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 22, 2013

The Blue Eagles defeat UP to put themselves back in the fight

The Blue Eagles defeat UP to put themselves back in the fight
by rick olivares

The Ateneo Blue Eagles notched their second win (in six outings) with a 72-64 win over the luckless University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons last Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Blue Eagles were in control for most of the game and were looking for a blowout win when the starters came off and the third stringers were unable to hold on to the lead. The cavalry charged back in and stopped the rally.

It was a huge win because it kept the team out of the cellar and in a position to climb back into the chase for a Final Four slot (more so with the loss of UST to undefeated FEU in the main game of the Sunday double header.

FEU 6-0
UST 3-2
Adamson 3-2
NU 3-3
La Salle 2-3
UE 3-3
Ateneo 2-4
UP 0-5

Here is what I liked and thought of the game against the Maroons:

1.    Kiefer Ravena is still not fully in the flow of things YET he played his best game thus far. The Phenom compiled 15 points (to lead Ateneo) albeit on 6-15 field goal shooting, 2-4 free throws as well as 2 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 turnover.

You could see he struggled with his timing flubbing shots he normally makes. But as the game went on, he began to play better. And he did it on defense.

Against UE, he was torched by Roi Sumang and Dan Alberto but that was also because he was a step slower. Well, he still was but you have to like the kid’s iron will. He simply raised the level of his game.

Post-match, I asked Ravena if he liked what he was doing (his effort and movement) on the court and he said he is far from 100% but he’s getting there. The break between two rounds would do him well.

2.    The center duo of Frank Golla and JP Erram played terrific and were key.

For Ateneo to have a fighting chance, much resides in the ability of Golla and Erram to stay on the court. They stayed out of foul trouble (Golla had only two while Erram none) and as a result, Ateneo coach Bo Perasol was able to shuffle them in and out for rest and timely substitutions.

1.    Chris Newsome stopping Samuel Marata was massive. Marata got hot in the last few minutes but that was with Newsome on the bench seemingly done for the day when the bench could not hold the lead.

So far, New has made a name for himself as a dynamic defensive stopper and an exciting talent. I think he did very well against Ray Parks, Terrence Romeo, and Jeron Teng before he ran into a bit of trouble with Jericho Cruz before putting the clamps on Roi Sumang. Against Marata, the UP sniper had lots of trouble until he had a smaller guard on him.

Who doesn’t wait with bated breath for that slam every game? Last time I felt like that JC Intal was still in his dress blues. The alley-oop connection between Juami Tiongson and Newsome was sudden and explosive. The perfect rally killer.

2.    Don’t laugh, but I felt that Ateneo stopped UP’s bench cold. Yes, Jason Ligad scored 10 points but other players like Martin Pascual, who does a good job of hitting some big and timely shots for the Maroons, didn’t do jack. JR Gallarza can be such a firestarter for this team but he was taken out of the game real quick. Moriah Gingerich is good for a few minutes and a trey here and there but he was stopped as well. Those three have played well for UP in their last outings. Unable to get any headway, that forced their starters to play longer minutes.

Of course, you’d want players like Raul Soyud and Chris Ball to get more minutes but while Ball, Marata, and Ligad raised their scoring averages, Soyud did not.. Furthermore, they lost the rebounding war 51-40 (UP averages 41.8). And those extra boards meant that Ateneo had 12 fastbreak points (they average 7.0) and 14 turnover points.

1.    Ateneo let UP play mostly one on one. The Fighting Maroons average a league low 10.5 assists per game. Against Ateneo, they only had eight dishes while the Blue Eagles, who average 13.4 finished with 17.

2.    Ateneo shot more free throws. Despite missing Greg Slaughter, Nico Salva, and Justin Chua, the Blue Eagles are second in the league in free throw shooting (despite shooting fewer attempts). They had made 74 of 101 attempts for 73.3% (FEU is tops at 72-96 that is good for 75%). But on overall attempts, Ateneo is fifth, they just make their shots more than the other teams that is why they are second.

When Kiefer Ravena gets healthy. When Ryan Buenafe loses some more weight. When JP Erram raises his confidence this team will attack the lane more. You saw that against UP. Now we will see how they fare against a taller UST team.

I have to admit that this win was huge as it prevents the blue and white from falling into the cellar. It would have been disastrous to lose that game. But Ateneo played controlled basketball and generally executed well.

FEU is moving away from the pack. Let them. Right now, no one team really has a lock on the three remaining seats for the Final Four bus. The important thing is to secure that seat.

There’s one last assignment before a two week break (due to the FIBA games) but that is not an easy one – UST.


  1. Hey Rick, what about a pre-game prognosis of the coming battle with UST...

  2. I try not to be pessimistic, but can Buenafe lose enough weight as the season goes on?

  3. Knowing Pido and knowing that the Blue Eagles are slowly getting back in shape, I hope his boys are not instructed to deliberately hurt us as they can be very physical. If we neutralize Abdul, we have a big chance at pulling this off.


    2. Pido : kelangan pa ba akong mag-ingles, este, kelangan pa ba akong maging Atenista para manalo?" lawl


      If you watched the video this occurred with 4 mins. remaining in the 3rd quarter.

      This caused the scuffle in the end of the game. Pido saw this one, and therefore, had no right to react if he had any sense of decency in him.

  4. If they try to hurt us, then we'll hurt them too. Kevin Ferrer has a cheek bone fracture. maybe we can aggravate it further.

  5. We can beat UST and its import. Just call it right. Abdul is so dirty when he misses and tries to get back the ball. Elbows fly. And look closely when he tries those post ups. He travels a lot. If we get that 3rd W, we'll be in the thick of things.

  6. Strong feeling ko na Adu vs. Feu sa finals. Di-ne-nay ng Feu ang Adu ng finals noong 2011. Tapos pag champion ang either school, piratahin na kaagad yong winning coach! hehe. Apology and with due respect to coach Bo.

    Austria has 1 yr left in his contract with Adu. Racela? Malabo. Cojuangco will not let him go to MVP stable. And Montinola will invoke yet again a new Racela Rule --- for coaches, 5 years of residency and cannot coach (consultancy lang hehe) lol

  7. Only 1-2 games separate the 2nd-6th places. The stronger teams - ust, ue, adu & nu - are also still as inconsistent as the blue eagles. When the pressure mounts in the race to the f4, I believe lyamado ang admu because our key players have been through the tough times and have come out as winners. The other teams still have to prove they can still play to win come crunch time.

  8. Hey Rick,

    When can we get the schedule for the 2nd round? Sana sa Araneta naman!

    1. Check out (the home page with entries for Wednesday July 24) Thanks.

  9. Hey Rick, there used to be an alley oop play executed by the UE Warriors for Elmer Espiritu that really devastated the frontline of their opponenets including us. Isnt it possible to run the same play for Newsome or whoever???