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Hartmann leads Azkals in demolition of Papua New Guinea



Four goals and an assist in one half. Let’s add that to Mark Hartmann’s resume.

Hartmann’s more-than-impressive first half performance paved the way for the Azkals’ biggest win in the year, thus, as the Pinoy footballers went on to trample the 199th ranked Papua New Guinea National Football team, 5-0, Sunday night at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum football field.

Philippine coach Thomas Dooley sent in his men in the 4-4-2 formation he utilized in the recently concluded PFF Peace Cup. The first of the English-Filipino striker’s four goals came in the second minute. Finding himself in prime position with an open look after receiving the ball from Misagh Bahadoran, Hartmann was able to kick one in from beyond the penalty box, with keeper Albert Mesulam unable to dive in time to deflect the ball.

Bahadoran himself found himself with the means to give the Azkals their second goal three minutes later, getting an open look from the flank, but was caught offside just after mailing the goal attempt.

Hartmann’s second goal came two minutes later. After recovering the ball from a botched cross from Phil Younghusband, Hartmann managed to connect with the ball just at the right moment to send another one flying past Mesulam, completing the brace and giving the Azkals the 2-0 lead after only ten minutes of play. And nine minutes later, Hartmann bagged the hat trick, scoring his third goal of the night after receiving another assist from Bahadoran, charging down the left wing. After only nineteen minutes, the Azkals found themselves up by a staggering 3-0.

In the following minute Papua New Guinea’s veteran forward Gari Moka found himself staring down the pitch and fresh-faced Filipino goalkeeper Patrick Deyto, but the goal attempt hit the bar and bounced back to his feet. Moka managed to mail one more kick, but the ball this time sailed past the post. The New Guineans’ took advantage of the Azkals’ spotty defense, getting in a few more goal attempts, but none managed to kiss the net. Comfortable with the lead, Thomas Dooley’s boys eventually readjusted, focusing on finding ways to cut the New Guineans’ passing lanes.

The much coveted fourth goal came in the forty-first minute for the Azkals. After sailing past the New Guineans’ defense, Phil Younghusband managed to get in position in the penalty area to receive the lob from Hartmann, and quickly flick the ball past the hapless Mesulam to bag his thirty-eighth international goal. Eager to fire back just before the end of the first half, Tommy Semmy managed to escape the Filipino defenders in the following minute, but the ball only ended up in the arms of Filipino goalkeeper Deyto.

After another couple of botched shots from both squads, the ball once again found itself at the heels of the hungry Mark Hartmann. Just before the end of added time, Hartmann found himself alone before the penalty area, and managed to send another one flying past the visibly frustrated Mesulam to bag his fourth goal and the Azkals’ fifth of the half and the night.

At the half, among those Dooley sent in were veteran defender Anton del Rosario and Paolo Bugas, a standout winger from college powerhouse Far Eastern University, in only his second cap for the Philippines. Midfielder Chieffy Caligdong, once a familiar face in Azkals fixtures until a sudden injury, was denied his return to the pitch despite earning a spot in Dooley’s lineup.

Early in the second half, Hartmann got the chance to bag a rare fifth goal, but was caught offside just before releasing the volley. At the fifty-ninth minute, Hartmann was subbed out for James Younghusband.

The New Guineans gained another easy opportunity to score in the sixty-third minute, after Joshua Talau was awarded the free kick just inches from the penalty area after being tackled by the Azkals’ Rob Grier. Though the kick sent the ball into just the right trajectory for a goal, the Azkals’ Deyto managed to deflect the ball and deny the visitors’ their first goal. The New Guineans failed to deliver after the corner kick.

Still comfortable with their edge, the Azkals took a less aggressive counter-attacking approach, with their defenders also making sure to thwart the New Guineans’ attacks. Neither team was able to score in the remainder of the half. The Azkals walked away with the 5-0 blowout win, their biggest since an 8-0 trouncing of Cambodia last year.


RP – 5

PNG – 0

Hartman – 2’, 10’, 19’, 48’

P. Young – 41’


1 Comment
  • bryan

    Good game for the Azkals! I was hoping for more goals to arrive in the second half, though. Regardless, it was still a good performance.

    P.S. what’s up with all the “would”s? Why are you using this tense? Why didn’t you use the past tense? Everything seemed confusing. It was as if you were predicting the game.


Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory



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2017 AFC ASEAN Zone Champions Ceres-Negros banked on their poise and composure from the spot as they knocked out Myanmar’s Shan United via a 4-3 penalty shootout (1-1 after extra time) triumph, Tuesday evening at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

The Negrenses punched their ticket to Brisbane, Australia after emerging the better spotkick takers. Four Busmen were on target, while two of their Shan Warriors counterparts fluffed their lines.

The two domestic champions were inseparable after 120 minutes, with the hosts holding their own against the Philippine champions. Ceres-Negros looked the more dominant of the two teams. However, they couldn’t make the advantage count where it mattered, as they failed to breach the sturdy Shan United defense inside the first two regulation halves.

The visitors were visibly more comfortable in the first half, but with the scores staying level at the break, the less-fancied Myanmar champions eventually found their footing in the encounter. While there were several half-chances from either side to open the scoring, both defenses remained defiant en route to unwanted extra time.

“It was a tough game. We weren’t ready to play 120 minutes because we only had four training sessions before the game but everytime we wear this jersey, we represent Ceres, we represent Bacolod, we represent the Philippines, so we have to give our best,” Ceres’ defender Carli de Murga elaborated to the Inquirer after the match. The Asian Football season has yet to start, and with both teams not too busy with pre-season preparations, rust and fatigue in a demanding affair were evident.

Come extra time, Ceres-Negros took the initiative when Stephan Schröck’s deflected effort went past the helpless Thiha Si Thu just three minutes into the first half.

Nonetheless, the hosts refused to go down without a fight, and their resilience was rewarded later in the opening half. Substitute Patrick Asare found the back of the net to restore parity in Yangon.

Another 15 minutes of goalless action took place in the second half as both teams looked more cautious, perhaps with the collective aim of avoiding a costly error or two. Among all the chances, Schröck’s in the 114th minute may have proved to be the closest to changing the scores, as his attempt shaved the post.

Shan United took to the spot first, where Asare made his penalty attempt count. Nay Lin Tun also made his, but not before teammate Chizoba smashed his attempt over Toni Doblas’ goal.

While the hosts squandered a shot, the visitors remained calm in front of a hostile Myanmar crowd. De Murga, Schröck and Mike Ott nailed their turns, with Marañon also not missing a vital kick from 12 yards.

It set up William Biassi Nyakwe, the man credited with the own goal when he deflected Schröck’s opener, with the chance to prolong his team’s campaign in the AFC Champions League. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t atone for his earlier mistake, as his attempt soared high and wide — much to the delight of the visiting team from Bacolod, the Philippines.

The reward for Ceres-Negros is a trip to Queensland, Australia, where they will seek to do one better than compatriots Global-Cebu. The 2016 Philippine champions also played against the Brisbane Roar, who dealt them a staggering 6-0 hammering this time last year. The match will be held at the Suncorp Stadium on January 23.

As for Shan United, a spot in the AFC Cup Group Stage awaits them and they may not have seen the last of Ceres-Negros just yet. If the Negrenses lose to either Brisbane Roar or Tianjin Quanjian, they will be reacquainted with the Burmese champions in Group F.

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Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’



Abu Tratter may have missed the jersey-giving ceremony that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas held for the 23 for 2023 cadets last Monday but he made sure to help out when the current batch needed him the most.

After helping the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers win the Sinulog Cup in Cebu a week ago, the 6-foot-7 Filipino-American did not hesitate to heed Gilas’ call, as they were undermanned for their second session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“I think it’s just an honor to put on this jersey, to be able to represent our country, to possibly represent our country in the future. It’s an honor,” shared the Laguna-native.

The 25-year old, who just celebrated his birthday last January 9, admitted that he was in awe of the talent inside the Meralco Gym. Like a fan, he wanted to take a few photo ops with the senior team’s Gabe Norwood and June Mar Fajardo.

“Actually, at first I was just shocked to see June Mar and Gabe, just to be able to be in the midst of them,” gushed the former DLSU Green Archer, who will suit-up for Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League. “I even asked them for a picture, and hopefully they’ll still give me one.

“It’s just humbling, definitely.”

However, the work has only began for Tratter. With five years to go until the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the two-time UAAP champion plans to continue to do what he does best — be the same scrapper that he is and hopefully catch the eye of Gilas’ brass.

“I think just doing the dirty work, of course. Giving whatever the team needs, rebound or any steals, any thing a dirty player would need to pick up on,” he said.

“That’s how it is, garbage into gold. Get anything, sweep up anything and try to put it back.”

Moreover, he will continue answering the call when Gilas needs him, as he himself is learning a lot from being surrounded by the country’s topflight cagers.

“Whenever I can. I want to be able to absorb all the information coming from here and hopefully apply it in the D-League and hopefully apply it on future practices, future games.”

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup



Stronger than ever

Scoring sensation Terrence Romeo has been invited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to join the Philippine team in the upcoming FIBA 3X3 World Cup, according to Philippine Star columnist Quinito Henson.

Romeo, who is currently out due to a right knee injury, has been in rehabilitation and is expected to miss the entire Philippine Cup campaign of the Globalport Batang Pier and the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Baka sa second conference na ko makabalik kasi talagang gusto ko malakas ako pagbalik ko,” the 25-year-old shared during Chooks-to-Go Live last January 2.

SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios personally met with the 6-foot guard, inviting him to be part of the Philippine team.

Romeo has plenty of 3×3 basketball experience under his belt.

Back in 2014, Romeo was part of the Manila West 3×3 team during the Manila Masters. He was adjudged as the tournament Most Valuable Player.

The 2018 3X3 World Cup will take place from June 8-12 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win



Shaking off a forgettable outing against the Perpetual Help Altas last January 11, the San Beda College Red Spikers vented their ire on defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers in four sets, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, and claimed their second win of the season, Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

“Sabi ng coaches kalimutan na yung talo,” shared captain Lorenze Santos of what transpired after that match.

So, in this game, the San Beda team poured on what they worked hard for to regain momentum. “Binuhos po namin lahat ng ginawa namin sa training [ngayon].”

After tight starts in all the first two sets, the Mendiola-based side pulled away to register the seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.

Nonetheless, summoning the heart of a champion and led by seniors Isaah Arda and Jethro Orian, the reigning champions pulled off gritty runs to snag the third set and making a tussle of the fourth.

Ultimately, Adrian Viray virtually ended the match with a vicious serve, which the Blazers failed to convert.

The prolific outside hitter finished with 17 points, 11 coming from attacks and five off blocks. Former skipper Mark Encino also registered 17 markers.

The Red Spikers (2-1) will face the Mapua University, also at 2-1, on Friday, January 19.

Orian was such a presence at the net, ending up with 20 points for the Taft-based squad.

The defending champions Blazers (2-1) will try to bounce back later that day against San Sebastian College (0-3).

The Scores:

SBC 3 – Viray 17, Enciso 17, Santos 11, Patenio 7, Amagan 7, Desuyo 3, Zabala 0, Genobaten 0, Manliclic 0, Casin L.

CSB 1 – Orian 20, Arda 18, Bacani 6, Basilan 4, Bautista 4, Magsino 2, Martinez 0, Garcia 0, San Miguel 0, Saldavia 0, Dy L.

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