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, December 2, 2013

My thoughts about the Ateneo-NU Women’s Volleyball Game on Opening Day

This appears on

My thoughts about the Ateneo-NU Women’s Volleyball Game on Opening Day
by rick olivares

The final score will show a three-set sweep (25-17, 25-22, 25-17) by the NU Lady Bulldogs over their Ateneo counterparts but as always, it doesn’t always begin to tell the whole story. Not unless the scores were by lopsided margins.

The Lady Eagles came into this game as massive underdogs. How times have changed? The Lady Bulldogs have become top dogs while the Lady Eagles are underdogs.

Obviously, Ateneo is without its graduated class of last year that had carried them to two UAAP Finals slots and two V-League championships.

Somehow, I am a bit reminded of that class of Fille Cainglet, Jem Ferrer, Dzi Gervacio, Gretchen Ho, and A Nacachi with the rookies of Michelle Morente, Ana Gopico, and Julia Morado.

Finally playing in a big game, the chemistry was there in brief moments. Morado did her best impression of Ferrer and showing that she wasn’t afraid to drop some shots behind NU’s massive frontline. She’ll have to mix it up though with some combination plays if this team will want to boogie with teams like La Salle.

Sometimes, Morado was bumping into Denden Lazaro during receptions causing some problems with their attack. But the team should get better.

They were however fun to watch. There was an innate joy to their game and I really could appreciate that. Love of the game. That’s why you play this. And perhaps that comes playing with no pressure unlike the Fab Five’s batch that was immediately expected to shore up a depowered Lady Eagles that lost Charo Soriano, Patty Taganas and Karla Bello (and they gave a good accounting of themselves as in their first year, they played in five five-setters and should have won at least three of them).

At the start, you had Alyssa Valdez, Gopico, and Amy Ahomiro putting in some shots with a point or tow provided by Marge Tejada. But they were not able to sustain their attack as Gopico faltered. It’s a good thing that Morente came up big too.

It was nice to see Bea Tan get some meaningful playing time and chip in. Ditto with Denden Lazaro who was great in the first two sets with her receptions and digging.

The lack of points from the middle had to hurt as well. This is Tejada’s time to shine. First game of the new season, she should get better as they go along now that they have that one game under their belt. Aerieal Patnongon is still trying to recover that form from the V-League of two years ago. She really has to double time on that.

Ateneo will have to take positives from this game despite the three-set sweep but right now the onus is on team management to surround Valdez with a few more weapons. It isn’t every day where we will land a terrific talent like Air Valdez who is a game changer and a threat any day of the week. 

Having said all of that, the team should make the Final Four. Anything else beyond that is gravy. 

As for the NU Lady Bulldogs, the flow that they showed in their V-League title run wasn’t there. That carried on even to the Uni-Games. Guess that Rubie De Leon and even Jen Reyes were massive pieces to that championship puzzle.

The Lady Bulldogs might have been overconfident or were suffering too from first game jitters and obviously, we have not seen their best.

Team captain Dindin Santiago led the way with 18 points but they didn’t get much from last year’s cast like Aiko Urdas or Myla Pablo.

Jaja Santiago, in her UAAP debut, showed flashes of potential. I know she’s still growing and learning but if she can harness that athleticism like older sis, Dindin, watch out. Hammer time! It’s going to be great to see her go against La Salle’s Mika Reyes.

But for Jaja to be effective as well, I’d like to think that also relies on setter Ivy Perez’ game. If Perez can really direct traffic and take charge that would catapult this team to the next level.

They’ve got firepower in this team all right. Like Ateneo, they’re still feeling their way around.

Ateneo was a test for the Lady Bulldogs. La Salle will be the test of their championship ambitions. I’d say that the second match is where we should see a more relaxed team.

No comments:

Post a Comment