Showing posts from February, 2011

Azkal keeper

This story by Cheska D. Geli came out in the Feb. 28 edition of Sun.Star Cebu

AS PHILIPPINE football is enjoying unprecedented popularity, one young Cebuano keeper, who once spent a year away from the sport, is having the time of his life fulfilling a life-long dream to play with the Azkals.

Pascual, 20, recently did a three-week training stint for the Azkals before spending a few days in Cebu. Sun.Star Cebu caught up with him before he was set to leave for yet another grueling training camp.

Fair Play: Legends of the field

I HAD a grand time, as always, covering the PAL Interclub Men’s tournament in Cagayan.

During the last night, Davao’s Charles Maxey, Jon Develos and Leo Palo, and Cagayan’s Lynde Salgados and I spent a few hours talking with Al Mendoza and Jake Ayson, the rulesman of the event. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without PAL’s Eya Prospero and Pinky Magiba, who took care of everything the media needed.

Fair Play: Crazy talking elevator

CAGAYAN de Oro—There’s a crazy elevator in the hotel where the media covering the PAL Interclub is staying.

Don’t get me wrong, the hotel is nice and it’s got all the modern amenities—WiFi and all. But I think it overdid the modern thingy by installing a talking elevator, which, because the lady tells you every floor you are on, shows how fast this lady elevator moves.

And, the novelty quickly wears off if you ride it for the umpteenth time and it keeps ordering the obvious:

The doors are closing, please keep clear.” “Fifth floor.” Really? You know how to count? I answered back at the Elevator Lady one time, and I kid you not. “Overload," She shot back.

I’m serious, that exchange really happened.

Please step out once the door opens.” After hearing for the nth time I thought of saying, “Hey I’m no idiot! I know when to step out!”

But I didn’t. Aside from not wanting to hear “Overload,” again, I also realized that sportswriters like me are as guilty of stating the obvious, aren’t we?


Fair Play: Thank God it's football

IT SPEAKS a lot of the man’s popularity when, after receiving the Presidential Award during the SAC-SMB Sports Awards, fellow awardees lined up to have their photos taken with Dan Palami, the Azkals team manager.

Palami is the second national figure who was a recipient of a SAC award, the first being Manny Pacquiao himself back in 2009. And, it was really heart-warming to listen to Dan talk because he acknowledged the role Cebu and the Cebu media played in Philippine football and he promised he will pay us back with an Azkal visit.

Dan Palami's speech

I FINALLY got a copy of Dan Palami's speech during the SAC Awards, and I particularly like the part about how the Azkals will consider the fans' input for the sport. He also asked the media to help "Help us look out for failed promises and commitments; call our attention when you see potential abuses in the system; herald too, all the unrecognized players, and
staff and coaches who quietly go about their work and create real changes on the ground."

One more thing, Dan also shared the stage with the Cebu Eastern College Dragons, who in 2009 got mangled by more than 151 points but won the Cesafi title a year later after changing their football programs.

You can read the full text after the break:

'Adopt Azkals' way'

PHILIPPINE football team manager Dan Palami said the formula he used for the success of the Azkals can be used not just for football, but for all of Philippine sports.

Palami, the guest speaker and the Presidential Awardee during last night’s Sportswriters Association of Cebu-San Miguel Brewery event, said he was able to succeed as the manager of the Azkals because of his stubborn belief in the team.

The British Ambasaddor blogs about Philippine football

Philippine football got a massive boost today with a blog entry from Stephen Lillie, the British Ambassador to the Philippines. Mr. Lillie talked about the growing interest for the sport and how the British connection has helped it.

"In a blog last year, I described the Philippines as an almost football-free zone. But there are plenty of signs that the beautiful game is taking off again here. It was great news for local fans when the Philippines’ national team the Azkals beat Mongolia 2-0 in the first leg of the AFC Challenge Cup in Bacolod last week. The victory followed the Azkals’ success in reaching the semi-finals of the Suzuki Cup in December: another remarkable achievement for a team who until recently were ranked 195th globally. They are now up to 152nd, and climbing."

To read Mr. Lillie's blog, please click here

Fair Play: Dan Palami's gift

DAN Palami, the man who changed Philippine football, flattered me with a gift a couple of weeks ago—a signed Neil Etheridge jersey.

I reckon it’s the only one in Cebu but that’s not why I got flattered.

Dan Palami to receive Presidential Award in SAC-SMB Sports Awards

This story came out in Sun.Star Cebu

HE TOOK the risk in chasing the Philippine dream and even dared to go further by redeeming the sport of football in a country enamored with basketball.

But after a year of chasing his lofty dream, Dan Palami has done the impossible—put football at the forefront of the national consciousness. For that, the unassuming manager will receive the presidential award in this year’s Sportswriters Association of Cebu-San Miguel Brewery (SAC-SMB) Sports Awards at the Ayala Activity Center.

In 2010, Palami helped recruit players and coaches for the Azkals and even had to spend his own money to finance the team.

Anton del Rosario's temper tantrum

MOST fans are wondering whether Neil Etheridge will play in Mongolia but for me, the bigger question is Anton del Rosario’s role in the Azkals in the second leg.

Will he play?

Will he be benched?

Will he even be named to the team?

Caligdong: A knack for delivering in crucial moments

WITH the way some of the questions were thrown, it seems a few members of the press assumed Emelio Caligdong’s first goal against Mongolia in the AFC Challenge Cup match was his first, ever.

“Hindi naman po yun ang first international goal ko,” I think I heard Caligdong say while I was writing my story.

The 5’5” winger, who had to say to an anchor in a later interview that he controlled the ball with his chest first to explain why the ball seemed to “bounce off him,” has a knack of delivering big for the Azkals.

Fair Play: How to deal with armchair coaches

THERE really is something confusing with the way the Department of Education regional office is insisting on another evaluation to determine the region’s lineup to the Palarong Pambansa.

And Vivian Ginete’s recent interview just added to the confusion.

Will Neil see action on March 15?

JUST after the pre-match press con for Mongolia vs. the Azkals, I asked Dan Palami if the one-month gap between the two legs of the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers was an advantage or not.

He said it didn’t really matter but added that Neil Etheridge might not play for the second leg, anymore, depending on the outcome of the first leg.

“If we can score a lot of goals or if we can hold them, we might just call Neil for the Bangladesh games,” he said.
We didn’t score a lot of goals but the defense certainly held Mongolia, limiting the Blue Wolves to three (?) shots, none on target.

So will Neil see action in the Mongolia leg?

Palami said Fulham FC has always been generous in lending Neil to national duties and I think not calling Neil for the March 15 game is the Azkals management team’s way of saying thank you. (If Neil plays on March 15, he’d be away from Fulham for almost 20 days, assuming, of course, we qualify to the March 22 to 31 Group Stage.)

But, either way, I’d still be happy.

If Nei…

A Pinoy played for Real Madrid? (updated)

HERE'S an interesting photo submitted by Asian Football Confederation women's committee member Cristina Ramos. Its taken at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and shows a gallery of the great players who played for Real Madrid.

And guess where one of them is from?

Jaron Genota said the only information he has managed to gather is that the player's name is Teus. I hope to get more information on this guy in the next few months.

Ms. Ramos, who was also in the organizing committee of the Fifa U17 and U20 women's world cup, said the picture was part of Real Madrid's exhibit on the universality of their players.

From Ms. Ramos, "Mike, the photo of the Filipino player was part of the display entitled "The Universality of our Players" in the Real Madrid museum in Bernabeu. It's funny that they acknowledged him but did not name him. Only those from countries which participated in the World Cup were named."

M. Lhuillier football gets Cebu Sports Hall of Fame spot

A LONG-forgotten team of football greats will finally get recognized when the Cebu Sports Hall of Fame gets revived on Feb. 16 at the Social Hall of Cebu City Hall.

This year’s individual honorees are Maria Belen Rusiana, Federico YbaƱez, while the M. Lhuillier Cebu football team of 1988 is the Special Honoree.

Fair Play: Fighting over a towel

This column came out in Sun.Star Cebu on Feb. 12.
TWO girls who sneaked into the media room of the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City are probably telling their friends for the umpteenth time how they fought to get Alexander Borromeo’s towel. One of them, the one who finally won the right to own the “towel,” will most likely reveal how she savored her victory by taking a deep whiff of that soaking towel.
Aaah, if they only knew who really owned it, they’d probably flog themselves silly.

'Even Cebu could beat Mongolia'

From the Pinoyfootball page in facebook, is this post:

"Just to comment on the game against Mongolia. The Askals really doesn't have a play starting from defense to the midfield onwards. Hope the new coach can make better plays for the team especially that the two Younghusbands are the only one passing to themselves even if there is an available person to pass to that can make an easier goal. Good thing Mongolia is not one of the best teams in Asia and they don't have plays that can threaten the opposing team. Even our team in Cebu can beat those kinds of play or the way the Mongolians were playing even if all their players are younger than most of our players. It'll be up to the new coach to make better plays for the Philippine team to compete on the AFC tournament of which players there play better and bigger.

The embarrassing part of the game was the commentators as they were doing the play-by-play. One thing that they were too bias to what they've been forecasti…

Accidentally in 'business'

IN THE morning of Feb. 9, I called the people at Smart to inform them that I had decided to stick to our usual accommodation at Casa Amaparo and won’t be using the hotel room they booked for me.

Well, it didn't turn out the way I planned it.

Azkals face Blue Wolves

BACOLOD—It’s the Azkals vs. the Blue Wolves.

Months of waiting are finally over for the Philippine Azkals as they take to the Panaad Park and Stadium today to take on the unknown Mongolia, who sports the moniker the Blue Wolves, in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup qualifiers.

“The team had a fantastic experience in Indonesia and Vietnam (in the Suzuki Cup) and now they finally get the chance at playing at home,” German coach Hans Michael Weiss said during the pre-match press conference yesterday. “This is the biggest match in Philippine football history.”

Tickets for Feb. 9 game now available at CFA

Cebu Football Association president Richard Montayre just announced they now have the tickets for the Feb. 9 game between the Azkals and Mongolia. Please call 422-4615 for more details

Lost Boys beat Springdale

VALENTINO Calvo played the hero’s role for Lost Boys as they defeated Paref-Springdale B, 1-0, in the Boys 17 championships of the 8th Thirsty Football Cup at the Cebu City Sports Center yesterday.

Just as the game seemed headed to a shootout, Calvo scored in the nick of time.

Fair Play: DepEd's bizarre move

WHEN I first heard of the “elimination tournament” to determine Central Visayas’ representatives to the Palarong Pambansa, I readily dismissed it.

I mean, the Department of Education, for all its failings and miscues, couldn’t do something that bizarre could it?

Fair Play: Crazy week, crazy fans

LAST Jan. 17, when he stepped on the University of Makati field, all Paolo Pascual had in mind was to do well, impress the new coach and make the Azkal team.

About three days later, a fan first approached him for a photo. Four days later, he’s signing autographs.

Cash-strapped Cesfa relies on doleouts to join Thirsty Cup

THE odds that the Canduman Elementary School Football Association (Cesfa) had to beat just to join the 8th Thirsty Cup were made obvious by their mode of transportation—a garbage truck.

The sight of kids climbing down from a garbage truck may be a startling contrast to the long lines of private cars that clogged traffic at the Cebu City Sports Center, but on the pitch, the team of Coach Jun Santillan is just as determined and just as good as the private school teams.

8th football festival kicks off today

This article, minus the photos of course, appeared in Sun.Star Cebu on Feb. 4.

THE longest-running football festival in Cebu, the Thirsty Football Cup, kicks off its eighth edition this afternoon at the Cebu City Sports Center.

This year’s edition has drawn 243 teams in 14 divisions, making it the country’s biggest football festival in terms of participation. Last year’s events drew 210 teams. is up

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