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 26, 2018

Japan’s Makoto Hiejima talks about the loss to Gilas

Japan’s Hiejima talks about the loss to Gilas
by rick olivares

It was a disappointed Makoto Hiejima who faced the Japanese media yesterday after Japan’s 89-85 loss to host Philippines in the FIBA Asian Qualifiers. Hiejima, Japan’s starting point guard, tallied 23 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists for the match.

The Japanese rallied late in the match with their naturalized player and former PBA import Ira Brown drilling a three-pointer from the left corner and Daiki Tanaka scoring two lay-ups to come within two points, 86-84, with 31 seconds left.

However, Jayson Castro eased the pressure when he scored on a runner with 12-seconds left to give the Philippines a four-point cushion.

With Tanaka the hot hand, Japan’s Argentine head coach Julio Lamas gave the ball to him, but he missed a three-pointer. Andray Blatche tacked on a free throw for the game’s final points.

“I think we had a chance,” said Hiejima some 40 minutes after the game was done. “But we missed many free throws.” The Akatsuki Five, as Japan’s national team is now called, only hit 24 of 39 free throw attempts.

“What also hurt us was their offensive rebounding,” added the 6’3” Hiejima who is leading the team in scoring with 18.5 points and assists with 3.0.

The home side had a huge 19-5 advantage in offensive rebounding that translated into a 21-2 difference in second chance points.

“We started well and it seemed unbelievable that we got a big lead against them. We knew that the Filipinos were going to make their run and they did.”

The Japanese opened the contest by taking an early 20-4 lead. Gilas responded with a 12-0 burst behind Kiefer Ravena who scored eight points including two triples.

“Their bench responded and we committed turnover and I was called for an unsportsmanlike foul and that helped their momentum.”

“It seemed like we kept chasing them after they got the lead. When you play the Philippines and teams like Australia or Iran, you have to bring your best game if you want to beat them.”

“Right now, it is difficult at 0-4, but we cannot be negative about this situation. We have to be positive. But it is disappointing because three of our four losses have been close games. The loss to Chinese Taipei hurt but this one does too because we are now in a very difficult situation. But we have to quickly forget this because we have two more matches to play (against Australia on June 29 and Chinese Taipei on July 2). We have to win both if we want a chance. But it is tough.”

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