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, February 7, 2016

Three things to take away from the DLSU Lady Spikers’ win over UP.

This appears on

Three things to take away from the DLSU Lady Spikers’ win over UP.
by rick olivares

The pre-game talk was, how real was UP? Can they upset La Salle and validate their Final Four aspirations? And of course, can La Salle get its second win of the young season?

To answer the third concern, yes, La Salle took the match although it was a reverse of their season debut when they rallied in the first two sets before putting away a FEU team sorely lacking a finishing kick.

This team that had UP on the ropes before the Lady Maroons found some fight in them to extend the match. But in crunch time, the Lady Spikers got their second wind to put away their opponent.

Here are a few points to take from the match.

This was a good win.
A three-set sweep is nice but a four-setter (24-14, 25-13, 19-25, 25-20) against a quality opponent isn’t so bad. You want to be tested and to respond to the challenge. The three-set sweep against FEU didn’t tell the complete story. Now this win versus UP does.

In the first set, both teams were even at six points apiece before La Salle found its rhythm by complementing their solid serves with terrific defense both at the net and on the floor. That continued in the second set where they never allowed the Lady Maroons in the match.

In the third set, UP stayed in step for the first 11 points before a tactical switch, better serves and ball placement saw them snatch the set and make a game of it.

Ramil De Jesus’ girls shook off the third set loss and went back to the most basic of instructions, execute. Although UP hung tough, La Salle was in control of the fourth set. 

It was important for the Lady Spikers to get off to a good start in the fourth set and that calmed frayed nerves and blunted UP’s momentum shift.

The Lady Spikers look dangerous.
Save for the latter part of the third set and portion of the fourth set, the serves! The setting! The blocking! The floor defense! 

Look at their offense — 52 points from spikes, nine from blocks, and 12 from serves. They also picked up 21 points from UP’s mistakes. And 41 excellent sets from Kim Fajardo; that’s how huge she is for her team. 

And they are winning with different scoring leaders. During their first win of the year, it was Mika Reyes. This time it was middle hitter Mary Joy Baron who top-scored with 17.

Unlike the first match, this time Ramil De Jesus opted for a smaller rotation.
De Jesus only used seven players this time around. May Luna, who gave a very good account of herself in the first game, wasn’t even used. But newbie Tin Tiamzon (no relation to UP’s Nicole Tiamzon) had a solid performance where she top-scored alongside Ara Galang with 13 points.

Whether to give opposing coaches who were scouting the game something to think about or giving his main weapons more playing time, the result wasn’t too dissimilar to their first win except that UP has more fight in them than FEU. 

I know Coach Ramil always uses smaller rotations. And you only have to look at his teams’ history from the past seven years or so. 

Coaches sometimes resort to small rotations because they want to give their players more game time. He wants to slowly increase minutes for his players to also acclimate themselves for long matches. He wants his go-to players to accept the responsibility of carrying the team. In a non-volleyball allegory (forgive me for using a basketball example), at the height of the Chicago Bulls’ second three-peat of the 1990s (1996-98), Phil Jackson traded away by emerging power forward Jason Caffey for virtually nothing. It seemed odd considering that starting power forward Dennis Rodman was proving to be even more of a loose cannon in the 1997-98 season. Doesn’t make sense, does it? Not exactly. The more minutes gave Rodman (who always wanted to play and not come off the court) more responsibility and he played better. And that propelled the Bulls to the tail-end of their second trifecta.

So maybe, and I am merely postulating here, that Coach Ramil, who has historically gone with smaller rotations, wants his main guns to get going. 

Now the drawback is some gems get buried on the bench. Case in point, it is only this year where everyone is getting the full measure of Carol Cerveza who played behind some talented players. Sure she showed a little bit in the finals of last season but sayang, you know.

That isn’t a knock on De Jesus. In fact, this presents an interesting conundrum for him because in my opinion, he’s got a loaded line-up.

No comments:

Post a Comment