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.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Stallion goes for its first UFL league title tonight

Stallion goes for its first UFL league title tonight
(but not if Loyola can help it)
by rick olivares

Emperador Stadium, McKinley Hill

Once more the UFL title comes down to its finals days.

And the Loyola Meralco Sparks, out of the running, are once more in the thick of things where the outcome of their match will decide who wins it. Although it won’t be the Sparks as the championship is a two-team race between defending champion Global and current-league leader Stallion.

On UFL Tuesday, Stallion plays its final match of the season against Loyola. A win by Stallion will give them the championship outright even if Global wins its final two matches. A draw will leave them on perilous ground as Global can tie them and the tiebreaker will come down to goal difference. Stallion, has a plus-five goal difference advantage over the beleaguered defending champions who were handily defeated by Loyola last week, 2-0. That loss put Stallion once more in the driver’s seat and a rare chance to win a UFL double (as they copped the UFL Cup). “We were all waiting for that one more chance to win the title,” related head coach Ernie Nierras. “When Loyola won, we knew we had our fate in our own hands.”

Last season in a similar scenario, Global led Kaya in points 41-39 heading into the penultimate playing day. In the first match of the day’s double header, Nate Burkey scored the match’s only goal to give Kaya a huge 1-nil win that put them ahead on points 42-41. Global, playing Loyola in the next match, needed only a draw to win the league championship. A loss would give Kaya its third UFL title.

As it is Global drew, 1-1, with Loyola to cop their first ever UFL league championship.

Stallion paces the UFL Division One standings with a 15-0-2 record that is good for 45 points. Global, with a game in hand, and two to play, is at second with a 13-1-2 record and 40 points.

Expect Stallion to go all out to get a win but the question is, what Loyola team will come out tonight?

Will it be the Sparks of the first half of the season that was firing on all cylinders? They flashed that form in taking down Global. Or will it be the LMS team that after the huge opening round win of the Singapore Cup, fell to earth with an anemic 1-1 draw with Green Archers United?

If the Sparks come to play, Stallion will have its hands full. “You cannot under estimate Loyola. Never,” emphatically underscored Nierras.

But that same question can be posed against Stallion as well as they have displayed an alarming propensity to play three-quarters of the match before stepping off the gas pedal.

Nierras showed humility in admitting to his team’s lapses. “All year long we have been good at hiding our injuries. Sometimes I will make changes because we want our players to be able to be fit for the next match. At times, the changes in players and tactics has seen us concede goals. I am partly to blame for that but the good thing about our system is that everyone has a say in it. What good is the system that I want to run if the players do not believe in it?”

“If we win tonight, this isn’t just for us and our supporters but for the club’s roots in Barotac Nuevo,” added Nierras. “It might not be a wholly Illongo team now but remember, our Koreans were also once based in Iloilo City where they went to school at CPU.”

Tonight’s Loyola-Stallion match could also determine who will win the UFL’s scoring title. Spaniard Rufo Sanchez leads the league with 18 goals while last season’s scoring champion, Phil Younghusband is second with 17.


David Cortina, Park Minho, Simon Greatwich, Rodrigue Nembot are still injured. Six players are on the U23 squad. But according to club president Randy Roxas the team will do what they can.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting story with the 2 girls in the photo. I love these girls. They come to all our games. Sometimes they walk for miles just to watch us play. They were wondering around BGC one morning and caught one of our practice sessions. From that day these 2 girls have been with us! True StallionFC fans!