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.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

History repeating... Learning from the finals loss and Ateneo bouncing back

History repeating.

By Rick Olivares


Let’s get this out of the way… much deserved championship and congratulations to the UP Fighting Maroons. They did it and how.


And as painful as it is to say, let’s give it that try again in Season 85, Ateneo Blue Eagles. I still remain proud but am hurting just like you.


History repeated itself.


No, not the 13-0 team losing in the final game of the elimination round then in the first game of the finals. That is established.


Two months before Season 84 began, a player within the Blue Eagles asked with ominous foreboding… 


“What can we do to help Jolo, Gian, and BJ graduate with a championship,” I was asked.


The player referred to Season 77 of the juniors tournament in 2016. 


It isn’t like they haven’t won, but a title is always a nice graduation gift to one’s self and the Ateneo community.


Heading into Season 77, Ateneo lost three of their starting five in Matt and Mike Nieto, and Marc Salandanan. Enzo Joson could still play but was knocked out by academics.  


Left to hold the fort were Jolo Mendoza, BJ Andrade, Gian Mamuyac, and Sean Ildefonso. The young players in the squad included SJ Belangel, Jason Credo, RV Berjay, and Dave Ildefonso. 


The Ateneo Blue Eaglets, defending champions, were bounced by De La Salle Zobel, 75-68, in the step-ladder format. 


My answer to that inquiry was to make sure that everyone was on the same page and that everyone believed that they can win it all, that when players are not getting playing time, they should talk to their teammates and make everyone realize that whatever one does – big or small will help to the overall effort.


The cracks were there all right. 


As much as I believe in team play, you still need your stars to stand up and be counted when it is gut check time. 


Ateneo bushwhacked UP in the first game of the season. Since then, the Fighting Maroons had found their verve.


I didn’t expect an undefeated season but was pleasantly surprised when they were on the verge of doing so. 


I thought that NU and UE showed teams how to beat Ateneo… a fast moving team that beat them to the boards and in hustle plays, the physicality of their play. Furthermore, was the inconsistency of the players. 


In the first game of the season – the win over UP – six players did very well – Dave Ildefonso, Angelo Kouame, Raffy Verano, Belangel, Mamuyac, and Mendoza.


Against FEU, it was Dave and Tyler Tio.


Against Adamson, it was Angelo and Tyler. 


Against La Salle, it was Angelo, Dave, and Gian.


Against NU, it was Dave, Angelo, SJ, and Tyler.


Against UE, it was Dave, Angelo, SJ, and Gian. 


Against UST, Tyler and BJ carried the cudgels. 

In the second round against the Green Archers, it was SJ and Gian.


Against the Red Warriors, it was BJ, Angelo, and SJ.


Against the Growling Tigers in a monstrous blowout win, six players scored in double digits. 


Facing the Bulldogs, Dave and Angelo played well.


Against the Soaring Falcons, it was Angelo and Matthew Daves.


Against the Tamaraws, it was Verano and Tio. 


Against the Fighting Maroons to end the elimination round, it was Angelo, SJ, and Dave.


When Season 82 ended, I wrote back then, how Ateneo replaces Thirdy Ravena in the three-spot will spell the success of a four-peat.


Enter Dwight Ramos. Pandemic happens. Exit Dwight Ramos.


Dave Ildefonso returned to Ateneo after spending his first two years of college in NU and showed that he could be that man to spot Ravena. But he was largely inconsistent. And on the big stage, he wilted.


If you look at La Salle after Season 79, they lost Jeron Teng. And that vacancy in the three-spot was too glaring to fill even if they had MVP Ben Mbala. La Salle was also depowered by the loss of Jason Perkins and Julian Sargent. 


Ateneo, after Season 82 lost four-fifths of their starting five, their sixth man, and that guy supposed to replace Ravena. 


When you think about it, the only players left with significant exposure from previous seasons were Kouame, Belangel, and Verano. Everyone else is either new or didn’t get much playing time. So that meant they were on the level with UP.


But UP had more in terms of size and personnel. 


UP’s size, physicality, and defense gave Ateneo fits. But they had the studs who carried their previous teams like Ricci Rivero (La Salle), CJ Cansino (UST), Malik Diouf who was the anti-Kouame (CEU), Carl Tamayo (NU), and Joel Cagulangan (LSGH). 


They had built themselves with big recruit signings but also talented stud transferees like Cansino, Cagulangan, Rivero, and Diouf. Not to mention CJ Catapusan who played well for Adamson. 


Ateneo had come unglued after the Game 1 loss. The team that was so steady in the endgame found themselves in that unfamiliar situation.


One can even postulate that losing to UP at the end of the second round was a fluke. But when they took Game 1, no it wasn’t. They had gained the full measure of Ateneo and found that confidence. 


As for the Blue Eagles, the team that played unselfish ball was unable to mostly find someone who wanted that ball, who needed that ball, and more importantly, shoot that ball. That traditional UP killer in Tyler Tio was silent. 


UP had been knocking on the door to greatness over the last few years. Many would mock Bo Perasol when he moved back to his alma mater to coach and build UP’s program. While Goldwin Monteverde deserves a lot of credit for his outstanding coaching which has been on display since his days at Chiang Kai Shek, Adamson, NU, and now, UP, Perasol had his fingerprints on all the players who are in their current roster. And this victory also belongs to him. 


The Fighting Maroons ended Ateneo’s long win streak and their finals win streak. They are truly deserving champions.


Ateneo just ran into a hungrier and better team. 


And so history was made and history repeated itself sadly for Mendoza, Mamuyac, and Andrade along with graduating players Tio and Verano. 


Ateneo can look to learn the lessons of college basketball history.


Dave Ildefonso had a rough and tumble finals. Disappearing badly in both losses. 


Maybe, he can talk to Enrico Villanueva and how he bounced back from the 2001 finals when he wilted in Game 3 and La Salle had its four-peat. Villanueva came back the next year with a monstrous season and Ateneo ended the Green Archers’ march to a fifth straight title.


SJ Belangel had a trying first season as the lead point guard. 


In Season 78, sans Mamu, Jolo, and BJ, he played alongside Kai Sotto, Credo, Berjay, Joaqui Manuel, and Dave. They lost in the Final Four to FEU who had RJ Abarrientos, LJ Gonzales, Xyrus Torres, Daniel Celzo, and Royce Alforque.


If SJ wants to graduate with a championship (and he did in high school in Season 79), he must elevate his game and play with a manic consistency. 


Ateneo will be left with players who got good playing time in Chris Koon, Dave, Joshua Lazaro, and Daves (not to mention Angelo). How they elevate themselves is anyone’s guess. 


And here’s a shopping list…


They really need to work on those free throws and rebounding. They need to work on the quality of those passes. The search for a proper four spot player and a back-up to Angelo is sorely needed. They need to get taller, faster. I really wish they played faster. So much for playing small ball when you can’t really run. In the end, it was Ateneo chasing the well-spaced shooters of UP.


Ateneo must look to the lessons of 1988 when they were unable to defend their back-to-back titles, 2003 when they lost to FEU in the Finals, in 2013 the season after the five-peat. 


The common denominator is after being unable to defend a title, Ateneo is not able to return to the Big Dance. It took a few years until they had sufficient veterans to lay siege to the title. 


Maybe it is time to break that streak and make history once again.


But by God, what a run. At the end, all you can do is tip your hat to UP and Ateneo for a finals well and agonizingly played. It could have gone either way and that is all you ever ask.


Thanks, Ateneo. 


Thanks Coach Tab and the coaching staff. To all the players and those who are graduating in Tyler, Raffy, Gian, BJ, and Jolo. 








Sunday, May 8, 2022

UP sticks it to the champs as Ateneo self-destructs

 What should have been a win turned out to be a painful 81-74 loss for Ateneo. 


Give credit to UP for not giving up.


As for Ateneo.


There is a litany of bad play that can be summed up in three words – outplayed, outhustled, and outcoached. Out-everything'd if there is such a word. 


The Blue Eagles played like rookies while the Fighting Maroons played like veterans. UP guarded the pick and roll well and rotated out quickly. They made Ateneo pay for packing in the lane – and I don’t know why they do this (is it to protect Angelo Kouame from foul trouble). 


The bad signs were there early on when BJ Andrade gave up two quick boners that allowed UP into the game.


Even worse, SJ Belangel was mostly invisible. Yes, he scored 17 points but he was invisible when the game counted.


Whatever Ateneo was doing to opposing point guards early in the tournament they were given a dose of in this game. SJ Belangel couldn’t get the ball. Tyler Tio was unable to get any daylight to shoot and he reverted to his old self of dribbling away the clock with nothing happening. 


Then Gio Chiu came in an UP got back into the game. Gio plays well against smaller players but against taller players. I do not know why they use him as a press breaker when he has bad hands and turns the ball over at the first sign of trouble. 


Dave Ildefonso clearly was a rookie in his first finals. He had no confidence going inside the basket and was oft indecisive and turn over prone. Having him and Chiu on the floor was hurting the team big time. And Chiu, not being able to spell Angelo is hurting the team. He cannot grab a rebound even if his life depended on it. 


And Angelo Kouame. I have no idea why he needs to put the ball on the floor. I have no idea why he cannot dunk the ball in traffic. This is what happens when they are asked to rebound and kick the ball out. Take the goddam ball to the rack. Have we been watching too many Golden State Warriors highlights?


In spite of their bad play, the Blue Eagles had a chance to win it when they posted a 12-point lead. But a bad one-footed shot by SJ, Chiu bottling it and some ticky tacky fouls saw UP gain life.


And this is the worst free throw shooting Ateneo team I have ever seen. The worst. At times, Ateneo is its own worst enemy. How about those last two plays in regulation? 


I question the defense out in the perimeter. Why are you staying on the side so that you can wait for the help defense then trap? Maybe closer to the basket, yes, but not too far out. SJ got killed by this. 


UP has figured out Ateneo. Someone like Ricci Rivero drives to the basket, bowls over players like ten pins then kicks the ball out to an open shooter. You can complain about lapses in officiating but sorry… that will not change the game. As the game wore on, the Blue Eagles shrunk from the challenge. No one wanted the ball. WTF, right?


The last team to make Ateneo shrink this way was FEU. 


You know how bad this was when you cannot get the once vaunted bench out because they do not have the height to deal with UP’s frontline. Yes, we’re good enough to play the FEUs and Adamsons of this world but struggle with tall athletic frontlines. Imagine if La Salle’s Bright Nwanko and Ben Phillips played well. 


UP has shown the rest of the league how to beat Ateneo. Field tall and athletic players who will swarm Angelo. 


Now, UP is poised to end their title-less streak and end Ateneo’s championship run. And how many came away thinking this one will be all over come Wednesday? 


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Raffy Verano: An Old Blood & Guts Comeback


Raffy Verano: An Old Blood & Guts Comeback

By Rick Olivares


During Season 80, La Salle Green Archer Andrei Caracut offered a low five to Raffy Verano who was then in his sophomore year. Verano ignored him.


It wasn’t that he was a bad sport. When the whistle blows, Verano is laser focused on playing the game and winning. In a team that had demonstrative players like the Nieto brothers and Thirdy Ravena, Verano learned well. 


Especially from Mike Nieto.


Undersized but plays much bigger than his height. All heart. All hustle. All about team.


In Season 82, when he missed the tournament owing to academics, Verano was in the Big dome to watch his teammates take another title at the expense of UST. During the halftime break, Verano was at the lobby grinning. But inside, he was flagellating himself for not being there.


“I gotta get back and help the team,” he said.


In a team with SJ Belangel, Angelo Kouame, and Dave Ildefonso, one can be overlooked. But Raffy cannot be overlooked with his heads up play. 


With the Far Eastern University Tamaraws making another run and hoping to stop Ateneo’s win streak for the season at 12, Verano came up huge. He drilled a step back three from the left corner pocket. He faked a pass then drove hard against Tamaraws center Emman Ojuola and a defender who came out to help.


Then Angelo Kouame found him with an entry pass which he used for an undergoal stab against FEU’s Daniel Celzo. 


Opponent’s run doused, Verano let out a yell. Mr. Old Blood and Guts had come out to play. 


He went on to finish with a team high 17 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in a 70-53 Ateneo win; the squad's 13th straight for the year. He even took a charge from Patrick Sleat and swiped the ball away from a driving LJ Gonzales. 


By Season 81, his junior year, Raffy was on the starting five taking over from Vince Tolentino and he manned the slot with aplomb. 


When asked if he would like to score a lot of points, he admitted, “Yes, but it’s more fun winning.”


“Sitting a year out was an ugly feeling,” Raffy said during an interview in October 2021 when the league seemed unsure and uncertain, “I was determined not to go through that again. I worked on what I needed to and got myself back in shape. Season 84 will be my comeback year.”







Season 79





Season 80





Season 81





Season 84






Since Mike Nieto left, no one has more skid and burn marks, and taken charges. 


Promise kept.


“My dad,” Raffy added then, “taught me not to make promises I cannot keep.”


Earlier in the season, he looked to have hurt his leg. He skipped a game but came back strong. 


“It’s my comeback year,” he reminded me. 


How’s that being in a team of tough guys?


“We’re a team. We all like winning.”






Chicco Briones commits to UP

Chicco Briones commits to UP

By Rick Olivares


Chicco Briones, the 19-year old 6’6” son of former PBA player Lowell Briones is transferring from Carroll College in Montana, USA to the University of Philippines.


The younger Briones, who played one year for Carroll College, will be serving his residency next year and be eligible to play for UP in Season 86.


The elder Briones played for Mobiline, Sta. Lucia, Red Bull, and Coca Cola in the PBA from 1997-2022.


“This is four years in the making,” bared UP Basketball Program Head Bo Perasol. Chicco was able to join UP during their training in Las Vegas several years ago.


Despite many Philippine college teams vying for his services, Briones chose UP.


“Why not?” said Chicco about joining Goldwin Monteverde’s talented squad. “I am privileged to play for the best team in the UAAP. UP has a great program in basketball and academics. To be called a scholar ng bayan and be in a great environment is important. I am excited to play for the Fighting Maroons.”


Chicco was born in Cebu and went to Ateneo de Cebu until seventh grade after which the family migrated to the United States. 


The shooting guard played for Sierra Vista High School in California where he averaged 18 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists. He was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player.  


In 11 matches played for the Carroll College Saints in US NAIA competition, Briones averaged 2.0 points. 


Monteverde is excited about the prospect of seeing Briones team up with the 6’7” Carl Tamayo. 


“He can play the guard position and create mismatches for us,” noted Monteverde. “He is a very good shooter plus dito siya nag start ng basketball and he will not be surprised by the pace and physicality we play in the Philippines. He will be a great addition in terms of height (to our team).”


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Ateneo-Adamson: A Deeper Rivalry Than You Think

         Ateneo-Adamson: A Deeper Rivalry Than You Think

By Rick Olivares


When the Ateneo de Manila entered the UAAP in 1978 (Season 40 if you want to be precise), the defending champion at that time was Adamson. 


The Blue Eagles saw many key players not come back after the ill-fated finish of the final NCAA drive of 1977 that culminated in a loss in the championship game to San Beda.


Among those who bowed out because they didn’t want to play in the UAAP were star forward Steve Watson who went to Australia and guard Jojo Gamboa who decided to coach Ateneo’s PAYA team among others. There was unhappiness in the way their NCAA tenure ended and they certainly weren’t happy going to what was deemed a “lesser league” in the UAAP.


That 1978, the Falcons (sans the adjective “Soaring”) looked like a juggernaut under head coach Moises “Barok” Urbiztondo as they looked to annex their second consecutive title. 


Obviously, the Blue Eagles were waylaid in their maiden year in college basketball’s junior circuit and they finished with a 0-12 record.


However, Coach Barok would make one indirect contribution to Ateneo that would lead to its current dominance. But we’ll get to that later. 


Adamson returned to the finals of Season 41 where unfortunately, they lost by a whisker, 86-84, to the UE Warriors led by Rudy Distrito and Alex Tan – who both went to the PBA -- and a young point guard named Derrick Pumaren who has gone on to make a name for himself in coaching.


Following the finals loss, the Falcons did not return to the championship game but continued to have a good team; one that often had Ateneo’s number. In fact, during the 1986 season, Ateneo was on course for a championship seat when the Louie Alas and Nandy Garcia-led Adamson five tripped them in back-to-back games (to close the first round and to open the second round; costly losses that derailed the team’s ambitions). That is until 1987 when the pendulum finally swung the Blue Eagles’ way.


It would be another seven years before the San Marcelino squad reasserted itself as the dominant bird in the UAAP. This time, they had Marlou Aquino, EJ Fiehl, and Kenneth Duremdes in tow.


Over at the juniors level, Adamson were back-to-back champions in 1976-77 but come Season 41, Ateneo stopped them cold and bagged a three-peat from 1978-81 and a four-peat from Season 46-49 (1983-87).


Adamson wasn’t done and they broke Ateneo’s four-peat with a six-peat in juniors competition from 1988-94. When the Blue Eaglets regained the upper hand in 1995, Ateneo went on to cart home 12 championship trophies; the most in that span and in league history. 


Towards the end of the 1990s, Coach Barok made one last return to Adamson. He also recommended that a colleague of his take over from Charlie Dy who was coaching the Baby Falcons at that time. 


Dy, who is a sports super agent today, didn’t like the back room wheeling and dealing so he resigned. His sudden departure forced Lumeng Tenorio to seek Dy’s help in moving her son, one Lewis Alfred “LA” Tenorio who was then playing for the Baby Falcons, to another school. Dy sent him over to Ato Badolato’s San Beda Red Cubs. 


Had LA Tenorio stayed and possibly moved up to the senior Falcons, Ateneo Blue Eagle history might be different. That is because Tenorio’s San Beda teammate, Magnum Membrere, was also instrumental in convincing LA to go to Ateneo for college. 


And by the time Tenorio was ready for the seniors division, Ateneo’s basketball program was in place. And by 1999, Ateneo seized the advantage not only versus Adamson but the entire league. Since then, Ateneo went to win nine league championships and are chasing a 10th this Season 84. And at one point, the Falcons suffered a 29-match losing streak to Ateneo. 


After snapping the skid, Ateneo went on another pair of runs. The current Blue Eagles win streak versus the Soaring Falcons is seven. 


Now, if you look at the list of coaches during the 79th season of the UAAP, only one head tactician is still with his original team – Tab Baldwin with Ateneo.


Nash Racela was the coach of FEU and is now with Adamson; his first season in San Marcelino. Racela, incidentally, is a product of Ateneo. 


Derrick Pumaren was with the University of the East Red Warriors but is now in his first year of his second stint with La Salle.


The question entering that Season 79 was, “Can anyone stop the Ben Mbala led La Salle Green Archers?”


Not for tournament. However, the next season, it was all Baldwin and the Blue Eagles.


The question four years later is, “Can anyone stop Ateneo?”


Adamson, on the crest of a four-match win streak, is one of the last three teams to stop Ateneo from grabbing an outright final seat. 


These Soaring Falcons of Racela have the makings of another talented team sans Filipinos born overseas. One not seen since Alex Nuyles, Eric Camson, Rodney Brondial, Lester Alvarez, and Jerick CaƱada.


Perhaps even more satisfying for Adamson alumni and fans is the team is homegrown and there is continuity. Mike Fermin, the architect of those talented Baby Falcons teams is with the seniors staff. 


His presence ensures he learns from a top coach like Racela and that he is able to funnel their talent to the college squad.


Unfortunately for Adamson, after a calm and composed first period, Ateneo ratcheted up the defense and held the Soaring Falcons to a measly seven points in the second period while dropping 20 of their own. The game had been blown wide open and there would be no spirited rallies for Adamson.


And there was a little run in between two former Blue Eaglets teammates in Dave Ildefonso and Joaquin Jaymalin who is now with Adamson. 


Jaymalin is the third former Blue Eaglet to don the Adamson colors after Roy Literal and Chris Eusebio. 


Ateneo won, 91-57, to go to 12-0 while Adamson fell to 5-7; their first loss in five matches this second round. 


Despite the loss, the stage is set for another long and arduous rivalry with the squad from San Marcelino. 


And college basketball will be better for it. 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Perfecting the Blue and White Machine

Perfecting the Blue and White Machine

By Rick Olivares


I was actually expecting Ateneo to bowl over and spill out the guts of the UST Growling Tigers in the first round. But they didn’t. A 91-80 win actually flattered UST since they had no foreign player and they lost all their stars from the previous year.


Now, after the first round break, my thought was – Ateneo had taken the full measure of all the squads. But the other teams had not gotten the full measure of Ateneo because the Blue Eagles, despite being undefeated, were annoyingly inconsistent. 


Let’s not talk about that second round match against La Salle because the officiating was horrible. 


We can take a look at the UE and the UST games.


There was no close first half for the Red Warriors unlike in their first round encounter. The lead went up to 23 but really… 23 still flatters UE. And what do you know, the Red Warriors cut into that 23-point lead. It did go back up before the Red Warriors sliced into the deficit once more to the final score, 76-63. The first round win had a bigger margin for Chrissakes. It does get annoying when they step off the gas pedal.


Now, against UST... no such thing. Well, they finally played the full 40 minutes and the result was a 101-51 demolition. 


They stopped Sherwin Concepcion who scored 22 points including six triples in the first round. This time, Concepcion finished with 5 points and get this…. zero treys.


Paul Manalang had 10 minutes in the first round match. After this meeting, he had seven.


In the first round, Joshua Fontanilla had 9 points and 6 assists. This game – 8 points and 4 assists. 


It was that kind of hiding that whoever is behind Tomasino Web waxed eloquently, “Tigers suffer a 50-point blowout at the expense of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, 101-51.”


Pati siya nahilo. 


That margin of victory topped the 40-point win during Season 81 when Aldin Ayo was getting his feet wet over at Espana, 102-62. Incidentally, that was also the second round. They had Steve Akomo that year but he missed that second round tussle.


There is one player left from that loss who was also a part of this 101-51 beating… Dave Ando.  


If you look at Tab Baldwin’s Ateneo teams, this is the fifth time they won by 26 points or more.


Here are the others:

Season 81

UST 102-62 40 points second round


Season 82

UP 89-63 26

NU 88-51 second round 37 points

UE 84-50 second round 34 points



In contrast, during Ateneo’s five-peat from Season 71-75, they only won by more than 25-points twice. 


Season 71

72-45 Adamson 27 points

75-47 NU 28 points


Now let’s look at Tab’s teams. Season 84 includes the stats of the second round triumph over UST.







Points Scored

70.9 points (third)


85.2 (second)


80.6 (first)


78.3 (second; UST up only by one point)


83.2 (first)


Points surrendered

67 (second fewest)


76 (third fewest)


63.9 (fewest)


61.8 (fewest)


65.3 (fewest)



3.9 difference

9.2 difference

16.7 difference







To say that the team has improved on offense and defense is an understatement.


After 10 matches, they are averaging 83.2 points. That is the most since Tab’s first title run. The holdovers from that squad include Raffy Verano, Jolo Mendoza, Gian Mamuyac, Tyler Tio, Troy Mallillin, and BJ Andrade. Now, they are the veterans.



Another positive statistic is the assists.


First Round

21 assists vs. UP

21 assists vs. FEU

23 assists vs. Adamson

15 assists vs. DLSU

21 assists vs. FEU

17 assists vs. NU

19 assists vs. UST


Second Round

16 assists vs. DLSU

26 assists vs. UE

27 assists vs. UST



Here is Ateneo’s average under Tab:

14.2 Season 79

17.6 Season 80

15.6 Season 81

16.9 Season 82

20.0 Season 84


Now think about this… they lost Matt and Mike Nieto, Thirdy Ravena, Will Navarro, Adrian Wong, and Isaac Go… and yet, they are playing better. 


Now to see how they come out against skidding NU this Saturday. 



Thursday, April 7, 2022

Thoughts on Ateneo's win over UE and looking at the Blue Eagles' scoring

My Thoughts about the Ateneo Blue Eagles' 94-72 win over UE
by Rick Olivares

I thought that UE picked up where NU left off – playing with a lot of energy and attacking the heart of Ateneo’s defense and being a bit undefendable out by the three-point arc.

Eventually, Ateneo’s collective class, experience, talent, and coaching found its solid footing and the romp was on. The final score was 94-72. 

Nevertheless, I thought that Ateneo struggled for several reasons:

-       - They were unable to match the hustle and energy of UE

-       - During the first half, the quality of the passes was much to be desired that it led to turnovers or being unable to field the pass to score. 

-       - I thought they were unable to defend the pick and roll of UE.

-       - I thought they took way too many three-point attempts instead of attacking the interior of UE when they didn’t have that fly swatter. There is no one to match up against Angelo Kouame and yet, the ball wasn’t finding its way to him. 

But when push came to shove, Gian Mamuyac, Angelo Kouame, Dave Ildefonso, and SJ Belangel rose to the occasion.Especially Gian who is playing his finest season in the seniors division. Talk about a total game changer who does it on both ends of the court. He tallied 21 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal against 1 turnover. 

Mamuyac wreaked havoc on UE in the third period as he scored 13 points and grabbed 3 boards. 

Furthermore, the Blue Eagles’ bench answered UE’s. It was good to see Matthew Daves score some, Gabriel Gomez hit some shots, and Gio Chiu contribute quality minutes. As I previously said, what an improvement in terms of mobility and presence inside the lane!

Now let’s backtrack.

I wondered about those triples and I had to look back.

Season 82 first six matches. These are the three-points made/attempts.

Vs. Adamson 5/31 16%

Vs. La Salle 5/32 15%

Vs. FEU 7/30 23%

Vs. NU 7/24 29%

Vs. UE 8/35 23%

Vs. UP 7/27 26%

After six games, Ateneo was 39/177.

For the entire season, the Blue Eagles attempted from beyond the arc. They threw up 469 triples hitting 125 for 26% and were second to UST 690 attempts and 30% accuracy clip. 


Let’s look at Ateneo in the first six matches of this Season 84. These are the three-points made/attempts.

Vs. UP 10/36 28%

Vs. FEU 10/27 37%

Vs. Adamson 11/28 39%

Vs. La Salle 7/24 29%

Vs. NU 9/29 31%

Vs. UE 9/32 28%

This season, after six matches, Ateneo is 56/176. Almost the same attempts from Season 82 but with more makes.

This season, Ateneo is tops in the category of most triples made 56/176 (32%) but the third most attempts after UST and UE. 

Let’s look at how they score most of their points this Season 84. 

















Vs Adamson




















At least one trey in the first. 

Three in the second.

Two in third. 

At least one in the fourth. 


Points in the paint
















VS Adamson




















At least nine points in the first.

At least 10 by the second.

At least nine points in the third.

At least 12 in the fourth. 



Free throws
















VS Adamson




















 At least 3 free throws in the first

At least two in the second frame.

At least 2.5 in the third.

Almost three in the final canto. 

You can almost say that they do not go to the free throw line often… but no. That isn’t so. At the end of the first round of Season 82, Ateneo was 79/109. 

After six matches this Season 84, Ateneo is 59/100. They have one more game to play (UST) before the first round is over. Maybe, it is better to infer that the percentage is down. 


Is there slippage? Not at all. I will explain later.

Ironically, the first six opponents of Season 82 are the first six opponents of Season 84. Let’s look at the margin of victory.

Season 82.

70-52 vs Adamson (18)

81-69 La Salle (12)

63-46 FEU (17)

71-50 NU (19)

85-68 UE (17)

89-63 UP (26)


Season 84

90-81 UP (9)

79-70 FEU (9)

78-47 Adamson (31)

74-57 La Salle (17)

74-64 NU (10)

94-72 UE (22)


I would say that they are integrating many new parts into the mix. They have nine players who were not in uniform last season. So the unfamiliarity is a factor. Throw in the one day of rest between games and fatigue becomes a factor. And the lack of a pre-season. That has to count for a lot. 

I think the way to look at it is Ateneo is getting different looks from their foes and they have adjusted accordingly. For all their struggles, they are 6-0.