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, October 17, 2017

A game of moments: A post-script to Ateneo's win over Adamson and before their game vs NU

A game of moments
by rick olivares

Sometimes, games can hinge on a certain moment.

If Derek Jeter didn’t play the extra cut-off man in Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS and executed the flip to catcher Jorge Posada who tagged a lumbering Jeremy Giambi at the home plate, the Oakland Athletics could have possibly swept the New York Yankees.

If referee Hugh Hollins didn’t call a late foul on Scottie Pippen during the 1984 NBA Eastern Conference semi-finals, it is possible the Chicago Bulls would have advanced to the finals and maybe even won an incredible fourth straight title. And if that happened then it is possible that Michael Jordan would have not returned to the Bulls as they won without him.

Games can hinge on certain moments. Sometimes, they even happen on certain intervals during a match.

With barely two minutes gone by during the Adamson-Ateneo match last October 14, Blue Eagle center Chibueze Ikeh was whistled for a foul. At that point, Ateneo had opportunities to score but missed them all. It was Adamson’s game plan to go hard inside and to pit the Falcons’ Papi Sarr against Ikeh.

Ikeh has been solid and efficient thus far. He has been tried and tested and will continue to be treated as such until the season is over. While he doesn’t put up a lot of points, his steadiness and presence has given Ateneo as close to a force inside the lane. The last time they had that Man in the Middle was when Greg Slaughter patrolled the lane with aplomb in leading the Blue Eagles to the fourth and fifth titles in its fabled five-peat.

Fouls are measured in increments of time. They can alter substitution patterns. One is enough for a quarter. Two in the first frame and more often than not, you do not return until the second half.

With Ikeh called so early, the coach has to make a decision – does he yank him or make him play a bit more? The latter clearly a gamble.

Incredibly, Ikeh plays the next six minutes while evading another crippling foul as Adamson and Sarr are unable to take advantage. When Ikeh exits the first quarter, Ateneo is up, 11-8. The moment has gone by with Ateneo unscathed.

Isaac Go comes in the second quarter and delivers. In that frame, he is whistled for two fouls this time with Ateneo up, 23-13.

The ball goes to Sarr who commits an offensive foul.

When Ikeh returns late in the second quarter, he is whistled for his second foul. Ateneo’s lead is cut to six, 29-23 but Jolo Mendoza hits a jumper to give the blue and white a bit more breathing space heading into the half time break.

In the third period, Ikeh once more gets the better of Sarr scoring five points including a triple. He is called for his third foul with a little over five to play in the period; 41-33, Ateneo. Isaac Go comes in and hit a jumper and a three-ball, and the lead swells to 49-34.

At the 2:23 mark, Kris Porter comes in for Go and Ateneo leading, 51-36. I have been puzzled by Porter who has changed his game in the past couple of years when he’d prefer to fire from the outside instead of battling inside the pit where he made a name for himself in high school. With Ikeh and Go on the bench, Ateneo needs him although he does have help with the quick-thinking Mike Nieto on court at the same time. Porter dribbles out of trouble and later scores a basket.


As good as Ateneo has been, the frontline – at least from the four and five spots have been a bit suspect. But others will argue that the individual stats do not matter; only the collective. Porter has done well in the brief moments he is on the floor. He might have only scored two points but he keeps his head in the game and only gets called for two fouls that he uses judiciously. And he has zero turnovers. That he did somewhat all right and limited the damage Adamson could do when Ikeh and Go were off the floor is massive. And it does go unnoticed.

And there was Thirdy Ravena taking on the task of guarding former teammate Jerie Pingoy who is now wearing the Adamson colors. Pingoy only scored three points off him. It was a move reminiscent of Rich Alvarez containing Mike Cortez in the 2002 UAAP Finals. Or Emman Monfort shutting down the league’s most valuable player in RR Garcia in the Season 73 championship series.

However, these moments – Ikeh staving off further foul trouble, Porter holding his ground, Ravena shutting down a dangerous man -- helped Ateneo to a 71-59 win; their eighth straight.

The college ball season is so short that every win is huge and every loss even bigger. Just ask the Season 70 Blue Eagles who lost their heads in a moment and lost in a monumental upset to NU that eventually cost them a twice-to-beat advantage in the semi-finals.

And speaking of the Bulldogs. This pesky nemesis is at a point where a win will revive their final four push and a loss will sink them. The moments? They will be there. Someone just has to seize them.

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