Looking at the second season of the Ateneo Football League
by rick olivares
This Saturday, the Ateneo Football League opens its second season. And my bud Rely and I will be taking a leave from our AKTV duty to be there for Opening Day.
I recall last season’s Opening Day, I was nervous. I was waiting for people to arrive at the Ateneo high school field. Would people show up? Will it turn out to be a success? Of course, it should. Teams did pay registration fees, right? I guess, I felt like being a dad all over again (and I am sure that Rely felt the same way as well). There’s that anxiety. I remember pacing along that gravel road leading up to the fields and thinking of that famous line from the baseball film, Field of Dreams: “Build it and they will come.”
Soon enough the players, my fellow Ateneo alumni started arriving. They had their families, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, and even dogs with them. I remember acting like some Real Estate manager welcoming everyone, shaking their hands. I was there for two weekends before I was called away as Media Officer for the Suzuki Under-23 National Cup. This year, this summer, I have decided to stay home to give time to the AFL and of course, my other work. I am saving money as well for the coming school year (tuition fees are going to bite me) and a couple of trips abroad (Mongolia is one of them).
This second season, it is with great pride that we announce that we have 44 teams signed up. And that’s at least 800 players (since we have at least 20 per team). When we fix our high school and college divisions we can expect even more for the third season. But that’s a year away. This is now and kick off is in two days’ time.
There are at least 21 teams that are back for a second go-around. Teams have begun to form themselves and hopefully, form a real club.
30 and below
Last year, Outlaws won this Division with former Ateneo Booter Gino Tongson coming away with the MVP Award. The team has now morphed into Gaffer FC albeit without Tongson. Can they repeat? And off the bat, Boj Kohouty, Mang Chester United, and Ramrod look like contenders for the title with their lineup of UAAP players. Los Tontos should also give them a run for their money if they play to their capabilities. And I am greatly interested in seeing Kirk Long play for Pontis. Three-sport star in the making? We’ll find out.
Ateneo Law FC
Atletico San Valentin
Los Tontos FC
Mang Chester United
31 and above
The Loyola Agila team, the defending champions for this Division, is clearly the one to beat here with Dom Samson, Blue and Red Avelino, Paul Arcenas, Ernie Nierras, and Joey Prats to name a few. The other clubs will battle for sure but I do have to wonder how Psykicks will do this year without their inspirational leader Ebong Joson who left to join his Ateneo batchmates in another division with Team Freedom (Batch ’86 EDSA I in case you do not know your Philippine history). Psykicks will still have Bob Guerrero at goal. Hopefully, Paolo Bediones can play longer minutes and feature the AFL on TV too! Hahaha.
Team Co. Jones has an interesting lineup. Paolo Cagalingan, my old bud from Mizuno is there. National Sports Grill owner and former Ateneo booter Ponch Zamora is listed as well. There’s Chito Ines, JP Ingles, and Tojun Malvar. Good luck, guys!
Hey, where’s JP Demontaño?
Danke Schon FC
FC Juan Sanz SJ
Loyola Agila FC
Team Co. Jones
Mixed Fun Division
This is going to be the most fun division as teams will field mixed men’s-women’s lineups at all times. Ana Comm United is such a huge club that they split into three teams! If there are any injuries, I hope that the Ateneo Med School team should not only be good on the pitch but can also help the medics! But thanks for joining.
Azukals and Budacamp are laden with UAAP Women’s players (past and present). Caf Bench looks to have gotten better with the addition of batchmate Franz Bonoan. They still have Carlo Kintanar, TJ Manotoc (who scored one of the memorable goals of the tournament last season), Teo Ocampo, Duane Tumale and company.
In my opinion, Human Beings should change their name to Tanjuatco FC and My Tunes to Achacoso FC. Hahaha. It’s a Tanjuatco and Achacoso family affair respectively!
Happy that we have two corporate clubs in Makati Medical Center and the Proctor and Gamble teams.
4B United FC
Ana Com United 1
Ana Com United 2
Ana Com United 3
Caf Bench United
Human Beings FC
My Tunes FC
Heto yung walang bigayan na laban. Puro former varsity. You’ve also got Jesuit priests playing.
It was a disappointing first season for Blue Guards but they will adjust to the seven-a-side game rather than the full field 11-a-side game. Will Bert Honasan finally play? Hahaha. Good question, coach.
Oscariz, if and when they are complete, should be a challenger. But the darkhorse challenger here is Team Freedom 86. Can they recreate the magic of decades past? We’ll find out.
The Puzakals… these guys are good.
Blue Guards FC
Team Freedom 86
High School-College Division
This is going to be a competitive division. Aria is the defending champion here and personally, I would love to see Jaime Fabregas’ son, Leandro (who is in the Ateneo seniors team) show his stuff more with Aria so he’d get more playing time next season in the UAAP. Expect Bacchus, Schlubig, and the FC to crowd Aria for the title with Tapulan United a darkhorse contender.
Busan I Park
The FC 2012
With me bud and co-AFL Director Rely San Agustin before last month's General Assembly at the Blue Eagle Gym. In case you don't know, Rels was the first ever recipient of the Moro Lorenzo Award (given by the school). I think triathlete Noy Jopson was the second. Rels, bactmate ba kayo ni Noy?
Former Ateneo goalkeeper Jerry Ngo (back in the NCAA days) is our Tournament Director. This pic was snapped during the GA where we had more than 25 team reps come in attendance.