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, September 10, 2018

My thoughts about Adamson’s Opening Day win over Ateneo

My thoughts about Ateneo's Opening Day loss
by rick olivares

Now that was a disappointing 74-70 loss to Adamson. But massive props to them. They worked for that win and they deserve it.

As the game was unfolding, when it became apparent that Ateneo had not checked Adamson, I started to think back to 2012, when the Blue Eagles, highly rated heading into the UAAP season, fell to UST, 71-70.

After winning its fourth UAAP title during the five-peat, Ateneo won in succession – the University Games and the Fr. Martin Cup. They had played in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League title game but lost to Calvin Abueva and the San Sebastian Stags. That didn’t dent anyone’s views from naming them as prohibitive favorites.

And so there was that Opening Day loss to UST who they got back in a hotly contested and highly controversial second round game before meeting up again in the finals.

That was then, this is now.

Ateneo, like any other team, won a smattering of preseason tournaments and had a stellar showing in the William Jones Cup. This team has had its share of great wins and ugly wins as well. And ugly losses too.

This was one of them.

Sure, it’s the opening game. And the UAAP is really what you play for more than any other league (save perhaps the William Jones Cup). But it is a loss and there are things to take away from it.

Too many three-point attempts.
Thirty-five attempts is just too much. Sure, some were taken in the flow of the offense, others were what the Falcons gave, while others were… well, bad.

But 35 three-point attempts to the 36 of the two-point variety. What kept us in the game were those late free throws where Ateneo shot 15 attempts to Adamson’s three.

As we have said before, when Ateneo shoots well from the outside, they play well. But having said that I thought even as the first quarter was being played, they should have gone inside more. Adamson wanted to go in and test Ateneo right away.

It is just my belief – and I don’t know what the team rules are -- that we should try to attack the interior as early as we can because the shots are of higher percentage, you fish for fouls and mess up their rotation, and you will open the game. Adamson, in fairness and upon first glance, worked those passing lanes that stymied the sleek passing game, but still, I thought we should have attacked inside first.

Let’s be clear, I cannot fault the late misses from the Nieto brothers or from Isaac Go. Those are their plays and they have hit the mark before. It’s fine. I just thought that the team should have gone in early. Matt Nieto showed the way later on, but there was this feel of desperation. The others didn’t follow suit.

By the time, Ateneo decided to go in – and meron halong malas kasi maraming mintis sa loob -- Adamson knew they were in the game and weren’t going to be blown out.

On the other hand, Adamson’s Jerrick Ahanmisi scored what I call those James Yap shots – difficult and long toms – that should they fall, I’d say, it’s their day. It isn’t scientific, just a feel. Alam mo yung kasabihan na kahit ano ibato pasok. Those were one of those days.

The Blue Eagles lost the man in the middle.
Give Angelo Kouame a pass. After all, he is still a kid even if he is so darn tall. Hahahaha. And the UAAP is a different animal. Angelo finished with one point, 11 rebounds, and four blocked shots in 18 minutes. Not bad, but his influence in the game was sporadic at best. He is a huge reason why Ateneo did so well in the preseason and the William Jones Cup. But make no mistake, he’ll play better after this game.

Loss of composure, turnovers and not getting the rebounds or loose balls.
This was what surprised me more than anything. Losses will happen. And that win streak against Adamson is eventually going to end again. Watching them, the calm that is usually on their faces wasn’t as Adamson wasn’t going away.

When Ateneo took the lead in the second, the turnovers hurt them and both squads traded five-point runs. Ultimately, the Falcons got the job done and went to the halftime break leading. That replayed itself in the endgame.

There was this instance that typified Adamson’s desire to win the game. There was a turnover by William Navarro and one where the players just looked at the ball drop and Sean Manganti scooped in to get the ball and pitch it out for an Ahanmisi triple.

They wanted it more, plain and simple.

Adamson won the battle of the boards 52-48 and the war in the paint saw them outscore Ateneo 32-22 (both teams were at 26-all from the perimeter). Their inside strength saw them gain more second chance points 17-10.

Turnover-wise, Adamson scored 15 turnover points to the Blue Eagles’ 8.

In a reverse kind of way, a loss early jars them back into reality. Unfortunately, with Hell Week upon the Blue Eagles, the game this Wednesday against UP, raises the stakes. The pressure intensifies. UP is flush with confidence. Ateneo needs to put that loss behind quickly and attend to the task at hand. Even with FEU on deck for the weekend, they have to take it one game at a time.

Ateneo has to embrace the pressure. It is like that. You win titles. You upgrade. 

It is no different from La Salle getting Ben Mbala and trouncing the opposition in the preseason by a mile. It is no different from Lyceum winning last year's Philippine Collegiate Champions League and the D-League that makes them favorites to finally annex their first NCAA Seniors crown. It is no different from the moment Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors that made them favorites to win the NBA title. More so now that they have Demarcus Cousins. It is no different from Juventus signing Cristiano Ronaldo. Not to win the Serie A (that is the minimum requirement), but to win the UEFA Champions League. Juventus is 3-0 to start the new Serie A season but Ronaldo has yet to find the back of the net.

The pressure and the tag of favorites comes with being defending champions. It comes with the territory.

To sum it up, it’s a rather disappointing loss. But right now, the team has to look forward. And we’ve seen this before. They’ll learn from this.

We hope. We believe.


  1. Davies and Mamuyac???

  2. "But make no mistake, he’ll play better after this game."

    I'd also like to think that this will extend to SJ Belangel (kid must be punching a wall right now out of frustration for falling for the press during the 2nd quarter) and Will Navarro (he will be very hard to stop inside once he gains more confidence)

  3. I strongly feel one loss on opening day does not foretell who the Season 81 Champions will be. After that loss to the taller Canada Jones Cup team the Ateneo Pilipinas convincingly won 4 consecutive games. Placing 4th in a professional laden tourney our #bebob boys did extremely well. I expect the Band of Brothers to bounce back with their Magis intact.
    One loss

  4. Nice insights sir.. Thoughts on the UP game and how they can get on the winning column?
    Is Mamuyac injured, I noticed he sort of twisted his ankle in the Jones cup?

  5. I want Ateneo to inflict the only loss of Adu like it did in s74 (the other way around).
    Or if this is gonna go the stepladder and provided uaap made and both schools make it back to best of 3 and/or finals, i want adu to win once in the finals and admu wraps it in 2. Para mabalikan si Franz sa 2>3 hehe. Pero matagal pa to at kung mag unfold at all either scenario.