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.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Looking at the Baguio Summer Spikers in the V-League

Looking at the Baguio Summer Spikers in the V-League
words and pic by rick olivares

The Baguio Summer Spikers are at the bottom of the eight-team standings of the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference with a 0-3 slate (one set won versus nine lost sets). They are also at the cellar in almost every category (spiking, serving, digging, setting, and receiving). But you still wouldn’t know it. Their collective smiles are still radiant. There’s a joy to this team that can also be intoxicating. 

It’s isn’t that they are happy to check something off their bucket list. They certainly aren’t here to be any team’s foils. They know their limitations and their expectations — it’s to be exposed to top-flight competition and to get better at the game.

There’s also some good cheer for them.

Xianny Tsuchiya is the 14th best scorer. Melai Dicksen is tied with UP’s Kathy Bersola for fifth in blocking. Ann Atuban is seventh in digging and ninth in receiving. And well, as a team they are fifth in blocking. So there are things to build on.

In the 10 sets they have played, four of them were close sets. The Summer Spikers start slow, settle down and compete. But as the sets go on, they waver due to a lack of experience, staying power, errors, the opponent adjusting to what they try to do, and sometimes, the rotation. 

Ann Atuban is getting better. With better placement, she’ll be a huge weapon alongside Tsuchiya and Dicksen. I think that Colleen Rossi has good instincts and understands space. Not sure why she usually sits out the second set then returns mid-third set. By that time, she's a little cold. 

With regards to floor defense, I think the spacing and support could be better. Not many people to backstop the blockers in the event of a drop shot.

I'd like to see more middle attacks, combination plays or even setups for the utility spiker. Maybe explore some fast plays. Basically, variety. If they mix it up, I think their attacking will be better.

You can see the team soaking up the experience and getting better. The fact that they took a set from a talented and powerhouse UP team — although struggling at the moment — is huge. And there are some standouts who will get better.

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