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.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lightning Bolts strikes Powerade down twice

Lightning Bolts strikes Powerade down twice
by rick olivares phoot by brosi gonzales

December 2, 2011
Smart Araneta Coliseum

If you ask the Powerade Tigers if lightning does strike twice you can be sure that they’ll nod yes although somewhat disbelievingly.

The Meralco Bolts, for the second time in less than a month, piped the Tigers by two, 100-98, last Friday. In the two squad’s first encounter this Philippine Cup, the Bolts also prevailed by two, 98-96, after entering the fourth period with a five-point deficit.

As it was in the first meeting between the two, forward Gabby Espinas and swingman Mark Cardona, were the bane of the Tigers.

Espinas, the former Philippine Christian University star who won an NCAA title in 2005, scored 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds but it was his defensive stops at the endgame that proved to be the difference for Meralco.

With the Bolts holding on to a 100-95 lead, the Tigers’ Doug Kramer drove hard to the basket. Espinas blocked his layup attempt but Powerade’s Sean Anthony got hold of the loose ball. The Fil-Canadian went straight back to the hoop where Espinas not only rejected him but controlled the board.

Cardona and teammate Chico Lanete gave Meralco a massive lift at the start of the fourth period after both teams played to a standstill after three quarters 76-all. Both players scored seven points early in the fourth to give Meralco some breathing room in the end game.

Both sides had opportunities to either put the game away or come closer but they degenerated into a series of missed shots but none more costly than for Powerade.

After Espinas’ Mutombo-esque stops, Asi Taulava muffed a layup. Powerade gave the advantage back to Meralco when Anthony flubbed two free throws with 28 seconds left. On the other end, Taulava missed a pair of freebies as well.

However, this time, Marcio Lassiter was up to the task as he hit a triple with 20.5 seconds left to put Powerade behind by a deuce, 98-100. Meralco held on in the game’s final moments for the win.

Espinas chalked up his seventh double double of the season. Powerade’s Doug Kramer also tabbed his ninth double double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Petron’s Arwind Santos leads the league in that statistic with 10.

It was a proud Meralco head coach Ryan Gregorio who beamed after the game: “Coming into the game, it was clear that our intention was to fight for character of team. We know we’re in the playoffs but that is not our destination. The most wins we’ve had are seven in a conference. We really motivated our players not against Powerade but against ourselves. We have a chance to get better in terms of wins and we were able to achieve it.”

The win gave Meralco an 8-5 record and put them at solo fourth in the ten-team standings. The Tigers loss put them at 5-8 and kept Alaska in the hunt for the eighth and final seat for the quarterfinals.

Meralco 100 - Mercado 23, Cardona 17, Espinas 14, Lanete 9, Macapagal 9, Hugnatan 6, Yee 5, Taulava 5, Borboran 4, Isip 4, Omolon 4, Timberlake 0.

Powerade 98David 25, Kramer 16, Anthony 14, Casio 13, Lassiter 9, Vanlandingham 7, Lingganay 6, Adducul 6, Cruz 2, Crisano 0, Antonio 0.

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