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, May 31, 2017

Former Ateneo ace pitcher Miguel Salud helps Cal Lutheran to US NCAA Div 3 championship

Former Ateneo ace pitcher Miguel Salud helps Cal Lutheran to US NCAA Div 3 championship
by rick olivares

Former Ateneo baseball pitcher Miguel Salud, who after leading the Blue Eagles to its first UAAP baseball championship in 2013 left to study and play for Cal Lutheran University in the United States, has once more turned the trick.

The 22-year old pitcher, coming in the seventh inning of Game Three of the NCAA Division 3 Baseball Championship against Washington and Jefferson College of Pennsylvania, protected a 3-2 lead and shut down the Presidents for a 7-2 win and the school’s first ever baseball title at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, Wisconsin.

The CLU Kingsmen won Game One, 12-2, but the W&J Presidents came back with a 12-4 victory of their own to forge a Game Three. With the series at sudden death, Slimak called on freshman pitcher Scott Roberts to pitch on two day’s rest. Said Slimak, “Roberts was our guy but we’re gonna go to Miggy (Salud) late, more early. And it all worked out.”

Salud also earned his 14th save of the season to set a school record and was named Most Outstanding Player after he posted a 1.23 ERA (earned run average) with three saves, nine strikeouts and just one earned run in four appearances and 7.1 innings.

Said Salud of pitching in Game 3, “It was huge that I was able to rest (in Game 2 despite the loss) but it was a minor setback for a major comeback.”

Of his impact with CLU, Salud said, "From the beginning, I didn't think I was going to be the closer; the first guy out of the pen. When I was asked to be a closer, I just stuck to my approach and picked my spots. Every time I come out, all I can see is my catcher. I just said, never let anyone get on base and don't rattle myself."

Monday, May 29, 2017

San Sebastian conquers NU in Filoil

San Sebastian conquers NU in Filoil
by rick olivares

The Filoil Flying V Premier Cup has an eerie feel to it if you’re the National University Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs started the summer tournament like a house on fire; winning three straight. Since then, they have gone 0-3; the latest an 86-82 setback at the hands of the San Sebastian Stags.

During the past UAAP Season 79, NU opened with two impressive wins over UE and Ateneo before losing two straight. They finished the first round with a 4-3 record before going on a tailspin in the second round where they won only one more match to end with a 5-9 record. That was good for fifth but way outside the Final Four.

The Stags and the Bulldogs battled through seven lead changes and one deadlock. NU looked good in the third period when they took a 10-point lead, 59-49, after a Dave Yu twinner. San Sebastian’s Regille Ilagan hit a triple that ignited an 11-2 run that saw them come within a point after three periods of play, 61-60.

San Sebastian started the fourth period with six straight points to seize the lead for good. Consecutive turnovers by the Bulldogs saw SSCR point guard Ryan Costelo drill two consecutive triples that ignited a killer 13-1 run to seize control of the match, 79-68, with 4:22 left in the game. NU mounted one last ditch rally but they ran out of time. 

Michael Calisaan led San Sebastian with 22 points and nine rebounds while Ryan Costelo, in his best game of the summer, scored 16 points to go with four assists. JJ Alejandro led NU with 20 points with Ghanaian center Issa Gaye adding 14 points and eight rebounds.

"It's good preparation that we're starting to win. Ibig sabihin maganda tinatakbo ng team. Hopefully lang ma-sustain, kasi pagod na rin yung mga bata," said San Sebastian head coach Egay Macaraya of his team’s strong pre-season showing.

On the other hand, the Bulldogs of new head coach Jamike Jarin this season are much like last year’s squad under Eric Altamirano – a young team bereft of many veterans. Some new faces on last year’s squad aren’t there – JV Gallego, Joshua Sinclair, Mohammad Salim, and Michael Pate aren’t there. Sinclair and Gallego are out with injuries. The only holdovers are Dave Yu, Matt Salem, Rev Diputado, JJ Alejandro, Chino Mosqueda, Reggie Morido, Tzaddy Rangel, Nico Abatayo, Kins Go, and Matt Aquino. Only that group, Yu, Diputado, and Alejandro are all that is left from the UAAP champions of three years ago.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Coaching Gold(wyn Monteverde)

Coaching Gold(wyn Monteverde)
by rick olivares

Goldwyn Monteverde bristled at the suggestion that he is like an architect. A builder of championship basketball teams.

“I am just a coach,” he says.

Sure he is. But a bemedalled one at that. He’s guided the Chiang Kai Shek Blue Dragons to a multitude of secondary school titles. He should have won one with the Adamson Baby Falcons last UAAP season too. “It is a shame because we were building something long term there,” he sighs. “Only to get knocked out by a technicality.”

What happened in Adamson also played a part in his not getting the job of Batang Gilas coach in the last Seaba U-16 tourney held in Manila this past month. He was a shoo-in. He had the cred and the trophies to prove it.

“Move on na lang,” he says. But he would definitely like another shot at it.

Monteverde admits that what happened played a large part in his decision to leave Adamson. “Yes,” he admits. “It played a huge part. It was disappointing. I do not like unfinished business. But it was time to go.”

Seeing the team that he put together scattered to the four winds of the UAAP landscape pains him. “Ako nagtanim, iba ang aani.”

He isn’t only an architect but he’s also like a farmer; one who plants championship seeds.

“I am just a coach,” he parries.

It’s easy to say that success is also due to a program. A program with money to fund the machine. If it were that easy then why doesn’t everyone do it? Why doesn’t everyone win?

He bristles at the suggestion that he is a top basketball mind.

Before he can speak, I cut him off, “Yes, you’re just a basketball coach.”

Monteverde smiles. You understand, he seems to say without any words.

When I asked if he found it ironic that he is now with National University, the team that filed a complaint about a supposedly ineligible player – who wasn’t really – he smiled. “That’s basketball. It takes you to places where you least expect to go. The important thing is to look forward and not dwell on the past.”

After his NU Bullpups – in his second game with NU – lost to the Ateneo Blue Eaglets in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup – he knows that his team is still young. Besides, Rhayyan Amsali wasn’t available.

“The goal is the UAAP,” he points out.

Looking forward. Right, coach?

He isn’t a seer.

“I’m just a coach.”