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

Thoughts about the Ateneo Lady Eagles’ 5-set loss to FEU

Thoughts about the Ateneo Lady Eagles’ 5-set loss to FEU
by rick olivares

That was as close a great start for the Ateneo Lady Eagles. For all their off-season drama as well as losses to personnel, you still cannot count them out.

Despite what should have been a won game – against a veteran and much experienced FEU team -- there is still a lot to like as there is room for improvement.

I want to point out some things I liked:

Not a bad start for Deanna Wong at the setter position. She finished with 40 excellent sets; tied with UP’s Arielle Estranero for the most for the opening weekend. Both setters also finished with 4 points each. Not bad. Estranero was UP’s starting setter last season while Wong played spot duty for the magnificent Jia Morado. So Wong’s output is very good. Very very good in my opinion. And when she can learn the art of stealth in those drop shots – watch out.

Jules Samonte looks stronger and has a better toned upper body. Take a gander at those shoulders. Not the young and gangly ones we saw during her rookie year. She looks more toned now. I noticed that while she was watching the UAAP Men’s Basketball Finals next to me.

Can Ria Lo be the solution to the libero woes? I like her activity; her willingness to follow teammates to literally backstop them. Of course, on more than one occasion she collided with them or her proximity had others re-thinking of getting the ball. While we can say that there is a lack of communication – and there was -- I like the effort. Wong and Lo are getting the first real meaningful minutes of their UAAP careers so we have to cut them slack.

Not bad though for Lo who nearly matched Ria Duremdes who is a veteran who has had more playing time.

I like the Lady Eagles bouncing back after what was a frightening collision between Wong and Kat Tolentino.

Nice cameo appearance too by rookie Syd Eleazar.

Lots of positives.

Okay, here’s the flip side.

I thought that the game would come down to receiving. Both teams had their moments and problems. What I didn’t see was Ateneo’s penchant for giving up huge leads in the first four sets. That along with the lack of communication was maddening. I have to say that both can be worked out. That’s it.

For a moment when it seemed like Ateneo would go on to notch an unlikely victory (the Lady Tamaraws were seeded), it would be like a perfect coda to what has been a n entertaining six years of spectacular highs and galling lows. Even for the latter, it has been memorable and great to watch. Whatever the concerns or clashes between the players and Anusorn Bundit, there were moments that recalled the championship years. Great plays and that fire and intensity. You really have to pull for these girls and team. Well, that is if you root for the blue and white.

It was a tough five-set loss. They should be 1-0. Now they face NU, a nemesis for the past few years. It goes without saying that this is a very important game for them.

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