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.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Suzuki Cup semis clash in Singapore: Time to get the job done



This appears in the Wednesday, December 12, 2012 edition of the Business Mirror.

Time to get the job done

by rick olivares

Michael Weiss likes what he sees.

The match between the Philippines and Singapore in the first leg of their 2012 Suzuki Cup semifinals clash may have ended in a scoreless draw but the Philippine head coach has reasons to be happy.

The result still gives the Philippines hope after they repeatedly repelled Singapore's attacks. One goal in the away match on Wednesday, December 12, at the Jalan Besar Stadium, will count as double as per tournament rules and the home team will have to find the back of the net twice just to equalize.

However, that is getting ahead of themselves. An early morning Monday flight to the island state left the players a little tired. "It was this morning where I saw the freshness come back," said Weiss. "It was most important to recover from the first leg because it was an intense game. We had a day off on Sunday but we had a strong session last Monday."

Weiss underscored the urgency of the match. "If we want to make the finals then we have to come out and play like we did in the second half."

In that second half, Azkals co-captain Chieffy Caligdong had an opportunity to convert a cross by Phil Younghusband but his first touch was poor and the moment slipped away. "Sanamabigyan ulit ng pagkakataon sa next game. Pero kahit sino. Para naman sa bayan ‘to at hindi personal glory.”

“Home field advantage sila pero iniisip namin makascore kami agad. Malaking bagay na mauna kami para hindi naghabol. Maganda naman depensa namin. Ang isa pang maganda rito ay iba na yung turing ng ibang bansa. Patas na.”

Added national side team manager, Dan Palami: “In all our games, we played well in the second half. I talked to Coach Weiss about bringing our second half game to the first half. Everyone is aware of the implications of this.
The other day I got dozens of calls after the loss of Manny (Pacquiao). This will be a huge lift for Philippine sports if we make the finals.”

On Singapore's part, head coach Radojko Avramovic likewise hopes to end his celebrated stint with the Lions with another Suzuki Cup title. But to do that, Avramovic needs his squad to come out with the same spirit that was on display in the Philippines. "The job isn't done yet. We have another 90 minutes. I hope we show the same strength as we did in the Philippines."

This Suzuki Cup semifinals series is Avamovic's fourth and he is looking to win his third Asean football championship. "It's different every time. There are new challenges."

This is the second consecutive semifinals berth for the Philippines and the first under Weiss who has presided on the best performances and finishes of the national side in its entire history. However, the second year head coach also preached caution, "We are still a work in progress."

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Additional reading: My analysis on the Philippines' home match against Singapore

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