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Dooley bares thoughts ahead of challenging week for the Azkals

Thomas Dooley and the Azkals are looking forward to continue their fine form in the current 2018 World Cup/2019 Asian Cup Qualifiers as they welcome tough opponents in Maldives and Uzbekistan




Thomas Dooley and the Philippines men’s national football team are looking forward to continue their fine form in the current 2018 World Cup/2019 Asian Cup Qualifiers as they welcome two tough opponents in Maldives and Uzbekistan inside five days. Before the friendly against Maldives tomorrow, Dooley addressed a few concerns whilst also expressing optimism for the challenges they are bound to face.

The first thing Dooley remarked when he faced a few members of the press in their Tuesday’s training session at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium was speed. He highlighted speed as essential in playing a high standard of football. “The speed has to be something that we work on,” he stated. Dooley expounded that it is not about pure speed he is referring to, citing fitness and quick decision-making as crucial components too. “When you watch higher ranked teams, they play fast and make fast decisions,” the national team coach, hinting that his players should follow suit to preserve the successful run they have been having so far.

Nonetheless, Dooley is aware that he can only demand so much from his players. More than half of the players come from an exhausting month of Philippine club football while others only began their season and have played not more than 10 matches since mid June. “You cannot say a lot because we haven’t had a lot of training sessions,” Dooley replied to a question regarding his assessment of the 23-man selection. He may not be sure about what to say about his players yet but he certainly wants to see them compete in both matches, with an emphasis on not taking the friendly match for granted. “We should think about Maldives. We have to beat Maldives,” the former US Men’s National Football Team skipper uttered.

Azkals Huddle

As to his tactics, Dooley shared that he does not plan deviate from what gave them a good start three months ago. The coach just simply suggested to let more players have taste of the action in the friendly match tomorrow night. More importantly, Dooley reckons that everyone should be prepared for what Maldives has to offer as it offers an excerpt of what comes after. “I expect them to come after us, with them going forward and putting us on the pressure. That’s what Uzbekistan will do against us too, that’s why it’s a great exercise for us to get used to that,” he expounded.

The friendly match is surely branded as a preparation for both the upcoming qualifiers match of both the Philippines and Maldives, but Dooley does not think the team can fully gear up for the Uzbekistan match. A huge factor is the pitch, as the friendly match will be held at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. The qualifiers, meanwhile, will be staged at the Philippine Sports Stadium. The stadium in Manila has an artificial pitch laid out while the one in Bulacan where they will face the highly ranked Uzbeks has natural grass. “Its not what I want but it’s what I am getting,” lamented Dooley who fears that tomorrow’s game may not be the right preparation for September 8.

Worries aside, the Azkals are certainly back in the fold and are raring to go for more wins–this time around against stronger opponents. Tickets for their games tomorrow and on Tuesday are available at Ticketworld booth outlets. –LGT

1 Comment
  • a. kenneth

    i’ll be keenly watching their friendly tonight


Calvin Abueva, Raymond Almazan cut from pool



SMART Gilas Pilipinas’ third session for the second leg of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers ended early on Monday evening.

Prior to the end of the practice, head coach Chot Reyes talked to team veterans Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, and June Mar Fajardo. The outspoken mentor told the seniors of the team that he is cutting Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan from the pool.

“The reason why we’re dropping Abueva and Almazan for the second window is because they haven’t showed up,” lamented Reyes.

“It’s already our third practice at hindi pa sila nagpapakita. It’s simply a matter of disinterest.

“I guess they’re not interested so we have to move on we can’t wait for those guys,” he pointed out.

Both Abueva and Almazan were part of the teams that competed in the 2017 SEABA Championship, the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, and the first window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Only 10 players from the pool showed up for the team’s third session. And with the second leg exactly one month away, Gilas cannot let a slip up happen especially against Australia.

“Aside from those two we don’t know where Matt Wright is, while Allein [Maliksi] is attending a wedding in Australia. Other than that it’s really just an issue of Calvin and Raymond if they don’t want to be a part of the pool.” expressed Reyes.

“That’s the reason we’re dropping them for the second window.”

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2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

23 for 2023 cadets fill up Gilas practice



With just 31 days until the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, only 10 players from the pool attended the team’s third session, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym.

Suiting up in the session presided over by Coach Chot Reyes were June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Jio Jalalon, Mac Belo, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, and Roger Pogoy. Carl Cruz and Jayson Castro were in attendance but were in street clothes.

Not present were Matthew Wright, Japeth Aguilar, and Allein Maliksi. Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan have yet to attend practice.

Joining the seniors team to prep them up for the World Cup Qualifiers were 10 players from the 23 for 2023 pool.

Ateneo Blue Eagle Matt Nieto attended his first Gilas practice. Joining him were teammates Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena.

Completing the night’s cast were CJ Perez, Abu Tratter, Will Gozum, J-jay Alejandro, Arvin Tolentino, and Juan Gomez de Liano. Joshua Sinclair watched from the sidelines as he is still recovering from an ACL injury.

Gilas will take on Australia in Melbourne on February 22. The Philippine will then host Japan three days later at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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San Beda fends off Letran for back-to-back wins



With seasoned setter John Carlo Desuyo steering the wheel to near perfection, the San Beda College romped to their second straight win.

The Red Spikers pulled double-digit outings from four players to upend archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, 19-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-22, and register their fourth win of the season, Monday early evening at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

It was the Knights, however, who started on the right foot, overhauling a 4-10 deficit to snag the first set. Better passing from liberos Aljune Centeno and Johnsen Timbreza resulted in kills from captain Bobby Gatdula.

Nonetheless, San Beda picked up the service game in the next three sets to ultimately finish off the blue-shirts.

Despite the win-loss record they currently sport, the Red Spiker playmaker admitted that t

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Michael Calisaan tows Che’lu-San Sebastian past Perpetual



Photo by PBA Images

Michael Calisaan poured 20 points as he captained newcomer Che’Lu-San Sebastian Revellers to a decisive 83-70 win over the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas to start their voyage, Monday evening at the Pasig City Sports Center.

Doing it all for the Revellers, the veteran forward provided the stability for his side as he shot 8-of-15 from the field while also hauling down nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the conference-opening win.

But it wasn’t all Calisaan as Che’Lu got contributions from all over its roster.

Samboy de Leon chimed in 16 markers and nine boards. RK Ilagan went 2-of-5 from threes to collect 13 points, eight dimes, and three rebounds, while big men Alfred Batino and Jeepy Faundo combined for 20 in the victory.

Despite the triumph, coach Stevenson Tiu gave all the praise to his players, noting the team’s lack of time preparing for the tourney.

“Nanalo kami dahil sa talent ng players. Medyo mali ko rin kasi nahirapan pa ako mag-adjust sa players. Hopefully, we play much better in the coming games,” he said.

The Revellers used a 16-4 run to finally break away from the Altas, taking a 77-60 lead with 4:03 to play as they punished their foes for their turnovers, turning Perpetual’s 30 miscues to 28 points in their favor.

Prince Eze anchored the Altas with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and seven blocks in their first game under new head coach Frankie Lim.

Che’lu-San Sebastian look to make it two in a row when they take on the Wangs-Letran Couriers on Monday, January 29 at 5:00pm. Perpetual, on the other hand, hope they can notch their first win when they take on Mila’s Lechon Mighty Roasters.

The Scores:

Che’lu-SSCR 83 — Calisaan 20, De Leon 16, Ilagan 13, Batino 10, Faundo 10, Bulanadi 6, Costelo 6, Calma 2, David 0, Lao 0, Santos 0, Valdez 0.

UPHSD 70 — Eze 15, Coronel 13, Villanueva 13, Jimenez 9, Charcos 7, Peralta 7, Gallardo 5, Pido 1, Antonio 0, Aurin 0, Tamayo 0, Tongco 0.

Quarterscores: 17-22, 34-38, 59-53, 83-70.

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