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, December 1, 2012

Choosing the Azkals' best performer in the group stages of the Suzuki Cup

If I were to choose the best performer in the Philippines' group stage matches here in Thailand, I'd nail my choices down to three -- goalkeeper Ed SacapaƱo, defender Rob Gier, and midfielder/forward Angel Guirado. This not to say that others did not play well. Sure they did. In fact, I would name Jason de Jong as the Man of the Match in that historic win over Myanmar. He not only targeted Phil Younghusband for the first goal but he was a steadying influence in the middle and the back. Dennis Cagara also had superb second and third matches. Juani Guirado, as I mentioned during my game tweets was 'Sgt. Rock', a respectful nod to the DC Comics' character. Patrick Reichelt was also influential as well in the first two games (he wasn't as sharp in the Myanmar game). But in my opinion, Ed, Rob, and Angel are my candidates for the Azkals' best performers in the group stage.

Ed was a lifesaver for the team and didn't commit any mistakes en route to two clean sheets. He did the best he could during the two strikes of Thailand and can hardly be blamed for that. They were simply superb runs by a top notch opponent. 

Rob was to this team what Aly Borromeo was to the 2010 squad -- steady in the back, solid in his defense, and the rightful team captain of this squad. He is and was easily the most consistent player for the group stages. I'd like to say that maybe one day, Rob Gier would be the perfect coach for the Philippine Men's Football National Team. He understands the team's needs, composition, and problems. He's got the tactical nous and is a solid motivator. It is a plus that he has his head screwed on right. Furthermore, everyone on the team respects him and that isn't hard to come by. I know Robbo would not encourage these talks as he has his own concerns back in England but I am just saying this. Who knows? Maybe one day. 

And there's Angel Guirado who had a subpar first game but was a game changer in the second and third outings. He was the best performer during the Azkals' AFC Challenge Cup campaign and makes a strong case for this Suzuki Cup as well. And to think we are not yet done.

So who's got my final vote? Rob Gier. A close decision over Ed SacapaƱo for what he brought to the table on and off the field.


My thoughts on the game vs Myanmar.


  1. Rob Gier as future NT Coach! Yes to that! :)

  2. Rob Gier was consistent in defending and leading the team. Future coach of the national team? Hell yeah!!

  3. Yes, to Rob Gier on all counts. And congrats to the azkals looking forward to the home game on dec 8.

  4. I second the motion on the 3 players that you've mention!! And I very much agree that Rob Gier.. did the best plays in all three games! Strong & Solid.. best to describe him!

  5. I agree! But I'd add Dennis Cagara to the list too. Solid on defense and great in starting our offense from the back line. Does Rob know we want him as NT coach someday? I hope he doesn't mind going back to (coaching) school.

  6. 110% agree on ROB GIER - Best performer & Ideal Philippine Nat'l Team coach. Sir Rick, I have been rallying for Rob Gier since I've started following this team. I've seen his performance on the field and watched him on TV interviews. He has wisdom & character. I've always thought he would be a great leader for the team. I could easily picture him as a future national Philippine coach - I've already did & I'm very happy that you share the same thoughts! He is someone that the young ones and teammates can look up to. Now, if only Rob would entertain this thought -- even just for the future :)

  7. seems the availability of some of the europe-based players are still uncertain for the semis; the team must work doubly hard starting now, the semis being tougher and with higher stakes;
    surely singapore will be hell bent on revenge against the azkals because of their last 2 loses, the last game in cebu for me was a close one, on another day they could have won
    let's just pray that at least some of the veteran players will be good to go for the game, and all players to be healthy and injury-free

  8. rob gier definitely is the best player of the tournament.consistency,calm and maturity with so much class make rob doesnt hurt he has the most heartwarming smile ever