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, November 24, 2011

Canaleta steps up for Ginebra in win over Alaska

This appears in

Canaleta steps up for Ginebra in win over Alaska
by rick olivares photo by brosi gonzales

November 23, 2011
Smart Araneta Coliseum

As Barangay Ginebra continues to search for its identity and the consistent winning formula that seems to have escaped them, they went – at least for one game – back to some familiar ingredients.

The journeyman who hopes to have found a home. And the three-point shot.

NiƱo Canaleta has been in the pro league for six years and he has played for three clubs – four if you consider two stints with Air21 the club that drafted him out of the University of the East in 2006.

In his best game with Ginebra since being traded midway through last year’s season ending Governors’ Cup, Canaleta scored a game high 21 points, pulled down eight rebounds, and added an assist and a block. And he hit four huge triples including two in the third quarter when the Gin Kings finally seized the lead from hard luck Alaska.

While none of the triples were of the game-ending or rally-inducing sort that has become so associated with the PBA’s most popular franchise since the days when the game barker would call out the names of Sonny Jaworksi, Chito and Joey Loyzaga, Rudy Distrito, and Pido Jarencio to name a few, they achieved the same effect. Ginebra scattered 11 triples that held the Aces – a long time tormentor – at bay and for the win.

And there was another familiar tag of the great Ginebra teams of yore. As current head coach Siot Tanquincen put it: “It’s a crucial game. Parang do or die. Man down pa kami (the Kings were minus the injured Allein Maliksi and Rico Maierhofer).”

For one game, the supposed talk of going with its youthful players took a backseat when battle-scarred veterans Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand showed that great players die hard. While the latter added 10 points, Caguioa chipped in seven but looked painfully mortal as he saw one of his jumpshots emphatically rejected (by Bonbon Custodio) and a pair of drop passes go awry.

Ronald Tubid, the other third of the Kings’ fearsome trio of pistoleros likewise had another frustrating evening as he scored only two points in 21 minutes.

Early in the match with Alaska going for its third straight win, the Aces drew scoring sock from LA Tenorio and Custodio who drove hard to the basket. Inside the paint, Alaska’s frontline of Sonny Thoss, Jay-R Reyes, and Paolo Bugia poured in the points.

But the Kings came back with tougher defense and three huge triples in the third period to seize the lead and the momentum.

And Tanquincen paid tribute to Canaleta for his strong play: “He played big for us. His ability to spread the floor and the same time play as an added rebounder is a luxury to have someone shoot that well and help in the rebounds.”

The Ginebra coach also lauded his team’s defense in turning back Alaska. “That was our target – to play better defense.” Although Tanquincen’s troops were outrebounded and gave up more turnover and second chance points, Ginebra played better as a team as they collectively passed off for a game high 26 assists that helped all 10 of the players put some points next to their name.

Ginebra’s win put them in seventh place with an even 5-5 record (tied with skidding Barako Bull Energy) and two wins ahead of eighth placer Powerade with a 3-7 record.

Barangay 85 - Canaleta 21, Cortez 13, Intal 12, Helterbrand 10, Mamaril 9, Villanueva 7, Caguioa 7, Wilson J. 2, Wilson W. 2, Tubid 2.

Alaska 77 - Thoss 13, Custodio 12, Reyes 11, Baguio 11, Dela Cruz 11, Tenorio 10, Baracael 5, Eman 2, Bugia 2, Salamat 0.

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