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.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ateneo Football League: The Finals

The line-ups of Loyola Agila and Cojones before kickoff of their finals match up. Agila defended their title.

Finals Day
(or who says you can’t go home again)
by rick olivares

Raul Banzon offered to take the fourth penalty kick of Oscariz’ shootout with Blue Guards. Both squads were tied at three makes apiece when Banzon stepped up to take the spot kick.

Banzon was a big man on campus back then – track star, jazz musician, superjock. One could never say he never lacked confidence. Maybe until this spot kick. Banzon asked a teammate where it was best to place his shot. Had Dochie Gorospe heard his teammate’s apprehension, he would have stopped him from taking the shot. As it was, Banzon sent the ball high that Blue Guards’ keeper Ver Velasco never even had to move an inch.

The Oscariz’ player looked up high. He knew that it was over. Blue Guards scored their next shot to win in penalties 4-3 after a thrilling 1-1 draw in regulation.

And the Blue Guards were champions. And Bert Honasan even after all these years was still Most Valuable Player for the seniors division.

Just like that the day was done.

The rain not eve the constantly threatening storm clouds could stay the games away. And so they were played. Some intense and heated and some well, those of your garden-variety blowout. But at the end of the day, players from other teams went to watch others duke it out in a nerve-wracking penalty shootouts and come awarding time, applauding one and all. Once the day’s business was concluded, several members from different teams had a beer. kicked back and shared thoughts about the games and the league.

The second season of the Ateneo Football League was two weeks delayed due to rainouts. On Father’s Day, with the threat of rain and the promise of family day, everyone came. The seniors in the meantime wondered whether to take their games to countryside for some beer and barbecue to jokingly rumble instead.

Boj Kohouty and Ramrod nearly figured into some rough stuff. With both teams featuring a number of current and former Blue Booters, the match was no less intense. Boj Kohouty grabbed an early lead before Gerard Cancio and James Arco led a spirited comeback to notch the match at 4-4. But in the waning moments of the game, Boj Kohouty scored to prevent the match from going into PKs.

Team Popoys looked impressive during the semifinals when it vanquished hitherto undefeated Caf Bench. However in the finals against ACU2, they were shredded with some nifty passing and deft play between Jao Parajo and Cholo Catahan.

Popoys’ Migo Hernandez opened the score with a long-range volley that beat keeper Gene Lee. But a perfect throughball by Parajo to Catahan caught the defense napping. Catahan then pulled off a nifty dribbling move that fooled keeper Jeff Dayrit. Goal for Catahan and the match was tied. ACU2 caught them with the same play several times that Popoys never adjusted by throwing in a stopper to prevent the passes. ACU2 won easily 6-2.

Over at the 31 and Above Division, Loyola Agila and Cojones played to a scoreless draw that saw them go into penalties. Cojones, which drew strength earlier from Rden Villasis came up short on the offensive end. And come penalties, they flubbed two of their shots as Agila knocked in two of three with Ernie Nierras booting in the winner to repeat as champions.

The other repeat winner was Aria in the High School and College Division where they crushed the FC.

But the FC despite being high schoolers facing off against a college squad remained upbeat and optimistic. After their match, one could get the feeling that they were the winners of their division as they laughed and exchanged high fives as they sauntered over to the adjacent field to watch the penalty shootout between Agila and Cojones. Their laughter was infectious; their outlook on making the AFL finals and looking at it as a learning experience was heartwarming and a refreshing change of pace from the more intense competitions of the older divisions. And when they cheered collectively after the dramatic shootout, one couldn’t help get the feeling that on days like these we’re all like kids again, sweating and playing football under the hot sun in the school where we first learned the sport.

Champion: Aria FC
Runner-Up: The FC 2012
Best Keeper: Jules Drilon (Aria FC)
Golden Boot: Cedric Sean Ang (Tapulan United)
MVP: Anton Mendoza (Aria FC)

Champion: Boj Kohouty
Runner-up: Ramrod FC
Best Keeper: Aldous Madrangca (BK)
Golden Boot: Joseton Vergel de Dios (BK)
MVP: Joseton Vergel de Dios (BK)

Champion: Loyola Agila FC
Runner-up: Team Co Jones
Best Keeper: Chito Ines (Team Co. Jones)
Golden Boot: Pilo Torres (Loyola)
MVP: Pilo Torres (Loyola)

Champion: Blue Guards
Runner-up: OFC Thunders
Best Keeper: Ver Velasco (BG)
Golden Boot: Dochie Gorospe (OFC)
MVP: Bert Honasan (BG)

Champion: ACU 2
Runner-up: Team Popoys United
Best Keeper: Gene Lee (ACU 2)
Golden Boot: Benj Mendoza (MyTunes FC)
MVP: Cholo Catahan (ACU 2)

 With 21-and-Above champions Boj Kohouty and MVP and Golden Booter winner Joseton Vergel de Dios (with medal kneeling) and Aldous Madrangca named Best Keeper.

With High School and College Division champions Aria. One of two clubs to successfully defend their title.

 With Mixed Fun Division winner Ana Com United II.

 With Loyola Agila which also successfully defended their 31-and-Above championship.

 With the beer swilling, mean spirited and alaskador Blue Guards, champion of the seniors division.

With me old coach Bert Honasan who was named MVP of the seniors division.

Thanks to the AFL's sponsors Poten-Cee, Nike, and Smart. Thanks also to the Ateneo High School and Raul Albarece! And to the National Capital Region Football Association for their assistance.


  1. Rick we won 2-0 on penalties. We did not need to take the 3rd one. hahaha...Ernie

    1. Thanks! I forgot. Old age dammit. Hahaha. Revised na.

  2. are you sleepy, Rick? :p
    you used "ACU 2" in the article yet you put "III" in the group picture caption. ACU2 is the correct one :) and i think that score is incorrect too, better check with Rely, i know Popoy's managed to score a third goal.

    1. Jeezus. Change the names of your teams. They're so unimaginative. That's the cause of all this confusion. :)