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Dooley and Younghusband Set Sights Towards Uzbekistan



International friendlies are seen by many as a means for coaches to experiment with their tactics, and for players to gel together in preparation for more important games involving the particular national team. The match between the Philippine Men’s National Football Team, popularly known as the Azkals, and Maldives was no different. It was geared towards building up for the Azkals’ FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying game against Uzbekistan, which will be held in the Philippine Arena on September 8.

Preventing injuries and gaining confidence.

Group warm-ups-Azkals

Going into the friendly, one of the worries of Azkals Coach Thomas Dooley was the number of players who would end up in the treatment room. Dooley expressed his fears saying that playing on an artificial turf isn’t good for a player, and that it isn’t the best preparation for the looming game against Uzbekistan. Thankfully, save for a few niggling injuries to two players, no one was seriously injured. Dooley shared, “We have one for Juani Guirado, but he said it’s not that big of a deal, so he should be fine the in next couple of days. Patrick Reichelt has a little problem with his left hamstring, but that should be fine with a good recovery tomorrow and the day after, that would be nice.”

In addition to aiming for zero injuries, gaining confidence from winning was another goal set by Dooley. “Everyone will be there tomorrow, so that’s why we said that we the most important we get a victory out of this game. Nobody gets injured and we gain some confidence.”

The Maldivians are ranked fifty places below the Philippines in the FIFA World Rankings. Moreover, it seemed fitting that only a win would have sufficed for the team. Azkals Captain Phil Younghusband said, “They’re fifty places below us, so if we got a draw or lost, that affects us. The important thing was to get the win and we were able to do that. It had given us confidence. Had we lost of drawn the game, it would have dampened our confidence. Now we have every right to be confident with the way we play and our formation. I think we have big confidence going into the Uzbekistan game.”

Dooley agreed with his captain saying that the matches between Maldives and Uzbekistan are two different ball games. “It’s more of that we played against a team in a friendly game, who is fifty places below us in the FIFA rankings. We just have to win the game. We highly respect them. I told the players, we are the right type of players and we should show that on the field.”

Talking tactics


During the FIFA friendly, the Maldivians were difficult to break down with the first half being goalless. It took an early own goal for Maldives, which led them to defend less to try and salvage something from the game. A few minutes later, a Jerry Lucena goal sealed the match for the Azkals. Younghusband stated that penetrating against a team, which was set up to defend from the start, was difficult to do.

Furthermore, Dooley believed it’s the quick decisions made by his players that was the difference against Maldives. He shares that the team had been practicing various offensive patterns in their training sessions in order to bring the ball in a particular area on the pitch. He opined that the difference between a good player and a great one was how fast he/she decided to execute what needed to be done. Likewise, he stated that if a player saw no other options with regards with what to do with the ball then he should create an opening for himself. Having creative players was also imperative to win. “There were some good patterns when we trained but sometimes it didn’t work out because there was another option in place and that’s fine. That’s why we have players like Phil who is a creative player, and that’s why he plays in the midfield because that is his position, and he is excellent person in that position to be placed in a very short time and that’s what we’re still trying because a lot of players come in a substitution and have to do the same thing.”

Preparing for Uzbekistan

Phil Younghusband

Getting proper conditioning before the Uzbekistan game was imperative for the Azkals. Younghusband noted that a lot of the players arrived from different countries abroad and would have had to get used to playing in the Philippines. “You look back on the game and everyone got playing time, and I think 5 days before a big game, it’s important a lot of players get playing time and get used to the conditions here. Most of the players come from abroad. Conditions are different playing from abroad and playing here in the Philippines, so it was good to get a run out.”

In terms of the game itself, Dooley expects a more open game compared to the one against Maldives. “When we will play against Uzbekistan, the game will be much more open because they are more offensive minded just like our players.” He then shared that he is 99.9% sure of his starting line up in the said game. He stated that with two more training sessions to go anyone can stake a place in the starting lineup and he had utmost confidence in the players he had at his disposal. “We have good players, Stephan Schrock is back and he played a great game. We have some rough diamonds in the side. Kevin Ingreso played a great game too. Stephan Palla came back, he’s stepped up a little bit compared to last time so it’s good to see the players make the extra yards and want to play football together. I’m happy with the players right now which make it hard to pick who plays but also easy because you can’t go wrong.”


Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces



D-League to hold three-day showcase for players



Seeking to further display the greatness of the Filipino basketball players, the PBA is giving more chances to the cagers as the league is set to hold the first-ever PBA D-League Showdown later this conference.

Opening the eighth season with this ground-breaking news, PBA officer-in-charge Willie Marcial is hopeful that this will serve as another motivation for the players to perform at their best this 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup.

“Ginagawa naman natin ito para mas galingan ng mga players natin para rin maipakita nila yung tunay nilang talento,” he said Thursday during the opening ceremonies at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Marcial bared that the plan is to hold a two-day summit for the players suiting up in the ongoing conference to allow them to showcase their talents in front of coaches and scouts, not just from the PBA but also from countries in the Southeast Asian region.

“Lahat ng mga players ay maglalaro dito at mapapanood hindi lang ng mga PBA coaches,” he said.

“Iimbitahin din namin ang mga coaches ng ibang bansa tulad ng Malaysia, Thailand, at Vietnam na kumukuha ng imports sa atin.”

Marcial acknowledged that as much as players seek to make the jump to the pro league, securing spots in the PBA teams have been hard to crack over the past few years, forcing the players to look elsewhere for opportunities.

That has made playing in overseas leagues an option for these less fortunate ballers, keeping them earning while also hoping to impress scouts while keeping their PBA dreams alive.

Some of the players who suited up in the D-League and are currently playing outside of the country are Paul Zamar and Almond Vosotros in Thailand, AJ Mandani in Singapore, and Reil Cervantes in Indonesia.

With this project, Marcial is hopeful that this would keep the players in line while also delivering the best competition the D-League could dream of.

“Iwasan natin ang bisyo at galingan ninyo.”

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Letran overpowers Lyceum for second win



After a string of losses, the Colegio San Juan de Letran Lady Knights returned to the NCAA Season 93 win column with a gritty win over the short-handed Lyceum of the Philippines University Lady Pirates, 28-26, 20-25, 26-24, 25-20, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Knights won out in a sloppy match which had both teams combine for 25 aces, 15 coming from Letran. According to assistant coach Ron Dulay, Letran needed to solve their reception problems on the fly.

“Weakness nga siguro namin ‘yung receive, pero inaayos namin siya ensayo. Kanina medyo shaky lang ‘yung mga bata. Mabuti noong dulo naka-adjust kami sa ginagawa ng kalaban,” said Dulay.

Both sides also had a whooping 34 errors apiece. Letran’s miscues, however, came early in the match and were lessened by the deciding fourth set which they won convincingly.

“Unti-unte tumataas ‘yung level ng team. Kailangan talaga namin mag-double time pa sa mga susunod na laban kung gusto namin umabot doon sa Top Four,” Dulay added.

Second-year Lady Knight Charm Simborio led the way with 17 points while Glayssa Torres added 15 which includes two blocks and three aces.

The Lady Knights (2-2) take on perennial rival San Beda College (4-0) on Monday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Christine Miralles topped the Lady Pirates with a career-high 21 points. Team captain Bien Juanillo added 17 markers.

The Lady Pirates (1-3) face the undefeated defending champs Arellano University (4-0) on Sunday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

CSJL (3) – Simborio 17, Torres 15, Abitan 11, Barrinuevo 8, Parin 8, Mendoza 3, Bangcola 2, Uriza 1, Perez 0, Larioque (L)

LPU (1) – Miralles 21, Juanillo 17, Sevilla 11, Bongabong 5, Patio 5, Genova 2, Marcella (L), Romanban (L)

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

FIBA 3×3 World Cup to be a huge boost for country’s Olympic bid



All roads will lead to Bocaue, Bulacan as the 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will head to the Philippine Arena. The biggest tournament in 3×3 basketball will be played from June 8-12, 2018.

The announcement was made Thursday afternoon by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executives. The event was graced by Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas, SMART Sports’ Christopher Quimpo, and FIBA’s 3×3 Managing Director Alex Sanchez.

With 3×3 basketball being declared an Olympic event last 2017, the SBP is looking at this tournament as a way to prove to the world that we are capable of hosting and that we can compete with the world’s finest.

“As mentioned earlier, I think we’ve been very successful holding it in the malls, 3,000 to 4,000 people watching the games. We chose to move it to a bigger venue, I think we want to give an opportunity for more people to see the games,” said SBP president Al Panlilio.

“From a Philippine basketball point of view, that gives an opportunity for the youth to watch the game. From an SBP, FIBA perspective, we want bigger crowds in 3×3 and that’s something we want to deliver to FIBA,” he added.

There will be 40 teams split into two divisions that will compete in this annual tourney.

For the men’s side, the Philippines will take on teams from Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Ecuador, Estonia, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine, and Uruguaz.

In the women’s division, the hosts will face Andorra, Argentina, Bahrain, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkmenistan, United States, and Venezuela.

With this task of hosting a world class tournament, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help in the organization of it.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream,” said Mascariñas.

“Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance. I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times.”

FIBA, on the other hand, is looking forward to helping groom a possible Philippine team that will compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I’m sure the event this year, we’re starting the countdown, is going to be amazing,” Sanchez said. “I think this is going to be helpful for us in developing.

“I’m coming from Tokyo where we’re discussing the venue and layout of the Olympics. We should make an effort with Al and SBP to see if we have a Filipino team in Olympics. In my opinion Filipinos have a real chance to make it. Hopefully this can give us a nice push to get a PH team to the Olympics,” the Spanish executive added.

“See you in June.”

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Perpetual escapes upset-hungry EAC



Fighting off a sluggish start, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas came alive late to slip past the Emilio Aguinaldo College Lady Generals, 22-25, 25-19, 25-14, 23-25, 15-13, and remain on pace for a spot in the NCAA Season 93 Final Four at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Taking on a struggling EAC side, Perpetual head coach Michael Cariño knew that there was a possibility that his squad would relax. His team has had trouble starting and finishing off matches, as evidenced in their first set performance and lack of finishing push in the fourth frame.

“May tendency talaga ‘yung team ko na mag-relax. Sabihin na nating hindi kasi sobrang lakas ng kalaban. Pero alam naman natin sa volleyball na wala namang team na ibibigay sa’yo ‘yung panalo, kailangan kunin mo talaga,” Cariño lamented.

The fifth frame came down to late breaks. The Lady Altas broke a 13-all tie with back-to-back transition conversions from Cindy Imbo and Lourdes Clemente.

“Siyempre, nage-expect ako nang mas maganda pang performance sa team ko. Alam din naman nila na mas may ibubuga pa sila kaya kailangan mas maganda ang ipakita namin sa mga huli naming laro,” the NCAA champion mentor added.

Imbo tallied a game-high 17 points, while Clemente and Maria Aurora Tripoli added 15 points, apiece. The Lady Altas needed all of their 11 aces and 11 blocks to offset their season-high 42 errors.

Aira Binondo was the only Lady General in double-digits with 13 points.

The Lady Altas (3-1) next face the Jose Rizal University (2-2) on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. EAC (0-4) will look for their first win on Monday against the College of Saint Benilde (2-1).

The Scores

UPHSD (3) – Imbo 17, Clemente 15, Tripoli 15, Sangalang 11, Llorente 10, Versoza 4, Estanislao 1, Gual 1, Umandal 0, Medalla (L)

EAC (2) – Binondo 13, Tongco 9, Pablo 8, Lumbao 7, Magbanua 7, Reyes A. 3, Reyes K. 3, Tasis 2, Yongco 1, Medina (L)

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