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, October 26, 2015

Appreciating Kevin Ferrer

This was from the first quarter. Kev faked off JR Gallarza with a deceptive step then blew by him. In two strides, Kev swooped in for a basket.

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Appreciating Kevin Ferrer
by rick olivares pic by noel tonido

After watching UST's Kevin Ferrer yesterday, I couldn't but help and think of his days as a Tiger Cub where he was known more for his scoring especially from three-point range and from those years when some pegged him as a rugged player who liked to taunt foes.

Whether those were the instructions of his coach or not, this year’s model of Kevin Ferrer is a player who has figured out how the game can be easy for him.

The next Arwind Santos — someone who is tall, lanky, mobile, and a two-way player?
It is entirely possible.

In Bong dela Cruz’ system, it’s an equal opportunity offense. The ball doesn’t need to go through Ferrer or even Karim Abdul. And I guess that is what I enjoy most when watching the UST Growling Tigers. They just move that ball around. What I like about their system is everyone is a threat. With every player a threat, that makes Ferrer even more dangerous as he doesn't mind passing the ball. He doesn't need to take shots unless he has to. 

Yet at the heart of it is Ferrer. Much has been said about how Ed Daquioag has kicked up his game to a whole new level. No argument there. But Ferrer does more.

Last season (and I wrote about this), Ferrer embraced the leadership role. He was more vocal. This year, he is more demonstrative on the court. Especially on defense. 

Against UP, he pulled newbie Mario Bonleon to a proper position on defense while keeping an eye on the Fighting Maroons spread out offense (to allow Paul Desiderio or Diego Dario to attack inside). During another play, he gestured to Renzo Subido to come out and get the ball and not wait for the pass. In another, Jett Manuel blew past his man only to be met by Ferrer up high. Manuel threw up a prayer that didn’t hit anything. 

As for his fellow veterans, the way he passes that ball to Louie Vigil or Ed Daquioag without looking.... that is a keen understanding of his teammates and the game.

Seeing how UST lined up on defense (a floating man-zone that sometimes would go to a 1-3-1), Kevin would slide behind Karim Abdul who would do his best to disrupt those taking jumpers from the top of the key as a secondary line of defense. He would also haul down those rebounds. This of course, wasn't the first time, UST coach Bong dela Cruz utilized Ferrer this way. He's done it time and again including last season.

The result -- 29 huge points and 14 rebounds to go with 3 assists and 1 steal. And that brings up his season averages to 17.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 32 minutes an outing. 

It has been two years now since Ferrer has played that point-forward position with aplomb. Before he used to wait for his teammates to give him the ball. Now he gives them the ball, directs traffic, and doesn't have to take a shot. And there’s the matter of his defense. His length, mobility, athleticism, and wingspan allows him to guard pretty much every position on the court.

“Kevin,” gushed Bong dela Cruz. “Lahat ng tao yung puntos nakikita. Kevin gives you much more than that. he gives UST a chance to win every game.”

Karim Abdul weighed in his own thoughts although it wasn’t much: “Kevin… is Kevin.”

The graduating center laughed then added, “You know what he can do. The question is, ‘what can he not do?’"

“The MVP Award means nothing to me,” Ferrer said in Filipino. “The goal is a championship. I want one. Since high school, I have been denied that. Hopefully, we can make a lot of people happy.”


  1. Hi Sir Ric,
    I disagree that Kevin is the next Arwind; Kevin Ferrer is a better version of Arwind. Although Arwind is a better on defending bigs, Kevin is a lot more versatile who can guard practically 1-4 positions. Plus, Kevin can dribble from baseline to baseline, which Arwind can't. He can attack with explosiveness in either left or right. Arwind is more of a catch and shoot player, he is more of a hustle type of player who gets his points in getting offensive rebounds and putback.

    I hope Kevin Ferrer continues to improve and reach his true potential. Any coach would love to have a Kevin Ferrer type of player. If there is one guy who can 'contain' the Kiefers, Jerons, on a consistent basis, it's Kevin. But I hope Kevin can shred a little of his weight and convert it to muscle, he would be more explosive.

    1. Thanks for your insights. However, I should ask -- did you see Arwind play when he was in FEU? I did. All his years there. he can dribble coast to coast if need be. he can attack from either side.I don't think anyone has characterized Arwind as one who gets his points of hustle and putbacks. That is entirely WRONG. You must confuse him with Doug Kramer (with all due respect to Santos' former SMB teammate).

    2. Hi Sir Ric, Yes I did see Arwind during his college days. There is no question Arwind can shoot threes and perimeter jumpers. He only dribbles coast to coast if necessary but, I really think that he is not comfortable doing it. I am not saying that he can't put down the ball on the floor for a drive, yes he can but with very little explosiveness and not very effective. It's not really his arsenal. He is more of a player who scores off a pass. With regards to getting his points thru putbacks, I really think Arwind is one of the most talented offensive rebounders we have in the Philippines. Two reasons why I labeled him as a player who thrives on catch & shoot & getting points off a rebound.