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, February 5, 2018

6 points to take from the opening of UAAP Women’s Volleyball

6 points to take from the opening of UAAP Women’s Volleyball
by rick olivares

The season-opening matches for the UAAP Women’s Volleyball tournament were exciting. Three of the four offerings went the full route of five sets while the other was a four-setter. It could be an indication of how hard-fought this season will be with a semblance of parity. Or it could be just the first game.

Here are some points to glean from a very eventful weekend.

The jury is still out on the NU Lady Bulldogs
NU looked good against a souped-up Adamson squad in the first set easily winning, 25-15. Then Adamson picked it up in the second and could have equalized but surrendered a late lead. Adamson took the third set then dropped their intensity level in the fourth.

In last season’s opener, NU also looked good against UE then struggled to close them out as well. There is no doubt NU is a contender but whether they can take the next step will be seen when they face the other seeds like defending champion La Salle, FEU, Adamson, UST, and UP.

It is still too early to tell how good the Lady Bulldogs of Babes Castillo are. After all, we aren’t in the deep stages of the tournament. They did what they have to do which is win a game no matter how ugly it was.

Adamson was fun and exciting to watch
Chiara Permentilla is a star in the making. Mylene Paat had her moments while Joy Dacoron was an impact player. Jema Galanza labored as did Eli Soyud (well, NU geared their defense to stopping her). Methinks they will be much better if they stop living dangerously with Fen Emnas’ tortuous setting. Yeah, I know she cuts it close but if she set better (and she had 23 excellent sets to NU’s Jasmine Nabor’s 22 for the match), they might have pulled off an upset win. A few more high intensity games and we might see where this team is headed.

Give Minela Alessandrini time to get used to the UAAP
And to think the Fil-Italian scored 18 points. But as she gets used to this level of play and her teammates, she’ll be a huge complement to Sisi Rondina. You know with Minela it is a matter of soaking in bigger game experience and she’ll be all right. Now if Alina Bicar can find someone to score from the middle….

DLSU has a lot of weapons
Of all the non-libero players Ramil De Jesus fielded, only Carmel Saga did not score (but she was in very briefly to get that opportunity). Sure the floor defense was a little spotty but you know that defense has always been their strong suit. I’ll give Mich Cobb very good marks in her first regular start. Again, as she soaks in more experience, this team will go.

I don’t think you will see too many five-setters from DLSU this year. Learning curve for them more so with De Jesus tinkering with his starters.

UP did what they had to do while UE well, started the way they did as last season.
UE is the perfect start for UP as the Lady Red Warriors have all sorts of question marks surrounding them. And to think UE has veteran players. Last year, UE started well against NU then faltered in the season opener. They followed the same script against UP.

It was a shorter rotation for new UP coach Godfrey Okumu but it worked out well. And I think it is time to give Lady Maroons setter Arielle Estranero some props. Even last year she was already quietly making a name for herself as a top setter. With Tots Carlos now the top gun of UP and Isa Molde a bit more mature and some middle attackers in Marian Buitre and Jessma Ramos, she has options. 

Ateneo should have won that match versus FEU.
With all due respect to FEU, Ateneo should have stole that match. The Lady Eagles are flying under the radar this year with FEU expected to soar higher. In my opinion, if Ateneo had better communication on the court, they would have won it. There were old problems re-surfacing – receiving and giving up huge leads and they did that in every set save the fifth. But what was surprising to see was how they kept running into one another. But that can be chalked up to more meaningful game time experience to setter Deanna Wong and libero Ria Lo. Ditto for Jules Samonte who has a better toned upper body this year. I first noticed that when she seemed “bigger” (for lack of a better term) while watching the men’s basketball tourney. And she’ll be better.

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