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, September 19, 2016

Analysis: FEU 67 vs UE 59

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Analysis: FEU 67 vs UE 59
by rick olivares

This game was the perfect antidote for FEU. After that stinging loss to Ateneo, they needed to rebound. And rebound they did against an old University Belt rival. More than bragging rights, UE was perfect because these Red Warriors are way struggling.

The fearsomeness UE brought to the game with their fullcourt pressure and bad boy tag (they played highly physical and seemed like the UAAP’s version of Letran) is now gone. In my opinion, these guys are struggling because the veterans have not stepped up and their helter skelter-type of play hurts them just as much as it does to their opponents.

The Red Warriors force a lot of turnovers but they have been unable to convert because of the haphazard way they play. They force shots, take a lot of bad shots, and aren’t smart with their selection. They happily bomb away like they had a stud like Ben Mbala to rebound. But they don’t…. so why continue to shoot like there’s no tomorrow? They are mid-pack in total rebounds; fifth to be exact. The result is they are dead last in field goal percentage, three-point and two-point shooting accuracy. 

UE shoots a poor 31% from the field and they fired even more duds against FEU with a 29% accuracy clip. I think they are among the most wasteful when it comes to taking shots.

With all due respect to the comebacking and talented Mark Olayon, this team’s usual leaders - Bonbon Batiller, Paul Varilla, Ed Charcos, and Renz Palma with new firebrand Alvin Pasaol all sputtered offensively. If these guys can’t get going no one will. And Clark Derige who was last year’s revelation inside the lane (aside from graduated captain Chris Javier) played his best game this 2016, summer included, as he finished with nine points. But that isn’t much and it goes to show how much this team’s offense is in a funk.

One thing the Red Warriors do well is score in transition yet the Tamaraws jammed their outlet and ran quickly back that UE managed only seven fastbreak points (they average 18 points a game) while scoring only six of their own. The Warriors did manage 18 turnover points. 

When you go up against a team that shoots itself in the foot with poor shot selection and even worse accuracy, you have a chance to win.

What made this victory by FEU even more impressive is that they were missing Wendell Comboy and Richard Escoto who have led their team in scoring.

While Monbert Arong finally came through with his best performance this tournament (well the top two guns weren’t there so he has to show up), I thought that the all-around performance of forward-center Raymar Jose was very impressive (11 points and 22 rebounds including 2 assists) and that Kimlee Bayquin and Ron Dennison continue to impress. 

I somewhat expect Jose and Dennison to kick it up a notch since they are veterans who are in their last playing year but Bayquin quietly slipped into the starting line-up and provides quality 15 minutes a game. This kid could be their next Roger Pogoy.

Dennison is huge plus! He is second in assists to Axel Iñigo (he has seven to the latter’s eight and who incidentally doesn’t have to guard the opposition’s top gun) but if he wasn’t in foul trouble against Ateneo, he’d have more. As this season wears on, he could be this team’s Ping Exciminiano who plays tough defense but is also deadly for his rapidly improved court vision!

FEU pounded UE inside and that including their steady shooting and control of the game helped them eke out this big win.

No one expected UE to be winless in three starts so there’s quite some concern setting in. More so as their next opponent is UP that is also searching for its first win. A loss will be very painful because this team was, is supposed to kick it up to another notch as they finished sixth and was a win short of probably going to the Final Four. Who would have thought they’d be fighting to stay out of the cellar.

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