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.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Loyola returns to Lion City for the 2013 Singapore Cup

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Loyola returns to Lion City for the 2013 Singapore Cup
by rick olivares pic from

With the chance for any UFL silverware now up in smoke, the Loyola Meralco Sparks return to Singapore today, May 24, 2013, that is the site of some of their greatest victories and some of their most terrible defeats.

The Sparks unexpectedly drew with Nomads 2-2 last Tuesday sending the team into their Southeast Asian neighbor for the annual international football invitational with all sorts of questions about their game. The draw, coupled with the wins of league-leading Stallion and close second placer Global, has made the chase for the league title a two-horse race.

During the Sparks inaugural stint in the 2012 Singapore Cup, they defeated Singapore side, Geylang United, 2-1, in a thrilling match at the Jalan Besar Stadium with a 95th minute goal by Park Min Ho. With the Filipino side unused to the hard turf surface of Jalan Besar and the extreme humidity that left most of the Sparks cramping up, they took the fight to the home team and came away with a lot of respect from the Singapore clubs.

Into the second round, they defeated Myanmar champions Kanbawza 5-3 on aggregate to advance to the semifinals.

Loyola’s luck ran out in the semis where they faced S.League champions Tampines Rovers who crushed them 5-0 in aggregate scores for the two legs. Then Loyola was ignominiously bounced 4-0 by Gombak United in the battle for third place.

Mark Hartmann and James Younghusband each scored two goals to pace Loyola in the tournament. Phil Younghusband, Jake Morallo, and Park Min Ho added one goal each to their campaign.

“It was a learning experience for us last year,” said club president Randy Roxas on the eve of the team’s departure for Singapore. “We will come back stronger and wiser. But it won’t be easy as the Malaysian team we are playing, Harimau Muda B, is the Under-19 team of Malaysia.”

Harimau Muda B, nicknamed ‘The Young Tigers”, plays in the S.League without foreign reinforcements. It is done so with an eye towards development and for moving up to the senior national side. The Young Tigers are currently in fifth place in the 12-team S.League where they currently tote a 6-2-6 record.

The Young Tigers finished in eighth spot in last year’s S. League.

“Hopefully we will do better this year and win us some silverware,” said Loyola forward Phil Younghusband. “We’d also like to see how far we’ve really come as a club.”

The Sparks will play without two injured starters in forward Freddy Gonzalez and centerback Rodrigue Nembot.

Defending UFL champion Global will likewise make its Singapore Cup debut this June 1 when they play Warriors, the defending Singapore Cup champions at their home field of Choa Chung Kang Stadium. Warriors, formerly known as the Singapore Armed Forces Football Club, is surprisingly buried at the near bottom of the S.League with a 4-2-6 record despite having several national players in goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, forward Erwan Gunawan, midfielder Shi Jiayi, and defender Daniel Bennett who is also the team captain.

Notes: The 2013 Singapore Cup will have all 12 S.League teams participating with four foreign invited teams. Aside from Global and Loyola, Boeung Ket Rubber Field (from Cambodia) and Laos Police Club (from Laos) are also competing. The latter two teams as their league’s respective club champions. Making their Singapore Cup debut for Loyola are Armand Del Rosario, Matthew Uy, Angelo Marasigan, and Jang Jo Won, the younger brother of the Sparks’ midfielder/defender Jang Joo Won.

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