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.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

MPBL Q-finals: Looking at the Bataan Risers-Caloocan Supremos match-up Game 1

MPBL Q-finals: Looking at the Bataan Risers-Caloocan Supremos match-up Game 1
by rick olivares
Best-of-Three series
Elimination round record:
Bataan 23-2
Caloocan 11-14

The top seed (Bataan) versus the eighth seed (Caloocan).

When Bataan played Caloocan last November 27, 2018, at the Batangas City Coliseum, the Risers came out on top, 94-81.

Caloocan was in the midst of a four-match slide with the Bataan game the third of the losses. The Supremos went 7-2 after that with a three-match win skein heading into the playoffs of the MPBL Datu Cup.

However, they have to be concerned. 

In the North Division of the MPBL, they lost all their matches against the top seven teams. Every one of them. 

In their last five wins, they won by an average of 5.0 points. All those games went down to the wire. 

Looking at the Supremos, they surprisingly play a short rotation.

Rene Pacquiao and Mark Sarangay play the four and five spots at the same time or alternate. The two are reliable point producers for Caloocan, but the bulk of their scoring comes from their backcourt of Almond Vosotros and Cedric Labing-isa. Their two former FEU Tamaraws – Monbert Arong and Paul Sanga – also get playing time. Damian Lasco, Danny Marilao, and JR Ongteco round out the regular rotation.

Actually, Arong is the only one who can create off the dribble and yet, he isn’t used as much in the manner that made him a star with the University of Visayas and FEU.

They Supremos love one thing – to shoot from the outside. Three players shoot better than 30% from beyond the arc – Vosotros, Sanga, and Mar Villahermosa. Of their frontcourt players, only one would rather bulldoze his way inside and that is Pacquiao (a cousin of the more famous Manny who was drafted by KIA in the PBA). 

So this isn’t a very good rebounding team.

What must Caloocan do to stay in the game against Bataan?
-       Their main men must stay out of trouble.
-       Take it to the basket because their penchant for bombing for the outside hasn’t worked against the top teams. 
-       If their bench can step up and provide quality minutes, they have a chance.
-       Battle the Risers tooth and nail for supremacy inside the lane.

When they first clashed, the Risers were not with Richard Escoto, Yvan Ludovice, Arvie Bringas, and Barkley Eboña. So Bataan has gotten better scoring wise, defensive-wise, and in rebounding.

And while I am not crazy about a lot of one-on-one plays, Bataan has more creative players in Ludovice, Raymundo, Vince Tolentino, Byron Villarias, Escoto, and Gab Dagangon. If the Risers opt to break down the Supremos one-on-one they can get to the hoop or find the open man when the help arrives. 

Having said that, here are what we think are Bataan’s keys to victory:
-       Limit Vosotros’ output. He is the only one with any sort of consistency on that team.
-       Keep Sarangay and Pacquiao off the boards and win those rebounds. 
-       Attack the Supremos inside because they already play a short rotation. When you have their bench on the court, they will break down because of the lack of confidence and playing time.
-       Run. Caloocan isn’t a team that runs. They are a slow and plodding squad.
-       Bataan has to make their shots from the outside to open up the lane for their bigs.
-       Overwhelm Caloocan with the Risers’ depth and talent.
-       Get the crowd at the Bataan Peoples’ center involved. That will rattle any opponent’s cage.

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