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 5, 2017

UAAP Women’s Volleyball Preview: UP and Adamson

UAAP Women’s Volleyball Preview: UP and Adamson
by rick olivares

For our earlier UAAP women’s volleyball previews, we looked at National University, University of the East, Ateneo de Manila University, and University of Santo Tomas. Now we’ll look at a couple of teams that made noises in seasons past.

University of the Philippines Lady Maroons
Someone crashed the party last season and it was Jerry Yee’s team that has undergone a rebirth the past two seasons. With their amazing rookies grabbing a year’s worth of valuable experience, the onus is to build on that promise – Final Four once more at the very least or bust.

Like many other squads this campaign, Yee will boast of a deep and talented line-up with key veterans anchoring key positions.

The presence of graduating veterans Kathy Bersola, Nicole Tiamzon, and Pia Gaiser in the middle, outside, and libero positions provide experience, leadership, and stability. For all the talent of the youngsters Mae Basarte, Isa Molde, Justine Dorog, and Diana Carlos, they wilted late in the season especially after that huge confidence-boosting win over Ateneo to start the second round.

Some observers noted that during the Lady Maroons’ participation during the last two V-League conferences, the team looked tired from the non-stop competition. At some points, Yee gave much needed rest to veterans while playing the youngsters like middle hitter Jessma Ramos and Maristela Layug and rookie setter Rose Cailing. In spite of everything, they still booked a semi-finals ticket then. And that underscores their capability.

The last few months, though the team continued training, afforded them some measure of rest. No doubt, they’ll be buoyed by the start of the season they are after.

This is a team that will compete for many years but they will want to win it now while Bersola, Tiamzon, and Gaiser are on board. They’ve also got some juniors in Marian Buitre and Arielle Estrañero so it’s not like they are overly young. There’s a good balance about this well-built team.

Furthermore to the building, this team has been trained well skills-wise and conditioning wise (behind the superb work of Bernie Bonoan). They know they are good; something that Yee cautions them. He doesn’t want them reading the good press about them because they haven’t really won anything substantial in his eyes. But no doubt, they are good.

The more wins they pick up they’ll get better and more frightening.

Adamson Lady Falcons
The heartbreak team of last season. They had talent to compete. Maybe not the heart just yet. However, the sudden departure of head coach Sherwin Meneses further hastened their fall.

It’s a young team that new American coach Airess Padda inherited. They have now with only Jema Galanza and Joy Dacoron the only ones left with significant playing time. Sure there was libero Jellie Tempiatura and outside hitter Bernadette Flora who had her moments. But there isn’t enough. It certainly hurts that May Roque hasn’t fully recovered from her injury and is out of the line-up. That will leave all the youngsters to grow up in a hurry which is good for the future.

I am rather surprised they opted not to participate in the V-League season when that experience would have helped them. I heard they didn’t want this team hammered at an early stage. I can understand that.

But now they’ll learn on the job. Against the UP Lady Maroons no less in their opening day match this Sunday.

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