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.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ateneo defeats La Salle in a penalty shootout to book a UAAP Finals seat for the first time since 2008

Screen shot of the video I took of Ateneo's Nick O'Donnell stopping La Salle counterpart Patrick Deyto. Minutes later, Blue Booter Gico Noel slammed in the game winning spot kick for a 4-3 win and a spot in this year's UAAP finals.

Ateneo defeats La Salle in a penalty shootout to book a UAAP Finals seat for the first time since 2008
story and screen shots by rick olivares
(Yes, I have the video of the PK shootout)

Moro Lorenzo Field
Ateneo de Manila University

Gico Noel stood at the 12-yard line. He stomped the spot four times just to make sure it was flat. Then he held the ball up like a bowler for exactly seven seconds would before getting ready to unload on some bowling pins. When referee Ronald Yurag signaled for Noel to take the penalty kick, Noel moved back exactly seven steps.

If he converted, he would break a 3-3 tie in the penalty shootout over La Salle and send the blue and white into the finals.

At goal was La Salle’s Patrick Deyto. For his entire five-year college career with the Green Booters, he was acknowledged the best goalkeeper not only in the UAAP but also not to be on the national team.

When Deyto moved up from DLSZ to the seniors division, he was a firebrand and a hothead. He would taunt and talk smack. In fact several years ago, he nearly started a brawl with Ateneo after the match had been settled and La Salle coming away winners. But he has mellowed down and become more focused. He almost did not come back for his final year as he wanted to play pro division one football in the UFL. He did come back.

Prior to Noel taking the spot kick, Deyto was La Salle’s fifth and last designated penalty taker. He was a good field player and had been one before head coach Hans Smit converted him into a goalie. In one match several years ago, Smit, late in the match and the outcome already in La Salle’s hands, moved Deyto to an attacking midfield position while sending in second keeper Martin Villaflor, now tending the nets of Green Archers United in the UFL to the goal. Deyto nearly scored in the remaining minutes. The question then was, “What could he not do?”

Now, he had the opportunity to send La Salle back into the UAAP Finals, their first since 2006 where they lost to Ateneo, 1-nil.

Across Deyto was Ateneo rookie Nick O’Donnell, heir apparent to the tag of best goalkeeper in the UAAP. O’Donnell, faked going to his left, the strong right side of Deyto. The Green Booter fired to the left. Exactly as O’Donnell anticipated. He parried the well-struck shot away as Ateneo supporters screamed in jubilation. Deyto sank to his knees in abject disbelief and agony.

He had one more chance. All he had to do – was to stop Noel’s shot.

Noel was right footed. Deyto went to his left (Noel’s strong side). But to his horror, Noel sent it to his right. And into the back of the net.

Then bedlam.

The Green Archers were the hottest team of the second round of the UAAP tournament. They had beaten Ateneo and FEU convincingly. They lost in the final minute of the match against UP. They were pretty confident they could repeat over their rivals from Loyola Heights.

And for much of the game, it looked just like that. La Salle dominated possession. An incredible 70% of the match. Ateneo’s midfield, its strength for the year, was virtually none existent. Their shape was poor as was their organization and their communication. It certainly looked like La Salle was either going to score and send the semifinals series to a winner-take-all Sunday.

The Blue Booters organized at the half and had their moments. But they were God-awful. O’Donnell’s goaltending was magnificent. As was the defense of Enzo Bonoan and Wilson Marcelino. Late in the second half, they were battling cramps. And in the extra 30-minute period, they looked like they were going to give. Bonoan eventually went out. But no matter. They held La Salle scoreless in 120 minutes and were going into a penalty shootout.

La Salle’s Nate Alquiros shot first and made good on it. One-nil, La Salle.

Ateneo’s former number one keeper, Yu Murayama who over the past two seasons played every position from netminder to defender to midfielder to striker then trooped to the 12-yard line. He tried to place it and launched it without much power and Deyto easily saved it.

Green Archer Greggy Yang was next. He sent O’Donnell diving left and the ball right. But the Ateneo goalie got a foot on the ball and it was parried away harmlessly.

Deyto guessed right on Val Calvo’s spot kick that went left but the La Salle keeper was a fraction of a second too late to save it. The score was 1-1.

Ralph Layumas sent O’Donnell the wrong way for a 2-1 La Salle lead but Mikko Mabanag drew Ateneo level.

Don Rabaya scored for the Green Archers after which Carlo Liay tabbed a goal for the Blue Booters for the 3-3 draw. Then came O’Donnell’s save of Deyto’s PK and Noel’s match winner.

Thus Ateneo booked the first finals ticket and will wait for the second tiff between FEU and UP. The Tamaraws earlier made mincemeat out of UP for a 5-1 win.

Tears of joy flowed freely on one side while tears of sadness came down on the other.

For Ateneo captain and defender Migs Tuazon and Murayama, it’s an opportunity for redemption. They were a part of the Ateneo team that last made the finals in 2008, the last year of team captain Patrick Ozaeta. They defeated FEU in Game One of the Finals but lost in Game 2 where the blues were without suspended defender Fred Ozaeta and head coach Ompong Merida. Both Tuazon and Murayama were freshmen that year with the former bagging the Rookie of the year Award. Both players took a year (or two in the case of Murayama) off from the team and schooling before coming back.

Now along with Merida’s nephew, JP Merida, who once played the midfield for Ateneo’s three-peat team of 2004-06, and is now the head coach. They are back.

In Ompong Merida’s final year, the Blue Booters finished dead last in the UAAP with a 0-3-7 record and a -19 goal differential. That season was so bad that immediately after their final match, a thrashing at the hands of UE that had current Ateneo assistant coaches Ryan Marinay and Joesil Macalisang in their lineups, a few players took off their uniforms and flung them to the ground. The team had reached its nadir with the three-peat a distant memory.

Last season, JP Merida took over, and although the team finished second to the last with a 3-7 record and a smaller -9 goal differential, they were only beaten in the final 10-15 minutes of the match. The team had gotten better and for the first time since 2008, had beaten La Salle and they took both rounds.

The post-match celebration was quick and simple. Merida imparted one thing – the season isn’t done yet. Any celebration will have to be tempered. After the finals. But for now, it is all right to rejoice because the Ateneo Men’s Football Team, in the unlikeliest of seasons, is back in the finals.

Notes: This team of Ateneo booters have the opportunity to win the men’s basketball and men’s football title for the first time in the same season since 1941. The Ateneo Men’s Football Team won the NCAA title that year the day before World War II broke out. In that match, Atenean Simon La'O booted in the game winning goal against La Salle (with time running out). In the UAAP, the basketball team lost to UST in the finals in 2006 but took the football crown against La Salle. In 2008, the basketball team won against La Salle for the championship but lost in the mens’ football tourney title game against FEU that was bannered by Jovanie Simpron, Ansing Gustilo, Glester Sobremisana, and Jake Hugo. The last time Ateneo won a penalty shootout was in the 2005 Men’s Football Finals against UST. The shootout was nearly stopped because it was played close to twilight.

Photo from Inez Achacoso.


Much much respect to my friends on the La Salle football team: Hans Smit, Tating Pasilan, Alvin Ocampo, Manji Marcellana, Philip Mayol, Don Rabaya, Larson Smit, Patrick Deyto, and Greggy Yang.


  1. Good to know someone is writing about Ateneo college football. I used to play for the blue&white from 1972-1977 (the last years before Ateneo transferred to the UAAP). I noticed you are a Liverpool fan. They are not doing very well this year. I just saw them loose last night in the UEFA Cup. And Suarez might leave to go to Germany. Maybe they'll get better. I, myself, am a Barça fan through and through. Thanks for the good read.

  2. sir rick, any chance you're going to upload the PK video somewhere?