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, January 30, 2012

Ateneo defeats La Salle 1-0, FEU revs up and frustration mounts at State U

Ateneo defeats La Salle 1-0, FEU revs up and frustration mounts at State U
by rick olivares

The Ateneo Blue Booters beat their La Salle counterparts with a workman-like 1-0 win at the Ateneo High School Field last Sunday morning.

After Ateneo rookie Mikko Mabanag had his volley blocked by a La Salle defender, the ball went straight back to him. Instead of reloading on the shot, he found forward Anton Amistoso unmarked by the defense near the left post. La Salle keeper Patrick Deyto rushed out to obscure Amistoso’s line of sight but the blue booter sent the ball to the far post for the goal.

La Salle had its chances to score in the first half particularly when sophomore forward Al Bustamante’s shot hit the crossbar but Ateneo showed more energy and determination. The home side, which had not beaten the green and white in three years, was relentless in their hustle and pressure defense. Their crosses were zinging right through La Salle’s defense and the lack of attackers coming in prevented Ateneo from doubling their lead.

Yu Murayama was at goal for the first time this season (after Joel Faustino minded the net in the past three games) when Ateneo head coach JP Merida placed him there following a slight injury. Merida wanted to keep Murayama in the game and he slotted Faustino in as a field player. Murayama previously was the backup to RS Mantos several years ago but came back this year as a field player.

It was a sorry loss for La Salle which had strung up four consecutive draws. Expectations were high after the Green Archers won last October’s University Games in Roxas City but the team has lost its determination and spunk.

In the second game of the Sunday triple-header, FEU leapfrogged up the standings with its 4-0 rout of hapless UE. The freshman and sophomore laden Tamaraws were more precise in their buildups and their passing that had the Red Warriors reeling.

Despite not having a win across their name in the standings, the Red Warriors offered one of the stingiest defenses with veteran goalkeeper Robert Martos tallying three clean sheets. However, in the 13th minute of the match, UE overcommitted their defense to the right side of the pitch and a cross by a Tamaraw found midfielder Saekyoul Lee alone and unmarked on dangerous ground. Martos never had a chance as Lee sent him diving the wrong way for FEU’s first goal.

Sophomore striker Jon Melliza, who led his team in scoring last year and scored a hat trick in their last outing against Ateneo scored a brace this time (27, 87). Lester Madia added to the tally with an 85th minute goal.

In the main game of the day, UST and UP, which both faced off in last year’s finals, played to a drama-filled scoreless draw in a rain and mud-soaked game. But it was UST that dominated the game with better build-ups from the back and more scoring chances. The Fighting Maroons got their opportunities in their counter-attacks. Ojay Clarino, in his final playing year for UST was industrious in his game. He raided UP’s midfield by stripping them of the ball on their attacks and oft outraced a defender or two on offense.

UP threatened late in the game when Michael Simms had a pair of decent chances to score from the left wing but instead, he fired straight every time out to UST Mon Borigas.

Right before the game started, the rain fell turning the pitch into a muddy one. With memories of the mire of the Roxas City Uni-Games that saw the Maroons punished by Dipolog Memorial Medical Center, UP was once more unable to get their finely tuned attack going. The stress of being unable to score as well as in defending their championship showed when several Maroons began to argue with one another much to the shock of the crowd.

UP head coach Anto Gonzales conceded that the team not coming together in time for the UAAP season did not help their chemistry. The team was split with some playing in the UFL and while striker Jinggoy Valmayor (who has been scoreless this season) and Raymark Fernandez spent time with the national team.

“It’s a matter of everyone committing themselves to what we are doing now,” said Gonzales. “When we didn’t have our UFL and national team players, the others picked up their game and played well in the Uni-Games and the pre-season. I think that we are close to working it out. It has been frustrating not winning more games.”

UP keeper Ty Caballes dives for the ball before UST's Shirmar Felongco (in white and behind UP's Raymark Fernandez) could fire away.

Sorry I have been unable to watch Juniors and Women's football. I can do only so much. But with regards to the Ateneo Women's Football Team is -- why run a flat back four when we are slow? After their goal why not adjust and put a sweeper? They killed us with through balls and we were slow to react.

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