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 10, 2017

UAAP Men's Basketball Season 80: Looking at Ateneo’s opening day win over Adamson

Looking at Ateneo’s opening day win over Adamson
by rick olivares

It is hard to really peg teams on the basis of one game. I think with a few more matches under their belt, especially around the time they reach the season’s mid-point mark, we can infer better analyses.

But on the basis of one match, these are my observations.

It is no secret that Papi Sarr hasn’t played in a while. They practiced and even played some tune-up matches for this and were prepared. So what happened?

Let’s look at it from the Adamson side.

Three, things.

One, they didn’t expect Chibueze Ikeh to play the game of his life. The much-maligned Nigerian tallied 18 points, 17 rebounds (with 12 coming off the offensive board), 2 assists, and 1 block versus 3 turnovers.

With Ikeh playing well, what also hurt Adamson was two of their big men – Simon Camacho and Kristian Bernardo picked up two fouls each in the first period (while Keith Zaldivar had one). That messed up their rotation.

You can argue that Sarr was out. But in the past 12 months prior to this UAAP Season 80 season, the two squads (with most of their current line-up in uniform) met thrice - two in the UAAP and one in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup -- and the Blue Eagles won two matches despite Sarr’s presence. Ateneo won their matches by an average of 7.5 points while Adamson won theirs on a game winner. In all three matches, Sarr played well. Incidentally, Ikeh didn’t play well at all those three previous games.

It could be an aberration. Maybe not. If you saw Chibueze in the games leading up to this UAAP season, he has played much better with fewer turnovers. So could this be a turnaround? If he can be consistent with his output this will propel Ateneo towards a title run.

But the 20 offensive rebounds given up were way too much. Ateneo punished Adamson with 29 second chance points to the Falcons’ mere output of six.  

Two, when the bright lights went on, this young and talented Adamson team were just that… young. And still inexperienced. In fact, two newcomers – Kurt Lojera and Keith Zaldivar led them in scoring with 11 and 10 points respectively. Opening day jitters? Maybe. Maybe not. I will lean towards perhaps a little too gigil such as the case of Jerie Pingoy wanting to get back at his old team.

And three, Adamson’s backcourt didn’t play well at all. If they want to win especially with Sarr still out, they need contributions from all positions.

Collectively, their veteran guards Rob Manalang, Jerie Pingoy, and Terrence Mustre didn’t get the job done. All three combined for 11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 turnovers. To be honest, I was surprised that Nick Paranada and Jonathan Espeleta weren’t in the line-up. Keith Lojera gave a good account of himself but this is Ateneo’s first look at him.

If you look at Manalang’s numbers, when he scores in double digits, Adamson is 5-4 (two of these losses are to La Salle in the previous season). When he scores below 10 points, the Falcons are 2-3 including this loss to the Blue Eagles. Rob needs to score because it opens up the floor for back court mate Jerrick Ahanmisi not to mention the frontline position.

From the Ateneo side, there are four things I’d like to point out.

One we’ve already pointed out to Chibueze Ikeh’s strong season debut as well as the overall team rebounding and second chance points.

Two, I like that 11 players scored. That gives some flexibility and depth. I have heard some wonder about that line-up on the floor when Adamson made their late third quarter run. Nothing wrong with that. You expect some players to hold the line or even hike the lead a bit. They just didn’t get the job done. Maybe next time they will.

Three, there’s the inside-outside punch. Ikeh and Thirdy Ravena did a lot of damage inside while Jolo Mendoza and Anton Asistio were on target from the outside. The Falcons were shot down with a weapon they use so well. Adamson was tops in three-point field goals last season while Ateneo was fourth. In this match up, Ateneo hit 7 to Adamson’s 3. Not much but the three more triples snuffed out the life of the Falcons who made one last ditch run in the early fourth period.

And fourth, the turnovers. The Blue Eagles committed 18 turnovers to the 14 of the Falcons. In terms of points off turnovers, the difference was a point 13-14 respectively.

But here’s my point – committing them in bunches.

In the final three-plus minutes of the first period, Ateneo committed four turnovers that led to four Adamson points. Luckily, Jawaun White redeemed himself at the end of the first 10 minutes of play with a triple after committing two of the errors.

At the start of the second period, there were another four turnovers by Ateneo. Good for them, Adamson was unable to capitalize.

Against more experienced sides like La Salle and UP, you know they will pounce on that.

Both teams are a work in progress. You know we have yet to see Adamson’s real game. They will face UST in their next outing and if Sarr doesn’t suit up, there’s a hint of danger as the Growling Tigers have a jumping jack of a center in Steve Akomo.

For Ateneo, it’s big test facing UP with a veteran line-up bolstered by key additions and a very good big man in Ibrahim Quattara.


  1. Pinggoy, at least he learned GOOD MANNERS in ADMU!

  2. Is there a way the TV Timeout can be eliminated? Who allowed that anyway?