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, August 8, 2017

My thoughts about the Ateneo-Gilas Cadets tune-up match today.

My thoughts about the Ateneo-Gilas Cadets tune-up match today.
by rick olivares

The Ateneo Blue Eagles played the Gilas Cadets team that is headed for the Southeast Asian Games next week in a tune-up match at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center this afternoon.

The match was won by the national team, 86-79, but we shouldn’t place too much stock in the outcome that saw the latter only seize the game late in the fourth period. They nearly lost.

But we have to establish some facts:

Gilas Cadets:
Had only one practice prior to this tune-up.
Was missing players like Alfonso Gotladera, Mac Belo, and Christian Standhardinger.
Head coach Jong Uichico asked Ateneo to specifically play a zone in the second half so his team will gain a bit more experience in attacking that defense since it is what they will face in the Sea Games. The Blue Eagles obviously obliged because it’s for a cause.

Ateneo Blue Eagles:
Played with a complete line-up.
However, head coach Tab Baldwin shuffled the entire line-up to give everyone a chance to play. Furthermore, this was also meant to trim down the squad for their Korea trip (they leave Wednesday afternoon).
Mike Nieto wasn’t anywhere near 100% having just come back from an injury.

Game thoughts:

The Blue Eagles battled Gilas closely for the entire game. They even led at several intervals including the half and the first few minutes of the third period when they hiked a two-point halftime lead to eight.

I don’t think Gilas was ready for Ateneo (obviously because they have had only one practice). They were surprised by the fury and intensity of the match. The Blue Eagles were taking it to them. They swarmed all over the nationals and made life difficult for them. In fact, I thought that some of the Gilas players lost their cool early on and looked to take some cheap shots.

The tide turned when Ateneo was asked to deviate from their game to play zone and that turnover where Raffy Verano was trying to work a two-man game with Isaac Go. The miscue led to a turnover. Then a missed shot. Before anyone knew it, Gilas had raced to a 10-point lead.

Ateneo though came roaring back and came within a three of evening matters. But another crucial miscue ended Ateneo’s chances of pulling abreast or even winning.

I guess it is good that the nationals won. Imagine if they lost… missing players or not, they are an all-star team filled with MVPs and Mythical Selections left and right. In fact, many people joked that if Ateneo won then they should go to the Sea Games. It’s a joke so don’t have a cow.

What Ateneo did right was attack Gilas’ interior in every opportunity. They harassed Gilas into turnovers. The nationals adjusted by spacing properly well and moving the ball around. That resulted in some open shots by their gunners. Ateneo though replied right back with long range bombs. They also attacked Ateneo’s interior and raided the passing lanes. In fact, Baser Amer had two crucial steals in the final minute of play that sealed the win for Gilas. They also had someone shadow or double team Matt Nieto when he had the ball.

Who stood out for the Gilas Cadets?
Gilas had different players carry them at certain intervals. First it was Raymar Jose followed by Kiefer Ravena then Baser Amer.

They had a near highlight when Kobe Paras tried to dunk on someone (he missed). But it had everyone going, “Oooohhhh!”

Who stood out for Ateneo?
Thirdy Ravena. 14 points on 66% shooting. He also tallied 4 rebounds, and 3 assists versus one turnover. Hit a long step-back three with the shot clock winding down.

Raffy Verano and Troy Mallillin played well. Each scored 8 points and the latter added four rebounds. 

I like Vince Tolentino's activity. Not that inbound turnover where he wasn't ever squared for the pass. Instead threw a week cross-court pass much like the one Larry Bird snatched away from Detroit in 1988.

Isaac Go gave a very good conduct of himself: 7 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists against 1 turnover.

Here are the stats:



Very good and entertaining tune-up match. It helps both sides and there’s lots to learn.

The need to speed up the game as opposed to walking it up.
They need to get their shooters going.
They need to have more meaningful and challenging games before heading to Kuala Lumpur.


Shhhhh! Next time. Work in progress.