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 7, 2011

Ryan Reyes propels TNT to win over Ginebra

The fateful trey of Ryan Reyes that stopped Ginebra in their tracks.

Ryan Reyes propels TNT to win over Ginebra
by rick olivares pics by brosi g.

November 6, 2011
Smart Araneta Coliseum

In a 48-minute game, it’s all about runs and answering them. Talk ‘N Text led by a dozen 35-23 with 6:37 in the second period when Barangay Ginebra’s KG Canaleta scored a bucket on Japeth Aguilar. Eighteen seconds later, Canaleta blocked Aguilar’s drive that drew a cheer from the predominantly pro-Ginebra crowd. In the reset, the Tropang Texter’s young center threw up an airball. Ronald Tubid tacked on a free throw on the opposite side and the lead was down to 39-27.

TNT head coach Chot Reyes called time and chided Aguilar for backing down against Canaleta then railed at his team for not whipping the ball around. “Don’t be selfish,” he railed. The Tropang Texters responded with a 9-4 run to jack up the lead 48-31 after two quarters played. The lead would provide enough cushion for the inevitable Kings’ run.

But Ginebra was laboring for their points. After Rico Villanueva whittled the deficit down to 10 after a free throw to make it 69-59 with 9:40 left in the game clock, TNT responded with an 8-2 run capped by a four-point play by Ryan Reyes (20 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals) that took the starch out of the Kings.

During their eight-day layoff from competitive ball, TNT took time off to go to Benguet for a team building exercise. According to Reyes, the team went some 600 meters down a mine to get an idea of the sacrifice and hard work of the miners.

After his side’s 86-71 win over the PBA crowd favorites, Reyes said that he was happy that his players answered every Ginebra run. He also described his team’s effort as “workman-like” and “honoring the sacrifices of the miners.” While TNT’s defense (they give up 91.6 ppg) isn’t at its best yet with players in and out of the lineup due to injury, the defending Philippine Cup champions have used their potent offense (96.6 ppg) to overwhelm foes.

While putting the ball in the hoops doesn’t seem to be a problem for TNT, the Kings clearly aren’t the dynamic team that they used to be. The fearsome trio of Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand, and Ronald Tubid only has moments rather the sustained firepower that has become synonymous with their moniker. When Caguiao was taken out of the match late in the fourth quarter, he was surprised and clearly displeased with the move. On the way out, he asked coach Siot Tanquincen what was that all about but the coach didn’t reply.

While both squads shot poorly (TNT’s 35.8% to Ginebra’s 35.5%), the Tropang Texters played with a lot more energy and determination. Reyes’ team grabbed 59 boards with 21 coming off the offensive glass. Ginebra mustered only 44 with 5 offensive ribbies. The Kings’ manager Allan Caidic was unhappy with the effort, “Ang sama,” was all he could say as he walked out.

Not only did TNT beat them but they didn’t help their cause one bit by turning the ball over 19 times that the Texters translated in to 20 turnover points. TNT also carved open Ginebra’s defense by passing the ball around until an open man was found.

And they also ran the two-man game to perfection. With 20 seconds left in the third period, Ryan Reyes passed the ball to swingman Larry Fonacier who was at the apex of the three-point arc. Reyes went up to set a screen and Ronald Tubid who was shadowing Fonacier through the former Ateneo Blue Eagle was going to use the pick to go around. Instead Fonacier popped for a triple that gave TNT a 69-52 lead.

For years, Reyes has preached “the values of hard work” and he has turned his squad into a fast-paced one that is relentless in their attack and their work around the shaded lane. Even after falling short of a grand slam last season, TNT has picked up where they left off in Season 37. The Tropang Texters had four players scoring in double digits in Ryan Reyes, Kelly Williams, Jared Dillinger, and Jason Castro whereas only Caguioa, in 19 minutes of play, and Mike Cortez who scored more than 10 points for Tanquincen’s side.

“We’re still trying to get better,” said Chot Reyes who was wary of the upcoming matchup with Powerade which was blown off the court by a stampeding Barako Bull in embarrassing fashion 117-78.

In that match, the lead went up to 53 at one point after two free throws by Paul Sorongon, 105-52, and the Energy Boosters threatened to break record for the most lopsided score that dated back to July 12, 1980 when the U-Tex Wranglers manhandled the Great Taste Coffee Makers 154-99. Every Barako Bull player sent in by head coach Junel Baculi scored at least three points.

“I expect Powerade to come out like a wounded tiger and play the best game,” said Reyes. “I am sure they will come out with a great effort. And we cannot take them or anyone lightly.”

Talk ‘N Text 86Reyes 20, Williams 19, Dillinger 14, Castro 13, Peek 7, Fonacier 5, Aguilar 3, Raymundo 2, De Ocampo 2, Carey 1, Aban 0.

Ginebra 71Caguioa 14, Cortez 11, Labagala 8, Canaleta 8, Intal 7, Tubid 6, Villanueva 6, Wilson 4, Helterbrand 3, Cervantes 2, Wilson 2, De Ocampo 0.

Ginebra was oft a step too slow in chasing TNT's players that they sometimes had to tug at their shorts to keep pace.

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