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 24, 2011

Ateneo Men's Football Match #3 Out of the quagmire

This appears in ateneo.edu

FEU's Ronnie Aguisanda takes aim at Ateneo keeper Joel Faustino

Out of the quagmire
Ateneo 1 vs. FEU 1
by rick olivares
photo by Brosi Gonzales

January 23, 2011
Erenchun Field
Playing in the mud is part and parcel of the game of football. Every football will swear that it’s fun and it harkens back to when one first fell in love with the game.

However, when one begins to play serious football, there’s a rhyme and reason for sloshing through the mud.

For the UST Growling Tigers, it’s taking advantage of their taller players so they play the long ball.

Incredibly, the UP Maroons’ game is the anti-thesis as they prefer the ground game. “It’s all about securing that first touch before it bounces,” said head coach Anto Gonzales.

The UE Red Warriors boast perhaps the best strike corps in the UAAP with Fitch Johnson Arboleda and Gringo Bravo. The two are deft footballers that knife through central backs like tenpins for a strike. But the mud renders their speed useless and De La Salle took advantage of that to forge a scoreless draw even as their own strikers faltered.

For the FEU Tamaraws, perhaps the sleeper team of this tournament and their attackers stymied just like’s UE’s, they prefer to bombard from the outside. Through the past few years, they were the top team in goals scored from a free kick. Against the Ateneo Blue Booters, they tested goal keeper Joel Faustino with four shots from the outside before team captain Ronnie Aguisanda’s blast found a crack through the wall that bended in to find the back of the net.

The game was ugly for many reasons. For one, the players resembled prehistoric warriors as they were caked in mud. The slippery conditions were comedic at times especially when players slipped before and after kicking the ball. At one point, FEU’s Jesus Melliza raced after the ball then fell into a pool face first. As possession for the ball became vital as FEU hoped to land that knockout goal and Ateneo went for the equalizer, tempers flared. And it coalesced into one frightening moment when Ateneo captain Mario Marcelo took an elbow from Melliza while struggling for control and he returned the gesture with a punch to the FEU player’s head. Benches nearly emptied but the officials were able to separate the teams before things got any worse.

Marcelo was handed a red card and with his banishment, a suspension for two matches. But instead of folding, the Blue Booters, down to 10 men, battled on. And in the 86th minute, Gab Siojo took a shot from inside the box that FEU keeper Leoben Wayco parried and was unable to corral because of the muddy situation.

The ball bounced towards Atenean Choy Kapunan and an FEU defender who both collided with one another as the ball hit them. The ball bounced in – much to the chagrin and shock of FEU and to the delight of the Ateneo bench -- for the equalizer.

Ateneo had its second goal of the season and more importantly, its first point that they earned from the final 1-1 draw.

The result may not have been an outright win but what was important was that Ateneo arrested their two-game slide, they scored, and their corresponding point put them one behind FEU and UST who both had two points in three matches.

“It wasn’t pretty but any point you can get is good,” reflected Siojo after the match.

“Meron pa tayong ibu-buga,” said Ateneo head coach Arnulfo Merida. “Basta lumalaban lang kaya natin.”

As the stunned FEU team made their way towards Blue Eagle Gym for a shower, Ronnie Aguisanda shook his head at his team’s misfortune. “Sayang.” Said the Cagayan native. “Ma-putik kasi.”

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