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, August 26, 2013

My thoughts on the Adamson-Ateneo match yesterday

My thoughts on the Adamson-Ateneo match yesterday
by rick olivares pic by philip sison

As an Atenean, I felt it was a good win (79-66) by the Ateneo Blue Eagles against the Adamson Falcons but they have only done what they needed to do – beat the lower tier teams (notwithstanding their biggest win to date was that one over UST that has begun to struggle of late).

Now, they have to go get a W against the teams in the top half of the league standings.

But before we dissect that, here’s what I liked and am concerned about with this game from both benches.

Let’s start with Ateneo.

It’s good to see the Blue Eagles execute with ruthless efficiency; shades of their five-peat form.

They are growing as a team. Almost every one had a hand in the win. Not everything is tangible in the form of stats. Chris Newsome did a great job in stopping Jericho Cruz who torched him in the previous meeting. This time, the Falcons’ Main Man only got his points in the final eight minutes of play. But that only underscores how dangerous a player he can be.

Only two double-digit scorers in Kiefer Ravena and Ryan Buenafe but the points were pretty much evenly spread.

Ravena has continued his solid play. I liked how he conserved himself in this game; never forcing his shots and instead letting the offense flow.

I liked Coach Bo Perasol’s sending out Ivan Enriquez to defend Ingrid Sewa. Enriquez had to eat Sewa’s elbow all night long. He fouled out but his two points and four boards, not to mention spelling a long breather for Frank Golla and JP Erram sure helped.

I remember before the five-peat year, I told Norman Black that it would be fun to watch Buenafe team up with Ravena. We saw glimpses of that last year but since the summer, that was in full swing. You can also add Juami Tiongson to that mix. In fact, Buenafe and Tiongson each had five assists.

Ateneo also had seven more assists than the Falcons, 18-11.

Regarding points, Ateneo had 42 points to the 40 of Adamson. That shows a willingness to mix it up with a taller team. The Falcons got a lot of points inside in the endgame and that bridged the gap.

This is the third time this season that Ateneo has seen a huge lead dissipate. There was La Salle, UP, and now Adamson. Thus far, Ateneo is 2-1 when staking a lead.

Some interesting stats in this UAAP season thus far. Teams that hold a third quarter lead and who go on to win it are 32-6 (that also includes FEU against UE). Of course, that stats will not guarantee a win. A team has to go out and win it.

I know some are concerned about losing the 27-point lead to Adamson by putting in Ice Lim to run the show with a lot of time left in the game. I don’t think anyone expected the bad calls and the inability of Lim to get it done. Shit just happens. I applaud actually Bo Perasol’s efforts to give his bench meaningful playing time. I am also sure that Lim didn’t mean for that to happen. He’s contributed before. Yesterday just wasn’t his day. Besides, how and when will the bench learn?

Granted Adamson came close to overhauling that deficit with the starters came back just in time to stop that bleeding, it’s a learning process.

You might argue that this is not a time to be learning given the team is in the mid-second round. 

I’d like to say two things: 

One, Derrick Rose. Remember when Rose was still on the floor with the game all but wrapped up? He tore his ACL. No doubt, Perasol wants to rest his starters and give the bench some playing time.

Two, the first season of any new coach is a learning season. You saw that with Norman Black, Sandy Arespacochaga, Joel Banal, and Joe Lipa.

What is good to see is how the offense is fun to watch now that everyone is healthy once more.

On the other hand, my biggest concern is the officiating. There were a lot of bum calls. I do not mind my team losing but as long as it is called correctly. I know that there will always be wrong or even missed calls but some calls defy explanation. As I have written and tweeted before – there is something sinister with all these bad calls. And some teams have really and clearly benefited from them. Tsk. Tsk.

What went wrong with Adamson?

I have to admit I feel bad for this team. I like them not simply because I am friends with the coaching staff but also because I genuinely like their team. The loss eliminated them from Final Four contention. They fell to 3-7 with four matches left.

Ateneo simply played flat out great defense on the Falcons. They shut down Cruz (for three periods), Roider Cabrera (three points), Don Trollano, and Harry Petilos (both zero points). Plus, the Blue Eagles shot well (48.4% from the field) to the 38.1% of the Falcons.

No one Adamson player had it going for them until those final eight minutes when Sewa, Cruz, and Jansen Rios found their touch.

This was Rios’ best game this season. He’s been in a funk all throughout but he did well in this game.

When they opened the third period, I was a little surprised that Sewa was on the bench. I know that the Cameroonian can bog the offense down as he waits to be fed the ball in the lane. The Falcons move the ball around much better with Rodney Brondial, Mike Agustin or Lloyd Abrigo playing in the middle. But Ateneo took advantage of Sewa’s absence to attack that basket.

I can only surmise that Coach Leo Austria wasn’t too happy with his center’s defensive effort. He played 11 minutes in the first half where he scored five points and pulled down three rebounds.

It didn’t change during Ateneo’s third quarter onslaught (24-6) where he was getting lost in the defensive shuffle and Buenafe was hitting moonshots over him and Von Pessumal driving unmolested (although I thought that Don Trollano really got beaten with that quick first step by the Ateneo swingman).

Are the Falcons hurting because they are missing Eric Camson and Alex Nuyles?

Brondial is playing Camson’s old slot while Sewa has slid into the five-spot. Cruz has for the most part approximated what Nuyles brought to Adamson. Remember this is only Cruz’ second year in the league. I don’t think Nuyles was polished yet although he was clearly very talented.

What hurts Adamson is the poor production of the point guards and the bench. I feel for Ryan Monteclaro who has had a trying season (marred by the death of his mother). He was so unhappy that he wasn’t able to really contribute in those 21 minutes that he played. Ditto with Axel IƱigo and Al-Arouf Julkipli.

The bench mob did not help one bit and Roider Cabrera was 1-6. They need to set him up more while he on the other hand has to be more aggressive.

At 3-7 they are in a sucky position. The upside here is they finished 3-11 last season. They have four more matches left. They can try to win all of them and finish at a dead even 7-7 and build for next year. Although they will be losing Cabrera to graduation.

Tough tough situation for our friends from San Marcelino.


  1. Grabe un bad calls nung nag 4th q na Rick.. un foul sa Adamson hindi na foul sa Ateneo. You're right, nakakatakot how the refs are controlling the games.. Still, the team got the job done.. Sana tuloy tuloy na, OBF!

  2. I sense a sleight of hand in all officiating this season! Better be attentive! There are reprobates ala Napoles and company in the basketball industry!