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, January 16, 2013

Smart National Club Championship preview: Ceres vs. Global

Preview Ceres vs. Global
by rick olivares

Quarterfinals: Ceres vs. Global
January 19, 2013
4pm Rizal Memorial Football Stadium

Arguably the best club not plying its trade in the UFL, Ceres will come to Manila with plenty of interest after it defeated Stallion, 1-0, to advance to the quarterfinals stage of the Smart National Club Championship.

In that match, Stallion owned 80% of ball possession but got off only a few shots. Ceres on the other hand, had only one attempt and made good on it with a 46th minute goal by Kim Jung Mook. And that goal sent them to the quarterfinals where UFL champion Global, 2-1 conquerors of Nomads, waits.

Manila football fans will see some familiar faces in the Ceres lineup with former San Beda and Azkals goalkeeper Michael Louie Casas, former Kaya striker and national player Joshua Beloya, and defenders Lemuel Unabia, who once played for Green Archers United, and Jason Cordova, who anchored Stallion’s defense during the 2010-11 seasons.

Casas tended to the Azkals’ nets before the arrival of Fulham reserve keeper Neil Etheridge in 2008. He was pressed out of retirement with the injury to regular keeper John Robert Mendoza although he is the number two keeper behind Hyoun Jae Jun. When not in playing gear, he is Ceres’ goalkeeper coach and also served in the same capacity with Negros Occidental’s 2011 Suzuki Under-23 National Champions.

Other names on the Bacolod-based side are Timothy Bolo who played for UST last season but chose to transfer to the University of St. La Salle in Negros where the bulk of the Ceres team comes from. One other local star is Jaime Poderoso Jr, the star striker of West Negros University.

Another familiar face will be Ali Go, a former national player who also once played for Kaya in the pre-Football Alliance UFL. Go, serves as the team manager of the squad that is coached by USLS’ Freddie Lazarito and Ramon Janeo.

Unlike previous Ceres squads that where wholly local based, this current team reflects the changes in Philippine club culture as it has its bevy of Koreans and locally based Englishmen.

Ceres runs an attack-minded 4-4-2 formation with Joon Byeong Jun and Hanesin Prince Antony up front. Poderoso and Englishman Peter Long come off the bench. Beloya plays attacking mid, a role he exquisitely filled during the Suzuki U-23 of two years ago where he first made a name for himself by scoring 15 goals. His linemates include Jason Panhay, Kim Jung Mook, and Rolando Ian Treyes.

On defense is Englishman Danny Claxton, Cordova, and Koreans Park Keon Hyeong, and Sim Hyun Min.

However, against a tough Stallion team, Ceres were forced to attack on the counter. In Manila, they cannot afford to sit back against Global that never allowed Nomads to run their offense.

Global’s strength as always is its wing play. Delon Yao has stepped into the starting lineup and given the Brian Reid-coach club speed, pace, and power on the left flank with Jeffrey Christiaens in the middle. Over at the other side, the combination of Jerry Barbaso and Patrick Reichelt is even more lethal. With center mid Yu Hoshide unavailable in the last match, Reichelt would sometimes slip in the middle to help facilitate the center play (Carli De Murga moved up to an attacking midfield position and he scored the opening goal for Global). He would look to either side and determine where to send the ball.

If Ceres found Stallions’ defense tough to crack, they will also find more of the same with Global as its back four is solid with Barbaso on the right, Val Kama and Angge Guisso in the middle, and Yao on the left.

Marwin Angeles, although usually playing up front with the role of distributor, was asked by Reid to occupy the holding midfielder slot that he performed quite well against Nomads.

Aside from the tough D and star-studded Global line-up, Ceres will be playing in different surroundings. If they weather the early onslaught from Global, they might give a good account of themselves. Because of their Round of 16 win, they won’t be catching Global by surprise and their resiliency on defense is paramount.

Ceres have also not played against the reinforced Manila teams in top-flight football in front of huge crowds. Global Force, the side’s booster squad is very vocal and non-stop in its exhortations for the club to pull out not just a win but a huge one with goals galore. They will be in force for the Saturday clash. And with the Smart National Club Championships entering its more competitive phase as all the early pretenders have been weeded out, expect the pressure to multiply.  "It will be a tough match up," described Global team owner Dan Palami. "They (Ceres) will be hungry."

The defending UFL champions, Global, with its bevy of national players, handle pressure well. Their bench along will be tough to handle. Look for Brian Reid-coached team to advance to the semis.


Watch for the Kaya-Loyola preview next.

And here's the pairings for the Smart National Club Championship.

For additional reading, here's one I penned on the Bacolod (Ceres) title run for the 2011 Suzuki Under-23 National Championship titled HOW BACOLOD BECAME U-23 CHAMPIONS.


  1. can't wait for the Saturday excited!!

  2. I can't believe this match isn't televised.