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.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Looking at Korea’s win over Gilas

Looking at Korea’s win over Gilas
by rick olivares

If you’re a fan of Philippine basketball, this is one of those mornings where you wake up in a daze. Like you’re in the midst of a bad hangover. You shake your head and well, feel bad.

The Philippine Men’s Basketball National Team was on the business end of a 118-86 shellacking from Korea that ended their FIBA Asia medal hopes. Instead of trying to match the twin silver medal finishes of the past two continental cup editions, the nationals will try to salvage a fifth place finish (assuming it doesn’t drop any more matches).

How did the Koreans cruelly snuff out the life of Gilas?

They shot the daylights out of Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex.
If anyone wrote the book about deadly outside shooting in Asia, it’s Korea. Heck, former national coach Joe Lipa went to Korea as far back as the mid-1980s to learn the style that he eventually tried to implement in his national sides including his collegiate squads in Ateneo and UP.

The Philippines shot 45% from two-point field goal range and 42% from three-point land. In fact, the nationals hit 11-25 treys! That is absolutely very good for any other game and plenty good enough to win.

Except against Korea… well, they shot 59% from two-point range and 76% from La La Land. Say that again? 76% That’s a blistering 16-21 from beyond.

Someone ought to check the Koreans if they were using GPS.

They played aggressive.
I am not sure about the comments of playing physical against Korea. What is physical – knocking them down on their butt so they don’t even attempt to shoot again? Like how Kim Min Goo was decked in 2013?

Maybe. But you get slapped with a technical foul and you get into penalty early.

I thought that Korea adjusted well to the dribble drive and played zone. Furthermore, they played at a killer pace; very uptempo. They kept moving and that stretched the defense whereas the Filipinos were a bit slower. Korea almost always had a man in front of a Filipino.

In fact, they also gave the Philippines a dose of its own medicine by attacking the interior. The one slam was off a putback when Korea failed to box out (and Japeth Aguilar came in from the blind side). How many times did they run the pick and roll or drive and drop to devastating effect?

Korea trooped to the free throw line 22 times where they hit 14 for a surprisingly poor 63%. In contrast, Gilas attempted 12 free throws and made seven.

They also had 50 points in the paint as compared to the 42 of the Philippines.

They whipped that ball around leaving Gilas to chase them.
Aside from their outside shooting, a hallmark of Korea’s style of play is the wondrous ball movement. They sure stretched the defense of the Philippines and more often than not had wide open shooters.

It sure helps when almost all their players can shoot from the outside. And that led to this other telling stat – 34 assists to the Philippines’ 14.

They got significant contributions from their entire team.
The Philippines had four players in double digits – Terrence Romeo, Christian Standhardinger, Roger Pogoy, and Jayson Castro.

Korea placed five in double digits – Sekeun Oh, Sunhyung Kim, Jongkyu Kim, Seonghyun Lee, and Junhyung Lee. But they also three other players with nine points – Chan Hee Park, Junyong Choi, and Ung Heo.

The Philippines paraded two players who didn’t score – Carl Cruz and Gabe Norwood. Korea only had one who didn’t score a point – Dongseop Lim.

It’s a painful loss. But the Philippines will just have to learn from this.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

FEU proud of its Gilas products

FEU proud of its Gilas products
by rick olivares

Far Eastern University Athletic Director Mark Molina brims with pride when he sees former Tamaraws excelling in both the national and international stage.

Following their 2015 UAAP Men’s Basketball Championship, the core of that title squad has gone on to the Philippine Basketball Association and the national team where they have proven to be vital cogs.

Suiting up for the Gilas squad seeing action in the ongoing FIBA Asia Cup are Roger Pogoy and Carl Bryan Cruz. And there of course, is Terrence Romeo who although wasn’t a part of that UAAP championship squad, played on two FEU teams that went to the UAAP finals.

For the other Gilas squad that will compete in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, there’s Mac Belo and Mike Tolomia. Center Russel Escoto is part of the squad but isn’t fully recovered from a knee injury.

“We’re all very proud of them,” said Molina in an interview with ABS-CBN News. “We teach our players to ‘Be Brave’ and we constantly remind them to practice this in their lives. I am so glad this group of Tamaraws have shown this spirit on the international stage.”

The Athletic Director also pointed out that many of these former Tams came from nowhere to make a name for themselves. “Nothing beats the values of hard work, discipline, and sacrificing for the team. Maybe except for Terrence, none of them were high school stars and heavily recruited. But they all had the hunger and dedication to make their lives and families better and the discipline and commitment to put the team ahead of their interest.”

In an interview with Cruz on the day of Gilas’ departure for Beirut, Lebanon, he pointed out to the current program that was installed during the time of former head coach Nash Racela whose older brother Olsen is continuing. “Yung discipline at values na-push ni Coach Nash malaking tulong yun.”

Molina cited Cruz as an inspirational story. “Bryan was a walk-on and even spent some time on Team B. He just accompanied someone we were trying to recruit and asked if he could try out. He just improved every year. It’s even more impressive that he is doing this after tearing his ACL a few months after graduating from FEU.”

On his part, Olsen Racela pointed to one of their young stars on the current Tamaraws squad, Kenneth Tuffin, the Fil-Kiwi who during his freshman year last season was already named co-captain. “This is one kid who is not only coachable but is also is an achiever. He does very well in school and balances the duties of being a student-athlete very well.”

Pogoy also points to the basketball system in FEU. “Malaking tulong yun tinatakbo namin sa FEU ay yung sistema sa Talk ‘N Text at sa Gilas. Siyempre, binigyan ka ng pagkakataon at kumpiyansa ng mga coaches from Coach Nash to Coach Chot (Reyes). Malaking bagay yun.”

The success of the FEU players also goes beyond the basketball team. Molina pointed out Janelle Frayna. “Being the first Woman Grandmaster and one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines reinforces that FEU produces winners. You cannot really say if these increase enrollment per se but is definitely adds value to the FEU name.”

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ganon Baker in Manila for 4-day basketball camp

Ganon Baker in Manila for 4-day basketball camp
by rick olivares

American basketball coach Ganon Baker who has trained and worked with many NBA and WNBA stars will be coming to Manila for a four-day camp this coming September.

Sponsored by Smart Breakdown Basketball Invitationals, the clinics will be held on September 2, 3, 9, and 10 at the Moro Lorenzo Sports center inside the Ateneo de Manila University in Loyola Heights, Quezon City.

Among the well-known cagers Baker has worked with include Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Maya Moore, Tamika Catchings, Skylar Diggins, and many more.

“I’ve been working out with kids and NBA players my entire professional basketball life,” said Baker in a video message. “I am coming to do a camp. You have the most passion of any community and I would love to see you there.”

Baker has taught the game across 36 countries working with coaches and players on their game. In an article written by Dave Fairbank in the Daily Press (in the United States), he described Baker as “Tony Robbins (a life coach) with a jump shot, Dr. Phil with a handle. Maybe more accurately, he is the Johnny Appleseed of roundball, spreading the gospel of hoops and nurturing the game in gyms large and small.”

According to Smart Breakdown Basketball Invitational’s Jay Adevoso, the camp is open to basketball players but also coaches and trainers.

Smart Breakdown Basketball Invitationals is a grassroots basketball program with over 40 schools in Metro Manila participating.

The first 30 male and female basketball players to register can avail of the free entrance. For coaches, trainers, and other players, there will be a minimal fee for the four-day camp.

For more details, check out the Smart Breakdown Basketball Invitationals Facebook page.

The Ganon Baker Basketball Schedule is as follows: September 2 from 1:30-3:30pm; and September 3, 9, and 10 from 4-6pm.