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, August 2, 2013

Jordan wary; Chinese Taipei looking for redemption against Philippines in FIBA Asia

This appears in the Friday, August 2, 2013 edition of the Business Mirror.

Jordan wary; Chinese Taipei looking for redemption against Philippines in FIBA Asia
by rick olivares

For Jordan, the road to the quarterfinals of the 2013 FIBA Asia championships got a whole lot harder following the loss to opening day loss to Chinese Taipei, 91-87, as they face the Philippines today at Mall of Asia Arena.

Jordan is bracketed with Chinese Taipei, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia in Group A of the biennial basketball tournament.

Chinese Taipei is a foot into the next stage. But they need a win over Saudi Arabia to improve their chances. After all, their last assignment is the Philippines that is also a favorite to advance to the quarterfinals as well.

But it isn’t only the Philippines’ northern neighbors who are feeling confident of their chances of moving on. Jordan point guard Wesam Al Sous is likewise as optimistic about his country advancing to the next stage of the 2013 FIBA Asia finals.

“I think we still have a chance,” offered the six-foot guard who plays for ASU in the Jordan Basketball League.

“But,” he added quickly. “It won’t be easy. The Philippines has been one of the best teams in Asia in the past four or five years. We’re here in Manila and they have the advantage. We just have to be at our best.”

Jordan, which cracked the 2011 FIBA Asia finals in Wuhan only to lose to China 70-69, has only three returnees from that tournament in Al Sous, Khaldoon Abu Ruqayah, and Abdalla Abuqqura. “We have moved on from there. It’s a new team,” noted Al Sous who scored 18 points in his Manila debut.

“The Philippines is a balanced team,” observed Jordan head coach Evangelos Alexandris. “From what we have seen they are big, they have shooters, and fast players.”

“This team is more older, more mature than the team of younger players that we saw in China,” added Al Sous. “They will be difficult. We must match their intensity and show them our pride.”

Despite their opening day win over Jordan, Chinese Taipei  is reeling from a pair of beatings from the Philippines – the 95-78 shellacking  in the quarterfinals  of the 2011 FIBA Asia tournament and the 85-63 beating in the 2012 William Jones Cup – in the last couple of years are out for revenge.

“Our players are older as well,” said head coach Hsu Chin Che. “Wiser and physically better. The win over Jordan will improve their confidence. But we see the Philippines as a big test for us. Hopefully, we will win.”

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