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PFFWL Roundup: Back-to-back wins in one weekend for Hiraya FC and GAU FC

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The Far Eastern University punctuated their climb in the standings with a 4-2 triumph over the University of Santo Tomas.


PFF Women's League - FEU def UST - Cupal

FEU look to improve their football season after finishing the UAAP in last place. The Ateneo de Manila University have gifted them 3 points after defaulting a match, and with another full set of points from a 4-2 win over UAAP Season 79 finalists University of Santo Tomas, the Morayta squad are now sitting pretty in fourth place.

Kim Cupal gave the early advantage with a goal forty seconds after kick off. But Jan Cleofe cancelled it out eight minutes later.

In the eighteenth minute, FEU had the lead again when Jean Brigette Kadil looped a shot from twenty yards. With five minutes to go before the half, Suet Simoy doubled their lead from even further out. But it was Nina Yanto who had the last say of the half by pulling another one back for UST with a minute left.

FEU stayed in attack mode for much of the remaining half, but it wasn’t until the 82nd minute that they found the goal to seal their win, thanks to captain Jovelle Sudaria off another long shot.

“Ang focus pa rin namin since natapos na yung UAAP ay kailangan mayroon pa rin kaming makuha from this league. Sa next games namin, priority pa rin namin saka yung objective namin is to win yung mga games,” head coach Let Dimzon said after the game.

But for that to become a certain reality, Dimzon hopes that her players will pick up soon, especially with converting chances.

“Since before UAAP, nagiging problema na namin yung technical abilities ng players hindi nagfi-fit dun sa attacking play. So yung mga chances namin na maka-attack o maka-score in front of the goal nawawala kasi yung lapses or weakness ng team talaga is yung finishing,” she acknowledged.

Injury-plagued OutKast FC’s slump continues with 2-3 upset loss to Hiraya FC


PFF Women's League - Hiraya FC def OutKast FC - Abraham

Hiraya FC pulled off an upset of sorts when they beat one of the top club teams in the league, OutKast FC. The latter suffered their second straight defeat, with many of their key players missing due to injuries.

Natasha Alquiros’ corner in the eighth minute found Inez Achacoso’s head to put Hiraya FC one up. Nine minutes later, Aiza Mondero’s one touch shot made it two-nil. An own goal in the 31st minute that was instigated by Frankie Abraham’s cross made it three to nothing. It was later credited to Cecilia Dayrit, who was in the box.

OutKast attempted to mount a comeback in the second half after two goals scored by Lindsay Whaley within a space of ten minutes, but Hiraya FC held on for the 3-2 win.

Mentor Philip Dinglasan was very pleased with the win, especially on their first game back from the long layoff. “Hopefully this can be a good momentum for us going into finishing the first round and going into the second round,” he said.

Dinglasan credited playing in small tournaments during the break for helping keep the team’s chemistry intact.

“I think being able to play about three tournaments during the break helped the girls establish more chemistry, not lose their fitness. I think the most important part that the tournaments really helped with is the chemistry and teamwork, it’s still there. So hindi alienated from each other yung players because they’re still seeing each other and playing with each other,” he explained.

Dinglasan also made sure to credit his midfielder Patrice Impelido, who is fresh off national team duty as a player on the senior team and coach of the youth team.

“On paper our lineup is not weak, I mean we have some players who were formerly national players and we have one who is actually part of the national team also now whose role in the game for me was crucial because her experience was, or her match fitness helped us finish the game with a win.”

GAU FC punish shorthanded TYFA for third straight win, 4-0


PFF Women's League - GAU def TYFA - DelCampo

Green Archers United FC continue to surge forward, taking full advantage of the Younghusband FA’s shortage of players. TYFA played the match with only eleven players available for the evening, with one field player hastily converted to goalkeeper.

Alisha Del Campo’s strike within nineteen minutes opened things up for the Alabang-based squad.

In the 32nd minute, Glynnes Dela Cruz delivered a cross that Michaela Maligalig nonchalantly slotted in to double GAU’s lead.

Two minutes later Del Campo struck again to pad the lead further. Three minutes after that, an Anicka Castañeda 50-yard screamer completed the five-minute blitz.

“Overall, we are happy we have a lot more players today although we have mga injuries so that’s the setback,” said GAU FC mentor Eleonora Dillera, referring to their opponent’s small numbers.

Dillera looked content that the team is coming together and was confident they will be ready for their next match in less than twenty four hours.

“We need to cool down properly because we need to recover for tomorrow. Good thing is we have a lot of young players in our team so it’s a good balance. We have seniors and a lot of incoming, you know, yung future ng football nandito din sa team. So it’s a good mix,” she said.

Dillera, who also subbed in as keeper, noted their team’s failure to score in the second half and attributed it to poor transition play.

“We still need to work on our touches with the ball and we have to work on our transition. The moment we lose the ball medyo matagal bumalik,” she admitted.

Hiraya FC master UP for second straight win of the weekend, 2-0


PFF Women's League - Hiraya FC def UP - Manalansan DeLosReyes

The Philippine Football Federation has scheduled some teams to play two games a weekend in a bid to finish the league’s first round quickly. One of these teams is Hiraya FC, who were tasked to play the University of the Philippines and remarkably, the club team prevailed again.

Hiraya FC beat their opponents to the scoreboard for the second straight game when Vanessa Anne Fabon latched onto the ball to slam it home after a brief scramble in the box inside 14 minutes.

In the 69th minute, the lead was doubled after a foul led to a Natasha Alquiros free kick that curved into the top corner.

UP struggled to build momentum for their side, and they weren’t helped by the steady defense of Hiraya — including great custodian work by goalkeeper Gely Tiu.

Among the defenders who stonewalled UP was Molly Manalansan, a former key member of that squad who said that she felt some sympathy for her old teammates.

“It was awkward, I kind of didn’t want to hurt them so usually yung ginagawa ko nalang I’d tap the ball out but in the second half medyo naka-adjust parang okay, they’re not my teammates anymore. But of course you know my sympathy whenever they get hurt nandoon pa rin. I still care for them a lot. Especially my best friend Cristina (De Los Reyes),” the Season 78 MVP shared.

Yet the winner’s mentality is also there for Manalansan, who had no qualms beating her old teammates to even better her new team’s record, after having already won the previous day. “Not really [surprised at this outcome] because we know we also worked hard for it. Bugbog na bugbog lang,” she added.

Manalansan also revealed that Hiraya relied on the team’s rich experience to get the full six points from the weekend.

“I think we focused more on communication this time and we worked on our strengths because unlike the other schools and the other teams we’re not fit and we don’t train. Basically we always discuss what the weakness of the other team is and then we capitalize on that. As what Tasha (Alquiros) says nga, they’re faster but we’re smarter because we’re older [and more experienced].”

GAU FC’s firm grip of second tightens at UST’s expense, 3-1


PFF Women's League - GAU def UST - Isulat Cadag

Aside from Hiraya FC, Green Archers United FC were also perfect over the weekend. Late Sunday night, they dealt the University of Santo Tomas their second straight loss, keeping them winless since their runner-up finish in UAAP Season 79.

It was Anicka Castañeda who handed GAU FC the lead in the 23rd minute. UST didn’t take this lightly and they fought for an equalizer which they found only eighteen minutes later via Shelah Mae Cadag. A slight change up put the usual defender in attack and she outsmarted goalie Natasha Lacson to level things up.

Both teams were probing for the go-ahead goal and it was the Alabang-based squad that took it in the 62nd minute. Substitute Isabel Montelibano ran after a ball that almost went out of bounds. Fearful of being called offside for a pass, she took a shot, and it was too much for the outstretched arms of UST custodian Tuesday Laxamana.

Alisha Del Campo later scored GAU’s third goal in the 77th minute with a slick collect-and-fire move that sealed the win.

This was a big win for GAU FC, who were playing their second game in less than 24 hours — and against the recent UAAP finalists — to secure the second spot in the league, so super-sub Montelibano could not help but feel stunned.

“I was actually surprised knowing that we were up against a much younger team, [one that] just came from UAAP. So for me it was just about thinking that we can do it, because like I said, it’s all just combined effort. Since UST gets to train more and they play together all the time. For us it’s more of not playing UST’s game but playing our own game,” Montelibano stated.

GAU’s offensive contribution usually comes from their young strikers so it also came off as a surprise that one of its elder veterans did manage to score. Montelibano later related how their team gets it to work.

“Every time we can, we talk, we plan together, we talk together. Because unlike other teams who get to train every week, we only get to train once or twice a week and we’re not even complete. So for me it’s just playing with each other, seeing how each one plays and adjusting to each other. They learn from us, we learn from them.”

On Deck


The PFF Women’s League continues this weekend at Rizal Memorial Stadium.

On Saturday, June 17, two matches are lined up: TYFA (8) vs. OutKast FC (3) at 8:00 a.m., FEU (4) vs. Hiraya FC (7) at 10:30 a.m.

On Sunday, June 18, there will be two games: OutKast FC (3) vs. UST (9) at 8:00 a.m., ADMU (5) vs. GAU FC (2) at 10:30 a.m.

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ADMU

Adamson Pep takes home first-ever Cheerdance crown

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Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that

After notching their first-ever podium finish last season, the Adamson Pep Squad completely got out of the darkness with an 80’s inspired show of lights and finesse to give Adamson University its first-ever UAAP Cheerdance crown, Saturday evening at the state-of-the-art SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasig City.

For the second time in three years, the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe took home silver with a Crouching Tiger-inspired performance.

The UE Pep Squad finished in third place, taking home bronze and PHP 140,000.

An error-filled start completely doomed defending champions National U Pep Squad from notching a five-peat and even making the podium.

After missing the competition a season ago, the UP Pep Squad’s performance, that was inspired by the stories of the Iskolars ng Bayan, did not finish in the podium for the first time.

In the group stunt competition, the FEU Cheering Squad took home gold — their second championship in the event in four years.

Adamson Pep finished with silver while UP Pep completed the podium in the side event.

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ADMU

Invincible La Salle sweeps way to historic league title

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The De La Salle University Lady Archers have taken the full 39 points to reign as the PFF Women’s League’s inaugural champions. The Taft-based squad have now won their second title of the year — together with the UAAP Season 79 championship — and are currently enjoying a 22-match unbeaten streak.

With 27 points, the University of Santo Tomas take second, while the Far Eastern University are a point behind in third. Fuego Espanya were given special citation with the Fair Play Award.

DLSU’s Sara Castañeda was chosen as the league’s Most Valuable Player. Two more of her teammates took home citations, with Kyra Dimaandal bagging the Golden Boot with a total of 21 goals and Inna Palacios named as Best Goalkeeper. UST’s Charisa Lemoran took the Best Midfielder honors, while Ivy Lopez was declared Best Defender.

La Salle smashes shorthanded TYFA 16 times to secure title and perfect record, 16-0


Already assured of the trophy, the De La Salle University headed into the game in Carmona last Saturday relaxed, only slightly pressured to keep a spotless record. DLSU boss Hans-Peter Smit also started his strongest eleven when he gave a special nod to his exiting players.

The ladies in green took full advantage of the Younghusband FA’s severe lack in manpower, netting seven in the first half and nine in the second.

Irish Navaja kicked things off with a left-footed strike from the wings to put the Lady Archers up in the 10th minute. Four minutes later Kyra Dimaandal doubled La Salle’s output, and she would go on to score three more in the 33rd, 42nd and 61st minutes.

Kyla Inquig added a pair in the 27th and 34th minutes, while Nicole Andaya registered a hat-trick, scoring in the 37th, 46th, and the last goal in the 89th.

Chelo Hodges chipped in with a 60th minute cleanup goal, while eventual MVP Sara Castañeda added another seven minutes later. A further four minutes and her sister Anicka joined the goal spree, completing a brace in a span of eight minutes.

The Lady Archers did not relent even in the dying minutes with transferee Bea Delos Reyes netting her first goals for her new team, a pair in the 81st and 85th minutes, the latter one a stunning turnaround shot inside the box.

Despite blowing out the game and in essence, the league, Smit remains modest about his team’s achievements including the 22-game winning streak, even saying it was all coincidental.

“It’s not like we started to look for a record of sorts! It just happened, I didn’t even know that we were on a roll. We weren’t really after it because we always go one game at a time. So we made it our mission besides winning the championship of both the UAAP and the PFF-WL,” he said, sharing that it is a good preparation for the coming UAAP season — which is what he is really after.

“I said, if we’ll do well in the women’s league then let’s go for it since we’re there na,” Smit added.

One player who has benefited from Smit’s tutelage is the elder Castañeda, who revealed what had taken to where they are now. “We just follow what he says. He gives us a main play to follow then we just mix it up during the game,” she shared.

The MVP recipient is also grateful that the arrival of league has helped her team grow since their heartbreaking loss in UAAP Season 79 final, the last time they lost.

“Because of this league we are able to play more games so yes it is good for our team’s chemistry,” she added.

Castañeda is also grateful to have given the team’s many graduating veterans a triumphant sendoff.

“Thank you to the seniors for helping the younger players on the team and good luck with your future!”

Hiraya FC dig deep to stage comeback victory over OutKast FC, 3-1


PFF Women's League - Hiraya def OutKast - Ibarra (1)

The weekend’s club team derby saw two teams that not only sought to end their season with a bang — but also with a place in the top half of the table.

Though outnumbered, it was OutKast FC who came flying off the blocks and immediately put the pressure on Hiraya. Hiraya’s defense was nearly successful in stamping out OutKast’s aggression until Barbie Sobredo’s close-range strike in stoppage outpaced keeper Haya Ibarra to grab a lead at halftime.

Hiraya regrouped and with patience found their equalizer in Aiza Mondero twenty minutes after restart. Three minutes later, Vanessa Anne Fabon’s one-touch delivery fired in the go-ahead.

OutKast attempted to counter but were falling prey to cramps in the early afternoon sun. Hiraya capitalized on this, and in the 88th minute went off on another run that saw Cecilia Dayrit gunning for Mondero’s through-ball from the middle. Keeper Hazel Arce was also scrambling for it but Dayrit won the race, slotting the ball in for the game’s final goal.

Ibarra later gave credit to Alice Dela Peña for firing the team up during halftime.

“I remember Alice saying before start of the half in the huddle that she feels we’ll end the game as winners and the team agreed. And we did win,” the team captain shared.

Ibarra is also contented with her team’s performance in the league and to finish in fifth with 19 points, while also hinting that the team has not actually reached their full potential, thus remaining hopeful for the next season.

“I’m happy because we were able to get this far as a new club team. We look forward to playing more games and growing women’s football together,” she added.

On the other hand, OutKast did not share Hiraya’s enthusiasm. Manager Keuts Smith wished to air her grievances that may have led her team to spiral down to the bottom half, in eighth place, after starting with so much promise. Smith joins many other club representatives who have lamented the execution of the league by the Philippine Football Federation.

“When the league started last year, there was a real excitement about it, fast forward ten months later it became a chore for all involved,” said Smith, who also blamed the tight schedule for getting one of her players seriously injured.

“I’m happy that OutKast FC was able to participate in the inaugural PFFWL but I’m disappointed that the PFF didn’t maximize the opportunity to promote women’s football. I’m dismayed at the overall lack of respect for the participants of the league by the PFF, putting their best interests first which is to complete the league regardless of the quality of it, and everything else second. On the positive side, it is the first PFFWL and hopefully improvements can be made.”

Ateneo ends on a high leaving Fuego Espanya empty with four unanswered goals, 4-0


PFF Women's League - ADMU def Fuego Espanya - Panganiban

The Lady Eagles of Ateneo de Manila University found themselves with 18 points and in sixth place at the finish line, while their victory also means that opponents Fuego Espanya end their season winless.

Jill Panganiban scored her first goal for Ateneo when she netted a tap-in in the 13th minute. 11 minutes later, the former Green Archers United FC winger jumped on a rebound for a long-range strike.

Five minutes before the half, it was Tessa Bernardo’s turn to score from a further distance, firing in a sensational golazo that rainbowed over the keeper and into the back of the net.

After halftime, Ateneo’s keeper Mariane Caparros switched to striker and two minutes later added a fourth goal off a flying header.

The win puts the Katipunan-based squad squarely on top of the bottom half, in fourth, among the UAAP teams, and mentor John Paul Merida could not hide his disappointment.

“I’m not really happy with the team’s performance because it has been inconsistent. When the PFF women’s league started, our objective was to perform well and to get the number one spot, but we ended up with a middle standing,” said Merida.

He added that while the team did not meet their objective, he is still thankful for such a tournament.

“I’m glad this tournament organized by the PFF is here, it was a good experience for the team.”

Three-star FEU shuts out UP to close season, 3-0


PFF Women's League - FEU def UP - Simoy (1)

The Far Eastern University were already a handful of points clear of Green Archers United FC to finish the season in third before they started the last league game. Meanwhile, the University of the Philippines were hoping to end the season on a positive note, only to be denied thrice, with FEU taking 26 points and leaving the Lady Maroons with only 13.

Portia Acibar led the way for the Lady Tamaraws last Monday in FERN Diliman, with a free kick goal in the 30th minute. Kate Dacanay doubled the lead in the 72nd minute with a left-footed half-volley near the top of the box. Suet Simoy then tripled the Morayta-based squad’s lead when her free-kick shot was too strong for the keeper.

FEU coach Let Dimzon had previously aimed to finish higher than third but said the end result was good enough.

“It was a good finish for us. Out of the four games in the second round, three wins and a loss is better than our performance in the first round. Finishing [with bronze is better] than nothing. Nagawa pa rin namin makabalik sa top three coming from 7th or 8th [nung the first round],” Dimzon said.

“Kahit di nasunod yung original plan sa PFFWL because of some reasons, we were expecting kasi to have more games. But we are still lucky to be in the top group of UAAP teams,” she added.

League Standings


DLSU – 39 (pts)
UST – 27
FEU – 26
GAU FC – 19
Hiraya FC – 19
ADMU – 18
TYFA – 15
OutKast FC – 14
UP – 13
Fuego Espanya – 0

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Misunderstood Ron Dennison proves critics wrong in final year

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Far Eastern University Tamaraws’ Ron Dennison has been called plenty of names since he started his UAAP career — dirty player, bad boy, tirador. The list goes on.

Yes, plenty of people hate his guts.

Yes, he was involved in several extra-curricular activities before throwing fists.

Amidst all the shade thrown at him, he is still one of the most reliable defenders in college basketball today.

But his stellar five-year UAAP career has come to an end. As the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles halted FEU’s campaign to the finals, he did not hide his emotions when the final buzzer rang. He sang the alma mater song for the last time as a Tamaraw in tears.

For his last post-game press conference, Dennison took the opportunity to tip his hat off to all the people who helped him in his spectacular five-year run in FEU.
UAAP 80 Final Four ADMU vs. FEU G2 - Dennison-9148
“Gusto ko lang mag-thank you kay coach Olsen [Racela] kasi binigyan niya ko ng ganitong season,” said an emotional Dennison. “Yung buong team nakarating sa Final Four. Kahit yung team namin up and down, salamat sa tiwala lalo na sakin as a senior. Thankful din ako kay God na binigyan niya ako ng magandang season this year. Sobra. Di ko inexpect na ganito lalaruin ko this year.”

Dennison, who hails from Cebu, is the eighth child among nine siblings. The 23-year-old shared that growing up, basketball has always been their siblings’ thing. His older brothers Miller, Ritchum, and Rolf are whom he considers as his first coaches.

“Sa simula palang tine-training na ako ng mga kuya ko sa depensa. Sila ang nagturo sa akin kung paano basahin ang galaw ng kalaban,” he recalled.

So picture this: a young Dennison, way before he even donned a FEU jersey, playing ball in a local court in one of the barangays in Cebu. The boy is slugging it out against his much older, taller, and bigger brothers. He is the youngest. He is the smallest. He doesn’t have much of a hold on the ball because his brothers are taking the shots.

What is there left to do? Defend.

Maybe that explains why he plays like what he does now. He was raised in a basketball environment where he had no choice but to learn to outsmart and outwit his opponents. And this is what he proudly brought to the FEU basketball program.

“Yung pagiging physical player ko, yun ang nagbibigay kung sino ako. Yun yung dinadala ko sa sarili ko kasi kung wala sa depensa ko, wala rin ako sa FEU kasi yun yung alas ko,” shared the 6-foot guard, who was part of the FEU team that won gold in UAAP Season 78.

But that is not his only “alas”.

This UAAP Season 80, he showed that he has evolved into a two-way threat for the Tamaraws. From bothering his man on the other end, he can seamlessly transition to offense and easily make buckets.
UAAP 80 ADMU vs. FEU - Dennison-7819

“Sa ipinakita ko this season, ibang Ron Dennison yung lumabas this year kasi offense at defense na ako.

“Hindi lang sa depensa, gumagawa na rin ako sa opensa. Pero always nandyan ang defense ko, hindi ‘yan puwede mawala,” Dennison speaking as if referring to his first love.

That first love is the reason he was called a bad boy. It may not be the ideal reputation, but if that is what makes him a great baller, Dennison is all for embracing it.

“Hard court bad boy pero ginagawa ko lang ang trabaho ko sa loob ng court” he affirmed.

“Kaya kung bad boy sa hard court tawag nila sa akin okay lang.”

Dennison’s game is a challenge for all the UAAP teams and as he exits college basketball, it’s now the pro teams’ turn to deal with this headache.

Because you can’t spell Ron Dennison without good D.

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Downhearted Jasper Parker vows to put in the work: ‘Off-season starts now’

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With Jasper Parker leading the charge, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws were about to overcome the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles’ twice-to-beat advantage and head to the Finals, leading by as much as eight points with six minutes remaining in the game.

The transferee from Southwestern University was playing the game of his life, unloading 19 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals. With fire in his eyes, he drove to the lanes with reckless abandon, trying to will the Tamaraws to the promised land.

Even with this, the he and the Tamaraws came up short, falling in overtime, 84-88.

“This loss, it hurts. We had the game in the fourth quarter but it just came down in the last seconds, we had a mental lapse,” confessed Jasper, who went an efficient 7-for-10 from the field.

“We definitely know that we could win this game. It didn’t go our way, that’s how it is.”

It was unfortunate that Parker’s breakthrough game went down the drain. Despite the heartbreaking end to his rookie year in the UAAP, the 23-year-old saw a lot of positives that will help him when he enters his final year next season.UAAP 80 Final Four ADMU vs. FEU G2 - Parker-9037

“I did grow this season even though it’s my first year.

“I’m proud of what I did this year. I’m definitely trying to create for my teammates and that’s what a point guard should do. Overall, I’m proud of what I did but there are still a lot to work on,” added Parker, who averaged 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in the series.

Parker — who had grown up up in California before returning to the Philippines in 2014 — revealed that he is already comfortable with the style of play in the the country’s premier collegiate league.

With another year to play for FEU, he is already looking forward to Season 81, hoping that he can end his collegiate career with at least a Finals appearance.

“Off-season starts now. Tomorrow, I’ll get some work in. It’s time to get better for next season so we are going to prepare.”

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