwa rin.

Rick: Carol, after that last game (against La Salle) did you look online?

Carol: I didn’t look but I always ask what do they say.

Mike: I don’t stalk Raffy like my wife does. (laughter) But I follow him. I am proud when people follow him and say good things about him. So far, wala naman negative things. It is also my way of following what he is doing.

Like yesterday, it was Raffy’s birthday, so a lot of people paid homage and gave encouragement. And that makes me as a father feel good. We tell our children time and again, you treat people the way you want to be treated. Luckily, we have good kids.

Gina: One time, nag-Google ako and this was the time of the Batang Gilas and Steph Curry events and of course, you feel proud.

Jun: Ako, I just share pictures and articles. But I am not much into Twitter or Instagram.

Rick: Oh, how was that loss to La Salle?

Mike: I was relieved. It would have been nice to get it but the pressure would mount. If they won, it would be a step-ladder format and it might take them some time before they get into active competition. We all saw what happened to Lyceum and well, maybe it’s for the best because now, they know what they need to adjust. What they need to fix and correct. The loss gives them time to refocus. Masakit pero okay lang.

Irene: Sayang but it is a better scenario for them. Vince felt bad but he has since recovered. The championship is more important. After they saw what happened to Lyceum, they were all saying, Ma, we’re in a better place. The championship means a lot to him because it is something he can be proud of and look back at.

Rick: Are there any superstitions among the parents?

(laughter all around)

Irene: We parents move around when things aren’t right. (laughter). We switch chairs and positions. During the UP game, I was sitting on one end and the next the other way.

Mike: My wife is so superstitious. She does something that she feels the team will do better. When she finds that position, she will not move. Kung puwede, she will be frozen in time. (laughter).

Irene: During the last game, I told my sister, diyan ka muna, dito ako.

Jun: Therese, your secret has come out. (laughter)

Tessie: This is the first time, I sat up stairs.

Gina: Puno kasi.

Tessie: Sabi namin, baka itong seat na ‘to puwede na.

Irene: During games when my song steps in, nagdadasal na ako. When he’s sitting down, I’m calm. Yeah. (laughter)

Tessie: You can enjoy the game when your son is sitting down. When he is playing, you want him to do so well for himself of course. I get nervous.

When my husband and my other son they watch, wala lang. Kami mga moms, naku…. We get worked up. (laughter).

Therese: Minsan, galit galit muna ha.

Gina: We wear the same clothes. Kung talo, that’s when we change.

Rick: So for 13 straight games same clothes suot niyo.

Tessie: Of course. But siyempre, we wash our clothes muna. Just to be clear. (laughter).

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