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.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Alaska hangs tough in win over Shopinas

Alaska hangs tough in win over Shopinas
by rick olivares photo by brosi gonzales

November 20, 2011
Smart Araneta Coliseum

Shopinas smelled a comeback. The Clickers saw Alaska post double digits leads thrice in the match and each time, they came back. And this one looked like they were going to bag their first win.

After Jay-R Reyes hooked a shot in to make it 77-64 with 7:06 left in the game, Shopinas dropped a 16-5 bomb behind RJ Jazul’s seven points and Jojo Duncil’s two buckets to inch close 82-80. Alaska, for years the paragon of efficiency, has struggled to find its form and identity in the wake of former head coach Tim Cone’s sudden departure, degenerated into a maze of turnovers and misfired shots.

But leave it to old reliable Sonny Thoss to right the ship that was on the verge of sinking. After the Aces turned the ball over again following a miscommunication between Cyrus Baguio and Bonbon Custodio, Thoss blocked in succession a short stab first by Shopinas’ Pong Escobal and the follow up by jumping jack Elmer Espiritu. Given the reprieve, Thoss put back a missed layup by the struggling LA Tenorio to give Alaska an 84-80 lead with 54 seconds left in the match.

The Clickers gambled on a three by RJ Jazul who waxed hot all game long for a team high 24 points but after a drive and dish by Duncil, the former Smart Gilas point guard missed and Baguio hauled down the board.

Still Shopinas had another shot at whittling down the slim four-point lead of Alaska as Tenorio bricked a trey attempt but Duncil turned the ball over. Tenorio finally dropped two free throws with 8.7 seconds left to close out the game for Alaska 86-80 for their first back-to-back win this Philippine Cup (they beat Powerade last week).

A relieved Alaska head coach Joel Banal praised Shopinas’ small lineup that had given his much taller team fits. “The speeded up the game and hit some big shots. But as I said earlier, you have to play smart against Shopinas. They’re a young team that is well coached. Luckily our veterans like Sonny and LA are always there to give us a chance to win the game. And they go the job done. They were well rested for the endgame because our rookies -- Eric Salamat and Mac Baracael – played very well.”

Shopinas managed to keep the game close in the first half until they wilted under Alaska’s pressure in the third period. Alaska looked like they were ready to blow the game wide open after Salamat stole the ball and drove in for  a buzzer-beating layup that gave the Aces a 71-58 win.

The huge win saw Alaska grab a new lease on life as they moved up from ninth to eighth place in the standings although they are tied with Powerade at 3-7. Shopinas fell to 0-11 in their PBA debut.

Alaska 86Thoss 15, Reyes 13, Baguio 12, Custodio 10, dela Cruz 9, Baracael 8, Tenorio 8, Salamat 4, Bugia 4,  Eman 3.

Shopinas 80Jazul 24, Duncil 13, Sena 8, Hubalde 8, Sison 7, Espiritu 7, Escobal 6, Ritualo 3, Mirza 2, Daa 2, Menor 0, Aquino 0, Se 0.

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