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.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Ateneo Blue Eagles: It's an opening day loss. IKR?

It’s an opening day loss. IKR?
NU 64 vs. Ateneo 54
by rick olivares
June 30, 2013
Mall of Asia Arena

I know that it is only the first game of the season.
I know that Kiefer Ravena was not 100% and that several others were coming off injuries.
I know we lost a bunch of players.
I know we aren’t that tall team that we were in recent years.
And I know that you certainly can’t win them all and there are off days.

So I came into the game with not much expectations after knowing Ravena was not 100%. Still I held out that by some good fortune, the Ateneo Blue Eagles would summon their championship form and deal those National University Bulldogs a confidence breaker.

Instead, I sat and ate humble pie after a 64-54 loss.

The Blue Eagles turned into a team like UE or UST that likes to hoist an incredible volume of shots from the outside. In fact, after 20 minutes, they attempted 32 perimeter shots and found the bottom of the net on three of them. The final number from the outside is 10 for 49.

By contrast, they were 7/14 inside the paint in the first half and 3 for 10 in the second.

As the National University Bulldogs ran their sets with patience, as they stretched the defense on the floor and nailed huge baskets, the crowd grew silent.

In previous years, the blue and white gallery would give the Ateneo Blue Eagles the extra oomph it needed to get going. But whether made lazy by all these championships and shocked that the team was getting shellacked, they looked for anything. Something to get them going.

The Blue Eagles got five quick points from Ryan Buenafe and we looked to stay in step with NU even if they got a five-point lead after one period, 15-10.

Then for some reason, instead of going inside, we kept throwing up shots from the outside while missing bog time.

The crowd finally found something to get them off their cushy seats when Jeff Javillionar accidentally raked Nico Elorde on the nose.

And as the blood dripped from Elorde’s nose, the crowd found something to vent their ire and frustration but that was about it. Because one possession later, Javillionar found Jean Mbe for a gimme underneath the basket.

With 4:27 left, Elorde let fly a three from the right side of the arc. Swish. 59-41 for NU.

Thirty-three seconds later after a bungled NU offensive, Elorde threw up another trey, 59-44.

The Blue Eagles then forced Ray Parks to a five-second inbound violation and Elorde hit a 15-foot jumper, 59-46, and the Ateneo gallery was alive.

With a late incredible rally in the works without the injured Kiefer Ravena, the score finally went down to 10, 61-51, after a Ryan Buenafe lay-up, with 2:04 to play.

But Parks hit a triple to ease the pressure on NU. The reigning two-time MVP put a finger to his lips to shush the crowd.

A minute and forty-one seconds later, the Bulldogs had beaten the Blue Eagles, 64-54, their first since their second round win of Season 70.

I know that after the game, the Blue Eagle coaching staff would dissect what went wrong and what to correct in time for the Far Eastern University Tamaraws who looked impressive after making the UE Red Warriors look like a disorganized lot.
I know the players know what went wrong and that they will do their best to do better in the next game.

Nevertheless, I would like to point out some things:
-       That the Blue Eagles looked lost defensively. Sometimes, they had three players guarding one player leaving other Bulldogs wide open. I saw Chris Newsome push Von Pessumal towards an open Dennice Villamor from the left corner pocket after the Eagles crowded the lane. Ah, guys…. NU’s offensive scheme is nothing new. They ran the same sets during the summer with two shooters on either side of the arc with someone driving, surveying the options before either taking a lay-up, dropping a pass to a cutter or kicking out to the open shooters.

-       That this was Ryan Buenafe’s great chance to strap this team on to his massive back. Instead, he kept giving the ball back to Juami Tiongson. Furthermore, he fell in love with the outside shot. Lead the way, Ryan. This is your time to really shine. We cannot just get up for La Salle or UST. Everyone is gunning for us.

-       That the other guys didn’t help in the board work with Chris Newsome out in the perimeter guarding Ray Parks. We got clobbered 52-39 off the glass that even Gelo Alolino was able to grab two offensive rebounds!

-       That shifting from a 2-3 zone to a man-zone needs some work. The perimeter defense needs to be more air tight to prevent those drives.

-       That the blue and white gallery will really have to cheer the team on. We cannot wait for some foul or bad call to cheer our lungs out? Why wait for a huge shot when we can give the players that extra shot of adrenaline?

-       I am extremely happy that Nico Elorde is in Ateneo. While he was in high school, I told his parents (who I am good friends with) that he should change zip codes to Loyola Heights. It didn’t happen until two years ago. He has proven to be a marvelous addition to the Blue Eagles.

-       We have another version of Rich Alvarez/Kirk Long in Chris Newsome. My one regret that he missed having Greg Slaughter, Nico Salva, and Justin Chua around. Imagine if he had played with those dudes! And that almost two-handed stuff on Ray Parks? Ray Ray was grinning. Shades of Rich Alvarez in 2002 against UE when he followed up a miss by coming in from the outside and throwing it down (the ball went out)!

We’re in for a treat because we have a highlight reel in blue and white who will follow in the best slamma jamma tradition of Enrico Villanueva, Paolo Bugia, Rich Alvarez, JC Intal, Doug Kramer, Japeth Aguilar, Nico Salva, and Greg Slaughter.

And so…

I know that it is only the first game of the season.
I know that we have been in these situations before.
I know that there are 13 more games to play.
I know that Kiefer Ravena will eventually be healthy and he’ll lead the team again in giving it that old fashioned One Big Fight.
I know that even if I cannot cheer (hey, I am in media and I cannot jump up like every one else), I will be there on Wednesday to watch (and silently cheer). Win or lose.

Anim-o Ateneo!

Grave looks and concern during the Sunday match up. Next to Tito Harry A and my classmate Dindo H. (to my right) with Tito Mike V in front. Greg Slaughter is in the back. When Mon Rubio snapped this pic, I was looking up at the game clock trying to mathematically figure out what it would take to even up the score down to the last second. Ah, geek stuff.


  1. Think 2010. Nuf said.

  2. Patience, Perseverance, Fortitude, Intelligence and a Press Defense, ala Pumaren's, these ought to be our FIRST FIVE!

    Bo, what team ever won it thru 3s; definitely, not POWERADE!

    Losing as early as now is a Blessing!

  3. To the Ateneo faithful:

    There is no better time to be blue.

    If you think the boys appreciated our support the past five years, let's shower them with even more this year, when they need the Sixth Man the most.

    Our team needs to know and feel that the Ateneo community is and will always be behind them. These are players who never knew what it felt like to be in the dark ages. If the support from the stands wavers when they are (supposedly) at their most vulnerable in years, that would really be a big blow to the team's morale.

    That said, everyone needs to be reminded of that, too. "Win or lose, it's the school we choose" is not an empty slogan.

    This is the first time in years that I've seen empty seats when our school song was being sung, and it saddens me to hear that some fans left before the game was over last Sunday.

    Never again do we leave the boys this season. Giving up and finger-pointing is something other schools do. But not us.

    Relax lang. The season has just started. This gives us more time to prove to the league, to the team, and to ourselves that we aren't rattled easily. We all have roles to play in our pursuit of number six. And even if we have no championship to show for our efforts, as long as that effort is the absolute best we can give, we will all still come out winners.

    We've got your back, team! We are confident in your abilities and effort. Go get 'em.


    1. Nice one brother! Yea!

  4. No Ravena= No Ateneo Offense

    If he isn't better by tomorrow the Blue Eagles might be off with a 0-2 start.

  5. last 42 seconds you don't replace Buenafe with Pessumal!

  6. Lets do something to correct the 6th man first!