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, September 18, 2016

Analysis: UST 83 vs UP 77

UST's Louie Vigil and Boy Sablan talk about their huge win over UP.

Analysis: UST 83 vs UP 77
by rick olivares

This was a big bounce back win by UST to even their record to 2-2. On the other hand, this was a terrible terrible loss for UP. Not only are they a much more veteran crew than UST but this was a game that was pretty much all-Filipino as the Growling Tigers’ William Afoakwah was hardly a factor and didn’t play much in the second half. This was winnable but… I thought that UP didn’t figure out what UST was trying to do.

If you look at the offense of the Tigers, they ran most of it from the right side — a two-man game between Renzo Subido and Louie Vigil who accounted for 10 of their team’s 16 total assists. Save for perhaps three second half field goals, almost all of UST's offense was generated from the right side — a pick and roll, pop, pull-up jumper, a three, a drive and drop.

Furthermore, both players (including Jon Sheriff) have been their creative forces and have combined for 28 of UST’s total 57 assists. Without Embons Bonleon, you know that some of those touches will go to Vigil. So why not deny him? Why not have him give up the ball and let someone else beat you? Why not attack him on defense? As it is, Vigil played the entire second half for UST. That underscores his importance and he was a facilitator for his side finishing with seven assists; that is good for second highest this season after Adamson Falcon Rob Manalang’s opening day show — also versus UP!

Regarding Vigil, Subido, and Sheriff, they are UST’s three main cogs this season and all three gave their team a lift at different intervals (by the same token Adamson’s Rob Manalang, Jerrick Ahanmisi, and Papi Sarr the main men of the Falcons were all huge factors in their win over Ateneo on the same day). I believe that the team’s leaders should be consistent in their contributions. Sheriff didn’t score much but his steals that bridged the third and the fourth period spurred their team. 

UST coach Boy Sablan ditched his zone for man-to-man defense and it gave UP some fits. What they need to work on though is protecting that lane from incursions from the top of the key. That is where guys like Paul Desiderio make their living.

Following a 34-all tie after two periods, what worked in UST’s favor in the second half was hitting their perimeter shots as well as going to the free throw line more often. UP is at the bottom of the eight team standings in terms of perimeter defense where they give up 30 points a game. The Growling Tigers torched them for 37 points. 

After UP tied the score at 68-all for the ninth and last time, Vigil found Oliver De Guzman - a magic bunot at a crucial juncture for Sablan — for a three and Subido followed suit with a dish to an open Reggie Basibas for another killer triple.

Are there any positives for UP to take away despite this stinging loss? Sure there are. They are improving their assists total. They finished with 18 to UST’s 16 and are in the middle of the pack in terms of that stat. That’s good because the ball wasn’t moving much in the earlier games.

Noah Webb and Javi Gomez De Liano played well and the two will only get better. Truthfully, I really wasn’t all that impressed with Webb when he was in high school but he has certainly picked it up. Gomez De Liano, as he soaks up more experience will be deadly from the three-spot. 

It is tough for head coach Bo Perasol as in the past four years (including his three years in Ateneo), he’s been dogged by big man problems. His teams these past four years can score but they can’t stop foes. The Fighting Maroons are second to the last in rebounding. Andrew Harris who played really well in the pre-season is in a funk. Ditto with Jerson Prado who has yet to re-discover his form from last season. They are in a 0-3 hole. Still early in the tournament but they need some wins because this could quickly spiral out of control.

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