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, September 6, 2017

UAAP Season 80 Preview: Adamson Soaring Falcons

UAAP Season 80 Preview: Adamson Soaring Falcons
by rick olivares

Tell me this doesn’t start to remind you of Franz Pumaren’s early La Salle teams. Fil-Am laden, talented, and ready to kick butt and take names.

Last season was the learning curve for these young Falcons as they made the Final Four (where DLSU booted them out). The goal is to not only make it back but if possible, make the finals.

Can they do it?

Sure they can. But that isn’t the question that should be asked.

It’s with the talent they added, do they have their chemistry down pat and is that enough to get them over the hump?

They added Jerie Pingoy from Ateneo and Tyrus Hill from California.

Pingoy adds moxie, clutchness, and a big game mentality to Adamson. Something they do not have. Or at least displayed last year. You might argue Rob Manalang. The sweet-shooting guard was awesome for Adamson last year. But watching him since, with all the new additions and Pingoy handling the ball more, he wasn’t taking shots in the flow of the offense. Can he play alongside Pingoy when both need their touches They will pass the ball but both need the ball to be effective.

Pingoy’s addition also causes problems for Terrence Mustre who needs to settle down and not play like he needs to prove something. A bucket here and there, he’ll be fine. But if he’s looking to please Pumaren, he has this tendency to play himself out of the offense (read: taking ill-advised shots). With Franz, it’s defense first.

As for Tyrus Hill, it is like having another Sean Manganti – a long-armed athlete who will terrorize foes for years to come. I’ll say that he need this year to adjust to UAAP competition, bulk up some because of his lean frame, then he’ll be dunking on opponents.  Like I said before, Manganti is like the second coming of JC Intal. Imagine two of them with Hill in the mix.

With other players and positions now stocked (this team is deep and talented), will that free Jerrick Ahanmisi of the shackles he found himself bound to in the pre-season? Only if the others perform.

However, any key to Adamson’s ambitions lies with Papi Sarr. If he can stay away from fouls, bottle up Ben Mbala or at least prevent him from wreaking havoc on both ends of the court, the Soaring Falcons will have a chance. He needs to score, rebound, block shots, and stay in the game. All at the same time. Scoring a bit opens up the floor for Adamson.

Sarr won’t be alone. He’ll have another rim protector in Simon Camacho and the underrated Dawn Ochea to play inside as well.

There is another question though --- can the coaches and management stay patient?

You cannot keep tinkering and changing pieces. I get the feeling they are trying to fast track their ascent. You can see the coaches lose it; berate their players like they committed a crime. This is a team with plenty of years of eligibility (save for Ochea who is in his last year). As long as they can build on last year they are okay.

Easier said than done because they also know that time isn’t only on their side as other teams reload.

If the starters play well and if the bench performs, this team will go far. But if they are inconsistent that will be their downfall.

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