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, May 29, 2011

Smart Gilas banks on fiery wind-up for 2nd win

Smart Gilas banks on fiery wind-up for 2nd win
story and marcio pic by rick olivares
asi and marcus morrison pics by mike yu

May 29, 2011
Philsports Arena, Pasig City

Faced with an unexpectedly tough foe, Smart Gilas Pilipinas found its spark during the early third quarter when they held the Kuala Lumpur Dragons to a solitary basket during a five-minute stretch to turn a 40-39 halftime deficit into a 95-64 rout.

Entering the match, the home team knew nothing about the opposition save for their Filipino head coach Ariel Vanguardia whose teams played physical and tough basketball. “We’re just going to stick to our game plan,” said Gilas head coach Rajko Toroman.

Unfortunately, the Malaysian team which made a smashing debut in the recent Asean Basketball League where they made the semifinals, stole a page from the Philippines’ playbook as former Loyola Marymount Lion Chris Ayer and University of Tampa Spartan Marcus Morrison led the way for the Dragons.

The Malaysians had more points from turnovers (5-2), inside the paint (12-8), second chances (2-0), and fastbreaks (2-0). “We wanted to limit their output which would favor us,” said Vanguardia. “When they made their adjustments – which was to get their uptempo game going – we could not counter.”

With Marcus Douthit saddled with three fouls and their offense sputtering, Gilas got a huge lift from Chris Lutz, Jayvee Casio, and Asi Taulava who led that third quarter surge.

Taulava typified the energetic play when he crashed into an advertising board while trying to save the ball. The longtime national team mainstay received got the bal back inside the paint to hit a fadeaway that got the Sunday crowd at the Philsports Arena rocking. By the time Lutz, the former Marshall University captain who scored nine huge points in the 16-4 run, went back to the bench with his third foul, the momentum had dramatically swung Gilas’ way.

While the Malaysians drew their scoring from Ayer (31 points) and Morrison (15 points), Smart Gilas featured a balanced scoring attack where all 12 players sent in by Rajko Toroman scored at least two points.

The Filipinos dumped 26 points in a huge third quarter while the Malaysians managed nine. “They sure play some beautiful basketball,” marveled Ayer after the match. Ayer cut a forlorn and solitary figure who gamely battling Gilas as the dreadlocked Morrison’s game took a massive dive as the crowd got under his skin following a taunting incident early in the first period. 

The game underscored Gilas’ depth and despite winning the battle of the boards (49-26) for the second straight match, the Filipinos only did their job against a smaller team.

Their next match is against Duhok Iraq; a team with a small lineup but one that features a familiar face in former reinforcement CJ Giles. Duhok has shown little chemistry and thus are in the cellar of Group A with a 0-2 record. The Iraqi team lost to Al Ittihad-Saudi Arabia 83-75 yesterday and to Applied Science University-Jordan 74-66 during the opening day last Saturday May 28, 2011.

Smart Gilas Pilipinas 95Tiu 11, Barroca 10, Casio 10, Hontiveros 10, Baracael 10, Lutz 10, Douthit 9, Lassiter 8, Aguilar 6, Ababou 5, Taulava 4, Ballesteros 2

Westsports Kuala Lumpur Dragons 64Ayer 34, Morrison 15, Kwaan 7, Batumalai 5, Oo1 2,Loh 2, Ng 2, Ho 0, Kuppusamy 0, Chin 0, Kamaruddin 0.

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