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.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

MPBL Playoffs: Preview: Game 2 Bataan vs Caloocan

Preview: Game 2 Bataan vs Caloocan
by rick olivares

March 20, 2019 San Andres Gym

The Bataan Risers are looking to close out the first round of the playoffs by sweeping the Caloocan Supremos. Bataan crushed Caloocan, 91-71, in Game One.

What must the Bataan Risers do to advance to the second round?

Rebound and run.
Bataan certainly has the studs rule the boards in Alfred Batino, Bernie Bregondo, Richard Escoto, Barkley Eboña, Arvie Bringas, Vince Tolentino, and Gab Dagangon. They have better finishers on the break than Caloocan that is really built for a half-court game. The more uptempo the game, the better it suits Bataan.

If they can keep Mark Sarangay and Rene Pacquiao off the boards that will help because the onus is now on Caloocan’s thin bench to find their points. Furthermore, not being able to contribute frustrates Sarangay and when he loses his cool his game goes south.

Stop the Supremos’ sparse frontline of Sarangay and Pacquiao.
The duo isn’t really one to inspire fear, but they do complement their small corps of point producers. If the lane is shut to their inside game, they go outside where they do have considerable range. However, that poses an even bigger problem because there will be no one to rebound the ball. 

Continue to have a lot of contributors up and down their bench.
It is ironic that for all of Bataan’s superb record and play, they do not have that superstar in the vein of a Gab Banal who has proven himself as a player since his days at Xavier School. This is a total team that maximizes the bench. We refer to the fact that all season long, not one Risers led the statistical parade. No matter which five is on the floor for head coach Jojo Lastimosa, the play does not slacken. 

Unleash Gab Dagangon.
He has been the spark in what – the last 12 games for Bataan? What makes him lethal is his ability get to the rack with that quick first step. He has a pull up jumper, a three-point shot, and can even weave in and out of traffic. He can pass when needed too. Furthermore, he gets it done on defense. 

Bataan has a lot of creative players, and Dagangon – depending on his role – is right up there with the best of them.

What must the Caloocan Supremos do to extend the series?
Play much better team ball. 
The operative words are “much better” because anything less in unacceptable. They already have a thin rotation and it should be incumbent upon the guards and forwards to help create for each other. 

Get Sarangay and Pacquiao involved.
These to have to be very active inside the lane and contributing on both ends of the court. As it is, Bataan has dictated the pace in their two previous matches. Whatever they have done has not worked. Now is the time to try something else.

Hit their outside shots.
It is incumbent upon any team to bust up that zone. It will help their inside operators.

Let’s take Paul Sanga for example. The problem with his game is that when he isn’t making those corner shots, he pretty much doesn’t do anything. I recall how this pro coach would pull out this big-time scorer in the NCAA and the PBA because when his shot wasn’t dropping, he was useless on both ends of the court. 

In a nutshell, Caloocan must have a lot of players contributing if they want to upend Bataan. The problem is, Bataan plays even better on the road.

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