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, January 12, 2012

Cabagnot & Ildefonso carry Petron to 3-1 series lead over TNT

Cabagnot & Ildefonso carry Petron to 3-1 series lead over TNT
by rick olivares 
 pics by nuki sabio and brosi gonzales

January 11, 2012
Smart Araneta Coliseum

Through three quarters, Alex Cabagnot played 33 of the possible 36 minutes. But he also had a big fat egg next to him name in the scoring ledger (although he did have five rebounds and eight assists).

After 36 minutes, Talk ‘N Text led by six points, 66-60 in Game Four of their semifinals series with Petron Blaze. A six point lead is hardly enough cushion when two teams bristling with so much offensive weaponry have so much to unload. But in close matches, sometimes it does look like it’s a lot.

Unfortunately for TNT, there was Cabagnot. The pro league’s current Mr. Fourth Quarter and its version of Tim Tebow – Danny Ildefonso – each tacked on eight points each while hitting some pretty big shots between themselves to give Petron an 85-82 victory and a 3-1 series lead over the defending champions.

Cabagnot got the rally started when he opened the fourth quarter with a trey from the top of the arc to make it 66-63. He followed that up with a jumper at the 10:50 mark to bring his team within a point. Denok Miranda connected on a jumper of his own to give Petron the lead before TNT’s Kelly Williams ended his side’s three minute and 15-second dry spell.

However, Petron’s confidence was soaring even with Arwind Santos on the bench due to foul trouble. Miranda and Cabagnot hit back-to-back treys for a 77-72 Boosters lead. Although Ali Peek hit two free throws to make it 82-81, Petron would not be denied as Ildefonso hit a huge jumper from the left side of the court to take the lead for good with 55 seconds remaining.

The Tropang Texters muffed their next offensive after Ranidel de Ocampo’s missed three-ball attempt.

Miranda’s short-armed a jumper but TNT’s Jason Castro was unable to track down the loose ball that Cabagnot was able to get to. And with 12.8 seconds left, that extra possession was huge as Chris Lutz hit two free throws to give Petron an 85-82 lead.

Talk ‘N Text was able to get off two three-point shots – one by De Ocampo and the other by Jimmy Alapag – but both were short. And Petron was one win short of advancing to the Philippine Cup Finals with a huge 3-1 series lead.

The Boosters head coach Ato Agustin seemed puzzled about being asked about Ildefonso’s stellar performance (22 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists). “Two-time MVP ‘yan. Alam niya gagawin niya,” proudly proclaimed Agustin.

Outside the dugout, Agustin also praised Cabagnot’s big game heroics. “Malaking bagay na meron kang player who can make those big shots. Proven na siya diyan. So hindi na ako nagugulat. Pero hindi pa tapos to. Talk ‘N Text is a champion team. We have to come out na para kami ang naghahabol.”

Petron Blaze 85Ildefonso 22, Lutz 13, Yeo 13, Cabagnot 8, Santos 7, Reyes 6, Sharma 6, Miranda 5, Tugade 3, Baclao 2.

Talk ‘N Text 82Reyes 17, De Ocampo 15, Castro 13, Dillinger 9, Peek 9, Fonacier 6, Williams 5, Carey 4, Alapag 3, Aguilar 1.

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