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.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Game changers: Basketball players to look out for in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup

Game changers: Basketball players to look out for in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup
by rick olivares

The Filoil Flying V Premier Cup is heading into the second stage of the competition – the quarterfinals – and the cast is almost complete for the quarterfinals. However, there is still plenty of basketball to play and here are some players you should catch during the games.

RJ Ramirez, FEU Tamaraws
Through his sheer basketball intelligence, athleticism, and derring-do, this Fil-Canadian has made it to the starting five of Olsen Racela and made a huge impact for the Tamaraws. As two-way player, Racela has assigned him to the opposing team’s best player or top scorer (unless he’s a center). He’s built like a brick wall but has great speed.

In six matches played, Ramirez, who hails from Toronto, has averaged 10.2 points, 1.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.0 steals per game.

Jerie Pingoy, Adamson Soaring Falcons
After a multitude of stop-starts, the once-proclaimed future of college hoops is back. And how. With that talent-laden backcourt of the Falcons, it looks like that Koko will either start at the one-spot or come off the bench. And most likely, he’ll be on the floor come crunch time.

He is bigger now and he looks like he’s lost some speed. But none of the craftiness. The knack for the big play or the big shot or even the confidence is all on display. Even his stare downs are entertaining. If Rob Manalang is Adamson’s Cool Hand Luke, Koko is this team’s Swaggy P. P for Pingoy. And he brings some swagger to a team badly in need of it.

Jun Manzo, UP Fighting Maroons
This point guard from the Visayas who transferred to State U has brought his big game smarts to UP. While this team is older, maybe a little more mature, and even deeper at certain positions, Manzo has made this team go. What Jerie Pingoy brings to Adamson, Manzo does for UP. And he makes no bones about it. Check out that confidence.

In the Premier Cup, Manzo is averaging 9.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game.

Jayvee and Jaycee Marcelino, Lyceum Pirates
I used to think that the Domingo brothers of the College of St. Benilde Blazers (JJ and JS) were double trouble for opposing teams. I will have to amend that. Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino have added a lot of dimension to a LPU team. They play pedal to the metal basketball. They push the pace, can score in a variety of ways, and play defense too. And their facial expressions do not change. They just play the game, baby.

They will give LPU a lift in challenging San Beda for the NCAA crown.

Jayvee is averaging 10.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.0 steals per game while twin brother Jaycee norms 8.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.4 steals. Talk about making an immediate impact.

Sidney Onwubere, EAC Generals
Sidney can be a perplexing player. He has the talent, height, and athleticism to be a prime time player. Even a top draft pick in the pros. But he has to bring it every single day. He has to take it more to the basket where he can finish instead of jacking up treys (although he is shooting at 39% from that range).

This year, EAC is a dark horse Final Four contender in the NCAA. They have been tough to beat. Even with center Laminou Hamadou out of the tournament because of an injury, Onwubere has picked up this team.

Sidney is averaging 13.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in the Premier Cup.

Robert Bolick Jr., San Beda Red Lions
When he debuted with La Salle years ago, he showed he could play. He also had this misplaced swagger. After Kiefer Ravena torched him for 40-plus points, he sort of fell off the rotation and was eventually let go by La Salle. With San Beda, he has not only been reborn but is a totally different player.

He has played at a high Most Valuable Player level in both the NCAA, the PBA D-League, and the Premier Cup. As far as comeback stories are concerned, Bolick is tops. And you have to admire his maturity. Gone are the taunts that marked his years as DLSU. He’s more in control and plays the game with great intelligence.

Robert is putting up 14.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.4 assists for the Red Lions. Damn good numbers for someone who plays only 24 minutes a game.

Michael Calisaan, San Sebastian Stags
I’ll say this now. Is this guy the next coming of Allein Maliksi? Can play four positions. Can shoot, attack, rebound, pass, and play defense. Sticks the big shot. The maangas shot as we call it. Moves well without the ball. In this tourney, Michael is averaging 14.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists.

Matt Salem, National University Bulldogs
Another former Green Archer who played better after transferring schools. In DLSU, he was a three-point specialist. With NU, he’s an all-around player. Plays a more well-rounded brand of ball now with them. Rebounds, plays defense, posts-up, shows great leadership. What is not to like?

Salem is currently averaging 13.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in the Premier Cup.

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