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, February 13, 2013

Green Archers United-Kaya: Malice at the Emperador's Palace.

Malice at the Emperador’s Palace
One near meltdown, five yellow cards, one red card, three ejections.  And oh, a pair of football matches happened to break out.
by rick olivares

UFL Tuesday should be remembered more for the triumph of skill but instead, it will go down in league annals as “Fight Night” or “Malice at the Emperador Palace Stadium”. And no, you weren’t watching a mixed martial arts event even if a flying kick was scored. These were the opening matches to grace the brand new Emperador Stadium in swanky McKinley Hills in BGC and the fireworks that closed out the matches were overshadowed by a huge melee.

It began with an ominous sign when Pachanga-Diliman midfielder Ernest Appiah knocked down Loyola forward Phil Younghusband in the first match of the day’s doubleheader.

It was a reckless challenge for which the Pachanga player was not even issued a warning or a card and Younghusband nearly lashed out in anger. Over at the bleachers section, Kaya midfielder Chris Greatwich who was watching the proceedings remarked, “That should have been a card. One card and it will stop all of this nonsense.”

There was none coming although Pachanga Diliman defender Yves Ashime was assessed one minutes later for another reckless challenge on Younghusband.

It was still all about football though and the match saw a brilliant goal by Freddy Gonzalez off a well-played pass by Younghusband for goal in the 22nd minute.

Loyola dominated the first 60 minutes of the match and looked to threaten for more goals when Mark Hartmann was subbed out (because the coaching staff felt he wasn’t working hard on defense) with Younghusband following minutes later when he had trouble breathing and running up and down the pitch. Loyola’s offense went south almost immediately.

The match had all the undertones of a big and maybe contentious match as it featured Gonzalez who previously owned and played for Pachanga before swapping places with Anto Gonzales who was on loan to the latter for a year.

Pachanga loaded up the midfield and rained down shots on the Loyola goal with backup keeper Mark Sorongon, getting his third consecutive start over usual number one Ref Cuaresma, turning in another yeoman’s job. In only the second minute of the match, he stopped a shot by Ian Mariano from point blank range. The Sparks escaped with a 1-0 win and moved up to 2-0 in the league standings. “We did well but not well enough,” remarked Younghusband after the match. “We’ll work it out in our next practice.”

In the main game of the doubleheader -- between Green Archers United and Kaya -- both sides needed a win as they were coming off losses in the opening matches of the league.

Coaches Rodolfo Alicante and Maor Rozen both displayed inventiveness when they gave their starting elevens a little wrinkle undoubtedly to shake up their respective squads’ stupor.

Alicante benched troubled midfielder Ayi Aryee and Sean Lee in favor of Dan Ito and defender Tommy Escoltero. Kaya in the meantime saw Enzo Pinga and Alu Kigbu start over Jonah Romero and Nate Burkey while Anton Ugarte was not even listed in the reserve list.

Archers attacked early while Kaya struggled to move the ball forward. The central midfield play of GAU, non-existent in their last few outings, finally showed up but with Caligdong attacking up the middle.

Then came another non-call by the referees that this time had both teams howling in protest and incredulity. After a throw in by Kaya’s OJ Porteria deep in Archers territory, linesman Ryan Clores waved his flag in an apparent offside call. Rozen and the Archers bench wondered aloud how a player cannot be offside directly from a throw in. Clores realized his error and summoned referee Roel Emnas who rectified the call.

A few tackles here and there and tempers began to flare. Rozen received a warning from the officials when he yelled at Emnas and Clores for not knowing the rules of the game.

Porteria, now Kaya’s most important player, rescued the game from its physical nature with a virtuoso move that will go down in league annals as one of the best goals. Ever.

Porteria, Mr. Fleet of Feet, scooted in from the left flank, dodged a Tommy Escoltero tackle then raced in unopposed towards the goal. In a Diego Maradona-esque move, he slalomed through four other Archers defenders for an amazing goal.

After beating Escoltero, he blew by in succession centralbacks Lawrence Ikegwuruka and Jake Hugo, goalkeeper Martin Villaflor, and lastly left back Ronnie Aguisanda before slotting the ball in at a difficult 45-degree angle. One-nil, Kaya in the 27th minute. All while getting knocked down by a Kaya defender. “I decided to play on and not wait for a whistle,” Porteria would later say.

Sensing the match slipping away, Alicante sent in Lee and Tating Pasilan and GAU got a lift on their offense. Even as both sides played some terrific football, the match was slowly degenerated into a frightening match as fouls, deemed by both squads’ coaching staffs and players as cautionable, went uncalled.

In the 74th minute, Kaya defender and former national player Eddie Mallari got entangled with current Azkal Chieffy Caligdong. The two exchanged some angry words and had to be pulled apart. Soon other players got into the fray and the pushing and shoving started. Rozen rushed to the field to pull away his players. But with fights breaking out all over, tournament officials ran onto the pitch to break them up.

Matters turned for the worse when GAU’s team manager Monchu Garcia entered the field where he angrily confronted Kaya goalkeeper Saba Sadeghi who was pulling away his teammates. Garcia shoved Sadeghi to the ground condemning the fight to hell. Archers’ utility player Elle Cagayanan ran from the bench and kicked at Kaya defender Dario Dakic. GAU team consultant, Hans Smit, who was in the bleachers section, made his way to his team’s sidelines and engaged a Kaya official in a verbal joust that wasn’t fit for Valentine’s Day.

By the time both teams were finally separated, match officials meted out five yellow cards (Kaya’s Sadeghi, Dakic and Kross Ubiam as well as Archers’ Caligdong and Gabriel Oloweyeye), one outright red card (Cagayanan), and three ejections (Cagayanan, Rozen, and Garcia).

When the order was finally restored (after about 10 minutes of stoppage), the rough play was greatly diminished but not in the ferocity of the attacks. In the 90th minute, the match turned a bizarre leaf when Kaya defender Junior Muñoz’s clearance from inside the box struck Pasilan’s back and looped crazily backwards towards the Kaya goal and beyond Sadeghi’s arms for an incredible goal to level matters at 1-1.

With Archers looking to steal a draw and even a win as the momentum swung their way, Rozen, issued signals to his staff on the bench to put in Janrick Soriano for Alu Kigbu. It was a masterstroke as Soriano, at death’s door (90+8) fielded a perfect throughball from midfielder Toshi Hosoe to beat the defenders and blast the game winner past a diving Villaflor. Kaya vociferously celebrated on the sideline while the Archers slumped to the ground knowing they were undone.

In many ways, the final scoreline of 2-1 was well deserved for Kaya. It was also heartbreaking for Green Archers who gamely matched their opponents all throughout yet came out winless in two outings. After the match, all everyone could talk about was the fight. However both sides blamed the spotty officiating as the cause for the outbreak of hostilities. “I think the officials failed to properly control the match,” said Smit post-match. “Of course, the fight is no excuse. But the UFL and the PFF should look into improving the state of our officiating.”

Note: Loyola captain James Younghusband did not suit up for the match as he is on the mend with a hamstring injury that will keep him out until next week. For the Green Archers Utd. and Kaya match, it was the first time that Chieffy Caligdong started the match as team captain as regular captain Tating Pasilan was on the bench nursing a mild injury. Caligdong previously wore the captain’s armband when he came off the bench for Pasilan in GAU’s PFF Smart National Club Championship match in Dipolog. Prior to the Green Archers-Kaya fight, the last one to breakout was in the 2012 season between Army and Stallion.


  1. One of the best games I've seen in the UFL. A lot of intricate passes which I think will become the norm when playing in Emperador. The field is small compared to UMAK and RM. thus, making long balls very ineffective.

    Sadly, while everything in football has improved in the pass couple of years. The officiating remains the same.

    I'm sure that UFL and PFF are doing something about it but it is really enough?

    Their (referee) work speaks for itself.

  2. For the football enthusiast who watched the game, it is very clear that caligdong is the one who initiated the brawl of the players. He intentionally committed a hard foul on Mallari. You know this guy is small guy, he is still feeling that he is still a military man. Even in the azkals game he always play dirty because he cannot tackle on big players. Ok lang laro nya noong wala pang mga foreigners. Ngayon hindi na puede ability nya.