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, September 7, 2012

Five ways to deal with the disappointing loss to UE

Five ways to deal with the disappointing loss to UE
by rick olivares

Yes, it’s a crazy world we live in. You’re lifted to a high after crushing La Salle then you’re laid down low with a WTF loss to UE. All of a sudden you don’t feel like finishing that cup of coffee, you spit, curse, mumble, there’s a dark cloud that follows you around, you want to lash out, you don’t want to remember the last few hours but find it impossible to purge it, ah, well, damn, you find it hard to finish sentences like me.

My mother always had some food, broth, or medicine to take the blues away. So in the time-honored tradition of moms everywhere, here’s my take on dealing with this misery.

For starters, breathe.
Yep, losing sucks. Unfortunately, the Ateneo Blue Eagles paid for their nonchalance. Give credit to the UE Red Warriors. They wanted it all right. They kept plugging in and hanging in there. They made all the hustle plays and hit the big shots. Jeez, Roi Sumang and Gene Belleza torched us good. And Chris Javier, you have to be proud of the kid. This is a loss where you just have to tip your hat to the opponent and at the same time remind your team to bring it every damn game.

And as the saying goes, better to lose now than later while there is time to adjust. However, the two-game lead over the closest pursuer was cut in half with three tough assignments to go. As if I didn’t need to underscore it but every game and win is crucial from hereon if we want to avail of the two seats that give a twice-to-beat advantage. Now let’s hope that this brush with playoff mortality serves as a wake up call.

Don’t give me that BS that we took them seriously. Sure, we did. In the fourth quarter. The problem is, by then, they had the confidence that they could pull off an upset. By then it was too freaking late to stop the floodgates from closing.

As I made my way out of the Mall of Asia Arena, a friend of mine who is a prominent alumnus from La Salle asked me, “What happened? You hit everything against us then couldn’t make a shot against UE? And (Ryan) Buenafe had only four attempts?”

That says something, right?

Try Kittin’s Scarlett Cake at Cookbook Kitchen (I picked up one at the Eastwood resto).
Take a bite out of some humble pie. We need it if only to remind us to respect our opponents. But why settle for pie when this cake is guaranteed to take away the bitterness of the loss (just as long as it isn’t in the Final Four or the Finals). The sweet calorie-filled icing is guaranteed to make you think about the richness of the cake and how utterly sinful this is.  

Not what is utterly sinful are those 20 turnovers that killed us because UE scored 23 points off them.

And shockingly, we took only eight free throws. But we are the top free throw shooting team? So what gives? I caught the excruciating replay because I wanted to flagellate myself before Holy Week. In the final timeout, UE head coach Boysie Zamar exhorted his players to drive and be aggressive. And that was the story of the Red Warriors all game long. They were aggressive.

Okay we scored 46 points inside the paint. Interestingly, we scored 46 points inside against UST in the first round and each time we scored that much inside, we lost. Can we infer that we need to hit those outside shots to complement the Big Fella’s game?

Greg Slaughter made mincemeat of Chris Javier but it was the latter who struck the most telling blow of them all – a game winner for UE (and this is good for this kid who has really worked hard on his game). While the inside game is crucial, the outside shooting must somehow be on target if we are to pull out a win. As head coach Norman Black says, when the outside shots are falling it makes the game so much easier.

Now go try the cake.

You might want to watch Maria Sharapova’s match against Marion Bartoli.
Down 0-4 to Bartoli, a 24-hour rain delay allowed Masha some room to breathe and by the time the US Open match resumed, the statuesque Russian beauty came back to defeat her foe.

This season as well as in campaigns past, when the Ateneo Blue Eagles struggled in the first half, they found their bearings in the third quarter (the halftime pep talk sure had its effect). This time, they never got on a roll and UE piped them in one of the biggest upsets of the season.

Ateneo had an opportunity to put some distance midway through the fourth period when Juami Tiongson scored on a lay up to make it 68-63 but the Red Warriors answered with a run of their own and they stood firm in the end game.

Overall, UE’s starting unit outscored Ateneo’s 76-55! It sounds impossible but yet it is true. Gene Belleza scored 28 points, Roi Sumang and Chris Javier had 15 apiece, Adrian Santos had 11, and JR Sumido finished with seven but had a late game layup that helped UE to their win.

Ateneo’s starting unit saw Ryan Buenafe and Nico Salva combine for a measly eight points. Eight points!!!!! Now here’s the trade off, while the two were off, the Blue Eagles’ bench scored 22 to the lone trey by Erwin Duran.

Now unlike the US Open match between Sharapova and Bartoli where it was a virtual win or go home match, the Blue Eagles still have a few games to secure the twice-to-beat advantage. They’ll have a few days to stew on the loss but the Ateneo coaching staff will make sure that they forget the loss to UE and look forward to the game against Adamson.

You must not think of negative thoughts.
If at some point you thought that this was like that loss to NU in the second round of Season 70, well, it’s close but you don’t get the cigar. For one, the Blue Eagles at that point were trying to get over the hump of faltering against the top teams like La Salle and FEU. In that incredible upset that saw Ateneo lose a crucial match that eventually told on their hopes to gain the twice-to-beat advantage, the Bulldogs drilled 13 of 38 three-point attempts that game with Jonathan Jahnke and Jonathan Fernandez making like Reggie Miller in the clutch.

Heading into this match, well, we’re now the four-time defending champs and we’re trying to find the killer instinct that has been occasionally missing in action after all the success of this spectacular run.  To borrow a line from Chot Reyes (Hey, Senator, are you listening about giving credit), Norman should file a missing person’s report on some people.

Nevertheless, it isn’t the first time that we’ve lost a crucial match in the second round. In the last two years running, we’ve been dealt losses by both FEU and Adamson. Following each loss, we came out and beat the crap out of our next foe. We’re going through a gauntlet (Adamson, NU and UST) here and I couldn’t care less whether it’s a blowout or a nailbiter, the only thing that matters at the end of the day is a “W”.

Lastly, just suck up this loss. Nothing you can do about it.
It sure would be fun to win every thing but that is impossible. At least we’re still on top of the standings with others trying to catch up. Now to go get a win against Adamson.

Eleven played and three huge games left.


  1. Honestly, I was WTH'ing so much I shrugged it off Noynoy style: smile and laugh about it. Yesterday was definitely one of those WTH moments.

    UE "trolled" us hard yesterday, meaning it won't do anything for them Final Four-wise, but it was enough to derail the Blue Eagle campaign in its drive for 5 (and give them more confidence)

  2. Hi Rick. as usual I enjoyed reading this post. I would like to share two things I felt could have changed the complexion of this game.

    I felt the absence of JP Erram was also an issue. In close games this year he usually gave the team a lift during the middle quarters with his height and hustle. His presence could have changed the outcome.

    Ateneo also had only 3 team fouls going into the last play. The foul they could have given up was not utilized. It could have added extra pressure on UE and setting up a play would have been more difficult with less time.

  3. Is there anything wrong with Nico Salva?