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, May 2, 2016

Looking at the UE Red Warriors’ win over Ateneo

Derrick Pumaren draws a play for UE during the overtime period of their Filoil Flying V Premier Cup win over Ateneo.

Looking at the UE Red Warriors’ win over Ateneo
by rick olivares

The University of the East Red Warriors fashioned out a gritty 93-91 overtime win over the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup debut. And they did it all-Filipino. They were outrebounded and out-assisted but they won it with a lot of heart and hustle. They harried Ateneo into 28 turnovers and converted that into 24 turnover points. The Red Warriors also forced the Blue Eagles to shoot 35% (to their 41%). 

What did I like about UE's huge win?

Renz Palma took charge.
Last season, I repeatedly wrote that if Palma could approximate UST counterpart Ed Daquioag’s derring-do then this team will go places. What the Red Warriors need is someone to break down opposing defenses and create like Jeron Teng for La Salle or Kiefer Ravena last year for Ateneo. Palma can attack, side step, pirouette, glide in, create, and dazzle. he’s always had that. What he needs to do is perform more consistently. I thought that he was the missing piece last year.

Palma was scintillating as he broke down every defender in his face en route to a game high 22 points while adding eight rebounds, three assists, and two crucial and late steals. He’ll be a fun player to watch this season. Plus, if he gets going that will ease the burden on Edson Battiler.

Now if Paul Varilla can finally get going...

They’ve got studs up front.
All-Filipino? Not bad. As head coach Derrick Pumaren put it, “Awana si Bertrand Awana.” 

So the burden of the inside game falls to their version of Spider-Man — Ronnie De Leon. Even before with a lineup that included Charles Mammie and Chris Javier, RR De Leon showed that he belonged. He is good defensively with those long arms of his and he can stick that medium range jumper if need be. Now he's the man in the middle for UE. If he can stay away from foul trouble, he’ll be a huge presence inside.

Clark Derige, last year’s late revelation at the four-spot will still be huge for this team. Along with the tough Nick Abanto and Shannon Gagate, that’s quite a set of rebounders and defensive players.

Their first game revelation was Avin Pasaol who came up from Team B. He’ll be playing the three and occasionally the four spot. He finished with 15 points and had six rebounds. A lot of his points were clutch with people hanging all over his face. 

They’ve got a solid backcourt.
Aside from the explosive Battiler, Edgar Charcos is still there. He had that dazzling reverse lay-up against Ateneo. And there’s Philip Manalang who if you don’t watch out will hurt you with his long bombs. They’ve got speed, playmaking, and defensive toughness. 

They played tough defense.
When I asked Derrick Pumaren if his Red Warriors finally have his system down pat, he said yes. They just need to play more consistently.

What I like about this team is they are complete, deep, tough, and talented. This is a blue collar team; a typical Derrick Pumaren team. Expect them to scrap and fashion out some big wins. And that is what got them this win. The Red Warriors pretty much stopped every Ateneo player except for Chibueze Ikeh (mostly because of his size) and Tyler Tio who was fantastic.

However, Coach Derrick’s team tends to win on individual brilliance with different players going off in different intervals. They only had 10 assists, we’d like to see more.

Player Ratings:
Renz Palma - 10. Is this his time? Who knows? But he will be fun to watch.
Alvin Pasaol - 10. Stud. Key offensive rebounds, key baskets. Great presence. 
Edson Batiller - 8. Struggled offensively because of the defense on him. But he hit a huge triple to send the match into overtime.
RR De Leon - 7. I raved about him, right? But while he was brilliant offensively, for a center to grab only two rebounds? Not enough. Certainly not enough.
Clark Derige - 8. Same old Derige. Quiet but effective. 10 points and eight rebounds.
Edgar Charcos - 7. Didn’t shoot well, but hit enough key baskets. If you play him close, he’ll drive. But needs to get that scoring mentality out of the way.
Mark Acuno - 6. 
Philip Manalang - 6. Didn’t play much because he was in foul trouble. He is a canny player who can run the offense and play defense. He needs to stay on the court and learn to pick his spots when being aggressive on defense.
Nick Abanto - 5. A little too overly aggressive. Got tossed because of two technical fouls. 
Omar Larupay - 5. In Pumaren’s doghouse for poor play and four turnovers.
Andrey Armenion - 4. 
Shannon Gagate - 5.
Ralph Penuela 4. Got a lot of playing time in last year’s Filoil. Come UAAP, rode the bench as Derige and other players played better.
Paul Varilla - 3. Can be vexing. Disappointing. Athletic and smart but doesn’t do much. Played 23 minutes and had zero points and only one rebound and an assist to show.
Wilson Bartolome - 4.
Ian Poblete - 4. 

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