• Dooley. Image copyright Bob Guerrero. UNAUTHORIZED COMMERCIAL USE OF THIS IMAGE IS PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

    It's a sultry Thursday evening in Emperador Stadium and Azkals coach Thomas Dooley is taking in the action. Global is pummeling Team Socceroo (the final score was 9-0) so there isn't much to observe on the pitch. Thus, there time to shoot the breeze about a variety of topics.

    Dressed casually as always in jeans and a dark t-shirt, the longtime California resident talks about his views on the Trayvon Martin incident, taxation in the USA, and Obamacare. Dooley is a chatty fellow and once he gets going on a subject, he takes some stopping.

    The German-American mentor has been a breath of fresh air ever since he took over. With his easygoing charm, unassailable Football credentials as a player, and organized approach, he has won plenty of fans. Not bad for a coach who has yet to celebrate his first goal with the team. One Football pundit, FTW host Nate Dy-Liacco, even refers to Dooley as “the Pope Francis of Filipino Football.”

    But when the subject turns to the scientific tool he relies on

    Read More »from Thomas Dooley uses high tech to take Azkals further
  • Some of the young kids playing on opening day of the Aboitiz Cup in Cebu. (Photo courtesy of Aboitiz Foundation)

    By now you've probably heard the news that the Aboitiz Cup U18 match in Cebu between Alcoy and Sacred Heart- Ateneo de Cebu was abandoned the other day after at least two on-field brawls. It was first reported by SunStar Cebu. There have been some excellent photographs of the fracas on the SunStar Cebu Facebook site, including one of a spectator, supposedly a parent, trying to attack a player who was entangled with another Footballer. Just scroll to the right to see all the pics.

    On Wednesday the Cebu Football Association handed down their punishments to the erring parties, and it was not light. According to the Twitter feed of Mike Limpag (@mikelimpag) of the SunStar, five players from Alcoy were suspended from any organized play for six months, while four Ateneo booters were given the same punishment. Both coaches were also banned for half a year. Both teams have been kicked out of the tournament. It also appears that a spectator, identified as Enrico Mongaya, presumably the one who

    Read More »from Sanctions meted in Cebu football melee, plus how we can move on
  • Fernandes and Ueda. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

    Asia's biggest mixed martial arts promotion is set to dazzle the Philippines once again with ONE FC: Rise of Heroes on May 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    The main event will be the title clash in the Bantamweight division between champ Bibiano Fernandes (15-3-0) of Brazil and challenger, Japan's Masakatsu Ueda (18-2-2). The Japanese veteran won the ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix competition to earn his title shot against the heavily favored Fernandes, who is a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu master.

    Fernandes is a six-time world champ in BJJ and a four time Brazilian champion in that discipline. In MMA he sports a 15-3-0 record.

    The undercards also show lots of potential, with Filipino Eugene Toquero slated to lock horns with fellow Flyweight Gianni Subba of Malaysia.

    Toquero, from Alcantara, Cebu, is a 32-year-old Muay Thai specialist who switched to MMA in 2012. In his first ONE FC fight last year he fell to another Filipino, Geje Eustaquio, via a decision.

    ALSO READ: Denden Lazaro is Ateneo's

    Read More »from ONE FC MMA announces explosive Manila fight card for May 2
  • Football needs fewer empty seats. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

    We pay far too much attention to FIFA Rankings, and it hurts us. So the Philippines drops to 130th in the FIFA Rankings, down three from our all-time high of 127. We are no longer the best-ranked team in ASEAN. That honor can now be claimed by Vietnam, at 125.

    Dust off the seppuku knives! Everyone grab a jarful of sleeping pills! Anyone have a piece of rope? There's no reason to go on living!!!

    Please.

    The FIFA World Ranking system is just one of many barometers on how well a team is doing. It has been tweaked a few times ever since it began in 1993.

    At the moment this is the formula to get the ranking points from a match: 100 x (Result points x match status x opposition strength x regional strength). I won't go into the gobbledegook of the sub-formulas of each component.

    But at the end of the day, the rankings aren't as meaningful as many casual fans think it is. Last year we climbed up the rankings twice even after losing at home to Chinese Taipei and then drawing on the road at

    Read More »from Four uncomfortable truths for Azkals fans
  • Crystal, Joy, and Maylene. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

    They have suffered untold hardships and oftentimes lived in despair and hopelessness. But for two weeks they will carry the flag in Football-mad Brazil.

    Football's Street Child World Cup takes place in Rio at the end of this month, and for the second time, the Philippines will be sending a team. Actually, make that two teams. Unlike the inaugural event in 2010 in South Africa, there are separate competitions now for men and women under 18 years old. (The similar Homeless World Cup is for older players.)

    Sponsoring the teams are Witsenburg Natural Products, a Dutch company selling organic health products, many of which are sourced in the Philippines, and AgriNurture Inc., a Filipino Agri-business company. Both companies practice Fair Trade policies to uplift the lives of the farming communities they deal with.

    Conrad Alleblas of Witsenburg and Larry Lacson of Agri-Nurture joined Roy Moore, head of Fairplay For All Foundation, (FFA) the group organizing the Philippine team, at the

    Read More »from Football: PH Street Child World Cup teams get ready for Rio
  • Deyto. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

    It was a late February day and Green Archers United's goalie, Patrick Deyto was driving to Asian Hospital to have his eye checked. A a tiny vein had burst due to excessive coughing, causing a small red dot beside his pupil. But it was nothing serious.

    Deyto wasn't called up to the Azkals' trip to Malaysia and Dubai, and was looking forward to a restful weekend without Football. It would be the perfect respite for a body suffering from some minor niggles here and there. Par for the course for a pro Footballer.

    Then suddenly his phone rings. And his weekend, and in fact his whole life, changed forever.

    It was Jaron Genota of the Azkals management. Come to the PFF ASAP, he implored, while presenting a list of requirements for a UAE visa. He was needed for the friendlies.

    It turns out Ed Sacapaño didn't receive his clearance from the Philippine Army in time, and therefore the team lacked a keeper.

    “I was shocked. I didn't know what to do” admitted Deyto. “But I couldn't say no, even if I

    Read More »from New Azkals goalkeeper Deyto savors his moment in the spotlight
  • The brothers with Drew Copuyoc. UNAUTHORIZED COMMERCIAL OF THIS IMAGE IS PUNISHABLE BY LAW. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

    The yearly Footballing slugfest between teams selected by Phil and James Younghusband has been set for June 7, 2014. Here is what you need to know about this year's event.

    The Guests.

    Last year former Chelsea mid Dennis Wise and Italian World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro participated in the game. Clear has now partnered with Manchester United so it's no surprise that two Red Devil legends have been roped in for the 2014 event.

    Old Trafford Ironman Paul Scholes played 499 times for Man U from 1993 to 2013 and scored 107 goals for the side. The English midfielder was also capped by England on 66 occasions. He made his second and apparently final retirement last year. The carrot-topped Scholes turns forty in November.

    “Talk to (Zinedine) Zidane or Xabi (Alonso) and they will say Scholes was the best player they ever played against” said Phil Younghusband.

    Andy Cole, aged 42, is the second-leading goalscorer in the history of the Premier League, bulging Premiership nets on 187 occasions for

    Read More »from Clear Dream Match to feature Man Utd stars Scholes, Cole with Younghusbands
  • Rodriguez (#57.) Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

    The centerback is truly one of the most sensitive positions on any Football team.

    He stands sentry in front of the six yard box, the penultimate line of defense against the opponent's attack. A centerback operates in a maelstrom of powerful headers, fierce shots, flying challenges, and sharp elbows. All framed in a cauldron of noise and fury.

    His skills and virtues must be manifold. The finest central defenders know how to position themselves to frustrate opposing strikers. They should be strong and fast, and ideally tall, to command the air.

    The best central defenders have the ability to see two different things at the same time. They must keep their eye on the ball as well as the man they are marking. And although their prime responsibility is to thwart attacks, they can go forward and help in scoring.

    Central defenders are rare birds, especially in the Philippines. No wonder a player like Amani Aguinaldo of Global is so prized for his height, skills, and musculature.

    On Saturday

    Read More »from UFL: Centerbacks play pivotal role in Global’s victory over Loyola
  • Schrock was held in check. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

    The Azerbaijanis gave us a lesson in waiting. This wasn't a particularly fun opponent. Unlike last Saturday, when a feisty, lively, counterattacking Malaysia enthralled fans with uptempo play, this European squad displayed a far different approach in defeating the Philippines 1-0.

    Azerbaijan was plodding and patient as they shuffled the ball back-and-forth among the members of the back four. They probed, they hemmed, they hawed, and they at times seemed to want to lull the Philippines to sleep. Berti Vogt's team showed the patience of Job in playing risk-averse Football.

    It wasn't pretty. The Philippines did not press the Azerbaijani ball-handlers. That would have been pointless, since they are great on the ball and have good spacing. Rushing up them would have resulted in either a quick escape via a dribble or a neat outlet pass to safety. I suspect Azerbaijan got 65% of the possession, maybe even 70% at times.

    The Europeans didn't show tremendous skill once they did have possession

    Read More »from Azkals – Azerbaijan Postgame Thoughts: Patience, please
  • Volcanoes Chris Hettel, Paulo Jordan, and Andrew Wolff. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

    Your rugby team is all set to bring more glory to the nation this year.

    At a press conference in the University of Makati last Tuesday, the Philippine Volcanoes unveiled a busy schedule in both 15s and 7s Rugby for 2014.

    As it did last year, the squad will play in the top tier of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations competition. Last year they narrowly avoided relegation to the second-tier Division One by defeating UAE 24-8 in their last round-robin match.

    This season will be tougher as Sri Lanka, who the Philippines beat in 2012 to make it to the elite level of the competition, are back in the top flight, and this time the Volcanoes travel to Colombo to play them on May 17th.

    The Volcanoes will host powerhouse Japan on May 3rd and Korea Republic on May 24th, with both games taking place in the Umak pitch. There's also another away game, against Hong Kong, on April 26th.

    It will definitely be an uphill battle for the 56th-ranked Philippines to remain in the elite level of the A5N, especially

    Read More »from Rugby: Philippine Volcanoes get ready for busy 2014

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