RP coach upbeat in SEAG campaign

BASED on their showing in Pre Southeast Asian Games tournament, national coach Aries Caslib expects bigger things in men's football in the biennial meet on Nov 27 to Dec 5 at Bacolod City.

The Philippine team finished third in Group in the Pre Seag tournament in Bangkok Thailand with losses to Myanmar and Malaysia and a convincing 4-1 win against East Timor with Peter Jaugan, Jose Ombos, Jerome Orcullo and Emilio Caligdong scoring.

"It has really been a long time when we scored big, and it is positive just coming before the SEA games," Caslib wrote in an email to Sunstar Cebu.

A search in the Asean Football Federation data base of results showed that the last time the Philippines scored more than a goal in a match was a 2-3 loss to Laos in the Brunie SEAG in 1999 while no results shows the Philippines scoring more than three goals in a win.

"Although we were badly beaten by Myanmar, it must be noted that in all our matches we scored and I believe this is one of the few RP teams who has scored seven goals in a competition," said Caslib.

Ian Araneta and Caligdong scored once against Malaysia while former Carmen National School member Arnie Pasinabo had one against Malaysia.

Though the Philippine team has worked on their offense, things are still needed to patch their leaky defense which yielded six goals to Myanmar in their opening 2-6 loss. In their previous meeting, the Philippines lost to Myanmar 0-1 after yielding to an injury time goal in the 2004 Tiger Cup.

"There is a possibility at the top four teams will send the same team to the SEAG but Singapore mentioned that some players were not released because of the S League, on the other hand, we still have some players who did not travel with because of disciplinary maters or for other reasons," Caslib wrote.

Among those who missed the Thailand tourney were Michael Casas, another former Carmen player who was cut due to disciplinary matters, Ali Borromeo, Chris Greatwitch, Mark Villon and brothers Philipp and James Younghusband of the Chelsea FC reserves.

"The main thing now is for us to gather all players available and conquer the Sea Games, it is possible with the 12th member of the team really involved in the matches," Caslib said.

Caslib has asked for ample support from Pinoy fans, whom he calls as the 12th member of the RP team.

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