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, May 31, 2013

FEU squeaks past JRU to close out Filoil campaign at 4-4

FEU squeaks past JRU
by rick olivares

The Far Eastern University Tamaraws closed out their Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup campaign with a 73-70 win over the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers at the San Juan Arena yesterday.

The Tamaraws who were without RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo who were unavailable as their respective squads were in the final stages of the D-League drew scoring sock from Mike Tolomia, Anthony Hargrove, and Carl Cruz in putting away the resilient Heavy Bombers who lost gunner Philip Paniamogan to a disqualifying foul and point guard Dave Sanchez to five fouls.

After JRU’s Cris dela Paz split his free throws to make it 69-68 with 1:28 left in the clock, Cruz put back a missed three-pointer by Tolomia then Hargrove scored on a fastbreak for the marginal points.

JRU lead early and held off the repeated rallies of FEU behind the sniping of Paniamogan who scored 13 points in the first 17 minutes (while coming off the bench). But as the JRU gunner and Hargrove were running down the court, the two got entangled and the referees whistled the former for a tripping foul banishing him.

Paniamogan denied deliberately tripping Hargrove. “Wala naman,” he protested. Nagbangaan lang kami.” The Heavy Bombers were leading 35-30 at that point.

FEU slowly came back and they opened the fourth period with four three-point plays for  54-50 lead courtesy of a and-one by Cruz but they could not hit the bonus free throw.

The Heavy Bomber looked out of it after Cruz struck again to make it 69-62 with 2:11 left in the game clock but JRU came roaring back with a layup by Nonoy Benavides and a three-point play by Marco Balagtas. Dela Paz missed his free throw and FEU closed out the match for their fourth win in eight matches.

JRU also bid the summer tourney goodbye with a 1-7 record.

Hargrove led FEU 16 points. Mike Tolomia added 13, Cruz with 11, while Roger Pogoy added 10 markers.

JRU was led by Paniamogan’s 13 points. Balagtas and Benavides added 12 and 11 points respectively. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Arellano’s Pinto, UE’s Mammie head Filoil weekly awardees

This appears in the Friday, May 31, 2013 edition of the Business Mirror.

Arellano’s Pinto, UE’s Mammie head Filoil weekly awardees

The Arellano University Chiefs point guard Nard Pinto is the Master Best Player of the Week of May 22-25 in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup. Pinto has skippered the Chiefs to 6-2 record in the tournament and is second in Group A behind undefeated National University prompting Arellano head coach Koy Banal compared to Dennis Miranda, his former point guard with Far Eastern University when they won the UAAP title in 2003.

The Chiefs won two matches in that period; a 67-66 win over San Beda, and a 83-67 shellacking of Jose Rizal University.

Pinto led the charge against the Red Lions with 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and one steal versus two turnovers.

Against the JRU Heavy Bombers, Pinto netted 16 points, five rebounds, seven assists, and three steals against four turnovers.

Charles Mammie was named the Gatorade Defensive Player for the Week of May 22-25 after the University of the East’s center from Sierra Leone pulled down 15 rebounds against the Lyceum of the Philippines University and nine rebounds and one steal against La Salle. The Red Warriors won both matches.

Wrapping up the weekly awards of the premier collegiate summer basketball tournament are the Gatorade Best Five of Pinto, UE’s dynamo of a point guard in Roi Sumang, Emilio Aguinaldo College forward Noube Happi, the University of Santo Tomas’ veteran forward Aljon Mariano, and Adamson University’s forward-center Rodney Brondial.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lyceum bows out of Filoil with win over Baste

Lyceum bows out of Filoil with win over Baste
by rick olivares

Lyceum of the Philippines University bowed out of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup with a 67-66 win over San Sebastian College.

The Pirates played close to a perfect game as they ran up a 47-31 lead at the half behind forward Mark Francisco who was on fire all match long and Wilson Baltazar. Francisco led the Pirates with 20 points while Baltazar finished with 13 markers

The Stags methodically chopped down the lead behind CJ Perez and Jon Rebollos.

A Rebollos triple off a broken play with 34 seconds left saw the link shrink to one, 67-66.

The Pirates flubbed their next possession as center Andrei Mendoza had his blocked shot. The Stags gained possession and the ball was handed to Perez with 11.3 seconds left.

Perez, nicknamed “The Beast 2” after former Stags star now turned Alaska Ace Calvin Abueva, drove with three seconds only to drop a pass on teammate Bobby Baculanag who was not expecting the ball. The leather went out of bounds as time ran out giving Lyceum its only win in eight outings.

“Sabi ko sa mga bata, okay lang lumaban pero sana manalo naman. Nakakasawa na matalo,” said LPU head coach Bonnie Tan.

Perez and Rebollos led the 2-6 Stags with 14 points each as head coach Michael ‘Topex” Robinson’s boys also played their swan song for the summer tournament.

Monteclaro’s two free throws send Adamson soaring over Perpetual Help

Monteclaro’s two free throws send Adamson soaring over Perpetual Help
by rick olivares

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Filoil Flying V Arena

At least for one game, Ryan Monteclaro evoked the toughness and clutch play of Adamson Falcons point guards of the past.

Monteclaro sank two free throws with 3.3 seconds left to lift Adamson to a 79-78 win over the Perpetual Help Altas at the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup at the Arena of San Juan.

After Lester Alvarez and Jerick Cañada graduated from Adamson, the point guard chores were handed over to Monteclaro last season who admittedly had a difficult time. “Ako na pinaka-veteran last year pero lagi ako nako-compare kina Lester at Jerick. Sinabi ni coach na isa ako sa mga leader dahil ilan kaming veteran ang natira. Alagaan ko muna mga teammate ko. Kailangan lagi mo sila i-set up. Kaya yung mga first games ko, hindi ako masyado nag-a-attempt,” said Monteclaro of his play so far. The second year court general scored 10 points and dished off six assists.

The Falcons played catch up for most of the match. They took a brief one-point lead at 45-44 after a free throw by forward Luther Abrigo at the 6:36 mark of the third period but the Altas quickly built back a lead the largest was at 11 points, 62-51, after a triple by Juneric Baloria with 19 seconds in the third period.

Adamson then went on an 13-2 run to notch the count for the final time at 64-all. The Altas responded with one more 8-0 run for a 72-64 lead behind Nosa Omorogbe and Justine Alano. However, Rodney Brondial, who looked somewhat lost in Adamson’s new system to accommodate Cameroonian center Ingrid Sewa, scored eight points in the end game to keep the match close, 76-75, with 30.9 seconds left to play.

Baloria put back a missed drive by Omorogbe for a 78-75 lead with 13.7 to play.

Jericho Cruz answered with two free throws with 9 seconds left to cut the deficit to one. After Gerald Dizon inbounded the ball to Omorogbe, Jansen Rios poked the ball away from the Nigerian scoring forward who lost in along the baseline giving Adamson a shot to win the game.

After Chris Elopre fouled Monteclaro, the second year Adamson guard hit the marginal shots for the Falcon’s fifth win in seven outings even as the Altas slumped to their sixth loss in the same number of matches.

Assistant coach Jerry Ruiz who called the shots in the absence of head coach Leo Austria who is on duty with the San Miguel Beermen in the Asean Basketball League, believed that the win was vindication for their squad as they lost to the Altas two years ago in a basketball invitational tournament in Sorsogon.

“May nangyari na hindi maganda sa Sorsogon. It’s not a big deal of a championship pero tinalo namin lahat pero sila pahihirapan kami. Parang nangyari, kontrapelo sila. Luckily, we were able to break that jinx,” said Ruiz of the win. So even it’s by one point, sabi nga ni Coach Leo, ‘a win is a win’.”

The match saw several near fights as Cruz and Baloria got in each other’s faces with the former head butting the latter. Surprisingly, the officials only called a regular foul on Cruz. Later in the match, Brondial and Alano jawed and traded barbs with one another.

Cruz led Adamson with 27 points while Brondial and Sewa added 15.

Omorogbe topscored with 27 points. Baloria, Alano, and Harold Arboleda added 18, 14, and 11 points respectively.

Breaking down Global’s 2-1 win over Stallion

This appears in

Breaking down Global’s 2-1 win over Stallion
by rick olivares

Largely because of the success of Barcelona and to some extent Borussia Dortmund, every one equates possession-based football and ball dominance with wins.

I don’t claim to be a stats guru or one who has a doctorate in sabermetrics but clearly there is something to be learned.

Last night, Global came from a one-goal deficit to pip Stallion, 2-1, taking the season series.

Having been a stats freak for quite some time, I started out to improve the stats taking in the UFL by briefing all the statisticians on how to properly take them and what to jot down. And we have reams of notes that I hope to explain and make note of by season’s end.

In the PBA, I tried for two matches to test the theory of shot clock management and I did that with the Alaska Aces to which then-head coach Tim Cone said it was interesting and validated some of his thinking.

Last week, I tried to get numbers on pass completions with Harimau Muda-Loyola match in the Singapore Cup. The margin for error is little. If ever, I missed a pass or two but it is more or less accurate.

I tried this out last night when Cedelf Tupas asked me to do it for the Global-Stallion game.

And here’s what came off it:

The team with fewer possessions won. I wish I took more of this data from the season but I can only do so much. But doing some research, here’s a study on Major League Soccer from 2011 as well as another one from a fan that shows that teams with fewer possessions wins the matches.

Both Global and Stallion are teams that hold the ball well and are the two best defensive sides in the UFL. Their tight marking and pressing disrupted their trademark passing.

So I went back to my notes and took a look at the pertinent first half possessions.

‘2: Stallion four passes then header attempt by Rufo Sanchez
‘3: Global seven passes
‘4: Stallion five passes then free kick for Kim Hyo Il
‘5: Stallion three passes then free kick for Lee Won Hyung
‘6: Global two passes then Jeff Christiaens header attempt
‘8: Global one passes then Misagh shot high
’12: Global two passes then Izzo EL Habbib miss point blank
‘14: Stallion eight passes then Rufo Sanchez miss point blank
’18: Global one pass Izzo El Habbib & Jeff Christiaens miss
’23: Stallion three passes Rufo Sanchez shot to Roland Sadia
’24: Stallion three passes Hector Zaghi goal, 1-0.
’25: Global four passes
’27: Stallion four passes
’33: Stallion one pass for corner that Jeremy Hohn header attempt
’34: Global four passes
’35-onwards: Stallion three passes
Stallion three passes
Stallion four passes
’39: Stallion five passes Lee Joo Young shot blocked
’42: Global six passes
’45: Stallion six passes

That’s 13 pertinent possessions for Stallion with eight attempts as opposed to the eight of Global. Now you may say that Stallion dominated possession but Global has an economy of movement or with five shot attempts. Two of those attempts came off passes. Let’s hold that point for a while longer.

Here are the number of times both sides has one-pass possessions that didn’t go anywhere due to steals or poor passes:
Global: 33
Stallion: 31

Here are the pertinent second half possessions by both sides:
’46: Global four passes
Global five passes
’47: Stallion one passes Bervic Italia shot high
’49: Stallion five passes
’50: Stallion five passes
’52: Global one pass Jeff Christiaens cross
’52: Stallions one pass Bonhevi attempt
’54: Global eight passes Izzo El Habbib head flick to Ben Starosta for Goal, 1-1
’55: Stallion three passes
’57: Stallion one pass Rufo Sanchez attempt
’58: Global three passes
’59: Global two passes Marwin Angeles header attempt
’62: Stallion three passes
’63: Global two passes Marwin Angeles cross
Global three passes
’64: Global four passes Izzo El Habbib shot to Guilherme Hasegawa
’65: Global Jeff Christiaens free kick to Guilherme Hasegawa
’70: Stallion three passes
’71: Stallion one pass Rufo Sanchez miss attempt
’73: Stallion five passes
’74: Stallion Free kick by Kim Hyo Il to Nate Alquiros header attempt
Stallion eight passes
’77: Stallion three passes
’78: Global one pass Izzo EL Habbib beats Jeremy Hohn who stumbles then hits past Guilherme Hasegawa for 2-1 lead
’83: Stallion three passes Kim Hyo Il free kick
’87: Stallion four passes Joaco Cañas head flick to Rufo Sanchez shot high
’88: Stallion eight passes
’92: Stallion two passes Ruben Doctora Jr. miss attempt

That’s 17 pertinent possessions for Stallion with seven attempts as opposed to the eight of Global. Once more, Stallion dominated possession but Global had seven shot attempts.

Here are the number of times both sides has one-pass possessions that didn’t go anywhere due to steals or poor passes:
Global: 23
Stallion: 28

What can we infer?

One, both sides generally rack up long ball possession and string up longer passes. Against top sides, the pass rates go down. The defense did it as well!

Two, it now becomes a matter of quick strikes. Meaning, one or two passes then take a shot. Global couldn’t get the ball moving up the field so they would send the ball high, dribble, pass, run then shoot. And they were very effective with it.

And three, those quick strike goals came from a pass. Two goals from two assists. It helped that Global was able to get the ball inside the box.

Four, this might not reflect in the pass-rate numbers but Global plays the full 90 minutes while Stallion plays well for -three-fourths of the way then falters.

I know it’s just one match and I hope to try this again and see what other data can be gleaned from the matches. However, it does jibe with those MLS studies. It could be something, maybe nothing but we’ll see.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

UFL Tuesday: A Preview of the Global-Stallion match

A Preview of the Global-Stallion match
by rick olivares pics by mark dimalanta/interaksyon

Tuesday , May 28, 2013
Emperador Stadium

Stallion 14-0-1 GF: 52 GA: 16 GD: 36 PTS: 42
Global 12-1-1 GF: 40 GA: 6 GD: 34 PTS: 37

Last Match: March 19, 2013
1-0  Global
2-0  Goal: Izzo El Habbib (78)

With several matches left to play, this one could be the clincher for Stallion or the lifeline that Global needs.

The last time these two clubs took each other on, Stallion dominated possession and had more shots on goal. Global had fewer but made the most out of it on a late goal by Izzo El Habbib. The defending league champions pulled off this victory with their trademark defense.

After El Habbib’s goal, I looked at Stallion forward Rufo Sanchez and he knew at that 78th minute strike, they were done because Global is unforgiving on defense.

Looking at the league table, even with one match in hand for Global, Stallion, is five points up. And Brian Reid-coached side would really want to grab the maximum points off this match up.

The cool thing about this match up is every players will be present and on hand. No one is out on yellow or red cards.

Why Stallion will win:
They are on a mission. This club carries that chip on Ernie Nierras’ broad shoulders. Remember when Nierras called out AKTV for not utilizing any Stallion player for their television plugs? They responded by winning the UFL Cup.

There’s a hunger about this club. They want the double – (the cup and the league) and they want it bad.

When they were promoted to Division One, they weren’t even the Division Two champions. That went to Nomads. Of course, they are a different side now with only Ruben Doctora Jr., Bervic Italia, and Wilson Muñoz left from that line-up. What they have right now is a more international line-up of stars and quiet guys who prefer to let their feet and their goals do the talking.

They can feel the title within their grasp and they want it.

They have gotten tougher since that 1-0 loss to Global. Look at that string of wins:
Stallion defeated Nomads 1-0
Stallion defeated Loyola 4-2
Stallion defeated Green Archers United 4-3
Stallion defeated Pasargad 5-1
Stallion defeated Army 1-0
Stallion defeated Kaya 3-2
Stallion defeated Air Force 6-0
Stallion defeated Pachanga 2-0

Sure there have been inconsistent play – against Pachanga, Kaya, Army, Green Archers United, Loyola, and Army. But Stallion has shown that they can blowout opponents and even win the nail biters.

Their bench is better now. Before you could only say that this club was tops because of their Spaniards, Koreans, and troika of homegrown stars. Now players like Hector Zaghi, Jeremy Hohn, Diego Barrera, and Nathan Alquiros have stepped up. Alquiros has been a super sub for Stallion in the vein of Janrick Soriano is for Kaya – instant offense. Daniel Matsunaga isn’t so bad himself. Even backup keeper Guilherme Hasegawa has done well.

They’ve got Rufo Sanchez. I have not seen anyone outside Global’s President Cup foes handle Jerry Barbaso so well that Sanchez needed to be double or triple teamed. Kids in the Philippines should watch the Spaniard (when I write that it is as if I am lifting a line from Ridley Scott’s Gladiator as how Russell Crowe’s character was called in the arena) plays – an economy of movement, an uncanny feel for the game, his speed of thought, and impeccable finishes. That is why he is the best striker in the country.

They will have a complete line up. That means their defense ministers, Joaco Cañas and Kim Hyo Il will be present. And that will pack a lot of firepower. It should be noted that Global had a tough time handling Stallion with Cañas and Doctora. They made headway when the former went out with an injury in the 58th minute (Alquiros came in to no effect but he is a completely different player now).

Why Global will win:
Great champions die hard. After a loss, a winner knows how to respond. After that galling 3-2 loss to Kaya, this is how Reid’s boys responded:
Global defeated Pasargad 2-0
Global defeated Nomads 4-0
Global defeated Green Archers United 4-0
Global defeated Pachanga 3-0
Global defeated Air Force 2-0

Anyone notice anything? They have not conceded a goal since. That’s 15 goals for and zero against them. ZERO. ZILCH. NADA. They have conceded ONLY six goals all season. That is unheard of. You think they too are not on a mission? That they aren’t hungry for more silverware?

You must be on drugs if you disagree.

And now they have goal keeper extraordinaire Roland Sadia back from injury. When you have a great goalkeeper behind you, the defense, heck, the entire team plays better. You know that he can clean up that mess you’ve left behind and Sadia is one of the masters of the clean sheets. Not only will Stallion have to contend with breaking a tough back four (the best in the league) but there’s Sadia they have to beat. And as foes will attest – that isn’t easy.

They have speed and power up front. When Misagh Bahadoran plays well, Global has a marvelous chance of winning. Bahadoran can not only outrun you but he’s got a great cross. Izzo El Habbib is just like Rufo Sanchez when he gets inside the box – he’s dangerous.

There’s the flank threats. Patrick Reichelt, Jeffrey Christiaens, and Jerry Barbaso has speed, great dribbling ability, a mean cross, and are terrific in their decision making. Stallion will have to stop these guys to prevent the ball from moving up. But that’s easier said than done because Yu Hoshide, Ben Starosta, Carli De Murga, or Koray Gundozoglu can do the same. This is a loaded line-up.

They too have a complete line-up. No cards. No suspensions. There is no one in this line-up that you can throw away. Even Niño Ochotorena (one of my fave and most underrated footballers) can be left on the bench. That lad is just too good. The quality of play doesn’t suffer no matter who Reid calls up. And that is frightening.

Both clubs can cancel each other out. So how will this game be won?
On defense.
On coaching adjustments.
On the substitutes’ play.
On who can stop the opposing forwards first.

Now let’s hope we get some terrific officiating because a titanic match up like this deserves only the best. 

Adamson’s Cruz, UE’s Santos lead Filoil weekly awards

This appears in the Tuesday May 28, 2013 edition of the Business Mirror.

Adamson’s Cruz, UE’s Santos lead Filoil weekly awards

Adamson University’s Jericho Cruz is the Master Best Player of the Week of May 15-18 in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup. Cruz, the Filipino from the Northern Mariana Island of Saipan, led the Falcons to a 80-63 win over the College of Saint Benilde where he compiled 24 points, four rebounds, one assist, and one block.

Cruz, who replaces Alex Nuyles as Adamson’s leader after the latter’s graduation, is joined in the Gatorade Best Five of the Week for the same period by La Salle power forward Jason Perkins, National University’s Cameroonian center Alfred Aroga, the University of the East’s Ralf Olivarez, and San Beda College’s Arthur Dela Cruz.

UE’s Adrian Santos was named Gatorade Defensive Player of the Week in his team’s 85-68 triumph over the University of Santo Tomas where he hauled down 24 rebounds. The win put the Red Warriors in a strong position to advance to the quarterfinals of the summer’s premier collegiate basketball tournament.

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.