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, April 14, 2013

Filoil tipoff: Teng & Mariano = Durant & Westbrook? Aroga & his wicked crossover. And the Ateneo Bo Eagles.

This appears in the Monday, April 15, 2013 edition of the Business Mirror.

Breaking down Opening Day of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup
by rick olivares

It was only the first playing date of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup but the games already provide a glimpse of what is to come when the main collegiate leagues tip off.

Of course, no one looks razor sharp on opening day. Players grope for form. Coaches experiment. Line-ups aren’t complete. And a loss today doesn’t mean your season has gone to hell. A win as well should be regarded with caution. After all, it’s a different ball game when it’s for the marbles.

However, here are some things that can be gleaned from opening day.

Jeric Teng and Aljon Mariano were like Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook.
Every team, at least on opening day, looked different except for UST. There was a glaring hole at the one-spot with Clark Bautista unavailable for the match. So when the Growling Tigers’ offense wasn’t going anywhere, Jeric Teng took it upon himself to bring up that ball.

With Karim Abdul and Kevin Ferrer in Boracay (no, they weren’t in Aklan but they might have well been given they way they played), Teng and Aljon Mariano scored 59 of their team’s 67 points.

Teng, in his final year for UST, took 20 field goals (40%) and 13 free throws (100%) for a game high of 31 points. Mariano took 23 shots from the field (39%) and nine shots at the 15-foot line (89%) for a second best 28 points.

You know that Abdul and Ferrer (and Bautista) will eventually find their bearings and get their game going. They’ll need to do so because UST does not have much of a bench.

After UST took a 61-56 lead on a Teng putback, La Salle scored their 14 of their final 17 points inside the shaded area.

The Tigers need to find more weapons because if not, they will go the way of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who despite the prodigious scoring exploits of Durant and Westbrook, are not going to win the NBA title this year.

Result: La Salle defeated UST 73-67

La Salle’s rooks and sophs showed the way
Great addition in forward Jason Perkins who displayed an excellent work ethic and a relentless attitude inside the lane. The Minneapolis native scored 17 points and grabbed 13 boards.

Second-year forward Gab Reyes added 13 points off a mixture of layups and long range shots. If he keeps up this offensive output, he will be an important component in the Green Archers’ rotation.

Last year’s Rookie of the Year Jeron Teng was in and out but he scored when it mattered.

Of the veterans, it was once more Almond Vosotros who provided the leadership and the points when they needed to rally.

What did I like? It’s how Perkins and Reyes carried this team for stretches. Perk, who says his mom says is related (distantly though) to Kendrick Perkins (but he doesn’t believe it), will be fantastic playing alongside Norbert Torres or coming in relief. The youngsters showed more fight than the vets.

As a whole, they showed that La Salle will be a rebounding force this season.

Alfred Aroga will be a huge factor for NU this coming season.
See Alfred Aroga crossover San Beda’s Ola Adeogun and send the Red Lion center to the floor tied up in knots? Every African who has since played in collegiate hoops has manned the five-spot. Aroga isn’t a five. He is a three albeit a slow three. But that crossover… sick.

The 6’7” Cameroonian, who once played defender in soccer, likes to bring up the ball (something that NU head coach Eric Altamirano might eventually discourage). He asks for the rock almost every time out (wait, Ray Parks will need to get that ball as will Jean Mbe, Lee Villamor, JJ Alejandro, and Troy Rosario as well). And he likes to play facing the basket.

Refreshing. And for what it’s worth you can see the passion in Aroga’s face.

Face up, folks. It’s double trouble with NU coz they’ll have the outside-inside punch with Mbe and Aroga in the lineup. Ouch.

San Beda’s success will lean heavily on Rome de la Rosa and Art de la Cruz
Rome de la Rosa and Art de la Cruz are fabulous wing players with the former preferring to drive or shoot from the outside while the latter is deadly with those medium range jump hooks of his. And they can bring it on the defensive end as well.

Yes, they are but two-thirds of the starting eleven but it looks like the Red Lions will play a halfcourt offense more than a run-and-gun type of play. The two will be integral to the game plan if that’s the case. Another thing of note is they played the longest minutes outside Baser Amer.

I liked how first year head coach Boyet Fernandez played Ola Adeogun off the bench to give Kyle Pascual a chance to play the slot. I think this is excellent because it decentralizes from the center position and the wing play becomes even more important. If the returning Anthony and David Semerad can provide scoring punch off the bench then they’ll be a tough team to deal with in the NCAA. 

Result: NU defeated San Beda 73-71

How did the Ateneo Bo Eagles play?
Welcome to the uptempo Ateneo play in the first year of Bo Perasol. The Blue Eagles were up against a three-headed African monster of Fabrice Siewe (love this player for his size and deft touch), Landry Sanjo, and Justin Aboude. All three are at least 6’7”.

The result? Forty-eight rebounds for the Southwestern University Cobras. Forty-two rebounds for Ateneo. The Bo, er, Blue Eagles rebounding stud was Chris Newsome who had 11. Everyone else had to pitch in hauling down those boards.

Despite the disparity, the Blue Eagles scored 21 fastbreak points. The Cobras had eight. The 21 markers was more than any other team for the day.

When Ateneo pressed the Cobras coughed the ball up. And this was where they began to put some distance with their Visayan foes. I was a little surprised they didn’t press SWU to oblivion the whole game. On the halfcourt D, Ateneo got more blocks, 4-3.

There was a heart-stopping moment when JP Erram fell to the court with 17.2 seconds left in the second quarter. I quickly glanced to the Blue Eagles’ bench and they were ashen and in shock. No Greg Slaughter. No Nico Salva. Justin Chua was in street clothes and on the sidelines watching the game. No Erram. No more bigs.

Thankfully, he did go back and play again while adding two points in the second half. It’s a scary moment and methinks, Ateneo will have to keep him under close watch and play him sparingly.

On the other hand, I liked the activity from Frank Golla and Giboy Babilonia. Very active on both ends of the court. But they have to nail those open jumpers if they want to be able to decongest that lane.

Speaking of nailing shots, if Nico Elorde can find consistency in his outside shot, he will be of huge help.

Now if the only Jerie Pingoy can be freed.

Result: Ateneo defeated Southwestern University 77-72

The Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup is presented by Hanes and Vulcaseal/Bostick. The collegiate basketball tournament is co-presented by Master Facial Wash, Starmobile, Meralco, and San Mig Coffee. Sponsors include DHL, Nature’s Spring, Reyes BBQ, Banco De Oro, and Bayo. Minor sponsors include Molten, Brother’s Burger, San Marino, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and Bacchus Energy Drink.

Tickets are available at SM Tickets 470-2222. Television coverage is live on Saturdays over ABS-CBN Studio 23.

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