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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2011 UFL Cup Round of 16 match: Pachanga-Navy -- The Eighth Wonder

The Eighth Wonder
Pachanga is taken to a penalty shootout by tough Navy in a match that was affected by the poor conditions of the pitch. But at the end of the day, the Red Phoenix, the more deserving side advanced to the Round of Eight.
by rick olivares

November 22, 2011
University of Makati

Athletes or football players to be exact like to toss statements about “trust”. That’s trust in their coach, God, the system, and their teammates. 

After the Round of 16 match between Group C leader Pachanga and Group E runners up Navy still ended up in a scoreless draw after 120 minutes of painful and excruciating football with the decision going into penalties, the Red Phoenix players knew they were in good hands with Kenneth Dolloso tending their goal.

It was Dolloso’s first match for Pachanga in the ongoing UFL Cup after he sustained a hand injury that kept him out during the group stages. Backup Mark Sorongon had admirably filled in conceding only two goals in three matches (while the offense generated eight goals). But now Dolloso was back.

He had made some spectacular saves during regulation and the extra period although the defense, especially center back Yves Ashime and left back Neckson Leonora shone in turning back a more spirited Navy attack.

“We knew that we had a chance to win it in regulation,” said a relieved Norman Fegidero Jr. after the match. “But even if it went to penalties we still believed that we can get the job done because of Kenneth. He has excellent hand and eye coordination and he is quick on his feet.”

Dolloso’s teammates knew that he’d get the job done. Now all they had to do was convert their spot kicks.

Pachanga shot first with defender Jalsor Soriano sending the ball to the right of Navy keeper Martin Alcantara who stood frozen. The Navymen’s Mark Aaron Flores equalized although Dolloso guessed right but wasn’t able to get much of a hand in blocking the shot the still went in.

Jovin Bedic sent Alcantara diving to the wrong way as the ball went through the left. Navy’s Mark Marcaida returned the favor by also sending Dolloso the wrong way; 2-2.

FJ Serios sent the ball to the left but this time Alcantara was up to the task and the save gave Navy an opportunity to go one shot up. However, Dwight Sendino put the shootout back on level terms as his shot hit the post.

Pachanga’s central playmaker Oussey Diop froze the Navy netminder by going left swinging the advantage back to the Red Phoenix.

With Navy badly needing a converted shot to stay in the match, Dolloso saved Alfie Caminos’ shot to the left. With two missed shots to the one of Pachanga, Joshua Fegidero Jr., the coach’s brother strode forward to take the shot. “I knew that the game was over right there. I knew it was ours.”

Fegidero, whose second half entry briefly sparked Pachanga that was in search of a leader and game changer all match long, sent the ball left and past Alcantara for a 4-2 Pachanga win in penalties.

Dating back to his playing years in West Negros University under Fegidero Jr., Dolloso had yet to lose a penalty shootout. In fact, perhaps even more eerily, he was a perfect 8-8 in shootouts. And now Pachanga was moving on to face Global, Dolloso’s former club, in the Round of Eight.

A penalty shootout is derided by serious football cognoscenti as mere lottery with some luck thrown in rather than a true test of skill. But if skills are paramount, then it was hardly on display at the University of Makati football as the surface was slippery because of the day’s incessant rains. While Pachanga was the favored side because of their more talented and deeper squad, the pitch conditions were expected to wreak havoc on their finely tuned attack.

It was obvious from kick off that not only were the Red Phoenix the better side, but also the more talented one. However, the finishing left much to be desired as the “gigil” factor came to play.

As the game wore on, the result was teetering back and forth between a failed gambit by Pachanga and an incredible upset by the more resilient Navy side that preferred to pounce on mistakes by the Red Phoenix rather than truly create chances of their own. Navy’s attack belied the supposed military precision by launching largely uncoordinated attacks. Although the team of head coach Marlon Maro did have a few decent chances to take the game from Pachanga but team captain Marlon Piñero and Caminos misplayed the lot of them.

Pachanga spent a lot of money on a week-long training camp in Bacolod but their tactical improvements didn’t show with all their botched finishes that should have effectively ended the game after 90 minutes. Most of the substitutions failed to spark Fegidero’s squad. Mohamad Farah, who came in for Kross Ubiam at the start of the second half immediately fired away from so far out that it never had a chance of going in. So much for calming down. The “gigil” factor still afflicted the team. Gino Palomo who replaced Shirmar Felongco on the left wing wasn’t on his game. Ditto for Serios who replaced Boyet Cañedo in the middle of the attack. Joshua Fegidero briefly inspired his team but Navy’s defense held.

However, it wasn’t only Navy’s central backs Robert Cabural and PJ Fadrigalan who were effective in turning back attacks. Neckson Leonora finally put a stop to Navy’s raids from the left flank while Ashime not only verbally engaged Maro’s troops but virtually stopped many a Navy attack with superb tackling and dogged defending.

As the game went into penalties, Pachanga remained confident not just because of Dolloso being at goal. On their final day of their Bacolod training camp, Fegidero Jr. worked on their corner kicks, free kicks, and lastly, penalties.

“So nag-work din for us yung training camp,” said Red Phoenix’ assistant coach Alvin Ocampo. “We got to use that to get a result. The game wasn’t well played but a win is a win.”

Thanks to their resiliency, their “Eighth Wonder” in Ken Dolloso, they were now in the Round of Eight.

Notes: Pachanga will be facing Global next Sunday at the University of Makati although they will be missing the services of four players because of the accumulation of yellow cards: defenders Ronald Batisla-Ong, Camelo Tacusalme, and Jalsor Soriano, and midfielder Oussey Diop. Global will have their full crew available for the match. In their Group C meeting, the two squads battled to a 2-2 draw.


That game between Pachanga and Navy was a tough one to watch. Terrible pitch. Terrible play by Navy. Poor finishing by Pachanga and horrible officiating by Allan Martinez and his crew Bernie Quiambao and Joseph Lacanilao. I have no idea what these guys were seeing or not seeing on the field that I find it highly suspicious. It is not just a grassroots program that we need. It's proper training for our referees too. Mr. Alobin, this has to improve.

1 comment:

  1. it is not only more coaching courses that the football system needs, it should also develop the other side of the sport.
    we need a program that is patterned like the FUTURO system, where coaching, referreing, football administration and even sports medicine is thought by foreign instructors.
    pff should conduct several weeklong seminars like this with qualified local lecturers to spread awareness on the modern methods in football!!