The UAAP Women’s Football Tournament is deceptively competitive.
Unlike the men’s side of the competition, which has expanded to include eight teams this season, women’s football in the UAAP has had the same number of teams since becoming an official sport in 1996.
The usual suspects in this league have the following track records, counting the one year spent as a demo sport: FEU is the winningest of the teams with nine championships, followed by DLSU with eight championships, and UST with two. Historically speaking, Ateneo and UP have both shared space in the league cellar and neither team, to date, has a championship to add to its name.
Despite only boasting five teams, football on the women’s side makes it so that year to year has its fair share of close matches and very little blow outs. Expect the fierce rivalries to take over. Ateneo-DLSU match-ups are always interesting in the UAAP, and speaking from experience (and full disclosure: I used to play for UP) the “Katipunan derby” gets pretty exciting as well.
FEU and DLSU have met in the finals six times over the past 19 seasons. Except for the record number of championship titles, DLSU is the most successful women’s football program having reached the finals a record 14 times in its past 19 campaigns.
That being said, as the highest level of women’s football in the country enters its second decade of existence, it may be the year for the continental shift in the UAAP women’s football rankings.
Which team will be crowned UAAP Season 77 Champions?
Read on and see what to expect and what to look forward to in the coming months.
The Favorite – FEU
Far Eastern University has transformed itself into a football powerhouse in recent years. Last Season 76, they pretty much dominated the entire field from junior’s football to the men’s senior division. Their women’s football team are the record-holders for most tournament championships, and if you ask me, man-per-man they’ve been the most technically sound and organized team on the women’s side.
The FEU Women’s Football Team plays slick passing football and moves as a unit to score their goals. If I had a word to describe this team, it would be the word solid. Solid back four. Solid midfield. Solid strikers. On more than one occasion, I’ve seen the goalkeeper of this team look bored for the lack of action if only because her teammates do a good job of limiting the chances of their opponents.
Overall, this team has a nice balance of skill, fitness, and team chemistry. It’s something noticeable in all the FEU squads and no doubt the balance is something to be attributed to Coach Kim Chul Su- “Master Kim” to his players- and the architect of the FEU football program. But while Coach Kim retains coaching duties of the men’s team, the reins of the FEU Women’s Football Team were passed on to Coach Marnelli “Let” Dimzon a few years back.
Coach Let recently came off an International Coaching Course by the German Football Association where she was recognized as the top participant of the 3-week program. A former FEU player herself and the MVP of her team’s championship run in Season 63, this formidable woman underscores this formidable team.
This season, FEU will be without the likes of Emari Solano and last season’s MVP Mae Sullano, but returning players from last year’s squad will still make this team the one to beat.
Watch out for Ina Araneta, Sharmine Siaotong, Charmaine Fagaragan, team captain Daidai Dolino, and Season 76’s Best Striker and Best Midfielder Barbie Sobredo.
|Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws|
|Acibar, Portia Daidaluz D.||Dolino, Alesa N.|
|Amita, Analou A. *||Fagaragan, Charmaine Joy M. *|
|Amita, Jenelyn A. *||Kadil, Jean Brigette Dc.|
|Araneta, Alina Rose B.||Lecera, Roselle Marie A.|
|Banagodos, Sarah Jane M.||Pachejo, Hannah Faith R.|
|Belluga, Zhyrelle Lou A.||Ramos, Sheramae B. *|
|Chavez, Joy Roses C.||Sales, Jinky Rose J.|
|Chinedo, Quennie Faye U.||Siaotong, Sharmine B.|
|Cupal, Kimberly Eureka N.||Sobredo, Barbie Ann S.|
|Demetillo, Hannamae R.||Soriano, Javee B.|
The Wildcard – DLSU
The use of the 3-5-2 system** in football has waxed and waned in popularity, but through it all Hans Smit has still utilized the system as head coach of the DLSU Women’s Football Team.
The longest-tenured coach in the UAAP has led his team to numerous championships and finals berths, and many of his players have gone on to join and become mainstays in the Women’s National Team.
But unlike in past campaigns, however, this season Coach Hans doesn’t have the same level of talent at his disposal. National team goalkeeper Inna Palacios plays for La Salle and will undoubtedly make it difficult for other teams to score against her, but despite that fact, this team is in danger of finishing dead last for the second year in a row if some key areas aren’t addressed.
For the 3-5-2 system and specifically this DLSU team, the sweeper position has always been critical. In the past, there was Stephanie Pheasant, then Anna Frumenti, and then Miel Ampil who at one time or another protected that La Salle defensive line like their lives depended on it. To emphasize the importance of this position to the success of the squad, when Ampil graduated, striker and former Rookie of the Year Adrienne Yniguez was converted to the sweeper position. Coach Hans was willing to trade potent attack for the defensive heart of his team.
All things considered, defense will be crucial as will be the center midfields. La Salle hasn’t had the deepest bench the past two or three seasons but they’ve done reasonably well as long as they filled the sweeper position and the holding and attacking mids.
In the pre-season University Games, La Salle was outdueled by Ateneo in a best of three series. It was 4-1, 2-1, and 2-3 in favor of the white and blue. This young La Salle squad can expect more stiff competition from the different teams in the season to come.
|DLSU Lady Booters|
|Andaya, Nicole Arielle B.||Maligad, Noreen Kim A.|
|Arrieta, Alexi Nina B.||Metillo, Regine|
|Barcemo, Janna Raizel T.||Navaja, Irish O.|
|Concepcion, Thea Claire J.||Nolasco, Toni Zoemima M.|
|Diaz, Megan D.||Palacios, Inna Kristianne B.|
|Duran, Mary Cristine A.||Salen, Sophia Bethinna B.|
|Ferrer, Dea Midriel T.||Siggaoat, Paula Celesse P.|
|Guancia, Chermaine Lou D. *||Silava, Ludessa D.|
|Hain, Samantha Louise N. *||Tejada, Mariell T.|
|Hodges, Chelo Marie||Turtur, Erika Lorraine T.|
|Inquig, Kyla Jan A.|
The Toss-up – UP, Ateneo, and UST
Last season, the Ateneo Women’s Football Team came up with their best ever finish in the UAAP. They finished at 3rd place by a hairline, matching UP’s win-draw-loss record, and besting the Diliman-based team via goal difference. (One was the bitter number that denied UP a podium finish.)
This year, the two teams will be fielding a stacked line-up. Recruitment-wise, both UP and Ateneo scored a number of former national youth team players, and those players will have the advantage of playing as league veterans.
Key players in the UP squad will be defenders Molly Manalansan and Tin Mendoza, midfielders Christina Vergara, Christille Ardiente, Aira Agustin, and Kali Huff, as well as strikers and former Rookie of the Year awardees Cristina delos Reyes and Mary Rose Obra. UP Men’s and Women’s Football Team head coach Andres “Anto” Gonzalez will have his pick of players for virtually every position, including the starting goalkeeper position with seniors Jermaine Choa Peck and AJ Javier, and the younger Nicole Adlawan.
Ateneo, meanwhile, will look to players Cam Rodriguez, Mia Catedrilla, Cecil Dayrit, Aina Martin, and Leah Cruz on midfield, with towering Maan Cadayona leading the team’s defensive efforts. Ateneo coach Bob Manlulo has the added advantage of having at his disposal several of his former Miriam College High School players, many of whom he’s coached since they were in grade school. The combination of veterans with many of Coach Bob’s long-time players will play a significant role in his team’s cohesion and chemistry throughout the tournament.
As for last year’s runner-up UST, the España-based squad will be without Marice Magdolot, Christine Fuertes, and Franky Revilla, but will retain the services of last season’s Best Defender Biggie Abuan, as well as Season 73 and 76 Best Goalkeeper Rara Luna.
Coach JR Judal’s team will be a threat as they have been in the past, but more so than in recent years, UP and Ateneo will be too.
|Abraham, Alessandra Francesca S. *||Abadilla, Paulina Marie T.||Abuan, Jena Ralyn L.|
|Amoncio, Antonette A.||Adlawan , Nicole Anne Marie C.||Abuan, Jae Marie L.|
|Antonio, Noelle Yoshiko S.||Agustin, Aira Audrey Alexis G.||Aguilar, Pearl Anjanette P. *|
|Bunyi, Katherine Sofia C.||Ardiente, Christille Mae D.||Aguilar, Princess Kate P.|
|Cadayona, Marie Angelie I. *||Choa Peck, Jermaine Lois C.||Argel, Hi’maya C.|
|Caparros, Marie Rianne M.||Dagdag, Martha Ruth T.||Castroverde, Nikki A.|
|Catedrilla, Mia Angela B.||Delos Reyes, Cristina M.||Eusebio, Marielle Dominique T.|
|Cruz, Ma Leah Patricia N.||Javier, Arriane Joy E.||Agustin, Aira M.|
|Dayrit, Cecilia M D. *||Malonzo, Patricia C.||Lopez, Ivy D.|
|Jimenez, Kimberlee A.||Manalansan, Monica Louise Y.||Luna, Zipporah D. *|
|Martin, Anne Therese Marie B.||Mendoza, Claudia Marie B.||Lustan, Hazel B.|
|Montelibano, Eva Katherine A.||Mendoza, Christiana Michele B. *||Magdolot, Marie N. *|
|Naguiat, Paulina Marie L.||Navea-huff, Kali Alexandra||Mendoza, Daryl Ann M.|
|Ong, Annika Gabrielle R.||Navea-huff, Marie E.||Ramores, Sheen Nicole B.|
|Punsalan, Patricia Zita S.||Nierras, Sabrina Lauren D.||Reyes, Nicole Julliane L.|
|Rodriguez, Kathleen Camille M.||Nisce, Natalie B.||Salip Jamuh, Sharifamae H.|
|Sabio, Athina C.||Obra, Mary Rose O.||Sanchez, Rachelle Hope L.|
|Sabio, Isabella C.||Orsolino, Katherine Louise B.||Sutacio, Marielle D.|
|Sucgang, Ramona Julia D.||Perez, Blessie Bianca S.||Toledo, Cheska Jane M|
|Villaflor, Pauline Isabel Aurora Trinidad M.||Sebastian, Maxine Selina C.||–|
|–||Sta. Clara, Ma. Angeliza B.||–|
|–||Vergara, Christina Marie C.||–|
Given the stacked line-up, it may finally be the breakthrough year for the historical cellar dwellers. UP and Ateneo have the talent and the experience this year, but the key will be consistency. Who on their bad day will still manage the “ugly win”? My forecast is that FEU will secure a championship berth by the halfway mark of the 2nd round, and the other slot will be a toss-up between UP, Ateneo, and UST. La Salle, meanwhile, can still surprise as one Ateneo player noted that their rookie-laden line-up played quite aggressively in the University Games.
But a word in edgewise to all championship contenders: FEU is not unbeatable, but at the same time you have to be pretty damn good to beat them.
*For the team line-ups, freshmen are noted in italics. Players in their final year of eligibility are noted with an *.
**3-5-2 system stands for 3 defenders, 5 midfielders, and 2 strikers. The most common formation in the UAAP Women’s Football Tournament is 4-4-2.
Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory
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.
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.”
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.
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).
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.