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.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Breaking down Perpetual Help’s comeback win over San Sebastian

Breaking down Perpetual Help’s comeback win over San Sebastian
by rick olivares

Last Friday, I thought I witnessed an incandescent shooting display when San Beda’s Baser Amer, Anthony Semerad, and Dan Sara shoot a combined 9-9 from three-point range in the first half to blow away the shell shocked Mapua Cardinals.

With the Perpetual Help Altas playing the San Sebastian Stags, there was a distinct possibility there was going to be another. It was the team that “stays together” (Perpetual Help) versus the team that is filled with “no namers” (San Sebastian.

Got like this “us against the world” or siege mentality these two teams have. Only in the NCAA do you see their creed on their warmers.

Their basic game plan was to play tough interior defense and to prevent San Sebastian from running.

And it worked extremely well in the first period.

The Altas with their Fab Four of Justine Alano, Harold Arboleda, Juneric Baloria, and Earl Thompson lit up San Sebastian in a fiery display of passing and shooting while playing stifling defense in the first quarter

Perpetual Help knocked down seven triples – Arboleda and Thompson had three triples each while Baloria had one – to take the first quarter 31-13. The Altas’ lead went up as high as 21 following an undergoal stab by Alano, 23-2, at the 5:32 mark. Joel Jolangcob collected all four of his assists during this blitz.

A media colleague remarked that San Sebastian wasn’t playing well. I believe that it’s otherwise. It’s not that they were not playing well; Perpetual Help’s defense was stifling, and the Stags were making bad reads on defense.

In SSCR’s first eight possessions, they only had one shot attempt – a baseline shot by CJ Perez that was short. Perez, the second-year player picked up more fouls than points – four to zero. Jolangcob was also a pest on defense wresting away one from a Stag and poking away another.

On defense, San Sebastian was spreading the floor to mark the shooters – even Jolangcob. I know he can hit it but I would dare him to hit it and instead clamp down on the others.

The first half ended with Perpetual Help leading, 47-29. By third period’s end, San Sebastian was knocking at the door, 61-59.

Topex Robinson switched from a 2-3 man-zone to a 3-2 to blanket the shooters. With more room to drive, it was even more mystifying that the Altas continuously opted to bombard from the outside.

The Stags methodically chipped at the led with the sweet shooting Jon Ortuoste hitting four long bombs. When Perez returned in the late third period, he had gotten his second wind and began to carve up the Altas’ soft zone. His quick first step and explosive moves to the basket caused problems for Perpetual Help as center Bradwyn Guinto either slid in for the drop pass or cleaned up Perez’ mess. Perez scored all eight of his points from the his late third period return to the early fourth period. His drive netted the Stags’ first lead of the game, 63-62 at the 9:08 mark of the fourth.

To make matters worse, Jovit dela Cruz did what he ought to be doing – attacking the basket from the other side.

The problem when you have no inside operators or post players is you don’t have much choice but to shoot from the outside and that’s the knock on the Altas – they fall in love with the outside shot more so when it’s falling; they neglect to attack the basket which is what the Stags did in overhauling that 21-point deficit. Alano is their only post threat but he lacks the height to compete with the taller players. And to prove that, against the Stags, he fouled out.

3PT attempts
3PTS made
Perpetual Help
San Sebastian

Free Throw Points
Perimeter Points
Points in the Paint
Perpetual Help
San Sebastian

Ortuoste hit three straight buckets to give San Sebastian a 77-71 lead with 4:12 to play. The Altas were reeling.

When Earl Thompson returned (after sitting on the bench for some time after he picked up four fouls) he drove hard and kicked the ball out. Arboleda hit one more big triple. He also found Arboleda on a nifty drop pass in the lane.

San Sebastian held a 79-75 lead when Arboleda hit two free throws; 2:03 to play.

Then San Sebastian’s Bobby Baculanag was called for an offensive foul. The Stags got the ball back when Baloria missed a runner in the lane.

The game would turn on two things: Perpetual Help rookie Ric Gallardo serving notice that he could be a force for Aric del Rosario and Perez fouling out.

Gallardo, the 17-year old rookie from Mariveles, Bataan, rejected a drive by Baculanag that sent Thompson scooting off for a fastbreak layup. Game tied at 79-all.

Then Perez was called for his disqualifying foul (IMO is highly debatable as Arboleda jumped right in on front of his path).

With both teams squandering a chance to take the lead, it was the Altas who made good when they got the ball back one more time. Gallardo grabbed an airball from a Thompson attempt from 28-feet out and threw up a desperate shot that hit the window and bounced in for a hoop with 19.8 seconds left.

After Jeick Fabian missed a drive, Gallardo grabbed the defensive board and was fouled. He made one free throw and Ortuoste couldn’t get a shot off on time as the Altas escaped with an 82-79 win.

Perpetual Help notched its second win in as many games while the tough and surprising Stags dropped their first in three matches.

In my NCAA Preview, I said I wasn’t too impressed with San Sebastian in the pre-season and didn’t rate them highly. They had talented players in Rhanzelle Yong and Ryan Calisaan to help out Ortuoste (who can shoot the daylight out of the gym), Perez and dela Cruz but they looked disjointed in the Filoil tourney. Head coach Topex Robinson described their summer stint as “sharpening the sword” and they sure look good this NCAA.

As for the Altas, they could have very well dropped this match with their over reliance on the outside shot. They will have problems with San Beda, LPU, or even EAC; all who have their bigs. But if they can “stay together” – a line lifted from Robinson’s working on the coaching staff of Alaska dating back to the Tim Cone days – who knows what they can do.

As for the “no namers”? They sure are making a name for themselves. Even in defeat.

Bobby B and the No Namers!
Perpetual Help's Juneric Baloria gets treatment for his back after the game. Quipped Altas head coach Aric del Rosario (who doesn't need any back treatment of his own, "Matanda na kasi si Baloria."

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