• imageLeft to right: Salenga, Talaroc, Minegishi, Badelic, Kanayama, and Michael James Jonsson. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

     

    Global Football Club has long been an outfit that supplied quality players for the national team. On Tuesday Global hosted a gala dinner in Makati Shangri-la for its sponsors and the media to unveil their squad for the 2015 UFL season.

    Among the team were plenty of new Filipino players who Azkal fans could be seeing in international action for either the senior team or the U22/23 side that will attempt to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games and play in the SEA Games as well.

    Let’s meet a few of them who could make an impact this year.

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    Otomo. Image copyright Bob Guerrero. 

    Satoshi Otomo is the most senior of the new Global players at 33. Otomo’s mother is from Zamboanga and his father is Japanese. He has one Azkals cap already.

    Otomo has played in the J-League, Japan’s top flight, and has also extensive experience in Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand.

    “His attitude to training is very good,” says Global boss Leigh Manson.

    Otomo usually plays in the wing but in the recently concluded

    Read More »from Could Global FC's new signings break into the Azkals?
  • Pinoys are once again atop the pocket billiards world after Warren Kiamco and Alex Pagulayan grabbed the first two major titles in the 2015 Derby City Classic in theHorseshoe Indiana Resort and Casino in Elizabeth, Indiana, USA.

    Pagulayan won the one pocket division last week, completing an unprecedented career triple crown (one pocket, banks, and 9 ball), while Kiamco defeated Pagulayan in the 9 ball final to win perhaps the biggest title of a solid career.

    Filipino-Canadian Pagulayan’s win and second-place finish means he takes the Master of the Table bonus for the player who earns the most points in all of the disciplines.  American Shannon “The Cannon” Daulton eventually won the Banks contest.

    imageWarren Kiamco. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

    Kiamco won US$16,000 for his triumph while Pagulayan banks US$20,000 for his Master of the Table bonus to go along with the $12,000 for the one pocket victory and $8,000 for his 9 ball runner-up finish.

    Pagulayan defeated Efren Reyes 3-0 then dumped Justin Hall by the same score to seal a

    Read More »from Pinoy cueists Pagulayan, Kiamco, make history in Derby City Classic


  • My postgame thoughts on Loyola's 2-0 win over Global on Saturday that crowns them as champions of the Philippines.

    You can't stockpile too many strikers. Phil Younghusband was stretchered off the field just minutes into the game with a bad hammy that bothered him from the semifinal. At the half his opposite number, Global's Izo Elhabbib, was sacrificed for Richard Talaroc. The usually lethal Sudanese striker was hampered by a bad back.

    We really shouldn't wonder why Manchester City, with Edin Dzeko, Kun Aguero, and Stevan Jovetic on the payroll still picked up Wilfried Bony from Swansea in the transfer window. Strikers are the most irreplaceable players on the pitch, it seems, and one team on Saturday suffered from a lack of healthy ones.

    Global parted ways with the excellent Milad Behgandom over the off-season. They missed the Iranian goalscorer badly on Saturday night. I found it odd that Azkal Curt Dizon only came on very late in the game with Global down 2-0, but I was told that he,

    Read More »from WATCH: Loyola beats Global to win Smart PFF National Club Championship final
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    Misagh Bahadoran and Richard Talaroc of Global battle with Martin Steuble of Ceres. Image copyright Bob Guerrero. 



    And we meet again my long-lost friend, once again we get to start anew.”

    -Kenny Loggins, “SweetReunion.”


    On Saturday, Global and Loyola will clash for the right to call themselves the champions of the Philippines in football when they meet in the Smart-PFF National Club Championship final match at 7pm in Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. This game was set after Global out-played Ceres 3-1 in extra time and Loyola edged Stallion 2-1, also in extra time, in the semifinals round last Thursday.


    And as another song goes, it’s all just a little bit of history repeating.


    The 2014-2015 Smart PFF NCC is the fourth running of a tournament involving clubs from all over  the Philippines. In the very first iteration of the event, two teams met in the final, (which was two-legged then,) who are either similar to this year’s protagonists, or actually the same teams, depending on how you

    Read More »from Smart PFF National Club Championship: Global and Loyola meet in final again, (sort of)
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    Azkal Chris Greatwich in action for Kaya against Laos in the Smart - PFF National Championship. Image copyright Bob Guerrero. 

    Philippine club football has come a long way. Philippine club football has a long way to go.

    Those paradoxical statements pretty much sum up the state of club play in the Philippines as the country’s premier club competition, the Smart-PFF National Club Championship, continues this week until Saturday. (The United Football League is primarily a Metro Manila tournament while this competition is national in scope.)

    The Azkals may be the most famous of the Philippines’ football squads, but in truth there are many amateur, professional, and semi-pro clubs all over the country that need our love too. But they just aren’t getting it. And it doesn’t bode well for the game.

    Clubs form the foundation of a national team. And yet ever since the Azkals explosion of 2010, it’s been a difficult slog for our clubs and leagues.

    The national championship features five

    Read More »from Pinoy club football continues to swim upstream
  • imageDaniel Gadia (far right). Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

     

     

    The leading university football league in the country is at its midpoint. Here are my team-by-team thoughts on a thrilling first round of Season 77.

    The UP Fighting Maroons are UAAP football’s San Antonio Spurs. Year-in, year out UP is at or near the summit of the table. At the moment they have no equal, with sixteen points from seven games.

    The Maroons have allowed all of three goals in their first seven games. At least one, in the loss to Ateneo, was a penalty. So that’s two goals in open play in over 630 minutes.

    This defensive performance, anchored by Feb Baya and Ian Clarino in the center, calls to mind the epic performance of UP’s 2011 squad, which featured Miguel Roy, Allan Serna, Deo Segunial and Boi Boi Fernandez in an impenetrable burgundy wall that meant keepers Ty Caballes and Stephen Custodio fished the ball out of their net exactly once all season long. (Segunial isn’t sure which goalie let in a shot from UE in the last game of the second round. He thinks it’s

    Read More »from UAAP Football midseason report: Maroons lead the way
  • Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

     

    He smiled gleefully from the photo on his Facebook timeline while stretched out shirtless on his dorm bed. Inches in front of him were what looked like ten to fifteen one-thousand peso bills, laid out in a fan formation on his bedsheet.

    The young man was a collegiate athlete who was displaying his Christmas bonus money for all to see.

    I messaged him soon after explaining that for a variety of reasons, it was probably best to take the photo down. Thankfully, he listened and deleted the pic.

    But the instance reminded me about a truth about Philippine collegiate sports: that in reality, it is not, and for a long time has not, been purely amateur. And trying to hold back the tide of professionalism may be futile. It’s time to make collegiate sports fully and unequivocally professional.

    While I cannot speak for other pro leagues, the country’s premier university athletic league, the UAAP, is most certainly amateur at least in paper. The amateur nature of its competitions is enshrined in

    Read More »from The case for professionalizing Pinoy collegiate sports
  • Image copyright Bob Guerrero. 

    This is the second installment of a two-part series on what football fans in the Philippines can expect this year. To read Part One, click here.

    UFL. I was originally told that the UFL, the country’s de facto top-tier league, will kick off later this month after the Smart-PFF Club Championship, but it seems it will begin a bit later because the Smart PFF ends on January 31.

    My understanding is that the UFL league and cup competitions will run concurrently this year, as is done in most serious football countries. Most weeks there will be league play, some certain days, cup games.

    The UFL has the whole year to complete both competitions and that is okay. With all the other stuff going on like Azkals games, SEA Games, etc, there is a danger of fixture congestion, so it’s good to spread things out.

    This schedule tweak puts us in line with the club schedule in other ASEAN countries, which is good.

    I am told that the UFL wants to have an all-star weekend in

    Read More »from Your Guide to Pinoy Football in 2015: Part Two
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    Image copyright Bob Guerrero. 

    Azkals. The big deal this year with the senior national football team is the start of our qualifying campaign for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Yes, qualifying starts this early.

    Since we are no longer among the weakest teams in Asia, we are directly seeded into the second round. The first round in March will be for the minnows, who will play home and away matches to bring the second round field to forty sides.

    The forty will then be divided into eight groups of five via a draw. The teams will then play their group mates in a double-round-robin format, home and away. That means at least four competitive home games for Azkals fans this year, and four more away.

    Save the following dates: June 11, June 16, September 3, September 8, October 8, October 13, November 12, and November 17. Those are FIFA international window dates that have been earmarked for World Cup qualifying by the AFC.

    The eight group winners and the four best second-placers make it to

    Read More »from Your Guide to Pinoy Football in 2015: Part One
  • The Passionate Fan Pinoy Football Awards 2014

    Image copyright Bob Guerrero. 

    Player of the Year: Phil Younghusband. With two goals in the Challenge Cup, and two more in the Suzuki Cup, Phil gets the nod for this year’s award. All in all he found the back of the net eight times in international games in 2014.

    Younghusband continues to be one of South East Asia’s finest strikers, and his consistency has definitely come to the fore.

    Phil has also shown himself to be a selfless and intelligent player, as is evidenced by his three assists in the Suzuki Cup. Another interesting thing to note: when was the last time you saw Phil get a card in a game? I struggle to recall when.

    Phil is still only 27. If he keeps in shape he will be an effective goalscorer for the Azkals for another five years or even longer. The country is blessed to have him. In ASEAN, only Thailand’s Adisak Kraisorn, Vietnam’s Le Cong Vinh seem to be at his level or higher. Malaysia’s Indra Putra is a fantastic player, very clever and skilled but at 35 he has to be past

    Read More »from The Passionate Fan Pinoy Football Awards 2014

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Blog Authors / Profiles

  • Bob Guerrero

    Bob is a freelance sports broadcaster. Since 2003 he has been covering billiards both locally and Internationally. Since 2011 he has been commentating on Azkals games. Bob has also covered sports as diverse as poker, rugby, and even beach handball, and is also a professional sports photographer.

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