Friday, December 07, 2012

Fair Play: PHL needs Phil again!

WHEN Phil Younghusband got subbed in the Thailand game, I thought that it he won't play for 90 minutes, it would have been best for the Loyola striker to play off the bench for the rest of the group stage. My rationale was, if you field Phil for only 60 or so minutes, it would be nice if he gets it in the final 60 or so, that way, a fresh Phil would be facing not so fresh defenders.

It's a good thing that the coaching staff didn't share the idea because I don't think we'll be here right now, hosting a semis game.

At his peak form, Phil is our best, and when he's tired, he's still one of our best options for scoring.

And his play during that Myanmar match, when he had three shots on target--inside 10 minutes was it?—showed he's close to peak form.

Getting the  starting spot, despite a bad game against Thailand, was a huge help.

I don't think there would have been much of a ruckus, had management opted to start with someone else but it was a brilliant move from the coaching staff, which had, at one point or another, been at odds with the Loyola striker and his brother.

It was their way of saying, "You may be struggling, but we know what you can do."

And Phil paid that boost of confidence, in kind.

So on Dec. 8, in our biggest game of our footballing lives, we need Phil again.

Yes, we’ve beaten Singapore twice in friendlies this year, but those wins count for nothing today.  When the whistle blows, history doesn’t matter. That’s what we showed in 2010, when the opposing teams banked on their history of dumping goals against us and we showed them, you can forget about that now.

Of course, while Phil's confidence has been slowly rising, Ed Sacapano's has been on a constant high, ever since he got the No. 1 spot in the absence of Roland Mueller and Neil Etherdige.  He's shown that he's just as capable during the Peace Cup, that 1-0 win over Singapore, and in the final group matches of the group stage.

And EdSa also owes those clean sheets to Rob Gier, Dennis Cagara, Juani Guirado and Ray Jonsson, who've so far been exemplary in defense.  And notice how Rob, the captain, stokes the team in the huddle just minutes before whistle?

And lastly, Jerry Lucena may be missing but we've got Marwin Angeles and Chris Greatwich, too.  I hope Chris gets to play, and if Singapore pours its attention on Phil, I hope the new Kaya FC signee gets to remind the Lions, "Hey, do you remember who scored in injury time the last time?"

APPEAL FOR HELP. Boy Odilao Sr. and Dr. Bert Alvarado, the leaders of the Cebu Unified Eagles Club, is appealing for help for Boljoon.  The two, who helped organized the Cebu Mountain-bike Challenge last month, said the southern town got most of the brunt of Typhoon Pablo.

Relief goods, blankets and the like are most welcome and Dr. Alvarado said that if someone is kind enough to donate construction materials, it would be appreciated too.

You may drop your donations at Chop Sticks restaurant at Shopwise Mambaling, just say it’s for the Cebu Unified Eagles Club campaign. 

For Azkals fans, before going to the viewing parties for the 8 p.m. game , I hope you’d share your blessings with our less fortunate brothers in Mindanao through the ABS CBN drive at Fuente Osmena.

Fellow fan Ria de Leon, whose father once of the first officers to lead the rescue effort in Compostela Valley, tried to start a similar drive at Rizal Memorial Stadium today but that didn’t push through because the PFF needs permission from the World Sport Group, which owns the AFF Suzuki Cup rights.

Still, that shouldn't deter fans. There are other options to help if you’re in Manila.

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