Showing posts from November, 2011

Rick Price has no place in team sports

BACK in high school, we had a couple of teammates we called Rick Price, not because of how well they sang but because of how valuable they thought they were to the team.

We’d always say a few lines of “Heaven Knows,” whenever one or two of them were up to their antics and would tell the coach that “they were too tired, too busy or too injured to practice,” while ordinary mortals like us were killing ourselves in the drills.

Dan Palami: Apologies. Next steps

(Note: Dan Palami asked me to publish this article for Sun.Star Cebu and I have also decided to publish it here--ML) You’re right, we could’ve done better. 

After our much-maligned outing in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games, this became my matter-of-fact reply to the deluge of questions and criticisms--my skin has never grown so thick, so fast. 

I don’t have all the answers, so from mild to scathing rebukes, I read the myriad reviews and their long comment threads. The gleeful (and mostly uninformed) bashing I let slide, but I carefully considered the sentiments of football players, enthusiasts and critics who are deeply invested in Philippine football.
If I were still a fan and not the manager of the national team, I might have weighed in on their often-heated exchanges in the football forums.

Fair Play: English Soccer School in Cebu

IF things go according to plan, Cebu could have an English Soccer School, soon.
Last Friday, I met Englishman James Raj and Rich, who are planning to put up an English Soccer School at Bright Academy, a local school that slowly established a footballing tradition.

Aside from boasting of FA and Uefa qualified coaches, the ESS, which has already established schools in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, has some solid A-listers in its staff, like their technical director Keith Boanas and Pauline Cope.

Fair Play: The Ed Hayco template

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu on Nov. 26) OVER a year ago, I got a surprising call from Ed Hayco, who was asking for my advice on whether he should take the offer to head the Cebu City Sports Commission or not.
Knowing how murky the politics of sports can be, and knowing how a former mayor treated a former head of the CCSC, I told Sir Ed not to take it.
And it’s a good thing that I was the last person he called and the guys and gals before me convinced Sir Ed otherwise because it would have been a great loss to Cebu sports—and to Philippine sports as well—had Sir Ed stayed with Dancesport Team Cebu City.

Montayre to present grassroots plan to PFF

(This is Cheska Geli's story for Sun.Star Cebu on Nov. 24)
PLANS for the grassroots program this year were suspended after former Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Mari Martinez withdrew support for the grassroots and elite programs.

The turn of events even led to filing a suit against Martinez for putting the funds for the program on hold.

Little Azkals coach attends AFC License B course

(This is a report by Cheska Geli for Sun.Star Cebu on Nov. 24)
LITTLE Azkals head coach Oliver Colina attended the Asian Football Confederation Project Future Batch 2009 B Graduation Course last Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

AFC acting president Zhang Jilong was present and commended the elite training program that gathered coaches and referees among Asian nations.

Fair Play: Little Azkals eye Italy camp

WHAT do the Pinoy footballers based abroad have that the guys who learn football locally don’t?

“It’s the experience of a different football culture,” PFF technical director Aries Caslib said during the Board of Governors meeting last January.

To address that gap, Caslib proposed a unique idea—give the most promising young footballers in the country that experience. Train them abroad, and more importantly, expose them, at a young age, to competitions abroad.

Fair Play: Boosting the PNG

IT ISN’T far-fetched to be able to get 70 gold medals,” Philippine Sports Commission chairman Ritchie Garcia said on Nov. 8, two days before the Southeast Asian Games.

Aside from pinning his hopes on billiards, basketball, boxing, wushu, athletics, softball and baseball, Garcia also said, “I’m also expecting some sports to pull off some surprises in the SEA Games so getting 70 gold medals will not be hard to achieve.”

Perspective of USC Stadium

Here's a photo I got when I visited the site of the soon-to-be opened, 8,000-seater University Stadium of the University of San Carlos. Target opening is June, 2012.

Fair Play: A tale of three athletes

WHEN Matt Hartmann was named team captain of the Under 23 football team for the Southeast Asian Games, one comment that remained on my mind was of how “hard-working this guy is.”

I guess, that’s what the coaching staff saw when they decided to give him the captain’s armband. And it’s pretty much like what I see in NiƱo Surban and Cecil Mamiit--these guys just don’t know the meaning of the word “quit.”

Queen City releases new lineup

THE Cebu Queen City United has released its new lineup just four days after holding a tryout last weekend at the University of San Carlos-Talamban Campus field.

However, coach Mario Ceniza said he might have to look for two more players after two of his members who are identified with Crazy Horse, the defending champion in the Aboitiz Cup, may suit up for their mother club.

Fair Play: It's not the time to get rid of Weiss

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu on Nov. 17)
JUST two weeks after going into the Southeast Asian Games with so much promise, the Philippines Under 23 team crashed out with just one win in five matches, after that tough loss to Brunei.

And after that loss and the embarrassing exit, some are calling for coach Michael Weiss to be sacked.
Should he? No.

Brunei beats the Philippines

(This is the draft of my report of Brunei vs. Philippines)
THE Philippines threw the kitchen sink, and then some, against Brunei in a search for that elusive win but still ended up losing, 2-1, in the country’s final group stage match in the Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta.

With that loss, the Junior Azkals, which just two weeks ago were being tipped to win a medal, finished dead last in the Group of Hope, on one win and five losses.

Fair Play: The Queen City search

(This is my column for Nov. 14, written 12 hours before the game)

THE look of the footballers who showed up during the tryout for Queen City United  showed it all—these guys mean business.

And if there ever were any doubts as to what these guys were signing for, coach Mario Ceniza erased that for them.

“This is no longer your usual kind of football, this is a different level,” coach Mario said.

Myanmar thrashes Junior Azkals

(This is the draft of my report for Sun.Star Cebu on PHL vs. Myanmar)AFTER an ecstatic win over Laos last Friday, the Philippines crashed out of contention for a semifinal spot in the Southeast Asian Games with a humbling, 5-0, thrashing from an eager Myanmar yesterday.

The win allowed Myanmar—whose senior team lost a spot in the final four of the last two Suzuki Cup courtesy of the Philippines—to catch up with favorites Vietnam at 10 points.

Queen City holds tryouts

(Here's a report by Cheska D. Geli for Sun.Star Cebu on the Queen City trials with some of my inputs.)

A TOTAL of 25 hopefuls showed up with the other regular members for the Cebu Queen City FC United tryout yesterday at the University of San Carlos Talamban campus.
The selection of new players is part of the team’s vision to create a formidable team that will compete in the second division of the United Football League next year.
“It has to be a stronger team considering the competition in Manila. Bisag second division na, taas gihapon ang level,” said head coach Mario Ceniza.

Fair Play: Fr. Vic Uy's vision

(This is the draft of my column for Sun.Star Cebu on Nov. 12)
BACK in 2004, I interviewed Fr. Vic Uy for his plan to develop a football stadium up there in the University of San Carlos Talamban Campus.

Not just any stadium, but one that was inspired by the venue of the Arafura games, where Fr. Vic was impressed with one particular stadium that had a hill as a natural grandstand.

Thank you U23

OJ Portierra, that diminutive forward who started that key pass that led to the equalizer, called yesterday's win against Laos as one of the top 10 moments of his life.
OJ is still young and he may be exaggerating.

Beloya lifts PHL over Laos

(This is the DRAFT of my report of the Laos vs. PHL game) ON 11-11-11, number 11 saved the day for the Philippine football team in the Southeast Asian Games.
Showing the spunk and character that was missing in their first previous losses, the Junor Azkals banked on two late goals by Joshua Beloya, who sports the No. 11, to stun Laos in Group B of the SEAG football event.

USC's football stadium nears completion

(This is my story for Sun.Star Cebu on Nov. 11)
A VISIONARY athletic director’s dream is slowly becoming a reality and the University of San Carlos is just seven months away from becoming the only school in the Philippines with a world-class football stadium.

The USC football stadium, which is part of the developmental project of the school, will be the center piece of a planned Athlete’s Village that was a dream of former athletic director Fr. Vic Uy before leaving the school to join the Philippine Sports Commission.

Fair Play: Here's your chance to join Queen City

TALKING over drinks one night after a rather sad outing in the Southeast Asian Games, I and my kababayans Doc Joel and Mark C agreed on one thing—we were going to show up in the next tryouts for Cebu Queen City United.

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to honestly say to your grand kids, when the UFL becomes THE league, that “I once showed up for the Queen City trials?”

Show up, yes. But joining the tryouts? Not really. We are not delusional. We’d probably pass out before coach Mario Ceniza orders the first drill of the day.

The failed U23 experiment

THE only positive thing that we can take in that loss against Timor Leste was that the U23 squad looked good in blue. And Ebong, too. The Blue-Haired fanatic whose voice we all heard on TV was fantastic.
The team? The result? To be perfectly blunt it was a scrappy game from a scrappy team that seemed to treat the SEAG as a vacation, or a chance to gain more Twitter followers. (Yey, I can tweet the team apology first!)
Going into the match, almost every fan who paid attention knew that we needed to win. Unfortunately, it seemed the players were operating on a different mindset.

PHL loses second straight match in Seag

W           D      L    P
East Timor           2            -       -    6
Vietnam              1            1      -       4
Myanmar            1             1      -     4
Laos                   -              -      1    0
Brunei                -             -       1    0
Philippines            -           -      2    0

THE Junior Azkals stint in the Group of Hope in the Southeast Asian Games is quickly turning into a disastrous outing.

The Philippines played excellent football in the final 20 minutes, but that wasn’t enough to undo its atrocious showing in the first 70 minutes for its second straight loss, 2-1, in Group B of the biennial meet yesterday.

Fair Play: Getting fit and getting old

I’M glad the Cebu City Government decided to cancel a membership to an expensive gym for its officials because it may be just a waste of money.

One of the things I learned in this business is that getting fitting is not about signing up in a gym. Getting fit is all about determination.

Fair Play: No need to panic

(This is the draft of my column for Sun.Star Cebu on Nov. 5) VIETNAM threw the garage along with the kitchen sink against the Philippines last Thursday and got three goals—two if you discount the unfortunate Matt Hartmann own goal—in the Philippine team’s opening day loss in the Southeast Asian Games.

And, despite the loss, I’m upbeat.

PHL loses to Vietnam in SEAG opener, 3-1

THE Philippines Under 23 team marked its return to the Southeast Asian Games with a match that mirrored its last, surrendering a one-goal lead in the second half to powerhouse Vietnam, 201, in its debut in the 2011 edition of the biennial meet in Indonesia.

But unlike the 2005 squad, which blew a 2-1 lead to Malaysia and lost, 4-2, in its final group match, this year’s team still has a solid chance in making it to the knockout phase of the competition, its first stint since hosting the meet six years ago.

Fair Play: Junior Azkals usher in SEAG bid

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu on Nov. 3)
THE Southeast Asian Games is set to open a week from now but as usual, football will usher in the competition with the opening matches today.

And the Philippines marks its return to the biennial competition after missing out the last two editions against one of the toughest teams, Vietnam, today at 5 p.m.