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 28, 2013

Looking at the Arellano University vs. College of Saint Benilde Filoil game

Looking at the Arellano University vs. College of Saint Benilde Filoil game

April 27, 2013
Filoil Flying V Arena, San Juan
For the day’s triple-header of seniors matches, this was the best of the lot.

Arellano took an early lead, 16-10, after a triple by Zack Nicholls who had all day to shoot after an excellent find by James Forrester (more on him later). But Benilde regrouped behind Dexter Garcia who scored five of the next seven points to give CSB the lead.

The Chiefs used to dominate NCRAA but have found the NCAA an altogether different animal. Like Benilde, both have underachieved.

The Blazers under former La Salle Green Archers Gabby Velasco have pushed the pace and it is well suited to their team that can run and gun. Their biggest problem is, their lack of consistency, their perimeter defense and their endgame poise.

After Benilde’s Travis Jonson hit a jumper from the wing to give CSB a 22-20 lead, AU’s captain and center (although he really isn’t one), Prince Caperal scored two straight buckets to give his side the lead.

Since the Chiefs joined the NCAA four seasons ago, Caperal has mostly underachieved unlike other teammates like Gio Ciriacruz, Rocky Acidre, and Adrian Celada. He’s been foul and error prone. Now in his final year, head coach Koy Banal hopes that he has what it finally takes to lead this team along with Forrester.

Caperal was getting some hoots from CSB’s bench (ironically from the water boy who said aloud that the AU Chief was a lousy player). Prince didn’t hear it but even if he did, he sure knew how to answer.

After a missed shot, Garcia hightailed it down for what looked to be an unchallenged layup. But Forrester gave chase and within seconds was on the Blazer. Before Garcia’s shot rose, Forrester came from behind and blocked the shot with two hands on the board before grabbing the rebound. It was a move reminiscent of Michael Jordan’s two-handed block of Ron Artest (before he was called Metta World Peace and when he was still playing for the Chicago Bulls and MJ was a Washington Wizard) and the small crowd cheered in appreciation.

Twenty-six seconds later and the score tied at 26-all, Forrester also blocked CSB scorer Mark Romero’s three-point attempt.

I thought that Forrester’s defensive effort set the tone for Arellano. And he hit back-to-back high-arcing triples early in the second period for a 36-32 lead as he traded shots with Fons Saavedra. After Forrester’s barrage, Arellano kept the lead and never surrendered it again (there were 10 lead changes and eight deadlocks prior to that).

In the fourth quarter, Keith Agovida began asserted himself big time. He stole the ball and scored on a lay up. He also tipped in his own miss. He drove hard then found an open Gio Jalalon who hit the shot as the 24-second shot clock sounded. He blocked Saavedra’s shot then put back point guard John Pinto’s missed layup. Then scored on a layup to close out the scoring at 63-50.

And this is his third college game! Wait until he gets his confidence up and bulks up a bit.

Benilde simply could not get anything from their guards late in the game. They had difficulty penetrating the 2-3 zone employed by Arellano. When they got inside, they had Caperal’s long arms distracting them and the athleticism of Forrester and Agovida to protect the lane and haul down those boards. And Pinto, heir to Rocky Acidre as a tough as nails point guard with a build like a linebacker, was excellent in directing the Chief’s offense. He had this dukot layup that was sudden and deceptive that CSB was stunned.

So the Chiefs went to 3-0 in the Filoil tournament. It was their first three-win streak in Koy Banal’s two years with the Legarda-based team. It was also his first win against CSB.

Can Arellano go toe-to-toe with the San Beda Red Lions? That’s a challenge. If Julius Cadavis (coach, you need to work on this kid’s confidence), John Bangga, and Ralph Salcedo can provide quality minutes (scoring, rebounding, and defense) then it’s a yes. Shooting guard Levi Hernandez has to be consistent and gunner Zack Nicholls has to drop a few bombs here and there. If they can support the  Forrester, Pinto, Agovida, and Caperal, who knows how far they can go?

The Blazers fell to 0-2. In their 70-67 loss to NU, they were only defeated on a last second shot. But they need to help out Romero in the scoring chores. They are disappointing because they have some guys who can put that ball in the basket like Dexter Garcia, Luis Sinco and even RJ Argamino. No one scored in double figures while Arellano three players in double digits – Pinto, Caperal, and Agovida. Benilde did not employ screens, hardly moved the ball around, and certainly did not execute. College of Saint Benilde has the height and the athleticism. They even have a bench.

But it’s the pre-season as teams try to work out their offense, defense, rotation, etc. Nevertheless, the Chiefs have the same slate as National University in Bracket A of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup.

It’s a start.

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