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, October 20, 2011

Miller time and the last action heroes deal TNT first loss

This appears in

Miller time and the last action heroes deal TNT first loss
by rick olivares photos by brosi gonzales

October 19, 2011
Smart Araneta Coliseum

Remember when the Philippine Basketball Association used to market the pro basketball league as “the bayan ng superstars?” Well, the players aren’t just like action stars but also entertainers.

The Barako Bull Energy Boosters could have chosen to be Grumpy Old Men but they chose be the Expendables – of the Sylvester Stallone kind -- as the delat defending champion Talk ‘N Text its first loss with a 100-86 victory in the ongoing Philippine Cup.

The Junel Baculi-squad has the oldest line up with players like Willie Miller, Mick Pennisi, Dorian Peña, Danny Seigle, Don Allado, Wynne Arboleda, Jondan Salvador, Paul Artadi, and Sunday Salvacion all well into their 30s. That’s over half their squad that picked up a heavy dose of youth in the draft with college stars like Dylan Ababou, Allein Maliksi, and Ken Acibar. Against TNT, the vets combined for 65 points with 27 coming from Miller and 18 from Pennisi who rained down four triples in a vintage performance.

“Vintage? The Expendables? Aww, I was the top pick of the draft last year,” joked Pennisi. “Nah, I’m kidding! But we’ve got plenty of gas left in the tank.”

“I think we have all played with one another in different teams so gamay na namin yung laro namin so hindi mahirap yung adjustment,” added Miller as fans posed for pictures with him outside the Barako locker room after the win. “Sana marami pa kaming bala.”

Both Miller and Pennisi were both original players for the team when the team made its debut in 2001 at the Batang Red Bull Thunder.

The older players have been viewed to be in some circles as “discards” as they have be jettisoned from their previous clubs that wanted to insert a dose of youth.

After their successive wins over the Barangay Ginebra Kings and now the Tropang Texters, Barako Bull won’t be catching any teams by surprise.

“I hope we still can,” said Miller who last exploded for over 20 points when he was with Alaska two years ago.

The Energy Boosters got out to a great start in the first quarter with Miller and Pennisi alternating shots while TNT couldn’t buy a basket. After a 25-11 first quarter lead, it was rookie Ababou who carried the cudgels with eight points including back-to-back treys to open the second frame.

Barako Bull then opened up 22-point bulges with the last at 52-30 before the action heated up as the Chot Reyes-coached team roared back to come within six at 73-67.

But let it not be said that Baculi’s squad does not have a sense for the spectacular. The fourth period turned into “Miller time” as the 10-year pro scored 12 points at a dizzying pace including a trey, a high arcing jumper over an onrushing Ali Peek, and a turn around j over Jimmy Alapag.

And for good measure, Peña added a touch of comedy. After blocking a Jared Dillinger drive, Peña let out a roar eliciting chuckles from Ginebra head coach Siot Tanquincen and team manager Allan Caidic who viewed the action from the press box in the patron section. After the veteran center dived for a loose ball underneath Talk ‘N Text’s basketball coming from out of bounds where he crashed onto a mess of players that resembles a massive car pile up, Caidic laughed, “Comedy talaga ‘tong si Peña.”

But Talk ‘N Text wasn’t laughing as their last ditch rally that saw them come once more within seven at 80-87 was stifled when Japeth Aguilar muffed a pair of shots and plays while being whistled for two fouls on the defensive end.

Barako scored 29-points to the 24 of TNT as their early lead created enough of a buffer for their win.

After Miller posed for photos and signed a few autographs, the movie theme was posted once more. “Last Action Hero.”

The high-scoring guard from Olongapo let out a hearty laugh. “Sana maganda yung ending.”

Barako Bull 100Miller 27, Ababou 20, Pennisi 18, Allado 9, Maliksi 8, Najorda 6, Artadi 4, Arboleda 3, Peña 3, Salvacion 2, Salvador 0.

Talk ‘N Text 86Castro 23, Reyes 16, Dillinger 10, Aban 10, Peek 8, Fonacier 6, Carey 6, Aguilar 4, Alapag 3, Raymundo 0, Alvarez 0. Lao 0.

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