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.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bleachers' Brew #315 Red Phoenix promoted

This appears in the Monday, June 18, 2012 edition of the Business Mirror.
Pachanga 2011-12. Missing are assistant coach Alvin Ocampo, Aldwyn Riedler, Paul Espinosa, and Jhenver Vergara.

Red Phoenix rising promoted
by rick olivares pics by brosi gonzales

June 16, 2012 -- Even after defeating Agila, 4-0, in their penultimate match to earn promotion to the UFL’s Division One, Pachanga still had one more play to execute.

The last eleven of the Red Phoenix stayed on the pitch of the University of Makati  in spite of the light rain still falling. The team said a quick prayer then discussed on last play.

Paolo Misa immediately sought out winning coach Norman Fegidero Jr. for a congratulatory hug while striker Freddy Gonzalez and team captain Yves Ashime quickly went to the bench. “Coach, may tanong ako,” began Misa as his voice trailed off suddenly unsure of himself but knowing he had to distract Fegidero. Gonzalez and Ashime quickly moved in and before Fegidero could get out of the way, the duo gave their coach a Gatorade bath.

The players and the team’s supporters applauded in appreciation. Fegidero smiled, accepted more words of congratulations then sought out Misa: “Ano yung tanong mo?”

Misa laughed out loud.

Even with one more match to play, the season, Pachanga’s first ever since its formation barely a year ago, has seen them finish a semifinalist in the Smart Club Championship, a quarterfinalist in the UFL Cup, and now the UFL’s Division Two champion. “The season has been a long and incredible trip,” described Gonzalez post-match. “Promotion to Division One was our focus and we achieved it. I am proud of this team.”

And so have been the goals.

On the sixth minute of the match, Boyet Cañedo was congratulated by his teammates for that superb curling free kick that cleared the wall and struck just underneath the left corner post. Only the goal was not awarded to Pachanga and the match against Agila remained scoreless.

Two minutes later, Cañedo stole the ball in the midfield, turned then passed the ball to winger Gino Palomo on the right. Palomo sent a diagonal pass inside to a cutting Freddy Gonzalez who drew two defenders. Pachanga’s leading scorer backheeled a pass to an unmarked Jovin Bedic who joined up the attack. Bedic from about a foot just outside the box hammered home the shot to finally open the scoring. Four quick one-touch passes for the score.

Thirty-two minutes later, Cañedo joined the scoring party when he volleyed a rocket just a few meters past the midfield line that found the back of the net. It was an incredible goal but one not too surprising given Cañedo’s powerful right foot.

Agila was not without chances. Speedy midfielder Zaldy Marañon, under pressure from Pachanga defender Janrick Soriano, fired a powerful shot from the left flank that Red Phoenix keeper Kenneth Dolloso read well for the save. Marañon and striker Mark Madrona would later have a few more scoring opportunities but Pachanga’s defense held fast.

Not only was the three points collectible at stake but also their streak of 14 clean sheets. During the pre-match briefing, Fegidero, who refused to talk about any championship in the previous week, finally laid it out in the open: “This is our championship match. It is against a quality opponent and I would like to say that we cannot take it easy. Establish control of the match and play hard.”

They did but were unable to added to their goal lead while Agila occasionally threatened. They hit the crossbar four times and each post one a piece. Such that a little frustration set in.

As the match was going into its final minutes, Joshua Fegidero bore down from Agila’s right goalline and crossed the ball. He hoped to get the ball to Gonzalez who was lurking inside the box. Except the ball struck Agila’s JP Merida for a deflection and a score in the 78th minute. With a minute left before fulltime, Gonzalez finally added his name to the score sheet that he followed with his traditional cartwheel and back flip.

The win came at a cost when midfielder William Guerridon went down with a knee injury. “We hope it’s not bad because we need him,” said Fegidero. “It won’t be easy in Division One because the best team’s in the country are there. But hindi naman kami nagpa-promote para lang ibaba ulit. We will compete and we will be beefing up the team by next season.”

After the match, the team only talked about dinner and the last task at hand. They had one more match to play against Diliman that nipped closely at their heels all season long but somewhat faded in the second half of the season. “We’d like to go out with a win and if possible, still keep the clean sheet.”

Even after a hard-played match, the Red Phoenix were still talking about executing.

The numbers: Pachanga has not allowed a goal in the second round. It was their 15th game where they did not concede a goal. The Red Phoenix’ record is now at a robust 20-1-0 with 121 goals scored and seven goals conceded. They have a goal differential of +114 and have accrued 61 points.

Read: Anatomy of a Gatorade bath


What does Pachanga moving up to Division One mean? Rivalry matches with Global, Kaya and Stallion.

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