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, July 25, 2010

Some thoughts on yesterday's Ateneo-La Salle game

Sorry that I haven't written the game account. I have so many things to do and the deadlines are kind of tight. But by tomorrow the Ateneo-La Salle game account will be up. So maybe to placate those who have been asking questions via email, text or facebook, let this stand muna until tomorrow.

Why was Ryan Buenafe not only the floor during crucial stretches of the game?
Because Norman said he wasn’t playing defense.

Why did Emman Monfort go out during the stretch when La Salle made their run?
Because he asked out.

Going into the game, a lot of people asked me if I thought Ateneo was going to win. I was non-committal in my answers. Of course I am rooting for the team to win but I felt that both teams were kind of evenly matched. No way was this going to be a blowout. I said that whoever makes that mid-fourth quarter run would win it. Obviously, not all games are won in the middle. You have to close it out. The Blue Eagles didn’t do the job.

What has changed with La Salle’s offense?
Aside from the extra staggered screen to free up with Simon Atkins, Luigi dela Paz or Samuel Marata, they have a renewed confidence in them and the win against us just amped that up big time.

They have better three-point shooters. Always have. While outside shooting, normally a strength of Ateneo, is something we do not have at the moment.

Do you have a right to be upset and get mad at the team?
Let me make this clear. Even to those who form the circle around the team. You cannot hear only the good stuff, the praise and adulation. You have to take the good and the bad. It’s like saying, don’t pan James Cameron’s Avatar because we do not know how much he put himself into it etc.

Anything that is public domain is subject to opinions right or wrong or strong or tame.

Having said that we have to be also careful with what we say. Wag naman yung masyadong garapal and filled with venom. Yeah, I know that some are thinking some sold out etc. But c’mon. At one point or another, our boys have proven their value. So my answer is no. Our boys do not sell out. Yes, I know we can’t control what everyone thinks and says. Ganyan talaga.

No one was saying anything when we were kicking butt the last two years. And it’s almost the same crew.

Yes, the crew. Okay, it’s not the same crew and therein lies the answer. You will find people on the floor during certain stretches that have not played together. Okay some were there during Fil Oil but that’s Fil Oil not the UAAP. Let me give you a basketball analogy.

When the Chicago Bulls were going for the ’97 title they found themselves at one point floundering and unable to duplicate their 72-win season. There were injuires and new players on the floor like the late Brian Williams and Robert Parish. Williams was a late season pick up in case you don’t know. But they got the job done eventually. For football fans, just look at FC Barcelona this past La Liga to know what I am talking about.

Is Eric Salamat okay?
Looks like the early injury to him took something out of him because he doesn’t finish like he normally does. Norman thinks he’s okay but I do know that he ices his knees all the time.

A good friend with a malicious mind told me, “Ikaw kasi mabait ka sa players (well, I do help/counsel quite a few players and not all are from Ateneo) whereas ako, iniisip ko iba.”

If we accused every player or benta rito benta roon eh bakit pa tayo naglalaro. During the summer, one coach took me to task for defending Mark Barroca and taking to task FEU and he went on to talk about how dirty college hoops is. I was not born yesterday. I do believe that there are shenanigans left and right (ask me about the UST-UP game when you see me next time). And I have seen some really mighty suspicious stuff in many a game. But if there is something damning then why not bring it out rather than keep silent? I cannot believe the reason na “sisirain yung kinabukasan nung bata.” Er, isn’t that what you’re already doing? If everyone knows there’s something rotten then why aren’t they doing anything? Mahirap na kasi. Until they decide to do something about it then either they should put up or shut up.

Let me tell you this. During La Salle’s rally, I wondered why the staff kept Bacon Austria on the floor in spite of the miscues and missed shots. That is not say that I do not like him as a player. He just didn’t have it that game. Could he redeem himself like Jec Chia did in 2002? Of course, that is why Norman shows faith in him.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Epok Quimpo and I used to think that he was a turnover waiting to happen. But in 2002, when LA Tenorio went down with an injury, he played well all the way to the Finals. I don’t need to remind you of his shot in the finals.

Back to Bacon, I didn’t know that and I was angry too. After the game, I spoke with Norman about it. And I gotta give the coach credit right there. This is a more painful loss but he was more composed and more accommodating with the questions as opposed to the FEU one. But the true gentleman that he is, he apologized during the Q&A post-FEU if he was cranky because he said that it was a tough loss. We chatted for a while one-on-one outside and he was very patient with the discussion.

Look, I may not agree with the coach all the time but the one thing I’ve learned is to trust him. After all he’s earned it, don’t you think?

Conversely, someone told me that in the midst of our run, one player from La Salle was getting it from behind his bench from people on his side. It’s like that for Ateneo and La Salle. Really rabid fans.

But the loss --- simple, they beat us. They aren’t exactly chumps you know.

As I answered up above,
If we were to pan every player who doesn’t play well then no one would be left on the team maybe except for Kirk Long who has been the only consistent player all season long.

We cannot remove a player like a school can remove its coach. Unless they try to choke the coach like Latrell Sprewell or be disruptive like Ron Artest. They are there. That is the team.

If you’re hurting then so are they. Much more even. So now they are down, we gotta help raise them up. I for one am excited about the next game!

One Big Fight!


  1. 2 questions:

    1. what exactly does "buenafe not playing defense means"?

    2. related to question 1, if buenafe does not play defense, why do we build leads when he is playing and lose those leads when the supposedly defensive players come in? in both ateneo loses, we lost the lead whenever bacon and monfort played together. this was also true during the games we won.

    like you said, we should trust norman, but i really like to understand the heavy minutes that norman gives to monfort and bacon. they are simply being overmatched this year.

  2. I don't know what you've been watching but I it was Emman's 6 straight free throws that enabled us to get past Adamson. It was also Emman's three that tied the game with FEU. Both Emman and Bacon are on the second unit so why shouldn't they play together? Should Ryan have been used? Personally, yes. That last shot should have been his. Not anyone else's. But the shot with Bacon taking the three, the other option was Juami. Had Bacon nailed it you'd be singing a different tune.

  3. so in your mind, norman should be giving more playing time to monfort and bacon over buenafe and salva and even juami?

    they do have their flashes of brilliance, i'll give you that and they are playing a system that does not rely on superstars, but don't you think we should be playing our strongest unit most of the time?

    also, i don't see ryan resting on the defensive end. i don't get what bacon is doing better than ryan on defense. maybe i'm blind =)

    i do hope things pick up and i don't like taking shots are players. just asking some honest questions.

  4. it was a bitter loss. but as the fourth quarter started and we started pulling away, i saw the attitude of our boys changing. they started losing focus on the win. they were in it for the glamor. there was a flashing of the 1 sign with the finger, there was a salute to the crowd. when la salle started the comeback, they had determination in their eyes. after marata made his third three in front of eric's tough defense, there was no celebratory shout or finger pointing.

    at that point, we got rattled and lost composure. we could not execute properly. we bacame desperate.

    its back to the drawing board, boys. but we will get better with this loss. it's a wake up call.