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PFFWL Roundup: TYFA, UP return in style with sweet victories



UST blanks FEU to seize second

With La Salle virtually guaranteed champions after building an insurmountable lead, the next best thing up for grabs is second place which is now being hotly contested by Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws and University of Santo Tomas Lady Booters.

After their teams battled last weekend at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite, it was the Thomasinas who prevailed 3-0.

FEU were fiery out of the blocks but UST managed to hold off the aggression. A foul inside the area after 26 minutes may very well have turned the tide towards the Lady Tigresses as national team striker Charisa Lemoran duly converted a penalty.
With a minute left until the halftime whistle, Nina Yanto baited goalie Kimberly Pariña from her spot before dancing around her to tap in the second goal.

On restart, the España based squad refused to let their guard down effectively shutting out their neighbors from Morayta.

In the 62nd minute, Lemoran fired a pass from the halfway line that put the ball within Pariña’s reach but Shelah Mae Cadag beat her to it before putting away the final UST goal.

The win puts UST squarely in second of the ladder separated only by a single point from FEU and will look to hold on to that position with two more games yet to be played.

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

UP double keeps Fuego Espanya winless

The University of the Philippines Lady Maroons were one of the last teams to rejoin the league and they would need to stay perfect this second round if they want to get out of the bottom half. With a 2-0 win over Fuego Espanya, they just might be on their way.

Fuego Espanya did not easily roll over against the much superior collegiate squad but after 39 minutes of play, it was UP that claimed the lead.

Eloisa Malmis who usually stayed back in defense was in attack for this match and was fouled in the box which led to a penalty. BG Sta. Clara was tasked to put UP on the board and she delivered.

The Diliman-based squad were clearly struggling with their play as a defiant Fuego Espanya continued to frustrate them, keeping them at bay for at least until the last eight minutes of the match.

Malmis was again involved after gathering a through-pass from Sta. Clara, then launching a shot that keeper Diana Rose Redondo parried. Yanzie Yalong pounced on the rebound and tapped in the insurance goal to seal the win.

As captain, Malmis later admitted that the Lady Maroons are struggling with many of her teammates absent due to injuries but was pleased with the outcome nonetheless.

“I thought we did well and we achieved the objectives given by our coach though it took us a little later to make the adjustments. Everyone is adjusting pa. Pero palagi ko talaga sinasabi na huwag tayo mag-focus sa wala muna ngayon, mag-focus tayo sa anong meron tayo,” she related.

Malmis also revealed that their place in the standings is the least of their concerns at the moment, giving priority to helping their new recruits settle in.

“Gusto lang ng coaches namin [na] maglaro kami for experience at maka-adjust kasama [yung] mga bagong players namin. Basta our main target is to build chemistry with each other in preparation for [the coming] UAAP,” she continued before clarifying that they will not forego the rest of their games.

“As what Cassie [Alleje] said, ‘pride for the team din yun.’ Pero more on pag-basa ng laro ng teammate or chemistry talaga kasi kung maayos na namin yun, doon na lalabas yung reward namin which is winning.”

TYFA turn tables on OutKast with shock win

The Younghusband FA made a splash on their return to the second round, and it was at the expense of one of the stronger club teams.

In OutKast FC’s defense, the team was struggling with player attendance—a strange twist of irony when considering that this was an issue that plagued TYFA several times in the first round.

TYFA did not take long to put themselves in the lead either, needing only six minutes after a nonchalant kick by April Reyes from thirty yards out ended flying into the net.

In the 22nd minute, the ladies in white and blue doubled their lead after Joma Clemente broke away for a strike that Hazel Arce could not put a handle on.

This finally woke up the current fifth best team and after subduing TYFA for the rest of the half, they began to click and make several attacks into the final third to start the second half, despite being repeatedly frustrated by many offside calls.

OutKast’s efforts were rewarded with a 67th goal from Mara Sabanal who scored from a distance, but that was it as another goal in the last 7 minutes was the dagger that TYFA needed to halt their comeback.

Yehee Eom was dashing towards the goal after taking the pass by Clemente, who then had crumpled to the ground in pain after a collision, when Eom herself clashed into Arce. Not hearing any whistle to stop play, a trailing Krizha Guteza picked up the loose ball and the substitute slotted it into the net to complete the upset.

Reyes who is the captain for the Younghusband outfit could not keep her surprise on beating the team that routed them 7-0 in their previous meeting.

“Hindi namin expect na mananalo kami kay OutKast kasi malakas sila last round. Alam namin yung skills namin, puro bago eh, tapos hindi pa namin [gaano kilala] yung isa’t isa. Nag-training kami Saturday isa lang. Tapos hindi pa kami complete,” she shared.

Reyes said she hopes the win will spur TYFA into improving on their place in ninth of the standings but thinks the change in the league format will make this difficult.

“Gusto talaga namin mas umangat pa kaso yun nga, nahati na sa dalawang groups ngayong second round, na-lessen pa yung games namin. Sana kung isang group pa din edi may chance pa sana kaming umangat pa kasi more games. Pero okay lang din, sa second season sana maayos,” Reyes said.

League Standings

DLSU – 30 (pts)
UST – 21
FEU – 20
GAU FC – 16
OutKast FC – 14
ADMU – 14
Hiraya FC – 13
UP – 12
TYFA – 12
Fuego Espanya – 0

On Deck

No matches have been scheduled this coming weekend.


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.


Rose Vargas all set for UAAP return after four-season absence



In an unprecedented move, hard-hitting Far Eastern University spiker Rose Vargas will return to finish her UAAP career when Season 80 kicks off on February 3 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Vargas last played for the Lady Tamaraws in Season 75. With a year of eligibility left, Vargas left the Morayta-based program to focus on her academics and pursue a career in the semi-pro ranks.

Five years since her last UAAP game, Vargas says that she did not hesitate when FEU officials asked if she wanted to return to play out her final year of eligibility.

During her time in the V-League, she played for the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns, the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors, the Bureau of Custom Transformers, and, most recently, the Creamline Cool Smashers.

“‘Yung pag-babalik naman dito (FEU) is hindi ko naman pinag-isipan matagal or nag-dalawang isip ako,” said the Season 74 Best Scorer. “Noong tinanong lang sa akin kung gusto ko daw bumalik, ang sagot ko lang, oo.

“Kasi gusto kong makatulong, and gusto kong makuha ‘yung championship namin na matagal ng hindi nakukuha ng FEU.”

Vargas adds to an already-solid FEU core which includes graduating captain Bernadeth Pons, Toni Rose Basas, and Jerrili Malabanan.

The last time Vargas suited up for FEU, she was the main piece in a core that included Mari Toni Basas — Toni Rose’s older sister — a young Remy Palma, Gyzelle Sy, and Tin Agno.

Vargas now sees herself as more of a complimentary piece, the hardened veteran looking to guide FEU’s younger guns in a season where much is expected of them.

“Ngayon, nadagdagan siguro yung maturity and ko, pagiging veteran daw, sabi, na pwede ko mai-share din sa mga bata ‘yun, as a leader, as an ate,” added Vargas.

“Nako-contribute ko kung anong knowledge ang natutunan ko.”

League insiders are confident that Vargas, who turned 25-year-old on December 12 last year, will be declared eligible to play in Season 80. Although the UAAP is yet to have their eligibility meeting this week, a source closely monitoring the situation expressed confidence that Vargas will pass the league’s eligibility rules.

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Adamson Pep takes home first-ever Cheerdance crown



Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that

After notching their first-ever podium finish last season, the Adamson Pep Squad completely got out of the darkness with an 80’s inspired show of lights and finesse to give Adamson University its first-ever UAAP Cheerdance crown, Saturday evening at the state-of-the-art SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasig City.

For the second time in three years, the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe took home silver with a Crouching Tiger-inspired performance.

The UE Pep Squad finished in third place, taking home bronze and PHP 140,000.

An error-filled start completely doomed defending champions National U Pep Squad from notching a five-peat and even making the podium.

After missing the competition a season ago, the UP Pep Squad’s performance, that was inspired by the stories of the Iskolars ng Bayan, did not finish in the podium for the first time.

In the group stunt competition, the FEU Cheering Squad took home gold — their second championship in the event in four years.

Adamson Pep finished with silver while UP Pep completed the podium in the side event.

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Invincible La Salle sweeps way to historic league title



The De La Salle University Lady Archers have taken the full 39 points to reign as the PFF Women’s League’s inaugural champions. The Taft-based squad have now won their second title of the year — together with the UAAP Season 79 championship — and are currently enjoying a 22-match unbeaten streak.

With 27 points, the University of Santo Tomas take second, while the Far Eastern University are a point behind in third. Fuego Espanya were given special citation with the Fair Play Award.

DLSU’s Sara Castañeda was chosen as the league’s Most Valuable Player. Two more of her teammates took home citations, with Kyra Dimaandal bagging the Golden Boot with a total of 21 goals and Inna Palacios named as Best Goalkeeper. UST’s Charisa Lemoran took the Best Midfielder honors, while Ivy Lopez was declared Best Defender.

La Salle smashes shorthanded TYFA 16 times to secure title and perfect record, 16-0

Already assured of the trophy, the De La Salle University headed into the game in Carmona last Saturday relaxed, only slightly pressured to keep a spotless record. DLSU boss Hans-Peter Smit also started his strongest eleven when he gave a special nod to his exiting players.

The ladies in green took full advantage of the Younghusband FA’s severe lack in manpower, netting seven in the first half and nine in the second.

Irish Navaja kicked things off with a left-footed strike from the wings to put the Lady Archers up in the 10th minute. Four minutes later Kyra Dimaandal doubled La Salle’s output, and she would go on to score three more in the 33rd, 42nd and 61st minutes.

Kyla Inquig added a pair in the 27th and 34th minutes, while Nicole Andaya registered a hat-trick, scoring in the 37th, 46th, and the last goal in the 89th.

Chelo Hodges chipped in with a 60th minute cleanup goal, while eventual MVP Sara Castañeda added another seven minutes later. A further four minutes and her sister Anicka joined the goal spree, completing a brace in a span of eight minutes.

The Lady Archers did not relent even in the dying minutes with transferee Bea Delos Reyes netting her first goals for her new team, a pair in the 81st and 85th minutes, the latter one a stunning turnaround shot inside the box.

Despite blowing out the game and in essence, the league, Smit remains modest about his team’s achievements including the 22-game winning streak, even saying it was all coincidental.

“It’s not like we started to look for a record of sorts! It just happened, I didn’t even know that we were on a roll. We weren’t really after it because we always go one game at a time. So we made it our mission besides winning the championship of both the UAAP and the PFF-WL,” he said, sharing that it is a good preparation for the coming UAAP season — which is what he is really after.

“I said, if we’ll do well in the women’s league then let’s go for it since we’re there na,” Smit added.

One player who has benefited from Smit’s tutelage is the elder Castañeda, who revealed what had taken to where they are now. “We just follow what he says. He gives us a main play to follow then we just mix it up during the game,” she shared.

The MVP recipient is also grateful that the arrival of league has helped her team grow since their heartbreaking loss in UAAP Season 79 final, the last time they lost.

“Because of this league we are able to play more games so yes it is good for our team’s chemistry,” she added.

Castañeda is also grateful to have given the team’s many graduating veterans a triumphant sendoff.

“Thank you to the seniors for helping the younger players on the team and good luck with your future!”

Hiraya FC dig deep to stage comeback victory over OutKast FC, 3-1

PFF Women's League - Hiraya def OutKast - Ibarra (1)

The weekend’s club team derby saw two teams that not only sought to end their season with a bang — but also with a place in the top half of the table.

Though outnumbered, it was OutKast FC who came flying off the blocks and immediately put the pressure on Hiraya. Hiraya’s defense was nearly successful in stamping out OutKast’s aggression until Barbie Sobredo’s close-range strike in stoppage outpaced keeper Haya Ibarra to grab a lead at halftime.

Hiraya regrouped and with patience found their equalizer in Aiza Mondero twenty minutes after restart. Three minutes later, Vanessa Anne Fabon’s one-touch delivery fired in the go-ahead.

OutKast attempted to counter but were falling prey to cramps in the early afternoon sun. Hiraya capitalized on this, and in the 88th minute went off on another run that saw Cecilia Dayrit gunning for Mondero’s through-ball from the middle. Keeper Hazel Arce was also scrambling for it but Dayrit won the race, slotting the ball in for the game’s final goal.

Ibarra later gave credit to Alice Dela Peña for firing the team up during halftime.

“I remember Alice saying before start of the half in the huddle that she feels we’ll end the game as winners and the team agreed. And we did win,” the team captain shared.

Ibarra is also contented with her team’s performance in the league and to finish in fifth with 19 points, while also hinting that the team has not actually reached their full potential, thus remaining hopeful for the next season.

“I’m happy because we were able to get this far as a new club team. We look forward to playing more games and growing women’s football together,” she added.

On the other hand, OutKast did not share Hiraya’s enthusiasm. Manager Keuts Smith wished to air her grievances that may have led her team to spiral down to the bottom half, in eighth place, after starting with so much promise. Smith joins many other club representatives who have lamented the execution of the league by the Philippine Football Federation.

“When the league started last year, there was a real excitement about it, fast forward ten months later it became a chore for all involved,” said Smith, who also blamed the tight schedule for getting one of her players seriously injured.

“I’m happy that OutKast FC was able to participate in the inaugural PFFWL but I’m disappointed that the PFF didn’t maximize the opportunity to promote women’s football. I’m dismayed at the overall lack of respect for the participants of the league by the PFF, putting their best interests first which is to complete the league regardless of the quality of it, and everything else second. On the positive side, it is the first PFFWL and hopefully improvements can be made.”

Ateneo ends on a high leaving Fuego Espanya empty with four unanswered goals, 4-0

PFF Women's League - ADMU def Fuego Espanya - Panganiban

The Lady Eagles of Ateneo de Manila University found themselves with 18 points and in sixth place at the finish line, while their victory also means that opponents Fuego Espanya end their season winless.

Jill Panganiban scored her first goal for Ateneo when she netted a tap-in in the 13th minute. 11 minutes later, the former Green Archers United FC winger jumped on a rebound for a long-range strike.

Five minutes before the half, it was Tessa Bernardo’s turn to score from a further distance, firing in a sensational golazo that rainbowed over the keeper and into the back of the net.

After halftime, Ateneo’s keeper Mariane Caparros switched to striker and two minutes later added a fourth goal off a flying header.

The win puts the Katipunan-based squad squarely on top of the bottom half, in fourth, among the UAAP teams, and mentor John Paul Merida could not hide his disappointment.

“I’m not really happy with the team’s performance because it has been inconsistent. When the PFF women’s league started, our objective was to perform well and to get the number one spot, but we ended up with a middle standing,” said Merida.

He added that while the team did not meet their objective, he is still thankful for such a tournament.

“I’m glad this tournament organized by the PFF is here, it was a good experience for the team.”

Three-star FEU shuts out UP to close season, 3-0

PFF Women's League - FEU def UP - Simoy (1)

The Far Eastern University were already a handful of points clear of Green Archers United FC to finish the season in third before they started the last league game. Meanwhile, the University of the Philippines were hoping to end the season on a positive note, only to be denied thrice, with FEU taking 26 points and leaving the Lady Maroons with only 13.

Portia Acibar led the way for the Lady Tamaraws last Monday in FERN Diliman, with a free kick goal in the 30th minute. Kate Dacanay doubled the lead in the 72nd minute with a left-footed half-volley near the top of the box. Suet Simoy then tripled the Morayta-based squad’s lead when her free-kick shot was too strong for the keeper.

FEU coach Let Dimzon had previously aimed to finish higher than third but said the end result was good enough.

“It was a good finish for us. Out of the four games in the second round, three wins and a loss is better than our performance in the first round. Finishing [with bronze is better] than nothing. Nagawa pa rin namin makabalik sa top three coming from 7th or 8th [nung the first round],” Dimzon said.

“Kahit di nasunod yung original plan sa PFFWL because of some reasons, we were expecting kasi to have more games. But we are still lucky to be in the top group of UAAP teams,” she added.

League Standings

DLSU – 39 (pts)
UST – 27
FEU – 26
GAU FC – 19
Hiraya FC – 19
ADMU – 18
TYFA – 15
OutKast FC – 14
UP – 13
Fuego Espanya – 0

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Misunderstood Ron Dennison proves critics wrong in final year



Far Eastern University Tamaraws’ Ron Dennison has been called plenty of names since he started his UAAP career — dirty player, bad boy, tirador. The list goes on.

Yes, plenty of people hate his guts.

Yes, he was involved in several extra-curricular activities before throwing fists.

Amidst all the shade thrown at him, he is still one of the most reliable defenders in college basketball today.

But his stellar five-year UAAP career has come to an end. As the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles halted FEU’s campaign to the finals, he did not hide his emotions when the final buzzer rang. He sang the alma mater song for the last time as a Tamaraw in tears.

For his last post-game press conference, Dennison took the opportunity to tip his hat off to all the people who helped him in his spectacular five-year run in FEU.
UAAP 80 Final Four ADMU vs. FEU G2 - Dennison-9148
“Gusto ko lang mag-thank you kay coach Olsen [Racela] kasi binigyan niya ko ng ganitong season,” said an emotional Dennison. “Yung buong team nakarating sa Final Four. Kahit yung team namin up and down, salamat sa tiwala lalo na sakin as a senior. Thankful din ako kay God na binigyan niya ako ng magandang season this year. Sobra. Di ko inexpect na ganito lalaruin ko this year.”

Dennison, who hails from Cebu, is the eighth child among nine siblings. The 23-year-old shared that growing up, basketball has always been their siblings’ thing. His older brothers Miller, Ritchum, and Rolf are whom he considers as his first coaches.

“Sa simula palang tine-training na ako ng mga kuya ko sa depensa. Sila ang nagturo sa akin kung paano basahin ang galaw ng kalaban,” he recalled.

So picture this: a young Dennison, way before he even donned a FEU jersey, playing ball in a local court in one of the barangays in Cebu. The boy is slugging it out against his much older, taller, and bigger brothers. He is the youngest. He is the smallest. He doesn’t have much of a hold on the ball because his brothers are taking the shots.

What is there left to do? Defend.

Maybe that explains why he plays like what he does now. He was raised in a basketball environment where he had no choice but to learn to outsmart and outwit his opponents. And this is what he proudly brought to the FEU basketball program.

“Yung pagiging physical player ko, yun ang nagbibigay kung sino ako. Yun yung dinadala ko sa sarili ko kasi kung wala sa depensa ko, wala rin ako sa FEU kasi yun yung alas ko,” shared the 6-foot guard, who was part of the FEU team that won gold in UAAP Season 78.

But that is not his only “alas”.

This UAAP Season 80, he showed that he has evolved into a two-way threat for the Tamaraws. From bothering his man on the other end, he can seamlessly transition to offense and easily make buckets.
UAAP 80 ADMU vs. FEU - Dennison-7819

“Sa ipinakita ko this season, ibang Ron Dennison yung lumabas this year kasi offense at defense na ako.

“Hindi lang sa depensa, gumagawa na rin ako sa opensa. Pero always nandyan ang defense ko, hindi ‘yan puwede mawala,” Dennison speaking as if referring to his first love.

That first love is the reason he was called a bad boy. It may not be the ideal reputation, but if that is what makes him a great baller, Dennison is all for embracing it.

“Hard court bad boy pero ginagawa ko lang ang trabaho ko sa loob ng court” he affirmed.

“Kaya kung bad boy sa hard court tawag nila sa akin okay lang.”

Dennison’s game is a challenge for all the UAAP teams and as he exits college basketball, it’s now the pro teams’ turn to deal with this headache.

Because you can’t spell Ron Dennison without good D.

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