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.

Monday, December 4, 2017

A trip back in time with the 1937 Ateneo Men's Basketball Team

Years ago, I was granted access to the diary of the late Fr. John McCarron’s, S.J. and it was a very enlightening read. The good Jesuit priest was a stickler for detail and in flawless script, kept an excellent record of that season.

Here are some interesting bits from that championship season from eighty years ago where – yes – Ateneo won the Seniors and Juniors NCAA crowns.

This was the line-up:
Cesar Basa who Basa Air Base in Pampanga is named after and was killed in 1941 during the early days of World War II.
Bobby Jones
George York
Jess Arce
Fermin Fernando who was nicknamed “the Black Fury of Zamboanga” he was in the Death March and he survived it only to die in a concentration camp in Capas, Tarlac.
Dick Francisco
Rafael Roco (the father of actor Bembol Roco)
Simon LaO
Manuel Cuervo
Nene Novales
Gil Del Mar
And a player whose surname is Cuna.

Head coach was Totoy Bautista the first Filipino coach of Ateneo after six Americans.

The Ateneo cheerleaders were Raul Manglapus, Luke Paredes, and Frankie Romualdez.

On opening day of the NCAA tourney, August 8, 1937, Fr. John jotted down the following:

Order of the Day

9:00am prepare equipment for the game (ball, doctor’s kit, towels and water, oranges, and ham!

10:00am arrange transportation and meals with Fr. Keane
Pep Band should be at venue by 2:30pm
Ateneo seniors captain carries the flag – borrow from the boy scouts
A small boy dressed up like the cheerleaders marches with the parade (as a mascot)

3:00pm Parade – Be prompt! Be prompt!

3:30 Game
Players say Hail Mary in locker room
Sit on bench with players
Keep personal fouls of both teams
Don’t talk to players or coach from the sidelines
Keep the rule book in your pocket

7:00pm have truck in definite place
get players there
get them home in relays
check equipment
collect uniforms and trunks Bro. John washes towels, top shirts, trunks but not sweats.

Eliminations record
Ateneo 29 Jose Rizal College 28
Ateneo 26 Letran 20
Ateneo 37 La Salle 33
Ateeno 25 San Beda 27
Ateneo 46 Mapua 33

Championship Round
Ateneo 21 San Beda 16
Ateneo 33 Letran 23
Ateneo 40 Jose Rizal College 26

Ateneo took the title after beating JRC on September 30 (Tuesday). There was a torchlight parade. But any other celebration had to wait as the juniors needed a play-off win against La Salle to complete the double victory.

The school declared a holiday on October 4 (Monday).

They had their team (victory) photos taken at the Sun Studio. And the photos cost 30 cents!

The prize for winning the NCAA championship was a trip to Baguio.

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