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.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My thoughts on the Dec. 19 UAAP Women's Volleyball Games

Thoughts on the December 19, 2012 UAAP Women’s Volleyball results
by rick olivares

The last UAAP Women’s Volleyball matches for the calendar year before the Christmas break saw a pair of three-set sweeps. The Ateneo Leady Eagles notched win number five against their UP counterparts while La Salle knocked the angas out of NU for their fourth consecutive win.

Prior to the Ateneo-UP game, I told Jem Ferrer who did not play in order to rest her ankle injury, to tell her team to finish off the Lady Maroons. The UP team has a lot of rookies and they’re still finding their wings while they are still up against a mostly-veteran Lady Eagles team.

Instead, I felt that the level of Ateneo’s game was far below than what they play when up against the top teams. They lacked fire and made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes. But when they got that separation from UP, that was it.

Having watched the Ateneo team for seven years now, I have seen some of them grow into solid players while some regressed (due to lack of confidence or playing time). Gretchen Ho is a superstar but I keep hoping the coaching staff will work on her hitting. When she comes up from the middle, it seems she expends a lot of energy getting up then when she hits the ball it lacks power. I sometimes think it’s the wrist action. But against a tall team like La Salle she cannot afford those weak shots. She is of course, still my fave player for Ateneo (aside from Fille, Dzi, Jem, Alyssa, Denden etc). Hahaha

Yes, it was a three-set sweep and it was good to see Amy Ahomiro get significant playing time and contribute heavily. The joy on Marge Tejada’s face when she gets the chance to play is obvious – she lights up. Glad to see her gets some points including one off a service ace. Jirah Llaneta should have scored. As good as Gizelle Tan is she needs a little more seasoning to get into sync with her teammates. We’ve had very good setters over the years with Karla Bello and Jem Ferrer. Ferrer is exceptional as she took charge I her rookie year but it was in the last two years where she has really grown into her own. She is by far one of the smartest players in the league. It will be good for Gizelle to learn from her as Jem concludes her playing career with Ateneo and the UAAP.

Watching the La Salle Lady Archers reminds me of those great UST teams of recent years. They are tall, athletic, and rangy. They are not lacking in confidence I’ll say.

The faced an NU team already in a crisis of confidence. After having Ateneo in a deep hole in their last outing, it was the Lady Eagles who dug deep and came back to win. From the moment they stepped onto the San Juan Arena court, I felt that they were intimidated by La Salle.

I like NU’s Myla Pablo even if here on court celebration is a little too much. I still think it’s good for their team and the sport though. But I felt that it would be interesting if she could pull that with La Salle’s Michelle Gumabao who likes to taunt her opponents with her on court expressions.

NU couldn’t get going as they had trouble receiving and La Salle’s defense at the net was excellent. My fave player on their team is Mika Reyes and when you pair her with Gumabao, they form a formidable blocking pair. Throw in Mika Esperanza into that mix as well.

Dindin Santiago scored 12 points but they were scattered throughout the three sets and were largely inconsequential. Many of the NU points were even off unforced errors, an indication of the blank slate they drew against La Salle. After Santiago, Pablo was the second highest scorer for the Lady Bulldogs with seven points. Their other usual sources for points – Cai Nepomuceno and Aiko Urdas were not much help. Coach Francis Vicente did his best to hold back his temper and try to encourage his team during timeouts. But it's just back to the drawing board for NU.

It was an easy three-set sweep for La Salle that served up a lesson in power volleyball. If there is any squad that is overflowing with confidence it is the Lady Archers.

But that is a darn good volleyball team that La Salle has (they also have Wensh Tiu, Ara Galang, and Melissa Gohing as well) I still say that the Lady Eagles’ record notwithstanding, DLSU is still the team to beat.

For Ateneo – they have to play Adamson (who booted them from the UniGames) and La Salle while the Lady Archers have still to play UP and the Lady Eagles.

The Adamson Lady Falcons have only played in four matches are in third place with a 3-1 record while NU is at fourth with a 2-3 record.

UST is at 2-2 with a chance of breaking into the Final Four. By the end of the first round that should come in the second week of January, we’re going to see a leveling.


  1. " But that is a darn good volleyball team that La Salle has (they also have Wensh Tiu, Ara Galang, and Melissa Gohing as well) I still say that the Lady Eagles’ record notwithstanding, DLSU is still the team to beat." Agree, DLSU is the team to beat! In fact ,as much as I go for ADMU with or without Valdes' power hits , the Lady Archers will win a 4th straight UAAP Volleyball crown!

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