Connect with us
[adinserter block="13"] [adinserter block="3"]

Negros Occidental takes inaugural UFL Western Visayas Classic



In a battle of the country’s premier hotbeds of football, only one deserves to come out on top.

Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) overpowers rivals, Iloilo Football Association, 5-3, to walk away with the trophy and bragging rights in the first United Football League Western Visayas Classic on Saturday, April 25, at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

Both teams charged into offense early in the game. Jinggoy Valmayor attempted a shot at the second minute mark, but his shot was deflected. Another shot by the Negrenses, at the ensuing play, was dealt with by Iloilo’s defense. Their third time was the charm for the yellow shirts, at the seventh minute, as Valmayor found the back of the net, when he broke free from his defenders to get the go-ahead goal for his team.

Iloilo had more fluidity in their passes and ball movement, but could not finish in the final third. However, just two minutes after Negros’ goal, Iloilo equalized. The Ilonggos got possession of the ball after a scramble at the top of the box. Jhan-jhan Melliza sent a cross to former Azkals, Ian Araneta, for the header to tie the game at 1-apiece.

It was a tight battle as the teams pushed for the ball and the lead. At the 14th minute, Lemuel Unabia of NOFA tried to head the ball into the net, but was blocked. Melliza attempted to get a goal directly from the corner, but Negros Captain and National Team Keeper, Edward Sacapaño, handled the shot with ease. Jimuel Ariola retrieved the lead for Negros at the 24th minute off a pass from Valmayor, 2-1.

Iloilo tried to equalize the score as they maintained with their aggressiveness towards the goal. Despite their efforts, Negros managed to capitalize on their few chances on the attack. In the vicinity of the 35th minute, Ilolio cleared a Negros attempt for a corner. Negros took the corner shot in the resulting play, when Joshua Beloya sent the ball to Ariola for the header. This padded on the gap for NOFA at 3-1. The Ilonggos finally got into box, but their shots were either weak or easily collected by Sacapaño. Negros went to the halftime with this 3-1 lead.

At the half, both Negros and Iloilo got some fresh legs as they fielded one substitute each. Tating Pasilan and Noli John Chavez got into the game for their respective clubs. Down by two goals, Iloilo continued to pile on the pressure up top. Just four minutes into the half, Ruben Doctora got to test Sacapaño with attempts at the goal, but the feisty forward could not finish. In the next minute, it was Jovin Bedic who tried his luck for the red shirts. The persistence paid off for Iloilo, when Jalsor Soriano was called for a hand ball. Araneta sank the penalty calmly to cut the deficit back to one, 2-3.

Sensing some momentum, Iloilo did not let up on their attack, forcing Sacapaño to go for the save on a long shot at the 62nd minute. The game got too intense, and it became more physical. In the 65th minute, Araneta and Beloya collided with each other, causing the Iloilo striker to the sidelines. Iloilo got what they wanted at the 68th minute. Melliza collected a pass from Doctora and had a brilliant one-touch shot for the equalizer, 3-3.

With the match all square, it was a battle to prove who had the bigger heart and the stronger will to finish on top. Iloilo almost went on to lead at the 75th minute when Doctora was fouled at the edge of the box. However, he could not connect on the free kick, and his shot was easily saved by Sacapaño. Instead, at the 79th minute, a beautiful run at the Negros midfield saw Ariola and Valmayor link up for the latter’s second goal of the match to reclaim the lead, 4-3.

It was a wakeup call for the yellow shirts as they relaxed in this half, allowing Iloilo to tie the match, and a chance to take away the victory. NOFA, then, continued to press for the attack, in spite of Iloilo’s need to get back into the game. The effort paid off for the Negrenses as Valmayor scored his hattrick for the day when he shot a cross from Beloya at the 83rd minute.

Iloilo settled for long shots and other means to salvage some pride, but a chip from Doctora was easily collected by Sacapaño. The Negrenses pressed on further and they almost got rewarded with another goal. A shot by Pasilan was cleared by Iloilo Substitute Goalie, Mark Sorongon; which then followed with a rebound volley that went off-target. The match ended in a similar fashion to halftime with Negros leading by two goals, 5-3, thus, taking the win and the trophy.

Coach James Dinsay expressed his happiness towards his players who were able to get the win, despite the lack of practice and training together. He also shared that they played well in the first half, but “in the second half, we relaxed. I told them to continue playing [like] how we played in the first half,” which did pay dividends in the game. When asked about the midfield play of Iloilo, he praised his defense for the masterful job of dealing with it. “I told the defense to just do well. And I think we played well.” Coach Dinsay also said that there was no pressure after Iloilo tied it at 3-all, but he was happy that his boys pulled through, citing, Most Valuable Player (MVP), Valmayor’s contribution. “We know Jinggoy is a good player,” he exclaimed.

The powerhouse striker shared his sentiments about the match and exclaimed that it was really a fight for team honor. “Kasi dati pa talaga ‘yun, ‘yung rivalry ng Negros at tsaka ng Iloilo; so battle for pride lang talaga.” When asked about the mindset of his team, Valmayor shared that Negros trained once and talked with each other afterwards. “Tsaka syempre gusto nila [Iloilo] kaming talunin. Gusto din naming silang talunin.” The Pachanga Diliman veteran also expressed his thoughts on how they played offensively, attributing the win mainly on the system they have “Siguro may system talaga ‘yung both football associations, so siguro alam nila ‘yung gagawin nila sa game. Kasi ‘yung iba naming teammates, magkakasama rin so may chemistry talaga.” Valmayor, who played well and helped his team on the attack told the media that Coach Dinsay told them, “Laro lang. Laruin ‘yung laro namin. Huwag magpatalo.

Iloilo Coach, Marjo Allado, expressed his pride with the team’s attitude that showed especially in the second half. He added that they almost dominated the latter half of the match. He cited, “So, the problem with us [is] defending form crosses. ‘Yun ‘yung pumatay samin eh.” The veteran coach also said that fitness of his team dropped in the second half. He also cited that with the departure of Araneta and Jovanie Simpron, their game also changed. “We have speed but iba pa rin ‘yung presence pag nasa taas siya [Araneta]”. Allado also had some good words for his centerback, Jason Cordova, who returned to football action after almost three years. “He did well but he can do just as much.”


Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

Click to comment

Mixed Martial Arts

Rene Catalan continues rampage with TKO win



Rene Catalan continues to turn critics into believers

Filipino fighter Rene Catalan made his sixth appearance inside the ONE Championship cage at ONE: Kings of Courage, held at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia, Saturday evening. He faced 21-year-old Chinese athlete Peng Xue Wen in the opening main card bout, and leaned on his elite wushu skills to stop the young star at the 4:22 mark of the second round.

The victory improves Catalan’s record to 4-2 (1 NC), extends his winning streak to four, and gives him the first TKO stoppage of his martial arts career, as he bids to climb the strawweight ladder in search of the ONE Strawweight World Championship.

“The Challenger” came out in the southpaw stance to open the bout, throwing big hooks and a head kick that narrowly missed as he established the center of the cage from the start of the contest.

The Filipino landed a host of powerful strikes, including a perfectly-placed uppercut and a melee of punishing leg kicks, but Peng’s conditioning and composure kept him in the match as he looked to stand and trade with the man 18 years his elder.

Catalan picked up where he left off when the bout resumed in the second round, this time operating out of the orthodox stance, landing more leg kicks and continuing to deny Peng any space to work.

Despite his dominance on the feet, there was a brief moment of concern for the Filipino on the mat when he jumped into the Chinese wrestler’s guard mid-way through the second round, and immediately found himself in a triangle choke. But the Filipino kept his composure and managed to work himself free.

Once the fighters returned to their feet, Catalan poured on the pressure in search of a finish, and he got it with just 38 seconds remaining in the stanza.

“The Challenger” scored big with a liver shot, then unloaded a fierce flurry of punches that forced Peng onto his back foot. Another shot forced Peng to the mat, where a salvo of ground and pound from Catalan eventually forced the TKO stoppage as referee Olivier Coste stepped in to halt the contest.

Photo, story, and video from ONE Championship

Continue Reading


Gelo Alolino regrets Phoenix’s failure to close out Hotshots



Photo by PBA Images

Gelo Alolino had his best game for the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Saturday night at the Cuneta Astrodome with 19 points, eclipsing his previous career-high of 16 markers which he made last May 21, 2017 in a loss to the Mahindra Floodbuster.

But his achievement won’t be too memorable, as it went for naught following a 91-97 defeat at the hands of Paul Lee and the Magnolia Hotshots, who have now collected their third straight victory.

For the second overall pick in the regular 2016 Rookie Draft, it was all because of their failure to sustain momentum up until the game’s final buzzer.

“Sayang, nandun na. We felt na sa amin na nung dulo kaso lang ganun talaga,” rued the 24-year-old sophomore after the match, where he shot an excellent 7-of-10 from the floor.

“Breaks of the game napunta sa kabila.”

Phoenix were in contention all throughout the match. In fact, they were even ahead, 89-84, with just three minutes left to play. But the Hotshots’ comeback skills were unleashed, leading to the narrow win.

“Siyempre kami lahat nasayangan. Maganda naman yung team effort talaga namin,” admitted the 6-foot floor general of their end-game collapse, which wasted their efforts in assists (21) and on defense, where they forced Magnolia to 21 turnovers.

“Kami as players talagang gusto namin bumawi coming from a loss last game sa Rain or Shine.

The Fuel Masters have now lost their second straight outing and have dropped to 2-3. And for Alolino, all they have to do is learn as much as they can from this loss, especially now that they are about to face the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel next.

“Yun nga. Medyo masakit para sa’min ‘to,” admitted the National University product.

“All we have to do is magviview ulit kami ng tape para makita kung saan kami mas pwede mag-improve as a team and bawat isa — including me.”

Continue Reading


Glenn Khobuntin repays Ricky Dandan’s trust with end-game heroics



FILE Photo from PBA Images

Glenn Khobuntin can finally say that he had himself a moment in the pro ranks

The National University alumnus proved his worth for the Kia Picanto, scoring his team’s final six points to steer the often-ridiculed club to their first win after a historic 16-game skid, at the expense of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 98-94.

“I knew he would. I knew he would,” lauded Kia head coach Ricky Dandan of the takeover by the six-foot-four forward.

“It was a blessing he didn’t play for the first two quarters because he [came in] fresh at gigil na gigil.”

Khobuntin finished with 11 markers on 5-of-7 shooting — the best game he’s had so far, not because of the numbers he posted but with the way he made them. But the three-year pro does not want to take the spotlight all onto himself.

“Hindi lang din naman ako e, kami ding lahat e,” the 26-year-old shared. “Siguro kumbaga nagka-opportunity lang, napunta sa akin yung bola kasi yun yung nasa scheme ng play so ayun.

“Thankful lang ako na-hit ko yung mga na-design na plays.”

However, the third-year pro admitted that he had been frightened during the game’s final stretch, as Rain or Shine managed to impose a serious threat by coming back from a seven-point deficit, 94-96, with just less than 22 ticks left to play.

“Kinakabahan ako kasi two minutes pa rin yun e tapos Rain or Shine yung kalaban namin,” the native of Cagayan de Oro said. “Nakita ko nakakabalik sila. Thankful lang naman ako na yung game napunta sa amin, at least natapos yung losing streak namin.”

But more than the end of their months-long slump, what Khobuntin is grateful for is the trust given to him by Dandan, who fielded him as a starter in the second half after sitting out the entirety of the first 24 minutes.

“Nag-decide siya na ako yung i-start niya so thankful ako kasi nagtiwala siya sa akin.”

Continue Reading


Justin Brownlee, Alab lock down Knights for fifth win



Paying a visit to Indonesia for the first time this season, Tanduay Alab Pilipinas needed time to figure the CLS Knights out before stifling the hosts in the final frame to take a 92-87 road win, Saturday evening at the GOR CLS Kertajaya in Indonesia.

This is Alab’s second straight win after losing to the Singapore Slingers last January 10.

With the win, the Philippine-based club team lifts its slate to 5-4 for solo fourth. CLS, on the other hand, dropped to 1-7 — just half a game ahead of the cellar-dwelling Formosa Dreamers.

Justin Brownlee displayed his all-around brilliance in the game, leading Alab with 36 points on 15-for-24 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.

But Alab’s bench could not sustain the effort of the starters, which meant the team was clinging to a two-point lead with 7:06 remaining.

Needing a spark, 40-year-old sniper Dondon Hontiveros provided for Alab, knocking down a triple that proved to be the starting point 14-2 Alab run. A jumper by Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. with 2:57 left capped the rally and gave Alab an 87-73 lead.

Hontiveros scored five of the eight Alab bench points. Fortunately for Alab, Renaldo Balkman and Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. were on point. The former tallying a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Alab’s skipper had 14 points, four assists, two rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.

Coach Jimmy Alapag fielded his bench afterwards, but they let the quintet of Brian Williams, Mario Wuysang, Arif Hidayat, Decorey Jones, and Sandy Kurniawan slice the lead to as low as four points. Then free throws by Oping Sumalinog with eight ticks left put CLS away for good.

Williams paced CLS with 22 points and 14 rebounds while Kurniawan added 19 markers. Indonesian legend Wuysang had 17 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Alab ends its road trip on Sunday, January 28, when it takes on the Saigon Heat at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City.

Continue Reading