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, November 9, 2011

Injury depleted TNT outlasts Powerade

Photo by Brosi Gonzales: Jason Castro blocks Gary David's three-point attempt.

Injury depleted TNT outlasts Powerade
by rick olivares

November 9, 2011
Smart Araneta Coliseum

The Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters gutted out a huge win over a tough Powerade Tigers squad 95-86. “But at what price?” asked a glum head coach Chot Reyes after the match even with his team drawing level with Philippine Cup leader Rain or Shine at the top of the standings with a 6-1 record.

Two days after forward-center Ali Peek was shot by a still unknown gunman that simply sank the team’s heart, the defending Philippine Cup champions lost stud guard Ryan Reyes to a knee injury during a loose ball scramble where Powerade’s Doug Kramer unknowingly backed up on the TNT player.

It has been a dour week for Talk N’ Text beginning with the loss of forward Aaron Aban to a torn ACL last Monday followed by the shooting incident that has drawn widespread interest. Reyes is already without forward Rich Alvarez who has torn ligaments on his left hand and Jimmy Alapag who is expected back in December as he is still recuperating from a knee injury. Center Ranidel de Ocampo and forward Harvey Carey recently returned from the injury list and are far from optimum game form.

Prior to the match, Reyes was already wary of Powerade that absorbed a 117-78 beating at the hands of Barako Bull last Sunday. The multi-titled coach expected the Tigers to play their best basketball against them. Although TNT spotted Powerade a 22-13 first quarter lead, the Tigers came back as first round draft pick Marcio Lassiter scored 15 points in the second quarter to give the Bo Perasol-coached squad a 43-40 lead at the half.

TNT battled back in the third behind Ryan Reyes (9 points), Jason Castro (7 points), and Japeth Aguilar (4 points) who played terrific defense for a 71-66 lead entering the fateful fourth period.

Then at the 11:34 mark of the final period, Aguilar batted away an entry pass to Kramer that had the players scrambling for the loose ball. Talk ‘n Text was able to recover the ball but Reyes went down in pain clutching his knee.

Almost immediately, Powerade tied the match behind Josh Vanlandingham and Sean Anthony. The two teams traded baskets and were tied at 80-all following a Kelly Williams lay up off a loose ball with 5:34 left.

After Gary David drained a pull up jumper to bring his team a point down at 86-87 with 2:10 left, Aguilar responded with an 18-foot jumper. Powerade was unable to score on their end after which Jared Dillinger hit a triple with two seconds left on the shot clock (off a kick out by Castro) to give TNT a 92-86 lead with 1:12 left.

Castro blocked David for the second time in the quarter after he came off a pick for a three-point attempt. The quicksilver quick guard drove the lane causing the defense to sag. Castro them passed out to Dillinger who was all by his lonesome at the top of the arc. The former University of Hawaii Rainbow Warrior nailed his third trey of the quarter that knocked the wind out of the sails of Powerade; good for a 95-86 win.

Immediately after the match, the TNT team raced out to check on Ryan Reyes who was being wheeled onto an ambulance bound for the New Medical City in Pasig for a MRI.

Said Chot Reyes post-match: “We won this game but we lost another guy. Ryan Reyes was just rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. We were not in any condition to play this game after Monday night’s event. The guys stayed in the hospital ‘til one o’clock to stay with Ali. We went through the motions in practice and it showed in tonight’s game. Hindi ko makuha magalit sa kanila because I felt it was unfair to push them in the condition that we were in. But when we called a timeout in the middle of the third quarter – we were down by 10 or 12 points, I just told the players, “How are you going to visit Ali if we lose this game this way? Luckily they responded.”

Reyes couldn’t help but note the irony of how the Tropang Texters were relatively injury for the most part of last season until the fateful third conference where they lost to Petron in a thrilling seven-game Governors’ Cup Finals. “Such is life. Darating din yung meron konting malas at paghihirap. We have to face it square in the eye. We will find a lot about ourselves with the way we battle and play these next few games.”

Talk ‘N Text 95 - Aguilar 21, Dillinger 18, Castro 12, Williams 12, Carey 10, Reyes 9, Fonacier 9, De Ocampo 4, Raymundo 0, Oreta 0, Membrere 0, Lao 0.

Powerade 86Lassiter 24, David 21, Kramer 10, Casio 8, Lingganay 7, Antonio 6, Vanlandingham 5, Anthony 5, Crisano 0.

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