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.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Breaking down La Salle’s win over SWU

Breaking down La Salle’s win over SWU
by rick olivares

With every victory, the Southwestern University Cobras looked forward to a rematch with new nemesis La Salle. Their boisterous crowd even chanted, “We want Archers! We want Archers!” after every victory.

They got them all right but after the 64-59 loss to the Green Archers, it’s not only back to the drawing board where the wanting and the waiting for another crack at their conquerors will just have to wait for another day as the resurgent UE Red Warriors are on deck.

But aside from that, the Cobras got exposed. Bad.

SWU got off to a fast start by pounding the rock inside. Bernie Bregondo scored underneath (his only two points of the game). Mac Tallo scored on an acrobatic reverse lay-up for an and-one after Robert Bolick fouled him. Adam Mohammed drove hard for a deuce. Then Mohammed found an open Jasper Parker for a trey. The score stood at 10-4 at that point.

After 10 minutes, SWU led, 22-15.

Come the second period, the bench was sent in and this is where their problems began. Save for Daryl Goloran (11 points), the reserves simply failed to produce. Instead of putting away La Salle (not that it is an easy task) after spotting them a 22-15 lead, the reserves flat out bombed.

Then SWU’s starters began to struggle with their offense. Parker and Tallo all of a sudden couldn’t hit the side of a building even if it were in front of them.

Parker was 1-12. It got to a point where he drove and had he released early he might have gotten a bucket. Instead he hesitated then pumped and got blocked for it.

Tallo fared no better shooting 3-15. And one of those was that reverse layup and a close range shot in the first period. Meaning his triple in the fourth period was his only other field goal.

Mohammed stopped attacking the basket.

It got to a point where instead of methodically breaking down La Salle, they looked to deliver the knockout punch very early with their outside artillery. Unfortunately, they were off target today.

When reserves Anton Pardo and Mark Racho didn’t deliver they were never sent back. Jovanie Luz sparkled in nine minutes with a triple, a rebound, and a beautiful assist. But that was it. He never returned.

In contrast, La Salle sent their players back to the fray even when they didn’t produce early in the game. When they returned, they delivered. Van Opstal was taken out of the equation by Sanjo for the first three periods. In the payoff period,  he scored four crucial points. Terrence Mustre likewise didn’t figure much but his late game triple backed up Matt Salem’s booming howitzers.

That’s trust the coach (Juno Sauler) has in his players.

I wish the same could be said for SWU. At some point when Parker and Tallo were shooting bricks, Yayoy Alcoseba should have brought back Pardo (he never even got off a shot; not one) and Luz. Forget Justin Aboude who though has an excellent attitude has bad hands. It’s like asking Mike Tyson to score a basket. Why run plays for him when you can have him clean up that glass for putbacks?

If it weren’t for Landry Sanjo’s hustle, defense, and intensity, this game would have been a no contest early on.

La Salle rotated their players much better than SWU and the Cobras paid the price. Sanjo was just flat out gassed by the third period.

The Green Archers knew that after Sanjo, SWU has no other capable center so they repeatedly attacked the inside. Behind Jeron Teng and Jason Perkins, DLSU scored 25 of their 64 points inside the paint (they also added eight free throws). Sanjo was simply overwhelmed inside by La Salle that won the battle of the boards, 52-47. In a close game won by five points, those rebounds translate into extra possessions.

And there were match up problems. I don’t get it why SWU insisted on putting Mohammad on Teng who is not only taller and wider but also stronger. Goloran would have been a better match up because of his height and reach.

I wondered why they preferred to play one-on-one. What happened to the picks? No pick and roll? You could see that pick coming for Almond Vosotros or even Jeron Teng. One of the oldest plays in basketball with no surefire defensive scheme to stop it and SWU didn’t even run it.

Having said all of that, were the first four wins of SWU a fluke?

Not at all. First of all, they went up against teams that DO NOT have complete lineups. JRU, Perpetual Help, University of the Visayas, and University of San Carlos do not have the inside-outside combinations of La Salle. They ran against teams with a lot of players playing out of position. This time around, they ran smack into one with a lot of talent, skill, smarts, and depth. And one that is superbly coached.

The SWU Cobras can definitely win this year’s CESAFI. They have the talent to do so. But if there’s one thing this game showed to its CESAFI rivals, it’s how to beat these Cobras.

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