Showing posts from November, 2014

Fair Play: Imagine

CLOSE your eyes for a minute and imagine this.  You're at the Rizal Memorial Stadium and it's the home game of the Azkals in the Suzuki Cup semifinal round.

To your left are your beer buddies who'd willingly invade the field if you tell them to. You've been talking about this game for days at end and you are finally here.  The atmosphere is unbelievable as it seems, everyone is a football fan these days and you love it.

To your right are some friends you dragged for the football game, their first.  They've always wondered how you can be so crazy about a team or a sport for that matter that you'd stay up late or miss work just to catch some El Classico or some World Cup matches. You got tired of explaining to them the beauty of the game that in the spirit of Christmas, you decide to buy them tickets to let them in on the experience.

That thing of beauty that is the Azkals' 4-0 win.

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Nov. 27 edition)
FOUR-ZERO! That’s the unbelievable scoreline of the Philippines against our Southeast Asian neighbors Indonesia in the Suzuki Cup, and if you tell me that you expected such score before the game, you’d be dragged to the sanitarium for being delusional.

And that came after that impressive 4-1 win over Laos, when we trailed by a goal, in the first game in Vietnam. Then, we all wondered, when was the last time we scored four goals in the Suzuki Cup? The answer, never! And now this!

(The front page of the Indonesian Paper, Jawa Pos screams "Shame!" after the Philippines 4-0 win over Indonesia in the Suzuki Cup. Photo taken by colleague Armie Garde, who is in Bali, Indonesia for a journalism seminar)

STC rocks Girls 18 in Sun.Star Cup

(For original story, click here)
ST. Theresa’s College (STC) C didn’t have a picture-perfect performance in the group stage just barely getting into the quarterfinals.

However, STC C won matches when these counted and eventually brought home the crown with a 1-0 win over Tabor Hill FC in the Girls Under-18 championships last Sunday at the Cebu City Sports Center football pitch in the 3rd Sun.Star Football Cup.

(The STC girls celebrate with their trophy--contributed foto by Jinggoy Roa)

Ateneo bags 2 crowns in Sun.Star Cup

(This is my story for the second day of the Sun.Star Football Cup. Original story here)
ATENEO de Cebu bagged two crowns last Sunday, while sister clubs Giuseppe and Leylam FC surprised traditional powerhouse Don Bosco late Saturday in the 3rd Sun.Star Football Cup.

Ateneo de Cebu of coach Totot Colina leaned on the heroics of sub keeper Julian Cabatingan to beat Phoenix, 3-1, via shootout for the Boys 13 title.

Cabatingan had two saves in the shootout, and also had two stops in their 2-0 win over Los Amigos in the semifinal round.
(The Cebu City Sports Center field---or what's left of it)

Fair Play: Playing referee in Sun.Star Cup

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Nov. 24 edition)
THERE was plenty of drama and tears during the first day of the Sun.Star Football Cup at the Cebu City Sports Center—also known as the Dust Bowl.

Yep, the one thing that organizers couldn’t control was the state of the field and if a player happened to slide on a patch of grass he or she should go to the nearest lottery station and buy a ticket as that would mean that player’s luck is unbelievable.

(If you can spot the patch of grass, you have the eyes of an eagle)

Fair Play: It's back to Historic Hanoi for Azkals

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Nov. 20 edition)
TWO days ago, that epic match between the Philippines and Vietnam in the 2010 Suzuki Cup was aired anew by Fox Sports as part of its promotion for this year’s tournament.

Four years. It’s been quite a ride.

I remember exactly what I did during that game. I swore I nearly hit the ceiling when I jumped after Chris Greatwich’s goal. Mine was a subdued celebration as my then one-year-old was sleeping.

Fair Play: DBTC, Springdale rivalry makes Cebu football interesting

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Nov. 19 edition)
IT'S always a pleasure watching a final between Paref Springdale and Don Bosco Technological Center, and last Saturday's clash for the Cebu City Olympics title was no exception.

If they didn't point it out, I wouldn't have known the curious background of the match. Prior that final, that DBTC squad hasn't beaten Paref-Springdale in major tournaments like the City Olympics (elementary level), the Aboitiz Cup and the Milo Little Olympics.

(Some kids who invaded the field console the distraught Springdale keeper)

Fair Play: Impressive goalkeeping fete

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Nov. 17 edition)
IF YOU missed the Springdale vs. Don Bosco football final in the Cebu City Olympics, you missed more than a half of your life. In all my years as a reporter, and my longer stint as a fan, I’ve never seen anything close to what Kenry Balobo, the Don Bosco keeper did.

The match was beautiful and from the get-go, I thought Springdale had it. Sabin Veloso ran the defense to sheds with his speed that mid-way into the half, he had merited a shadow. Don Bosco, too, had their moments--and their counters nearly caught the Springdale defense napping.

Fair Play: Why Chieffy's legacy means there won't be another Chieffy Caligdong

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Nov. 15 edition)
THE first time I heard the term super sub used in connection with Philippine football was when Emilio “Chieffy” Caligdong burst in the scene.

Inserted late in the lineup against Timor Leste, Caligdong ended the Philippines’ wait for a victory in international competition with two goals in four minutes of injury for a 2-1 win.

And curiously enough, when I asked him about those goals a few years later when the Azkals visited Cebu, he pointed to another teammate as a big factor in those goals.

Fair Play: If Velarde wins by KO, I'll win Cebu Marathon

NO MEXICAN fighter worth his salt will ever say, “I’m just here to punch my time card and collect my pay,” so I understand where Carlos Velarde, the Mexican challenger of Donnie Nietes is coming from when he vowed to stop the Filipino champion this Saturday.

But a Velarde win by knockout is as likely as me winning the 2015 Cebu Marathon.

It’s possible, yes, but unlikely. Nothing is impossible and the stars could align for the Mexican to walk away with Nietes WBO light flyweight crown just as it is plausible that if I join the Cebu Marathon, the stars could align and all the runners ahead of me would suddenly stop so I’d cross the finish line at No. 1.

Fair Play: Palaro in Cebu in 2016? Quit dreaming

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Nov. 8 edition)
SORRY to burst your bubble, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for Cebu City to host the 2016 Palarong Pambansa.

A few weeks ago, I would have agreed that the hosting would be the best thing to happen to the Cebu City sports landscape since, well, the 1994 Palarong Pambansa but not anymore.

You want to showcase Cebu City’s best facets with the Palaro? Good luck with that! So, stop dreaming and forget about that.

Fair Play: Why you shouldn't miss Nov. 14 friendly vs. Cambodia

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Nov. 6 edition)
IF YOU call yourself a Philippine football fan, then you’d better head to the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Nov. 14 for the friendly against Cambodia. And, of course, if you’re not in Manila, watch the games on live TV, too.

It’s important that you do and while you’re at it, why not drag your friends too.

It’s the final friendly, and whether you root for Loyola, Kaya, Global or Ceres, or you’re with the Kaholers or the Ultras, it’s important that you count yourselves as one of the fans who would be present when the Azkals play their final home game before leaving for the Suzuki Cup.

Fair Play: Talisay City begs its way to futsal gold in Batang Pinoy

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Nov. 5 edition)
BUY, borrow or steal. That's what my favorite high school teacher always told us whenever we were faced with something difficult.

Don't have a calculator? Buy, borrow or steal. Don't know the answer to a math question? Buy, borrow or steal a solution. His point was, if you looked hard enough, you'd eventually find a solution.

That, essentially, was what Rhosner Bollozos had to do to bring his Talisay City to the Batang Pinoy futsal competition in Aklan. While Cebu City allocated P3.4 million for its team's participation for the prestigious, LGU-based meet, Bollozos got a "thank you, but we need the money for the fiesta" from their city.

Fair Play" PHL football shoots itself on the foot

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Nov. 3 edition)
I’VE always admired Ceres FC of Bacolod City, even before it won the PFF Smart Cup last year or took the UFL Division 2 by storm on its way to the first division.

You could say that Ceres FC is the provincial club that benefited the biggest in the renaissance in Philippine football brought about by the Azkals.

But the club’s latest action was a big turnoff, refusing to release Azkal regulars Juani Guirado, Jeffrey Christaens, Manny Ott and Patrick Reichelt for the Qatar camp and Nepal friendly because they didn’t like the schedule.