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.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Reservoir Dogs - UAAP Game 14 Ateneo 88 vs NU 96

Reservoir Dogs - UAAP Game 14 Ateneo 88 vs NU 96
Round Two UAAP Season 70
by Rick Olivares

September 15, 2007
Ninoy Aquino Stadium


Why can’t things be ever easy for us? After spotting UST a 1-nil lead in last year’s finals, we lost two straight and up to today we’re still seeking therapy for that loss.

Faced with an opportunity to claim sole possession of the second seed, we lost to an NU team once more in heartbreaking fashion.


Just as it was then there were several hundred visibly disappointed Ateneo supporters at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium last Saturday. And there were thousands more who shut off their television sets in stunned silence and restrained anger. The evening’s dinner was never more unappetizing while sleep was a little harder to come by. Maybe the good Jesuits should perform general absolution for all the colorful and profound language that was uttered after the game and into the long hours of the morn. I plead guilty to the profane.

But why be sad?

We just made a lot of people very happy.

The network will have another ratings bonanza. The scalpers will make more money in one day than the average Filipino’s salary. The four graduating NU Bulldogs are going out in style. And the De La Salle Green Archers with all the motivation in the world are itching to stick their arrows in us. It was a double black eye for us as the Blue Eaglets also lost to the NU Bullpups last Sunday.

The first round victory over DLSU precipitated a three-game slide that sent the season on the brink. And after another hard fought victory over the Archers, we ended our eliminations with another galling loss.

After our initial fumble to FEU after the first round match against La Salle, I proposed that our next game be a week after so as for the giddiness to dissipate. Looks like I was wrong, perhaps what we need is to go back to boot camp to keep us razor sharp until the season is done.

I spoke with NU’s Jonathan Jahnke and Joseph Lingao-Lingao after the game and asked them what coach Manny Dandan said to them during halftime. Said Lingao-Lingao, the team’s burly forward-center, “Coach was upset. He said if we weren’t going to play might as well tapusin na ng maaga para makauwi na. Then right before yung start ng third quarter, he told us to go out and have fun and make our final game with NU a fun and memorable one.”

Said Jahnke, “Syempre sayang yung twice-to-beat advantage ng Ateneo. Pero hindi naman kami pwede magpatalo. Nakakahiya sa school at sa mga supporters namin. May pride din kami.”

Uncannily, the Bulldogs’ strength in recent years despite the presence of the bull-strong Edwin Asoro is their three-point shooting. After spotting them in the first half with a 31-22 lead via an advantage of 34 to 23 rebounds and 4 to 2 blocks the Bulldogs, without any semblance of an organized play dropped 12 three-pointers in the second half including 25 points in overtime.

The Blue Eagles looked out of synch in the first half but they still managed a lead. Coming out of the locker room after the half, the blue faithful were expecting that maybe the coaching staff would have appealed a greater sense of urgency to the team but instead things only got worse. It was as if we had to wait for the pressure to double up before the team got going. For a while it seemed that the only one taking it to the Bulldogs was Eric Salamat and then later Jai Reyes. However, by the time our game began to match our desire, NU had caught fire with every one of them spewing baskets from every conceivable angle.

The loss was so unexpected that the organizers didn’t even bother to reserve a venue for a rubber match with DLSU should Ateneo lose the game. And we’re now in a position where we have at the very least two more games left in the season including a daunting face off with La Salle this week.

In a dinner with friends that Saturday evening we had to humor ourselves lest it turn into a wake. Being of different generations, we recalled days when losing was almost unthinkable and days when emphasizing “win or lose it’s the school we choose” was a moral victory when we couldn’t claim a win on the hardcourt.

But as it has been for the last several years, we have that one word left to keep us going. And it has the power to wipe that sour taste the loss to NU left us.

Believe.

I’ll see you all on Tuesday.

One Big Fight!

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