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, March 17, 2018

Ateneo, LSGH hope to continue championship form for NBTC tourney

Ateneo, LSGH hope to continue championship form for NBTC tourney
by rick olivares

When the SM-NBTC National Finals tips off March 18, 2018 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, the champion teams from the NCAA and UAAP Juniors Division will feel a little pressure from their lay-off.

According to Ateneo Blue Eaglets coach Joe Silva whose wards capped off a memorable season with a nail-biting win over NU two weeks ago, he is going in with a pair of disadvantages. “When the UAAP ended two weeks ago, the boys immediately attended to their studies because it was finals week. And we haven’t practiced since then,” explained the two-time champion coach. “In fact, today (Thursday, March 15) will be our first and we won’t have Joaqui Manuel who is out with a fractured foot and Dave Ildefonso who is already practicing with NU.”

“We will be missing those two players but we are calling up Forthsky Padrigao to beef us up.”

Silva’s NCAA Juniors counterpart, Marvin Bienvenida of La Salle Greenhills, said that his team has been preparing for this tournament. “We have been preparing for this for the past two months,” admitted Bienvenida. “Honestly, we weren’t able to maintain our form after winning the NCAA. After a few weeks we were on a high. But we took losses in some other leagues and we needed that to get back on track. It has been an up and down journey for us but I am a little optimistic that we are slowly climbing up again.”

Reigning SM-NBTC champions San Beda are undergoing a massive facelift come tip-off time. “We are parading our Team B who will be moving up to the NCAA Team next season,” bared JB Sison. “This team were recently crowned as Breakdown Basketball Under-17 champions and although malaki yun, iba pa rin yung mayroon NCAA experience. Parang sila Sam Abuhijle and Evan Nelle years ago. When they started out sa NBTC, it was as Team B. Tatlong taon bago mag-champion dito sa NBTC so tignan natin.”

A returning squad to the annual high school national tournament that has adjusted its format similar to the US NCAA March Madness is Crossover Canada. Its Filipino head coach, Mike Cruz, hopes his team will perform better after not getting out of the first round in the past two years. “Of course, we expect to make a better show this year. We prepared longer although our problem is we do not have the core of the past few years, we hope the newcomers will make an impact.”

Only power forward Matthew Daves and guard Andrew Cruz remain from last year’s squad. “With the new format, hindi na kami mabibigla. We have time to adjust with the seeding then climb up the ladder.”

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