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FULL TIME: Stories of the UFL Cup 2015 Group Stage (May 16-19)

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There are only 10 more games left in the group stage of the United Football League (UFL) Cup 2015. Five of the eight quarterfinal slots have already been booked while three more slots remain hotly contested. Seeds are also yet to be determined, making most of the remaining games significant. Entering the last three match days of the UFL Cup’s opening round, we go through the stories from all around the tournament here at FULL TIME presented by Mini Cooper.

Sparks eager to defend their crown; win two on the trot

 

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A 1-1 draw versus Stallion was not the way the Loyola Meralco Sparks wanted to begin their UFL Cup title defense so they made up for it by thrashing their succeeding foes.

They thrived under the sweltering heat to demolish Mendiola FC 1991 to take a 7-0 win last Saturday. Three days later, the Sparks recovered quite easily from falling behind against promotion frontrunners JP Voltes to end the game on top, 5-2. With the pair of wins, Loyola leapfrogged Stallion and JP Voltes and moved a step closer towards gaining the enviable top seed in Group C, touted as the Group of Death by some scribes.

Loyola coach Simon McMenemy described the two results as a product of a professional performance by his players. He also heaped praise on several players in the lineup such as Jake Morallo, Curt Dizon, and Alvin Sarmiento to name a few. With the way the Sparks, both old and new, have been playing, they are all but assured of making the quarterfinals. They are set to play the already eliminated but always determined UST team. A huge win this Sunday May confirm Loyola’s place as Group C winners for they currently hold a better goal difference than Stallion, who are due to battle against JP Voltes in a virtual do-or-die affair.

Green Archers United, Pachanga-Diliman book q’final seats in contrasting fashion

 

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Over the weekend, two teams cemented their places in the knockout rounds of UFL Cup 2015 and they are Green Archers United and Pachanga-Diliman. This does not come as a surprise for both teams are seeded second in their respective groups. The similarities end there, however, for both teams achieved their goal in far different manners.

Green Archers United were scheduled to take on Philippine Army FC last Sunday but it was known on that day that the latter may no longer participate in the UFL Cup. An alleged non-completion of payment on the part of the Philippine Army seems to be the reason behind such forfeiture. Hence, Green Archers United claimed the easiest three points they may ever get–enough to secure a quarterfinal spot.

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Meanwhile, Pachanga-Diliman had to be tested in their come-from-behind 4-1 win against fellow Division I side Team Socceroo. The first 45 minutes looked ugly for Pachanga-Diliman after they went behind by a goal at the break. Four goals midway through the second half, however, turned the match on its head and see the UP-affiliated club go through.

Entering into this weekend’s games, both Green Archers United and Pachanga-Diliman have the chance of overtaking Ceres-La Salle and Kaya respectively by winning against them. The latter clubs are favorites to take top seeds but with anything possible inside the 90, Green Archers United and Pachanga-Diliman will go into those matches as confident underdogs who are setting their eyes on an upset.

Three Group D teams jockeying for position

 

At first glance on Group D, one can say that Global have already made it into the quarterfinals of the UFL Cup and possibly top the pile should they end their group stage run with a win. Having taken all nine points in the offing, Global will next face Laos FC, one of the three teams in the hunt for a quarterfinal place. The other two teams are Laos’ fellow Division II team Laos FC and Division I outfit Manila Jeepney FC. Interestingly, all three clubs have three points each with only goal difference separating them.

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Currently, Laos are in second place after destroying Nomads, 7-1, despite a narrow 1-0 loss to Forza. Manila Jeepney are in third, having bounced back from their 4-1 defeat to Global by routing Forza, 5-2, to even their goal difference. As for Forza, they are currently in fourth by losing twice by margins of three goals to Global and Manila Jeepney although they did win their match versus Laos.

It appears that Manila Jeepney have the best chance of qualifying as they have two games which they could win on paper. Laos will be one of them, and the Division II team will plan to forge an upset in order to solidify their grip on second place. With only one game left, Forza’s fate is out of their hands. They will look to outscore Nomads by as much as they can while also hoping for other results to favor them. It will definitely be an interesting Group D which owns four of the 10 remaining games still to be played. Simply put, there are no non-bearing matches in store to the teams still in the race for the quarterfinals.

Tigers’ mentor delighted with team’s showing against tough teams

 

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Having a known powerhouse football team, University of Santo Tomas (UST) hit their lowest point in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Men’s Football by finishing sixth out of eight teams, perhaps the worst in their history. It was a catastrophic outcome for a team that has a rich footballing heritage. Renowned Tomasinos who are active in the UFL include Ian Araneta, OJ Clarino, and Shirmar Felongco among others.

Before their season ended, UST Coach Marjo Allado bared his plans to join several tournaments to make his team improve as a unit. Little did everyone think that one of those competitions will be the UFL Cup, which is an invitational tourney. After seeing his players in action for three games against stronger opponents, Allado likes what he has been seeing. “Iyong laro ng team na hinahanap namin, nandiyan na,” the UST mentor proclaimed.

They were battered, 7-0, by JP Voltes in their first game in the tournament. After that, they made things difficult for Stallion, who won by five goals–less than what many have expected. The progressive trend continued when the Tigers showed character to get a 2-2 draw versus Mendiola FC 1991 just this Tuesday. In the game against Loyola, UST are surely tagged as underdogs and many will expect the Sparks to electrocute the Tigers. No matter what happens, Allado will still be happy for as long as his wards will play as confidently as they have been recently.

That’s a wrap for FULL TIME presented by Mini Cooper watches, where stories from around the UFL are retold with more depth. Mini Cooper watches can be bought at Washington Watches.

Check back next time to stay updated with the latest developments in Philippine club football.

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Christian Standhardinger goes perfect from stripe in Hong Kong’s rout of Formosa

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After going a horrid 5-for-17 from the stripe during their first loss of the season last January 9, Christian Standhardinger made sure to make good on his free throws to power the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club to a dominant 99-79 rout of the Formosa Dreamers, Thursday evening in Southorn Stadium.

The 6-foot-8 Filipino-German, who tallied 37 points and 19 rebounds in the overtime loss to Saigon, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The contest itself was not close, as the defending champions were able to impose their will on the bottom-ranked squad, leading by as much as 23 points, 93-70, after two free throws by Standhardinger with 2:58 remaining.

If Standhardinger was having a good day with his free throws, the entire Formosa squad could not say the same, going 13-of-27 from the line.

Tyler Lamb had 25 markers as well for Hong Kong, while Ryan Moss grabbed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Lenny Daniel paced Formosa with 25 points and 11 rebounds. World Import Ronnie Aguilar had 14 points and 16 rebounds but went just 5-for-14 from the field.

With the win, Hong Kong goes to 8-1, while the Dreamers fell to 1-8.

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes 3×3 World Cup breaks Philippine Arena record

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Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“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. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best t

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Ilocos United takes leave from PFL

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Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United has formally announced their absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.

A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave their thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While their PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs they have started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand, and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There are limited corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level

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After falling just two games short of copping Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different beast.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad suffered a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even fashioning multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino, as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. The 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the duo — and the rest of the Jawbreakers — now have the experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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