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, April 25, 2009

Collegiate pre-season musings Part 2

Several years ago when the Ateneo Blue Eagles first played the current incarnation of the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers in an off-season tune up match, the blues lost as the physical nature of their opponent threw them off guard.

They've met up on a number of occasions since and although Ateneo has beaten them every time since, the battles have been no less intense. The Blue Eagles have learned how to handle a team that not only plays overly physical but is talented at the same time. It's a good match up but it does present a tantalizing view of the team. And IMHO, there are two teams that are a very good guage of the Blue Eagles... La Salle and JRU.

And so the two teams met at the 2009 Fil Oil Pre-Season Tournament. Each was a man down: Ateneo without Ryan Buenafe and JRU without Joe Etame who was out with an injury.

Marvin Hayes, now in superb shape used his athleticism to drive on consecutive possessions for JRU over Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Nonoy Baclao. I was telling Chris Soler that Hayes will not lay the ball up on Baclao again. The next time Hayes tried it the ball was damn near deposited to the upper box section and he stopped being a threat.

So far this looks to be the rotation:
Rabeh Al-Husseini - Justin Chua - Vince Burke - Frank Golla
Nonoy Baclao - Nico Salva - Mike Baldos
without Ryan Buenafe, something akin to a three-guard line-up (?)
Eric Salamat - Kirk Long - Oping Sumalinog
Chris De Chavez - Tonino Gonzaga - Bacon Austria
Jai Reyes - Juami Tiongson

When Ryan returns to the line-up, does Chris start? Or is it Eric?

Tonino could be the X-factor for Ateneo because he is growing in confidence with his all-around hustle, shooting, and slashing moves. He could spell Eric when the Man of Steal goes to the bench.

Look for Justin Chua to get more minutes. The playing time is helping and he should gain more confidence with every game.

Chris Sumalinog rifled in a trifecta. Yeah, we know he can shoot but take a look now... he inherited the #17 from another guy named Chris. The second coming? Hmm. I'll settle with seeing him play more.

Man, Eric... when he wants that ball.. it's like taking candy from a baby. He can take over a game with his defense and score when he wants to. Wait til he rounds out into game shape.

Nonoy Baclao... this guy should be the Number Over-all Draft Pick of the PBA in 2010. What an incredible player -- excellent attitude, good game inside, plays defense, can pass the ball, knows how to bring it down... Chris Soler and I have been discussing it... who cares if there are a bunch of Fil-Ams for that draft -- Nonoy is the Man!

But what happened during the game? Ateneo just played better than JRU. But please Blue Eagles... tone down the bitching to the refs. Just play the game. And JM Wilson should just play and stop complaining too.

The jury is out whether pointsguard Mark Cagoco should continue to bomb away with impunity or concentrate on being a point guard. Methinks, JR Bulangis as point guard and Cagoco at the two-spot might help but where does that leave Nchotu Njei? Is that like Ryan Roose Garcia and Mark Andy Barroca at the starting guard positions for FEU?

Look, I just want to know.... what in the blue hell is an ILLEGAL ELBOW?

Please tell me there is a LEGAL ELBOW then I will mop the Arena for the rest of the entire tournament.

And calling those fake fouls? I think it is not only stupid and difficult to call. Now if they want to call that they they should introduce INSTANT REPLAY to tell whether the refs got the call right or not. That should reduce bogus calls and erring refs and penalize erring players. Will it slow down the game? Sure it will but it will help prevent game fixing or even point shaving.

Fake fouls? Then they should call fouls on that fake timeout (hey you know who you are) and pump fakes. And those who cross-over well for faking guards out of their high tops... yeah, that should merit a technical. Anything that is fake. Including those who wear knock-offs of Nike, adidas, Reebok etc. on the court.

Coach Leo Austria told us that Bacon's younger brother is known as Bacon Bits! Bwahahaha!

Sabi ko kay Coach, he should get Purefoods to sponsor his son. Reply ni Coach Leo, "Pag sumikat!"

On the game between Perpetual Help and Letran: congrats to Boris Aldeguer. Great win!

On Kevin Alas missing that last shot... here's a guy who will step into Letran starting line-up and contribute right away.

He missed and that reminded me of a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs during Kobe Bryant's rookie season where Black Mamba airballed a last shot that could have won it for the purple and gold. Said Chick Hearn almost immediately after: "Don't worry, young man. You'll be making many more of that in years to come."

Ain't that the truth. So Kev, don't worry about it.

Hey, why didn't we try to get this guy to play for Ateneo?

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