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, February 8, 2016

Five talking points from the Ateneo Lady Eagles’ win over UST

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Five talking points from the Ateneo Lady Eagles’ win over UST
by rick olivares

It wasn’t their best game but they were good enough. The Ateneo Lady Eagles defeated their University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses counterparts in four sets (25-22, 25-20, 21-25, 25-15) to go to 2-0 while dropping the latter to its second straight defeat.

Here are some points to glean from that match.

The drop off after an intense match.
Before the game began, I asked a few people — the program head and the coaches - from Ateneo what they had in store for UST. The answer was more or less, “We’re ready; we prepared for it. The rest is up to them.”

While the Ateneo Lady Eagles got off to an okay start, they weren’t sharp at all. They got by because of their  talent and their defense. The raced to an early lead they didn’t relinquish. 

However, the first three sets can be described as — in terms of Ateneo’s play — lethargic as well as lacking focus and intensity. 

Was it a drop in intensity after their season opener against NU? Last season, they also played NU although to start the second round that ended in a three-set win for Ateneo. In their next match, they played a five-setter against Adamson. From there on they pounded the opposition before playing La Salle for the last game of the second round.

The season of course is young and the Lady Eagles still have yet to reach their peak form. When they were in Thailand recently, their form was high then it went down following the break in between the UAAP tournament. Now they have to pick up the pace and level again. No excuses though. Credit has to be given to UST for hanging in there. Like their opener against Adamson, they fell into a 0-2 hole then forced a fifth set. The difference is this — after confronted by the challenge of conceding the third set, the Lady Eagles found their focus and form in the fourth set to put away the Growling Tigresses. 

They contained Cherry Rondina for two of four sets. 
That was part of the game plan for Ateneo. And they did well by making sure that Rondina’s impact was generally contained. UST’s main weapon scattered her points and only had a great influence in the third set that the Golden Tigresses took.

Breaking it down, that’s six points in the first set; three in the second. Then Rondina broke out for nine in the third set. In the fourth set, she was contained once more as she only had three points.

Four times she was blocked that led to block points for Ateneo.

On defense, Ateneo’s servers targeted her to the point that UST coach Kungfu Reyes had to hide her and give her added protection. But you have to also credit Ateneo’s servers. Even if Rondina was in the side, they still sent serves her way sideout or not. 

When Ateneo’s game went south, Rondina picked her team up. Without a doubt, this is her team now.

Jia Morado needs to play well.
I was shocked to see a lot of the early sets all go Alyssa Valdez’ way. While there is nothing wrong with utilizing college volleyball’s most devastating weapon, what you’d like to is get a lot of people involved in the offense. 

I thought that Ateneo’s game went south when Morado wasn’t her usual self. In fact, during one time out, Coach Anusorn Bundit pointed out that she needed to not only diversify her attack but to make better sets.

She finished with 18 excellent sets. That’s a low for her. 

When she diversified her setting in the fourth set, her teammates began to hammer UST.

The rapid improvement of Maddie Madayag.
Okay, she finished with seven points. But her improvement — her serves, running attack, and defense — is remarkable. And she ended the match with an ace. Maybe it is time for her to take an even bigger role in the offense.

The need to balance the scoring.
I will let someone corroborate my thoughts. 

After the match, I was with Ruel Valdez, Alyssa’s father. And this is what he pointed out.

“Twenty-three points for Alyssa? Twelve for Marguinot?” Dapat sila Madayag, Ahomiro, at De Leon may 10 points or more. Si Alyssa dapat less than 20 points. Walang balance sa scoring ng Ateneo.”


If they can keep Valdez fresh then that will help the Lady Eagles in their campaign.

If you look at the scoring for both teams, they are pretty much even — two double digit scorers. It is in the errors that gave a lot of points away — 26 for Ateneo and 34 for UST.


  1. Im surprised youre more critical of the setter's game than the libero's. Everyone else seems to blame the latter for the poor performance of the former

    1. The thing is with you people you remember only a series of poor receptions. Gizelle was shaky for a bit and after than she was okay. She then committed a few more but they were scattered. Do you recall after the first set that UST targeted her frequently? And no one is blaming. Maybe you guys are.

  2. Let's give the libero some slack. She is a newbie in her position now...

  3. The thing with you Mr. Olivares.... Ha ha chill :) If you look at the stat sheet ateneo as a team had FIVE!!! (5) excellent receptions from 66 attempts. Morado was chasing all around for those second balls. It was was not only Tan who made some bad receptions but also the others. A setter can only do so much with what she gets from the receivers and Morado even made something out of nothing in some instances. It was not a good day for everyone and it happens once in awhile. Maybe next time we can use something to backup our analysis before singling out some players.

    1. First of all, i'd appreciate it if you say who you are instead of posting anonymously. Show some balls. Second, this isn't singling out a person or blaming the way you put it. I am merely saying that she needed to set better in that match. If Tai said the same thing (and he did say it), what is wrong with that? Let's see you keep some pertinent stats. And FYI, pointing out certain things doesn't mean one is being critical.

    2. A setter needs also a good pass to make a good play. Once she doesn't get that good pass she will have to improvise. There is a problem with the appreciation of some people who do not play game because they only look at the spikers. If the spikers cannot score then it is the fault of the setter. But the setter depends also on the receiver. A bad receive results to a broken play. As I have stated earlier they did not have a good receiving/digging day. And It is acknowledged that this team's problem is defense (reception, digging and floor defense). It would help if they address these problems. Mr. Olivares , I don't know if you played the game competitively but that is how we play the game now. And also have the balls to discuss objectively and stop acting like a bully. BTW You can also go anonymous and we won't complain.

    3. You know I agree that the receiving needs to be better. No question about that. Last season Ateneo was tops in receiving and digging. After two matches this year they are either in the middle or dead last. The reason why I didn't mention the receiving was it was discussed in a previous article. And that can also be mentioned for UST. It works both ways. I agree the first ball will also determine how good a set one makes. I was pointing out that even so, the ball needs to find its way to other players. Taken into consideration na yung bad receiving. It is not an indictment on Jia's performance because we know she has done and will do better. Like I said, even Tai pointed that out. And while I didn't play on any volleyball varsity team I did play the game recreationally even up to about 12 years ago. Acting like a bully? Next time word your comments better because I wasn't being critical of Jia. There is a difference between being critical and trying to provide critical thinking.

    4. Nevertheless, thanks for the comments.

  4. “Twenty-three points for Alyssa? Twelve for Maarguinot?” Dapat sila Madayag, Ahomiro, at De Leon may 10 points or more. Si Alyssa dapat less than 20 points. Walang balance sa scoring ng Ateneo.”

    This is exactly what is going to happen if you don't receive well. The middles, Madayag and de Leon, opposites Ahomiro will not get their sets because in a broken play the setter will most of the time set to the open spiker, which is Alyssa Valdez or Maraguinot.