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.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Payback time for Philippines against Indonesia

This appears in the Tuesday, June 5, 2012 edition of the Business Mirror.

Payback time for Philippines against Indonesia
by rick olivares

It’s payback time!

The Philippine Men’s Football National Team returns to almost full strength when they host regional rival Indonesia on June 5, 2012 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

This will be the first meeting between the two countries since the epic semifinals clash during the 2010 Suzuki Cup where the Merah Putih, as the Indonesian squad is called, bounced the upstart Azkals from the tournament with an aggregate score of 2-0.

The Azkals, a much better side as compared to the 2010 squad that broke into the Philippines’ national consciousness with its stirring run, will find many of its Europe-based players back in harness with the return of Dennis Cagara, Jeffrey Christiaens, Jerry Lucena, Paul Mulders, Roland Muller, Manuel Ott, Stephan Schrock, and Denis Wolf.

The Philippines’ number one goalkeeper, Neil Etheridge, is in town but will be unable to play because of the cautions he obtained during the recently concluded AFC Challenge Cup.

Schrock, a local fan favorite for his booming goals and feisty character, recently signed a three-year contract with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim after helping his club of 11 years, SpVgg Greuther Furth to promotion to the German Bundesliga’s First Division. Schrock made 21 appearances for Greuther Furth where he scored three goals in the second division.

Among his new teammates are Bosnian attacking midfielder Sejad Salihovic who led the club in scoring with nine goals and former Liverpool and Netherlands striker Ryan Babel. Hoffenheim is managed by former Liverpool and Bayer Leverkusen star Markus Babel.

Manuel Ott’s FC Ingolstadt 04 II finished ninth in the fourth division Landesliga Bayern-Sud.

Paul Mulders returns from duty with ADO Den Haag that narrowly avoided relegation as they finished 15th out of 18 teams. The Amsterdam-based club finished with an 8-8-18 record and a negative-29 goal differential.

Neil Etheridge received his first senior call up for Fulham during a Europa League match. Fulham, where the Etheridge is signed until the end of the 2013 season, finished ninth in the Premier League last season. American Clint Dempsey had a breakout season with the Cottagers as he scored 17 goals and assisted on seven others in all competitions.

Jerry Lucena’s AGF Aarhus that finished fifth in the Danish SAS Ligaen for the year with a 12-12-9 record.

Denis Wolf’s FC Magdeburg finished dead last in the DFB Regionalliga, the fourth highest division in Germany with a 5-14-15 record.

While Indonesia’s final line-up for the international friendly is still unknown, it seems that only Dutch-Indonesian midfielder Irfan Bachdim, the quicksilver fast midfielder Oktovianus Maniani, and goalkeeper Markus Haris Maulana will be the only holdovers from the side that defeated the Philippines in 2010. Indonesia has been under intense scrutiny not only from FIFA but the rest of South East Asia with its spate of internal squabbles that has led to threats of suspension by the governing body for world football.

The Merah Putih recently participated in the nine-country 2012 Nakba Cup in Palestine. Indonesia topped its group with a 2-0 win over Mauritania and a 1-nil victory over Iraqi Kurdistan. In the semifinals stage last May 22, Palestine piped Indonesia 2-1 before beating Tunisia 4-3 in a penalty shootout. Indonesia was led by Bachdim, midfielder Hendra Bayauw, and forward Titus Bonai.

Tickets for the June 5 match with Indonesia are now available at all Ticketworld outlets ( Proceeds from the match will go towards the preparations of our team for the 2012 Suzuki Cup, the Philippine Football Federation’s Kasibulan Grassroots Program and other development initiatives.

The match is on Tuesday, June 5th with kick-off is at 7:00 pm.


For all those attending the June 5, 2012 match between the Philippines and Indonesia, please take note of the following:

Stadium food and drinks will be available!
Bring raincoats! No umbrellas allowed.
DSLR cameras up to 55mm lenses in the stands. Anything more than that is not allowed.
You may bring in own food using plastic disposable utensils only.

And these items are not allowed:
-       Cigarettes and lighters
-       Laser pens and pointers
-       Weapons and/or sharp objects
-       Candles, fireworks, or any type of pyrotechnics
-       Glass bottles, PET bottles, cans, and hard plastic containers
-       Posters, banners, and signage with any politics slogans or advertising without the express written approval by the Local Organizing Committee
-       Alcoholic beverages
-       Illegal drugs
-       Large chains, spike bracelets, wallet chains, metal belt buckles
-       Balloons
-       Chairs
-       Pregnant women should sign a waiver prior to entry
-       Parents of children below 12 years old should sign a waiver prior to entry


  1. Wow. Very strict.

  2. i hope its sold out. there 100,000+ members in azkals facebook page but cant sell out 13,000 tickets?

  3. The Philippines’ number one goalkeeper, Neil Etheridge, is in town but will be unable to play because of the cautions he obtained during the recently concluded AFC Challenge Cup.

    sir rick - please clarify?

  4. Neil is available for the Indonesia game, he already finished serving his suspension.

  5. No Schrock. We're doomed!!!!

  6. The diversity of our National Team is something that we should be proud of as a people. MABUHAY PHILIPPINE AZKALS may you reign as ASEAN champions this year.

  7. sana sa mindANAO or the visayas!!! im sure kukulangin aNG 13,000 SEATING CAPACITY