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.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Howell he did in his Talk ‘N Text debut

This appears on the PBA website.

Howell he did in his Talk ‘N Text debut
by rick olivares

I was surprised that given the nature of their tough match-ups, Talk ‘N Text had a relatively easy time in dispatching an Alaska squad that didn’t need any adjustment with their returning import Rob Dozier.

The Aces looked sharp in the early goings but once the Tropang Texters got going they tied the match at 22-all then took the half 45-35.

I remarked over Twitter at how TNT import Richard Howell was forcing the issue in the early goings by taking on two or even three defenders. He got blocked and had the ball stripped numerous times.

Still he persisted and in one instance, could have chalked up an assist if he found teammate Ranidel De Ocampo lurking underneath the basket. As it is, Howell threw up an awkward shot that De Ocampo tipped in for a bucket.

I feel it’s a lot like that for the new imports who think they can plow over everyone (he scored on seven of his 22 attempts from the field for a poor 31.8%). The local players are not only taller and more athletic now but they are talented as well.

To Howell’s credit, as the game wore on, he found his niche by playing defense. He hauled down 30 rebounds with 20 coming from the defensive end. He also had two steals and a block. Those 30 rebounds more than helped Talk ‘N Text control the shaded area against a tough Alaska team that likes to operate inside. And it more than made up for the retirement of Ali Peek and Kelly Williams who didn’t play.

Incredibly, the Tropa dominated Alaska by pulling down 64 rebounds to the 47 of the Aces. De Ocampo backed him up by pulling down 10 boards.

That dominance on the boards limited Alaska to a measly four second chance points while TNT scored 14 of their own (they also won the battle of the offensive rebounds, 21-13).

Howell, the former North Carolina State Wolfpack, added 15 points to complete his sparkling PBA debut. His Alaska counterpart, Dozier posted 16 point and 10 rebounds but had four blocks. Interestingly, both Howell and Dozier hail from the state of Georgia.  

In his NCS bio, the 6’8” Howell led the Pack in rebounding during his junior year and were 11-5 when he tabbed more than 10 rebounds. That’s an interesting statistic that would be well worth watching in his PBA stint.

As a junior, he was the Packs’ third leading scorer with 10.8 points per game. So he’s not much of a scorer but is a rebounder and a defensive player.

Talk ‘N Text has a lot of offensive weapons. Last Wednesday, five players (De Ocampo, Jason Castro, Jimmy Alapag, huge pick up KG Canaleta, and Ryan Reyes) hit at least one triple as they shot 36% from that range. When they can open it up, that leaves more room for Howell to operate inside.

Having one PBA game under his belt, Howell, under the tutelage of Black and his meticulous coaching staff, looks to only get better. For someone who likes to play inside, he only went to the line once and made good on the bonus. If he can continue to rebound and get to the stripe, Talk ‘N Text will be a contender in this short Commissioner’s Cup.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rick! I think that by now , the other PBA teams have figured out that Howell is not really an offensive threat but more of a defensive and rebounding specialist!

    IF you noticed, his shots were more awkward than "in form". Meaning lacks finesse and ugly to watch.Thus,probably why he only managed to sink roughly 32 % of his attempts! Howell can be more effective by refining his low-post game for higher percentage shots- he's got good footwork though. Howell's other assets are his attitude , physical strength and a wide body which Coach Norman and coaching staff,I'm sure have already figured out !