Monday, October 31, 2011

The Big Ols..Olsen Racela..from cager to coach!

A photo video made by Olsen's wife
Melissa ..a fitting tribute to the birthday boy

When a coach was up on in the air for the 16 and under Philippine National team, it all went down to a multi-titled High School coach and a PBA retiree. Eventually, 18 year PBA Veteran and long time San Miguel Beer guard Olsen Racela got the nod to coach the National Team. There were lots of questions, ifs and buts and controversies as to wether Olsen was the right choice considering he never had any prime time coaching experience and that the FIBA 16 under is too big a stage to experiment. While others doubted, a lot believed that Rah Rah Racela would use his never say die attitude on the court to teach teeners do the same for the flag. Funny thing though, Olsen will always be remembered as the San Miguel Beer Playmaker but going back only did I remember that Olsen was also a part of numerous National Teams. I remember him representing the country inthe 17 and under tournament in Qatar with Jun Limpot and John Edel Cardel. I remember Olsen’s remarks then that the Qatar team was definitely over 17 years old, they cannot be that strong at that time. In 1989 he was the lead guard of the 19 and under team that played here in Manila. He teamed up with Ateneo batchmate Danny Francisco, the Aerial Voyager Vergel Meneses, Limpot, Cardel and their team ended up third. The second to the last time the country finished with a medal.

Coach Olsen giving instructions

Olsen worked his way to the top in the PBA as he started out as back up point guard and eventually became a mythical five selectee in the 2000 and 2001 seasons. His solid defense and superb quarterbacking earned him a spot in the 1998 Philippine Centennial Team that won the Jones Cup and eventually placed third in the 1998 Asian games. He would return in 2002 to be the lead point guard in the Busan Asian Games and were two free throws away from Philippine Basketball imortality when the Filipinos lost to eventual champion Korea in the semi-finals. In his stellar career as a player he has had the privilege to play and earn much of his coaching reins under Chot Reyes, Ato Badolato, Joe Lipa, Ato Badolato, Jong Uichico and one of the geniuses of the international game, Ron Jacobs. I remember him breaking down how Jacobs prepares his teams and how he would motivate them during games. He would compare Tim Cone and Ron Jacobs on what both master tacticians were good at and how they would react in international compeititons. It was only now that I remember the wealth of knowledge and experience that Olsen had in running a team.

This year’s 16 and under team has no Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng or any marquee name that any team can boast that can get the job done, but one thing is for sure the team will go down fighting. Looking at the six wins the team had, they had different topscorers and contributors and they gave the opposition 40 minutes of hell. Unfortunately, the loss to korea took out the luster on the boys and eventually lost to Japan to settle for fourth place. Not bad for a team that is low in ceiling but high on the heart category which is the trademark of Philippine teams, playing with heart. Now that the 16 and under tournament is over, I hope that Coach Olsen can get more support from the country’s brightest stars to play better in the 18 and under tournament. Coach Olsen, the country is proud your success, on to the 18 and under tournament.

One of the players that is out to make a name
Jay Alejandro of Malayan High School

Friday, October 28, 2011


Recruiting is a big part of creating a good basketball team. Most of the top recruits in the country usually go to the UAAP and NCAA schools while the so called unpolished gems go to other colleges to eventually polish their games. Others tryout for the Team B of other teams and wait for their chance to be called to the main team.

The third league, the NAASCU has teams that has been trying to produce big names and letting them stay considering the fact that a lot of the UAAP teams are on the prowl in getting some quality players from the 10 team league. That is why getting raw high school graduates who cannot crack a UAAP or NCAA line up at the age of 16 are all welcome to play in the juniors division of the NAASCU.

The STI College Olympians have already recruited quality players from Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon and Iloilo and have been in the look out for new recruits and is doing their homework when it comes to recruitment. Just recently the STI College Olympians started a Basketball clinic to be able to teach and scout High school students who can be future Olympians.

The first batch of students who were invited were from the nearby Global City schools. Students from the MCA Montessori, Army’s Angel Integrated School, Gracel Christian College Foundation and HSL Braille College attended the two day clinic that improved the student’s passing, shooting and basketball sense which was evidenced in the scrimmage that the players had. This is just the start, imagine all the STI Schools nationwide implementing this basketball clinic. Definitely, more aspiring basketball players will definitely be discovered and hopefully by STI.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Birthday 2011

Many years ago
There were only six
of us that celebrated my birthday
Am just happy some friends dropped by
to celebrate with me
Here are highlights of my
Simple lunch celebration

Pakyaw vs Mosley

Mhel's Gurls
were full force

Always and RJ
provided the fun

The ones who did not make
were just tagged

There was so much fun

Kilig Moment...awww

Mah Gurls and their gurls
were also there

My nephews Ivan and Alan
together with my niece Genie

I was so happy my PSBA Bestfriend
Marlon Beluso and his wife Glo made it

Saturday, October 22, 2011

5th Global Care Badminton Tournament

The 5th Global Care Badminton Competition
serves as an exposure for
the STI College Olympians Badminton Team

Kursty Bonete drives one in

Kursty Bonete and Kris Bermudez
shows that they are in sync
Mhae Esparas goes for it

Kenneth Duron flies!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ateneo 4 Peat Video

The Blue Eagles are great basketball players
good thing they weren't entered in a dance contest.
Who would have thought they would come out with something as funny as this.
Kudos to Coach Sandy Arespacochaga who never fails
to amaze us with his wonderful video productions kills.
Double like this video of the 4-peat Blue Eagles.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

4th Annual Ateneo Bonfire

Celebrating with Kirk Long

There is one thing I like in being an Atenean – its rich tradition. One tradition that has been passed from the generation of former Senator Raul Manglapus to the present years is the Bonfire that is the celebration of the championship of the Ateneo Blue Eagles Basketball team. During the time that the 1987 Ateneo Blue Eagles won its first ever UAAP Basketball title, everybody trooped back to the Ateneo to celebrate in front of the Blue Eagle Gym. It was the first championship of the Ateneo in the UAAP and they did it in grand fashion after being in the UAAP for the 10th straight season.

Justin Chua, Just in time for some drinks

The Bonfire then was quite simple and the stage was set in front of the Blue Eagle gym with the actual bonfire being set up at the parking area. The program was quite impromptu because I remember singing my version of “the Love cats” of the Cure which i entitled “The UPCAT.” One thing that everyone present there remembers was the one truck of san miguel beer supposedly promised by the prominent Alumni at that time. The beer came unfortunately it was just one Tricycle of Miguelito (less than 320 ml San Miguel Beer) that everyone drank just to celebrate the win.

Raymond Morales, Gene Afable,
Crippy Baizas, Olsen Racela, Albert Mendoza
of the 1987 - 1988 Champion team

Nowadays, the Bonfire has become a pseudo – reunion and one of the much awaited events. All Ateneo sports teams pray that the Bonfire would push through because All champion teams get recognized in this event. Every Ateneo batch are raring to watch the Blue Eagles play but the venue could only hold a couple of thousands while the Bonfire is an event that simply more than 10,000 Ateneans go to. One thing worth listening to is what the Blue Eagles would tell say about their journey towards the championship and a promise of another title.

Atty Dennis Manalo shows up

For me, its all about seeing friends who i have not seen in years. More than taht I make it a point to have more laughts with the Blue Eagle faithfuls who I have the luxury of sharing countless stories about the Hail Mary team for the past twenty five years. I am so blessed that the team I root for is still the UAAP Men’s Basketball champions. Congratulations to the Ateneo Blue Eagles and hope to see you again next year at our Annual Bonfire Celebration.

Still standing at 4am in the morning

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blue Eagles secure 4- peat

Four the record:
The Ateneo Blue Eagles win their 4th straight title

After an emotional win against the rebuilding De La Salle University team in the 2003 UAAP Final Four, Wesley Gonzalez recounts that they were all spent when they met the Far Eastern University Tamaraws for the Men’s Basketball Title of the 66th UAAP Season. The Blue Eagles then bannered by Gonzales, 2 Time UAAP MVP Rich Alvarez, Paolo Bugia, Larry Fonacier, LA Tenorio and a freshman named Chris Tiu were all physically and emotionally spent after winning over the De La Salle Green Archers after two close games in the final four. After that Tuesday game, the Blue Eagles needed some rest and were asking for a reset of the finals from the host school since Game 1 will immediately start two days after their final four win. Unfortunately, the host school did not grant them their request so the original schedule was followed and the finals went on with the Blue Eagles losing to the FEU Tamaraws in what is known as the most lopsided finals meltdown in the final four era. The host that season was the Ateneo.

The Finals MVP: Nico Salva

Eight seasons from that monumental meltdown, the Ateneo Blue Eagles finally exacted revenge as the favored team in Blue waylaid the mighty Far Eastern University Tamaraws 82 – 69 to win game 2 of the 74th UAAP Basketball Senior’s division finals and capture their fourth straight UAAP championship. Standing tall in their twin victories is fourth year forward Nico Salva who scored 24 points in the first game and followed it up with a 15 point five rebounds and two assists effort in this game. Leading the team in scoring is the phenomenal super rookie Kiefer Ravena who topscored with 18 points and also had six rebounds and two assists as the Season 74 Rookie of the year ran rings around his defenders.

Captain Kirk challenges Aldrech

The first quarter was another show me what you got stage which is reminiscent of every Ateneo-FEU game. Both teams were fighting toe to toe with neither team giving some leeway with Kiefer Ravena and Nico Salva making things happen for the Blue Eagles while Aldrech Ramos was carrying the fight for the Tamaraws. Unfortunately for the Tamaraws the Ateneo second unit caught fire as they closed out the first quarter with great defense and precise shooting to end the first quarter on top 23 – 18.

The Phenom scores

The second quarter continued with Juami Tiongson scoring five straight points on a three pointer and a tear drop to give the Eagles a 28 - 18 lead with still 8:14 to go in the quarter. That spurt awakened the Tamaraws as they went on a defensive rampage that limited the Blue Eagles to taking jumpshots and missing. Aldrech Ramos carried the Tamaraws on his shoulders and brought them back as he teamed up with RR Garcia to close the half on top 36 -35.

Kiefer scores on a fade away

Coach Norman Black said in his post game interview that he was holding back in the first half so that when he comes out with guns blazing in the second half it will take the Tamaraws a harder time to react. The Blue Eagles tigthened their defense once again and started out a 14 – 2 run to control the third quarter and the game as the Blue Eagles opened up a 49 – 38 lead with 3: 54 left in the quarter after Tonino Gonzaga raced down the court to score on a three point play.

Justin Chua on the lay up

That play signalled the end for the Tamaraws as the surge of the Blue Eagles was so hard to contain and their defense too hard to breach. Because of that the fourth quarter became moot and academic as the Tamaraws never really got closer. The lead even ballooned to 19 points with two minutes left as the Blue Eagle faithfuls were celebrating with the Eagles on top 76 - 57. Playing his last year in the UAAP, Pipo Nondou made a brief appearance with less than two minutes left as he played for the first time this season, but his appearance hardly mattered for there was nothing that was going to deny the Blue Eagles of their impending victory.

Kirk scores on the lay in

The four-peat made the Blue Eagles join the UE Red Warriors (1965 – 71) UST Growling Tigers (1993 - 1996) and DLSU Green Archers (1998 - 2001) as the only teams that won four straight. At the same time their seven titles over-all ties them with the De La Salle Green Archers and trails the UE Warriors who has 18 titles, the FEU Tamaraws that has won 17 and the UST Tigers with 16 titles. Adding the 14 titles that the Blue Eagles won in the NCAA, the Blue Eagles have now won a combined 24 league titles – the most in Philippine Collegiate basketball.

Nico Salva scores on a runner

The Ateneo community clearly outnumberd the FEU faithfuls as 70% of the 18,423 fans that filled the Smart Araneta Coliseum were all clad in Blue and White to witness this monumental beat up that Blue Eagle fans have been waiting for years. This win can be dedicated by the Blue Eagles to their brothers who got beaten up in 2003. Year in and year out, the captains of the Blue Eagles would lead by example and pass on the tradition that has been what being a Blue Eagle is all about. The Ateneo community will surely miss the three captains, Emman Monfort, Kirk Long and Bacon Austria for they are the living example that defense wins championships. This marks the second time the Blue Eagles copped the Seniors title as hosts with the last coming in 1987 and another one would have been won in 2003 had the schedule been nicer to the host school like this this year. Congratulations to the Ateneo Blue Eagles, stay tune for our drive for five!

Greg Slaughter for two

The scores:

Ateneo de Manila (82)

Ravena 18, Salva 15, Slaughter 11, Tiongson 11, Monfort 9, Gonzaga 6, Long 5, Chua 5, Erram 2, Pessumal 0, Sumalinog 0, Golla 0, Austria 0

Far Eastern University (69)

Ramos 20, Garcia 16, Tolomia 7, Romeo 7, Escoto 4, Bringas 4, Exciminiano 4, Foronda 3, Cruz 2, Noundou 2, Pogoy 0, Mendoza 0, Knuttel 0

Quarter scoring: 23-18, 35-36, 57-45, 82-69

Holding on to the
7th UAAP Trophy of the Blue Eagles