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.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mapua hopes that the CSB win puts them on track to the F4

Mapua hopes that the CSB win puts them on track to the F4
by rick olivares

The reason why the fourth seat to the NCAA’s Final Four bus is still open for takers is because of the poor play of these two teams – the Mapua Institute of Technology and the College of Saint Benilde.

Both teams have talented line-ups that go deep and can compete with the upper tied teams for the league title. Instead, poor play, inconsistency, rumors of internal strife have seen both on the verge of not only missing the playoff picture but tumbling down to the nether lands of NCAA mediocrity.

Benilde had the upper hand, if only for one game, against Mapua 4-5 to 3-6 of the latter heading into yesterday’s match up.

Surprisingly, they have been playing catch up to the even more surprising Lyceum of the Philippine University that was underwhelming during the pre-season. And for more than a half of play, it seemed that Benilde would go one up on Lyceum and two up on Mapua with their stellar play.

But the Cardinals, perhaps in a season-turning game for them, found their resolve behind Andretti Stevens and Josan Nimes before turning it over to their star, Allan Mangahas for the taking.

With the Blazers holding a 53-43 lead with under five minutes to play in the third period, Stevens strung up seven consecutive points for Mapua including a huge triple to make come close at 58-52. But the sophomore guard out of San Beda Alabang was whistled for his third (that led to a three-point play for Ian dela Paz) and fourth fouls sending him back to the bench.

In search of a firestarter? Mapua dialed Nimes, the Fil-Am from Phoenix, Arizona who only had two points in the first half of play. Nimes strung up nine consecutive points on a variety of drives and a triple that saw the Cardinals creep up to a point behind CSB 62-61.

When point guard Jonathan Banal drove inside and found himself in no man’s land, he kicked the rock out to a suddenly very wide open Jason Pascual whose trey attempt from the top of the arc hit nothing but net. 64-61 Mapua.

Both teams battled through seven lead changes and three deadlocks with Nimes and Pascual trading triples with CSB’s Carlo Lastimosa and Mark Romero.

With the game clock showing four minutes left, it was up to Mangahas to work his end game magic. The graduating point guard who won the Rookie of the Year for Mapua in 2008, stole a poor inbound by Blazer guard Anton Altamirano that got his father, former national coach and current NU Bulldogs bench master Eric up on his feet. He pulled down two defensive boards (he had a total of eight) and with under a minute to play, he put the moves on his guards and went inside the lane before kicking out to Nimes who drained a triple for an 81-77 lead.

Unfortunately, Mangahas nearly went from hero to goat as he lost the leather to Altamirano who fed Lastimosa for a bucket and he missed a potential game winning shot at the buzzer.

But at 81-all, the game was headed into an extra five-minute period where it was Mangahas time. The younger brother of James who once play for La Salle scored seven points including a shake and bake move on Altamirano for a pull up jumper (to tie the match at 83), a triple (to make it 88-83), and a nifty drop pass to center Mark Sarangay after getting whacked in the face by his guard that gave Mapua a seemingly insurmountable lead at 91-83 with a minute and 30 left. “I got hit near the eye but I still had to finish that play,” said Mangahas in the vernacular. “This game is very important to us or else this season is over.”

The Cardinals held on for a 94-90 win that saw the win their fourth match in ten outings.

“Hopefully, this is where we make a stand and play our best basketball the rest of the way,” added head coach Chito Victolero who has taken a lot of heat for his team’s dismal performance despite having a talented team. “It’s a good win now sana tuloy tuloy na.”

Mapua 94Nimes 25, Mangahas 23, Pascual 9, Sarangay 8, Parala 7, Stevens 7, Ighalo 6, Taha 4, Banal 4, Chien 1, Ranises 0.

CSB 90Lastimosa 23, Grey 21, Taha 19, Romero 14, Altamirano 5, dela Paz 5, Sinco 2, McCoy 1, Carlos 0, Nayve 0, Deles 0.

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