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.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Singapore raring to get back at the Philippines

This appears in the Thursday, December 6, 2012 edition of the Business Mirror.

Singapore raring to get back at the Philippines
by rick olivares

Several years ago, when Singapore head coach Radojko Avramovic was asked what he thought about the Philippine Men’s Football National Team, his response was, “Make the semifinals first before I make a comment.”

Two years and two consecutive semifinals appearances later, all every sports person in the Southeast Asian region wants to talk about is the Philippines. Avramovic included.

“We did not get the results that we wanted in our last two friendlies,” said Avramovic, “But I am confident that we know what to expect from the Philippines now and we can make our adjustments.”

Singapore midfielder Shahdan Sulaiman with 22 caps to his name says his side is not deterred by the two losses to the Philippines. “It does serve as a motivation to us. We could have won those games and we want to get a result this time round.”

Added defender Baihakki Khaizan, “Looking at the past, we didn’t have a good run of results in the friendly games against Philippines. But our team, normally after a loss comes back. We look forward to play them again.”

The Lions lost their last two fixtures to the Philippines, 2-0, at the Jurong West Stadium in Singapore last September, and 1-0, in Cebu, last November 15. Singapore advanced to the semifinals after rallying to beat tough and pesky Laos, 4-3, in their final group stage match to go through along with defending champion Malaysia. The Young Tigers, as Malaysia is nicknamed, booted out Indonesia, 2-0.

The Philippines on the other hand, behind Phil Younghusband and Angel Guirado’s second half goals, slipped past hitherto undefeated rival Myanmar at the Supachalasai Stadium in Bangkok last Friday, November 30.

The Azkals will be playing their first ever Suzuki Cup home match this coming Saturday, December 8 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium at 8pm. But they will possibly be without Guirado, defender Dennis Cagara, and midfielder Jerry Lucena who have not been cleared by their respective clubs, Salgoacar (India), Karlsruher (Germany), and Esbjerg (Denmark) to play.

The Suzuki Cup is not in FIFA’s official calendar of events and is not obligated by clubs to release their players. This is the same reason why goalkeepers Neil Etheridge (Fulham) and Roland Muller (Duisberg) have not been released.

Added Sulaiman, “Their European-based players are tough and without them, hopefully they (the Philippines) will struggle against us. It is better for us this way.”

Singapore have won the Asean Football Championship on three occasions: 1998, 2004, and 2007 and are looking forward to win it a record fourth time breaking a tie with Thailand. The Philippines booked its second consecutive semifinals berth in this edition of the Suzuki Cup.

In closing, Khaizan summed up the upcoming match with the Philippines as a test of their championship resolve: “They have the home advantage but for us, we need to maintain that standard and record which we have. I think not only myself but the team is raring to go and give our best.”


Not soon after I wrote this, Angel Guirado and Dennis Cagara were given permission to suit up for the semifinals.


  1. Rick, its Dennis Cagara and Angel Guirado who were given the green light by their respective clubs.

  2. Nice Dennis Cagara is available . so complete parin back four ? Juani guirado will be playing right ?