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Football

PFFWL Roundup: Battle of Katipunan ends in another stalemate

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Alisha Del Campo double steers GAU past OutKast


Green Archers United FC made up for their second round opening loss with a 2-0 victory over slumping club team OutKast FC who have suffered their third straight defeat.

Alisha Del Campo shone the brightest in the encounter, scoring the match’s only goals.

She needed only two minutes to get started, when she picked off a lazy pass by the OutKast backline to drive home the first goal.

Midway through the second half, Annalie Martinez gathered a blocked attempt by TJ Isulat before passing off to an unmarked Del Campo who scored the second goal.

Del Campo’s brace puts her in second of the scoring leaderboard now with a league total of 13 goals just one behind current top striker Kyra Dimaandal of De La Salle University, and the national team striker was not shy of the implications.

“I am extremely glad about this! I will strive harder not just to top the rank for the scorers but also to rank up my team’s position,” she enthused.

GAU currently sit in fourth of the standings with two more games to go and Del Campo hopes the team’s good fortune will continue in taking the Alabang-based club higher despite woes in training.

Wasn’t really expecting the game would result into that since we didn’t have any preparation and some of our teammates were missing, but we were all happy everyone played great. Just like the first round, we want to win all games we play in and just do what we can do for the team. Hopefully we can stay close to the top two or three.”

UST locks on second as Fuego Espanya score first league goal


The University of Santo Tomas have been perfect this second round punctuated by their latest 4-1 win over club team Fuego Espanya.

The Lady Booters of UST were more than ready to rumble with MJ Indac scoring inside the first three minutes. Rookie Nathalie Absalon followed up with her contribution eleven minutes later to double UST’s advantage.

Shelah Mae Cadag added a pair of her own in the 19th and 34th minutes to secure a staggering 4 to nothing lead in just the first half alone.
Despite UST’s boon, Fuego Espanya had a lot to be cheerful for in this match. The club has been winless and although the goal margin of their losses have steadily been improving, they have remained goalless until the 59th minute of the Saturday encounter when Jean Chua broke that streak.

The former UA&P player who also happens to be a UST alum ironically chose this match to make a special mark, striking a curling beauty off a free kick from forty yards out, past the outstretched mitts of the Thomasian keeper.

“It was definitely a proud moment. Our team entered the tournament knowing we’d be going against the best and the strongest. Chances to score would not come by often. I’m glad we got to capitalize on the goal-scoring opportunity,” Chua shared before admitting she was never sure the ball would go in.

“In any attempt, one always hopes that the ball spins the right way and flies the right height so it goes in. Parang sa set plays, you know something could always go wrong but you do what you can and you hope,” she added.

For what it’s worth, UST take this match to put the stranglehold on second of the standings with one game to go and ahead of their nearest competition Far Eastern University by four points.

*UST’s student-athletes were unfortunately not made available for comment.

Hiraya FC hold off TYFA behind Aiza Mondero brace


Hiraya FC have kept their second round momentum going after fending off a defiant challenge presented by the young upstarts of the Younghusband FA after a 4-2 win.

Both Hiraya and TYFA have bolstered their squads with valuable recruits in the transfer window before the start of the second round: proven veterans for Hiraya while TYFA opted for promising young guns.

These veteran recruits proved key for Hiraya during their Sunday matchup against TYFA. In the 18th minute, Hiraya were on the board after an own goal instigated by a Cam Rodriguez.

Then in the 29th minute, Erika Casas danced around defenders inside the box before passing to a nearby Aiza Mondero who finished with ease. Eight minutes later, Mondero struck again when she snuck behind a TYFA defender for a steal before slamming home a brace.

In the second half, the rookies of TYFA began to make their move. Six minutes after restart, Kara Isobel played a fancy backheel pass to a rampaging Katilyn Dabalos which took the Hiraya defense by surprise. Goalie Gely Tiu managed to parry the initial attack but could not stop the follow-up.

Five minutes later TYFA pulled another goal back after being awarded a penalty which Dabalos converted with ease.

Then three minutes after that, Rodriguez delivered the dagger that halted TYFA’s comeback. Cristina Delos Reyes was running down the left flank when she slid a pass to Rodriguez who curled a shot into the back of the net, a shot that may have also taken the fire out of TYFA.

The win puts Hiraya back in the top half of the table in fifth, a position they haven’t been in since early in the season. The brace scoring Mondero admits that the club is relishing the feat and that they are hoping to do one better.

“Sabi ni Haya [Ibarra] kung mapanalo lahat na games, magiging pang-apat pa kami parang ganun. Kung mapanalo namin, edi ma-reach namin. Parang imposible, pero sana. Hindi na kami aasa sa La Salle, pero okay lang at least sa club team man lang lamangan namin, pati yung ibang UAAP teams,” Mondero said.

Ateneo and UP split points to stay in place


The Ateneo de Manila University and University of the Philippines were looking for a win in order to improve their place in the standings.

Both teams went hard that they wound up cancelling each other, ending in a goalless draw. It would be the third time both teams have drawn each other after other occasions outside of the league.

Both teams are also going through a rebuilding stage thus much of either team’s system relied heavily on how the new players to their squad adjusted, and it was clear in the Sunday afternoon that both were still works in progress.

It was Ateneo that jumped the gun at first, testing the UP defense with their long balls from back to front. Unfortunately the Lady Eagle onslaught fizzled out in the final third as they struggled with their finishes.

UP meanwhile were carefully building up wayward attacks of their own led by the flanking attacks of BG Sta.Clara and Eloisa Malmis only to be thwarted by the determined heroics of Ateneo custodian Mariane Caparros.

In the end, a banged up Ateneo and a bruised UP were forced to share a point each with the former remaining in 6th of the standings and the latter at 8th with two more matches for either to go.

“Of course it’s UP-Ateneo, it’s normal na yung intensity talagang hindi magpapatalo. Then the girls ng UP strong lahat yan, hindi sila nag-gi-give up. Yung team ko naman, worried na ko nung last ten minutes parang pinipilit nalang pero maganda rin na hindi sila nag-give up,” Ateneo mentor John Paul Merida confided.

Even though the teams should be more familiar with each other because of how frequently they played against each other recently, UP coach Stephen Permanes laments that they could not take advantage.

“Now we established our strength already and we worked on the weaknesses. It should be our game pero medyo nahirapan lang kami after twenty minutes of the game. Every time we regained the ball, nagmamadali masyado yung players,” Permanes said.

Both coaches shared grievances which they hope will be addressed soon especially before the coming UAAP football season. For Merida, it’s more games for his wards. For Permanes, it’s a field to practice in.

“Worry ko talaga yung target ko sa kanila na number of games before [UAAP]. Sana makuha talaga nila. That’s why I keep asking [PFF] when the second [PFFWL season] will be before UAAP,” Merida shared.

“Nahirapan talaga kami sa finishing because kung anong meron kaming facilities yun lang yung wino-work namin. So hopefully soon may field na kami, para mapo-polish namin,” Permanes added.

League Standings:


DLSU – 30 (pts)
UST – 24
FEU – 20
GAU FC – 19
Hiraya FC – 16
ADMU – 15
OutKast FC – 14
UP – 13
TYFA – 12
Fuego Espanya – 0

On Deck


The PFF Women’s League continues this weekend at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona.

On Saturday, November 11, two matches are lined up: GAU FC (4) vs. TYFA (9) at 1:00 p.m., DLSU (1) vs. Hiraya FC (5) at 3:00 p.m.

On Sunday, November 12, two more matches will play out: FEU (3) vs. ADMU (6) at 1:00 p.m., UST (2) vs. UP (8) at 3:00 p.m.

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Mia's problem is she likes too many things. Sometimes she's an engineer, sometimes an athlete, sometimes an artist, sometimes a faux dog whisperer, sometimes an otaku, often a Kobe Bryant and Roger Federer fangirl but she most definitely is a sports enthusiast and a strong advocate of the women's game.

Football

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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Jake Vicen performs under pressure as Blazers end eight-year title drought

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For the second straight match, the championship showdown between the College of Saint Benilde Blazers and the Arellano University Chiefs reached a showdown from the penalty spot. And once more, goalkeeper Jake Vicen came up big.

The third-year custodian denied one of Arellano’s prolific scorers, Roberto Corsame, in the shootout and sealed the title after eight long years, 3-2, penalties, Wednesday evening at the historic Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The Blazers made their intentions clear from the get-go, as they repeatedly pierced through the defense of the Chiefs.

Nonetheless, in the 38th minute, the white-shirts clinched the goal they deserved. The Blazers pushed forward, and almost got a call in their favor. The referees, however, played advantage, and fortunately Benilde held on to the play.

Miguel Artillera found himself unmarked on the right flank and easily blasted the ball past opposing keeper Jericho Desalisa.

The Marlon Maro-mentored side continued to play aggressively in the following period, and almost plucked a second goal. This time, however, the Chiefs’ backline — led by eventual Best Defender Patrick Bernarte — held on.

Such a stand was rewarded by their attacking force minutes later, and, as expected, the equalizer came from the counterattack.

Corsame received a pass from the middle and defeated two defenders, and seeing Vicen off his line, sent the ball into the onion bag in the 49th minute.

Both sides tried to break the deadlock, but fatigue slowly crept up in the dying minutes of the second period and the whole of extra time, setting up another thrilling finish in the shootout.

Much like in Game 2, the two keepers came up big, as Desalisa and Vicen denied their second kickers a clear shot. Arellano went on to miss another shot, and it was then up to the Blazers to seal the deal.

Dean Ebarle stepped up and calmly slotted the ball into the goal for the lead at 3-2. Afterwards, Corsame faced Vicen, but this time, the Cebuano keeper would not be denied. The latter went to his strong side, and, fortunately, guessed right for the huge save, as pandemonium erupted from the Benilde crowd and squad.

The Finals series hero and season Best Goalkeeper Vicen was pleased that the new champions had carved out the historic win despite early adversity. “Big loss ‘yun, si Val [Calvo], kasi may magagawa talaga siya kung nakalaro namin,” he said of losing their former captain.

Nonetheless, the squad stayed focused on getting it done this year.

“Binuhos lang namin every minute sa training. Luckily, hard work paid off,” declared Vicen.

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Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory

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Photo from the-AFC.com

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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Brazilian football legend Zico to visit Manila

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One of the best to ever play the Beautiful Game is coming to the Philippines. Zico, who electrified the footballing world in the ’70s and ’80s, is slated to visit Manila on the weekend of January 27.

The Brazilian, whose real name is Arthur Antunes Coimbra, is considered one of the best footballers in the world during the late 70’s and early 80’s. Zico starred for the Brazilian national team, scoring 48 goals in 71 appearances for the Selecao. In 1999, the attacking midfielder came 8th in the FIFA Player of the Century grand jury vote, and in 2004 was named in FIFA’s list of the world’s greatest living players.

Zico played for legendary Brazilian club Flamengo and also for the Italian Serie A team Udinese. He finished his playing career suiting up for Kashima Antlers in the J-League, the top tier of Japanese football, leading them to an unlikely runner-up finish.

The 64-year-old also had a successful managerial career, leading Turkey’s Fenerbahce, Greek team Olympiacos, and CSKA Moscow to titles. Zico was also in charge of the Japanese national team when they won the AFC Asian Cup in 2004. Because of that accomplishment, Zico is one of the most beloved football figures in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Seven Seas Properties, a company that promotes Philippine real estate and Philippine stocks in the Japanese market, is bringing the football icon here.

“We are delighted to welcome Zico to the Philippines. I’m sure he will give a big boost to the growing football scene here,” says Seven Seas Properties President Yukihiro Nishimura.

Zico will attend a CSR event with young footballers from underprivileged communities on Saturday, January 27. The following day, Sunday January 28, he will lead a football clinic for elite young players and coaches in the McKinley Hill stadium in Taguig. Football fans and media are welcome to watch this event, which kicks off at 2:00 pm. Admission is free.

Zico in Manila is also made possible by Otsuka – Solar Philippines, Inter Sports Partners, AgriNurture, and Primex.

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