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.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ateneo barges into fifth consecutive PCCL finals

Ateneo barges into fifth consecutive PCCL finals
by rick olivares pic by brosi gonzales

December 9, 2011
San Juan Arena

Time was running down on the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ shot clock. The ball was eventually worked into center Greg Slaughter’s hands and he took a hurried jumper against San Beda opposite Dave Marcelo. Slaughter’s shot was short and it looked as if the shot clock would expire and the Red Lions would continue their frenzied rally.

Out of nowhere, Ateneo rookie Kiefer Ravena swooped right in to grab the ball and in one motion throw a reverse layup that sank just as the shot clock buzzer rang.

The basket gave Ateneo a 70-58 lead with 2:20 left to play and somewhat stunted the Red Lions’ furious rally. The Mendiola-based squad earlier cut down Ateneo’s 16-point lead to six, 57-51, at the 8:18 mark of the fourth period.

However, Bacon Austria doused the fire with a 15-foot jumper. Ravena posted up Baser Amer and hit a turn-around bank shot. And the lead restored.

And after Ravena’s save of Slaughter’s miss (he shot 9-14), the pressure was somewhat relieved. As Nico Salva put the finishing touches of a 76-63 win with a fastbreak stuff following a pass from Ravena, the Blue Eagles were headed back to the final of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League for the fifth consecutive year.

Ateneo first made the finals in 2007 where they beat the University of Visayas Green Lancers of which Slaughter was a part of. They returned the following season only to lose to De La Salle University. In 2009, they beat Far Eastern University. And in 2010, they took the finals series 2-1 over Adamson University.

Two Blue Eagles – both of them graduating – will have suited up for every one of those games: Kirk Long and Austria.

San Beda missed Jake Pascual and Garvo Lanete who were out with various ailments. The match also marked the last time that Marcelo will wear his alma mater’s jersey in a collegiate match.

The Red Lions took an early 7-0 lead behind Anjo Caram, Mar Villahermosa (who scored a game high 21 points), and Kyle Pascual. But Ateneo tightened its defense and answered with a 10-2 blast to take a lead they would not surrender.

Ateneo took advantage of big man Slaughter’s presence as Pascual and Marcelo had trouble defending him. But the moment the Blue Eagle slotman went to the bench, the Red Lions attacked the interior.

But the Loyola Heights-based team lorded it over the boards with 37-21 (with a 13-7 disparity on the offensive glass). Ateneo translated many of those boards into 14 second chance points.

After the match, Ateneo head coach congratulated his victorious team that will face the San Sebastian Stags who have a precious twice-to-beat advantage in the finals. The Stags have squeaked past the Blue Eagles in both meetings (one in the Filoil Premier Cup and the other in this year’s PCCL semifinals round robin series) this year. “We have to prepare well for their man-zone,” underscored Ateneo head coach Norman Black who will be going after his 15th title in seven years with the Blue Eagles. “I hope to play two games next week.”

Ateneo 76 – Slaughter 20, Ravena 18, Salva 17, Chua 6, Gonzaga 5, Austria 4, Long 4, Tiongson 2, Golla 0, Pessumal 0, Capacio 0, Erram 0.

San Beda 63 – Villahermosa 21, dela Rosa 14, Marcelo 7, Pascual 6, Amer 6, Lim 5, Caram 4, Solera 0, Koga 0, Pontejos 0.

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