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 13, 2011

Taulava leads Meralco past Shopinas

Taulava leads Meralco past Shopinas
by rick olivares  photo by brosi gonzales

October 12, 2011
Araneta Coliseum

Asi Taulava showed that he’s not going gently into the good night when he hit a fade away jumper over James Sena to propel Meralco to a 79-72 win over Shopinas last night.

The Clickers had come within three points following Sena’s two free throws off Mark Isip’s sixth and last foul with 1:06 to play when Taulava, the 13-year veteran hit his shot. The veteran center while hardly the offensive force he once was scored seven points in 22 minutes of action. But it was it boardwork that steeled the Bolts to their first win in two games of the ongoing Philippine Cup.

Meralco looked to be running away with the match after Mark Yee scored on a putback and a triple to give the Bolts a 69-57 lead with 5:48 left in the game. But Shopinas’ two refugees from Petron – Paolo Hubalde and Jojo Duncil – as well as Sena, the former Jose Rizal University center, led the Clickers’ charge back.

Shopinas had a chance to trim the lead down further after Sena’s two free throws but forward Homer Se committed a costly turnover that led to Taulava’s shot.

The Clickers took the first quarter 11-9 after a Hubalde layup. But the Bolts, already without the injured Chris Ross, Sol Mercado, and Mark Cardona, came charging back in the second period behind the sterling play of Gabby Espinas.

Meralco led 32-25 with 13.9 seconds left in the second quarter when three consecutive steals off an inbound pass led to a late six-point burst by the Clickers to come within a point 32-31.

“Sloppy basketball,” muttered Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio as he made his way to the dugout at the half. “Inexcusable sloppy basketball.”

At the resumption of the game, Taulava scored on a three-point play off Sena to get his team going. Espinas then scored six straight points and assisted Nelbert Omolon on an unguarded undergoal stab to give Meralco a 58-50 lead after three quarters.

Mindful of Shopinas’ Renren Ritualo who is experiencing a revival after being reunited with his college coach Franz Pumaren with the Clickers, Meralco blanketed the outside gunner limiting him to seven inconsequential points. But Hubalde, the son of former Crispa great Freddie Hubalde, tried to carry the team by his lonesome by scoring 21 points on a variety of daredevil drives, layups and pull up jumpers. But he was the lone Clicker in double figures.

The win gave Meralco some momentum heading into their Saturday match with rival B-Meg Derby Ace. The loss sent Shopinas into the cellar with a 0-2 record tying Fed Ex as the only expansion teams to start a season 0-2. Derek Pumaren incidentally coached that FedEx team.

“This game was a challenge for us,” said a relieved Gregorio after the match. “Yes, a win is a win and we can only build on this. I am not satisfied with many things and that is also due to not having a complete lineup. But I still have to give credit to my team because we found ways to win. I am also glad for Asi and for Gabby to step up. We will need that because this is one long season.”

Meralco 79Espinas 16, Macapagal 14, Isip 11, Yee 10, Lanete 8, Taulava 7, Borboran 6, Timberlake 5, Omolon 2, Ballesteros 0.

Shopinas 72Hubalde 21, Menor 9, Sena 7, Duncil 7, Ritual 7, Mirza 6, Se 6, Hermida 4, Sison 2, Jazul 2, Canlas 1, Espiritu 0.

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