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.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

UAAP Season 74 Final Four Preview: Adamson vs FEU

Something has to give
Both teams believe that this is their last chance to win a title before their current crew graduates. Unfortunately, one will get that chance.
by rick olivares

In the second Final Four series, both Adamson University (10-4) and Far Eastern University (9-5) square off after each successfully having won their final assignment of the elimination round.

The Falcons will no doubt be buoyed by their masterful win over Ateneo while the Tamaraws are feeling good after dispatching old nemesis La Salle.

Both teams are hungry veteran-laden squads who both know that there is no tomorrow. Well, maybe at least for Adamson that will be losing quite a few of its stalwarts while FEU have some terrific players coming up from Team B. However, that’s for later to worry about. This is all about now.

Adamson began the season with a loss to Ateneo but bounced back by taking the starch out of FEU, 78-59, after the Tamaraws spoiled La Salle’s opener. In that win over FEU, the Falcons jumped on the Tamaraws from the opening tip and never let the flustered Bert Flores-coached squad in the game. They dominated the boards 45-32 and unleashed Alex Nuyles on offense (22 points).

They enacted the same on Ateneo in their last win.

During their second round meeting, FEU seized control late in the match but a late Adamson rally saw them come close and find themselves in a position to win. Nuyles bungled an offensive and RR Garcia’s lay-up sealed the deal for FEU, 62-61.

Adamson once more won the battle of the boards, 44-31 but the Tamaraws shot the ball better as they got a lot of layups and medium range shots. They scored 38 points inside the lane as opposed to the 16 of the Falcons.

This will be their first Final Four match up and this one has the possibility of going the length of the two-game series.

For FEU to win, they need to do three things:
one, to find a way to win the battle of the boards, a weakness in this campaign;
two, check the Falcons’ perimeter shooting as Adamson is a team that relies heavily on their outside artillery to get their game going;
and three, keep the game close. Although FEU has shown a remarkable ability to rally from huge deficits, it isn’t cast in stone that it a game-winning rally will follow.

For Adamson to win, it’s to keep FEU’s guards from driving. Let them shoot from the outside. Despite the presence of Garcia, Mike Tolomia, and Terrence Romeo, there is only one ball between them.

That was so obvious in one play in their final elimination round outing where they beat La Salle. With one set designed for Garcia, it was Romeo who took the shot. Publicly they are on the same page but watch them closely on the court. Then look at the coaching staff. The body language says a lot.

Flores will also have to be concerned about fielding a three-guard line-up against a tall Adamson crew that is just as fast and athletic. His hope is that Roger Pogoy, Mark Bringas, and Gryann Mendoza contribute. It would be interesting to see how Ping Exciminiano guards either Lester Alvarez or Alex Nuyles. If “X” can stay in the game and away from foul trouble that will be huge down the stretch.

At this point, Adamson has the better frontline whereas Aldrech Ramos, the lone force for the Tamaraws inside, is more comfortable facing the basket. They’ve got Eric Camson who has somewhat slipped under the radar this year as Nuyles has lifted his game up a notch higher. But Camson in plenty dangerous around the blocks. There’s the rapidly improving Rodney Brondial who is a better fit for the Falcons as opposed to Austin Manyara who has a penchant for picking up fouls.

If Adamson can guard the three-headed monster I call “GRIT3” (my hip hopping the word “gritty” to describe the play of the trio of Garcia-Romeo-Tolomia), FEU will be hard-pressed to find points. Adamson coach Leo Austria can counter with Lester Alvarez, Jerick CaƱada (when he isn’t afraid of the pressure), and Nuyles who is a defensive player’s nightmare.

The series will be a match up of big time shots and huge plays. Each team is capable of going on scorching runs. It will come down to those defensive stops. If they have been watching the UAAP these past three seasons, they will know that defense wins championships.

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