San Miguel Beemen

I have written an article before regarding one of my favorite players in the NBA, Tim Duncan. That was the NBA. Today, I would like to write about my favorite Philippine Basketball Association team, the San Miguel Beermen. I was still in my elementary years when I came to know this team. During that time, the famous team was Anejo / Tanduay / Ginebra, Purefoods and Alaska. These teams are tough, mean, and pure championship calibers. One cannot say that these teams are lame because if you do, there will be fist fights. But San Miguel Beermen is one of the toughest teams in the PBA.

The Championship game will always be grand, fierce, brutal. And seeing my favorite team in the Championships really puts a smile on face, and I carry them even in my dreams. And yes, they’re the 1989 Grand Slam team.

One of the pictures I found on the web. The 1980 team until early 1990... a grandslam team.
One of the pictures I found on the web. The 1980 team until early 1990… a grand slam team.

Then came the changes that happened within the organizations… Coach Ron Jacobs was tasked to handle the team and sure he did a great job. The team back then has almost lost all the great players above due to age and injuries and retirements… Coach Ron had to settle with one weapon, Nelson Asaytono.

He was not "The Man", he was "The Bull".
He was not “The Man”, he was “The Bull”.

Nelson Asaytono became the main man of the SMB Beermen during the late 1990s. Coach Ron gave Nelson the green light to do as he please, and the Coach never regretted it. Nelson was the scorer, rebounder, point guard and the teams face. He became almost the lone offensive weapon of SMB. But there’s also people who are around him that time that helped him, there’s Freddie Abuda and Art Dela Cruz who have helped Nelson with the rebounding and scoring part.

And somewhere along the way, Nelson became team mates with one of the most exciting players ever, Mr. Excitement himself, Paul “Bong” Alvarez. Bong Alvarez brought a lot of dimension and excitement to the SMB team.

Then, the arrival of one of my favorite players from SMB, Lakay Danny Ildefonso. He was to assist Nelson with the team’s offense. And hell he did. His arrival came as a fresh breath of air for the SMB. Then the team added Danny Seigle. Along with the team is the captain, Olsen Racela. Then came Dondon Hontiveros, Dorian Peña, Nic Belasco, Dwight Lago, Boybits Victoria with their coach, Coach Jong Uichico.

The Few. The Proud. The Beermen.
The Few. The Proud. The Beermen.
Dekada '90 line up of SMB.
Dekada ’90 line up of SMB.

Beermen.20

After Coach Jong got transferred to another team, it started the downfall of the formidable San Miguel Beermen. The team changed name to Magnolia Beverage, then San Miguel then Petron Boosters. Olsen retired and became coach for 2 seasons. Danny Seigle, Dorian Peña and Dondon Hontiveros got traded. Nic Belasco also got traded beforehand. And then, an article came out sometime November 2013 title, Danny Ildefonso – The last of the San Miguel Beermen. From that article, here is some of what Danny I, as he is fondly called, said “The drastic changes started in 2011 when Danny Seigle and Dondon Hontiveros, two players who were Beermen for a decade, were packaged with Dorian Pena and Paul Artadi and shipped to the Air21 Express for Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Nonoy Baclao, and Rey Guevarra, the top three picks of the 2010 PBA Draft.

“Sobrang nainis ako sa trade na yun kasi akala ko dati kapag loyal ka, secured ka. Sabi pa nga nila, ‘samahang walang katulad,’” Ildefonso recalled. “Yung tao naging loyal, binigay lahat ni Danny [Seigle] sa team, pero na-trade rin siya.”

“Yun yung hirap sa amin ngayon,” he continued. “Sa bali-balita lang namin nalalaman. Dati, two to three weeks bago mangyari yung trade, kakausapin na kami na may mangyayari. Ngayon sa ibang tao mo pa malalaman. Tapos alam na nga ng sambayanan, pero dine-deny pa rin nila. Yung masakit pa dun, yung mga kinuha namin para sa kanya binitawan rin. Okay lang sana kung nandun pa sila e, pero di rin nagtagal kaya sayang lang yung pag-trade kay Danny.”

The changes continued earlier this year when Olsen Racela was fired from the head coaching position after 16 years of loyalty to the franchise.

“Yun ang pinakamasakit sa lahat. Yung kay Olsen nalaman ko rin sa ibang tao,” Ildefonso said. “Yung team na hinawakan ni Olsen di naman maayos e. Kung di rin nagloko si [Renaldo] Balkman, sigurado kami sa Finals. Si Olsen ang tagal nag-serbisyo sa San Miguel, pag naglaro, all out, yung puso niya nasa team talaga, pero di siya pinagbigyan, nahusgahan siya agad.”” 

This sentiment might have been the reason why Petron never renewed his contract. But don’t worry, Lakay is now with Meralco Bolts. Dynamite Danny is with Talk ‘N Text, The Cebuano Hotshot Dondon Hontiveros and Nic Belasco are with Alaska Aces, and Olsen “RA-RA” Racela is with San Mig Coffee, Dorian Peña is with Barako Bull Energy.

I had to like their pages from Facebook now. They’re the guys I grew up watching. And as the famous tag of San Miguel has always been, “IBA ANG MAY PINAGSAMAHAN.”

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[ Sports… ]

Some sports that I have come to love.

The Philippines has always has glamourized basketball and boxing. Yes, the top 2 sports in this country is that 2 sports. I have nothing against these sports though, I feel they’re limiting us to height and so.
Basketball.

You need height in this game. It may not be everything but it is something. I mean, my height is 5’11” but I am still short in comparison to the players in the PBA. I used to play this game but for some unknown reason, I lost the passion within me.

Boxing.

Well, boxing is being dominated right now by non-other than our own, Manny Pacquiao, you know? But for me, this is a one-man show and it is a bit dangerous sport. Then again, kudos!

Now, for the sports that will seem to topple the 2 mentioned:

FOOTBALL.

Yes! FINALLY! I am getting excited for the sport that I have longed for! I watched when GMA interviewed the Younghusbands when they were just new in the country. Nobody noticed them. I then thought, “Good luck guys. Hopefully you can ignite something for this country’s football” and they did. Them and the Azkals did something great, they have shocked Vietnam at the AFC Cup, and now, they’ll battle Kuwait for WORLD CUP Qualifier! WOWOWOWOWOW! I am not expecting the Azkals at the World Cup yet, but who knows?! We will have something to look forward to!

RUGBY.

I have seen a game on TV when I was young. And I said it might not happen here. BUT I WAS WRONG! It did! We have the Philippine Rugby team! How’s that?! And they are winning games. Like the Azkals, the Philippine Volcanoes are composed of Filipino-foreigners. But who cares? I don’t. At least they have Filipino blood, unlike other countries who converts other nationalities just to be their players.

VOLLEYBALL.

I am a big fan of this sport. I myself has been a volleyball player before and I really love the sound of the ball being smashed by players. We have a national team by the way, they’re the Philippine Cobra. Nice name. It has tenacity and power, and quickness. I have always enjoyed watching volleyball tournaments, especially when it’s the women’s volleyball. They have the grace, finesse and power. I have always admired Leila Barros and the collegiate volleyball players in the country. But if you want force, watch the men’s volleyball. They have tenacity, brute force, smashing power and quickness.

DRAGON BOAT RACING

One of the most exciting race i have found and come to adore. yes, they’re FAST and FURIOUS! and THEY’RE ALL FILIPINO! though i have nothing against Fil-Foreigns, like they say, IBA PA RIN ANG PURO! Go TEAM!

These 4 games are just some of the games that has taken my attention by far. And yes, they’re good. But they need the support of the people. They need financial support for trainings, equipment, people. Heart alone will not suffice.

Go and support your teams.