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.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

NCAA Preview: Is the title a foregone conclusion for San Beda?

NCAA Preview: Is the title a foregone conclusion for San Beda?
by rick olivares

Okay, who is taking their title? It’s another season with the title all wrapped up even before tip-off.

Bilog ang bola, you say. Of course. The problem for all the other nine teams is that even if one player goes down, this team is as deep as the Marianas Trench. Their third unit could even start for another team. After you’ve gotten past the first five, you have to face their Replacement Killers.

So how do you defeat San Beda?

Well, you have to play the perfect game. Your bench has to come to the fore. Then you can nick a game here or there. As I have written so often in the past decade, that all changes in the play-offs. You can still take a game here and there but in a long and protracted series – good luck! Should a team take game one from them, then they have a chance.

Letran and San Sebastian did it, you say. Well, that is the exception rather than the norm. And it was the perfect storm. Could it happen this year? Sure. Lyceum has the talent and depth. But let’s see how they have learned from the butt kicking they received at the hands of San Beda during the pre-season that was so anti-climactic and a downer. Arellano could but let’s see if they can sort themselves out. They are their own worst enemy with their inconsistency.

In the pre-season, San Beda kicked serious butt with Davon Potts not playing well. With AC Soberano playing four fewer minutes than he did during the last NCAA season. And without Donald Tankoua!

The key to their incredible play is Robert Bolick Jr. who is performing on the level of a Kiefer Ravena or Jeron Teng. He is supremely confident. RBJ’s game though is more like Ravena – a two-way player who handles the ball, makes plays and makes stops. He is both their starter and closer. And even best defensive player on the perimeter.

His ascendancy has given opponents headaches because if they marked Soberano last year, now he’s even more open. His ability to get to the rim opens up the floor for San Beda. In the process, Arnaud Noah looks really good from al the open looks.

The Red Lions though aren’t all RBJ. There’s Jayvee Mocon who despite being all bulked up (somewhat losing his speed) is another weapon. Joe Presbitero’s heady play even during his rookie season has meant he has displaced Radge Tongco in terms of minutes.

There’s Potts, Noah, Soberano, and Clint Doliguez who can all light up a scoreboard. One or two of them may be off but all seven of their top guns? That is going to be the mother of all off nights.

As frightening as they are offensively and that tends to take all the glory, the unheralded facet of this team is their defense. They led the summer league as the top-ranked defensive squad. They’ve got quite a few rim protectors in Noah, Tankoua, Calvin Oftana, Benedict Adamos, and Kemark Cariño! They have good perimeter defenders in Bolick, Presbitero, and Potts.

And they can run or play half-court. Pick your poison.

Right now, the NCAA trophy is theirs to lose. And like the pre-season, they could go undefeated while at it too. If anyone is going to take it from them, they too will have to play the perfect season.

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