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, January 20, 2013

Porteria makes Loyola pay for miscue

Porteria makes Loyola pay for miscue
by rick olivares

In a sport like football where it is difficult to score a goal, sometimes all it takes is one mistake for a team to win or to lose.

It wasn’t the razor sharp Loyola side that faced rival Kaya in the quarterfinals of the Smart National Club Championship. Of course, it is no longer some provincial side they were facing but a team that is every bit as good as them and stocked with their own national players.

Yet, the Sparks for the most part had their way although Kaya occasionally got their licks in to remind them that they too are a dangerous side.

Perhaps sensing that it was the right time to throw in Freddy Gonzalez into the fray, Loyola’s coaching staff subbed out left back PJ Fadrigalan and put midfielder Matthew Hartmann in his place.

As soon as I saw the switch, I thought back to the 2011 SEA Games when the coaching staff also installed Hartmann in the back. He is a midfielder. He may have played some defensive duties some time ago but first and foremost he is a midfielder and I don’t think he has the backline defender’s instinct. Matt has acquitted himself well in the secondary and he might have been checked by Kaya but I immediately felt it was a wrong move.

It wasn’t only me who noticed. Kaya midfielder OJ Porteria did as well. “They (PJ Fadrigalan and Alex Elnar) have kept pace with me and made it difficult to get my runs inside or even crosses. Then I saw an opening. He (Hartmann) didn’t move and I was able to get in.”

Loyola’s Korean midfielder Park Min Ho tried to cover the space but Porteria fired. His shot hit the first post but the ball ricocheted in with keeper Ref Cuaresma unable to do anything but watch.

The 58th minute goal was huge. Kaya has been one of the top defensive sides in the country and they do not readily concede.

With every minute passing by, the pressure mounted as Loyola sought to equalize. Kaya head coach Maur Rozen was eager to send fresh legs into the fray but somehow their not having the correct uniforms delayed their substitution but ultimately not hurt their game.

Onyema Ikechukwu, who had come on for the injured Nate Burkey (he suffered a deep gash when he accidentally butted heads with Loyola central back Rodrigue Nembot. He came back on but was bothered by all the tape on his head as it affected his ability to turn and shortened his line of sight), gave Loyola fits with his pace and strength. In fact, all of Kaya’s substitutes gave them a huge lift.

The Sparks’ coaching staff looked to undo the damage with a few more substitutes. Roxy Dorlas who normally starts on the left hand side came on for Hartmann.

Loyola had their chances with a pair of headers by Gonzalez that Kaya keeper Saba Garmaroudi read well. “I saw Fred coming in and I knew he would try to head it in. I dived to get my hands on his shot and I was lucky because he was that close.”

Sparks attacking midfielder Byeong Yeol Jeong also had a pair of excellent chances including a run from the right side where he weaved and faked off his defender three times before firing wide.

Nembot also had several chances off headers of long range volleys but they were either snared by Garmaroudi or went wide.

Porteria had come close as well with a header that hit the crossbar and another that drifted wide left. Porteria who is back from a knee injury that took him out deep into Kaya’s UFL Cup run kept his patience and looked for an opening. The subbing out of Fadrigalan did not escape his notice as it did Rozen. “I saw that too but I will give credit to all my boys as they did the work.”

Unlike the first match of the Saturday double headers where Ceres sat back on a 1-0 lead, Kaya would oft attack not only on a counter but also on a build up from the back. That kept Loyola honest on defense and keeping players from staying up front.

Equally mystifying for Loyola was another substitution in stoppage time when they sent in Korean Jang Joo Wong that further took away precious seconds off the clock. And when referee Emmanuel Elloso blew his whistle to signify that full time had arrived, it was a jubilant Kaya side that danced on the pitch.

“Finally!” yelled Kaya midfielder Eddie Mallari. “We finally got ‘em.”

In close to two years, Kaya had not beaten Loyola whether in a proper match or friendly. “I suspected it was time to get the monkey off our backs,” said defender Anton del Rosario after the match. Del Rosario was not allowed to play as he was still recovering from an injury.

However, Kaya is moving on to face Ceres in the semifinals of the Smart National Club Championships while Loyola is left to ponder another game went wrong.


  1. The game became interesting in the last 20 mins . Scrappy play from both teams. Possession play was terrible

  2. Hi Rick, nothing to do with the game, but I don't know how else to contact you (or anyone who might be interested). I was wondering if the PFF have heard of Yuji Takahashi, 19-yr-old Japanese footballer of Filipino descent. He is a 6'1" central defender. Mother club is Kyoto Sanga but is currently on loan to the Brisbane Roar in Australia. He has represented Japan at U-18 & U-19 levels. A possible future Azkal, maybe?

    1. Sure, email me at Thanks!

  3. Not to rain on anyone's parade but why do the ultras kaya still bring fireworks to the games even if they know that it is not allowed? Kaya as the team supported should put their supporters in place. safety is the priority! I heard there was a security/bag check on the the game yesterday because of the fireworks incident.