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, March 5, 2018

6 points from the weekend UAAP Women’s Volleyball Matches

6 points from the weekend UAAP Women’s Volleyball Matches
by rick olivares

After 28 matches across a month’s time, National University is atop the table with a 6-1 record. They rebounded from their shock loss to FEU with a nervy three-set win over UP. The FEU Lady Tamaraws are now in second place with La Salle occupying third spot despite both of them sporting 5-2 slates.

Ateneo’s four-game win streak was snapped by La Salle and they fell to 4-3. Adamson’s up and down season saw them botch a golden opportunity to leap-frog Ateneo. Now they’re at fifth with a 3-4 record. UST and UOP tote 2-5 cards while UE finally barged into the win column with perhaps the upset game of the week following a five-set win over Adamson.

From these matches, we can glean six learnings.

Ateneo really needs to work on their floor defense.
First ball problems. Haven’t we heard that before? Ateneo has had problems with its floor defense since Denden Lazaro and Ella De Jesus graduated. And that was three years ago. How they have no solutions for that baffles me. Yes, they are tops in blocking but that is because of their tall frontline of Maddie Madayag, Bea De Leon, and Kat Tolentino. Yes, Dani Ravena has been a revelation considering she switched positions from setter to libero (her being out as she recuperates is going to give Ateneo more headaches) but I really have to wonder why this aspect of their game has not been resolved or even plugged. Did someone forget the memo that defense wins championships?

UST is on the verge of another frustrating and unfulfilled season.
I think it’s time people stop harping about injuries and who isn’t in the line-up. This is still a veteran crew. Not sure where they are morale-wise because they have been crumbling. Midway and the season is slipping away. It is good they’ll get back Milena Alessandrini this second round but to pin one’s hopes on a rookie is asking a bit too much. We’re looking for fire and focus because the skills aren’t the question.

Don’t look now but FEU has quietly stepped up to second in the league.
Looks like George Pascua has settled on Kyle Negrito as his starting setter and since being named as the team’s number one setter, her confidence has soared.

And if you look at their three-set win over sliding UST, no player scored in double figures. While at times that can be bad as it is an indication of a lack of a go-to player. In FEU’s case, it is the opposite. This team is stacked and loaded. There have been nervy losses this first round but how they come out this second round will tell on their fortunes. As always the concern for this team is their mental fortitude. If they can take it to the next level this second round, they’ll be a handful for all teams.

Watching Adamson play is like night and day.

That loss by Adamson to UE in five sets says a lot. They have become more competitive and have raised the level of their game. But as of now, they aren’t ready yet to boogie with the big teams. Yes, they defeated La Salle but that could be a one-off thing. If they can do it again then we can say they’re for real.

UP has turned a corner but that loss to NU can still send them on another spiral.
The Fighting Lady Maroons took it to NU and lost the first two sets because of errors. Had they taken a set there, it might have been a different result. The third set saw a disjointed team that seemed to revert to the one that back-slid in the middle of the first round.

The coaches must make sure this team quickly forgets that loss and they have to take the next game whoever it might be. Good vibes continue when there are positive results.

Lastly, UE could finally go on a tear.
Yes, they have played better this year. The growth has been painfully slow and it ultimately cost them head coach Francis Vicente. Under interim coach Rod Roque who is also UE’s representative to the UAAP board, this team has played better. Can we postulate better motivation? Because it sure has showed the past two games.

And the things is… UE had the personnel to win games. This is after all a veteran crew albeit an underachieving one. Their next game should be mighty interesting.

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