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.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Meralco Bolts need to raise the level of their game to get into this Governors' Cup series.

Meralco needs to raise the level of their game to get into this Governors' Cup series.
by rick olivares

Barangay Ginebra seized a 2-0 lead over the Meralco Bolts in the Governors' Cup Finals and this second game after an 86-76 Game Two win in this PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.

At times, Meralco led and beat back repeated fight backs by Ginebra but they faltered in the endgame as they were unable to withstand the withering attacks of the defending champions.

Before the start of the Governors’ Cup Finals, I felt that the odds were stacked up against the Meralco Bolts. I felt they didn’t have the bigs to match up with Barangay Ginebra.

At any given time, Barangay Ginebra can field three of their four tall players who can all hurt you in different ways – there’s the Best Player of the Conference Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Justin Brownlee who athleticism and energy will surely give Meralco fits, and Joe Devance.

Meralco can only counter with Allen Durham. Even if Kelly Nabong were around, they would still have it tough.

I felt that for the Bolts to have a chance of upending Ginebra, they need to run, attack them inside, and to shoot well from three-point range.

Let’s look at those three points:

Game 1 Fastbreaks
Ginebra 19
Meralco 10

Game 1 Points in the Paint
Ginebra 54
Meralco 44

Game 1 Three-Points
Ginebra 7-18 39%
Meralco 8-34 24%

Game 2 Fastbreaks
Ginebra 8
Meralco 19

Game 2 Points in the Paint
Ginebra 48
Meralco 32

Game 3 Three-Points
Ginebra 5-18 28%
Meralco 5-23 22%

As for the four-headed monster of Ginebra versus Durham, this is how it has played out:

Game 1
Greg Slaughter: 14 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks
Japeth Aguilar: 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocked shots
Justin Brownlee: 32 points, 19 rebounds, 5 assists
Joe Devance: 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists

Allen Durham: 27 points and 14 rebounds
Cliff Hodge: 8 points 5 rebounds

Game 2
Greg Slaughter: 3 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks
Japeth Aguilar: 16 points, 8 rebounds, 1 block
Justin Brownlee: 19 points and 13 rebounds
Joe Devance: 10 points and 5 rebounds

Allen Durham: 25 points, 22 rebounds, 7 assists
Ranidel De Ocampo: 10 points and 12 rebounds

Now the Bolts are in a 0-2 hole. Can they still come back? Of course, they can… but they will need to do more than defeat Ginebra in those points I mentioned. Meralco needs its locals to step up. They have virtually disappeared this series leaving Durham, De Ocampo, and Baser Amer to wage a lonely war.

In my opinion, if the others aren’t playing well, maybe it’s time to go to the bench? This is where you try and throw everyone at Ginebra and try to get something out of Joseph Yeo (who I am plenty sure can still play and score). Was Mike Tolomia forgotten? With Hodge ineffective, maybe Bryan Faundo can help some?

The Bolts need to come out and play the perfect game and to have all hands on deck if they want to make a series of this. If not, Ginebra will be staring at a sweep and unfinished business will take another season of stewing and planning. And definitely, re-loading.

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