Pasig United F.C joins the Weekend Football League Ladies Soccer Division

On other news, my newly formed club Pasig United F.C is now making some noise in the local football scene.. here’s the story!

This year marks another milestone for Pasig United F.C. Aside from celebrating its first year anniversary as a club last March and holding its very first football tournament in Pasig City first week of April, the club made another notable step of joining the first ever Women’s Soccer League in Philippine soil – the Weekend Football League (WFL) Ladies Soccer Division. A big leap for the club but its definitely the direction we wanted it to go.

The league kicked-off last April 28, 2012 with four participating teams: SQS-Pasig United FC Ladies, Sikat FC, Nomads FC, and United Superstrikers FC. It is an 11-a-side game and given that the club only has a few active lady players, we grabbed the opportunity to merge with SQS United Ladies to aptly complete the line up for WFL. The league will progress till mid June and as per the WFL board, a 2nd season for the Women’s League is in order this coming September 2012.

It’s a great opportunity the club don’t want to miss, the opportunity to play and be part of the very first Women’s Soccer League in the Philippine soil and be part of Philippine football history. It will also help the lady players of Pasig United to progress as they get exposed to a different kind of soccer play in a league level. With the merge with SQS United, our Lady players were also given a chance to get coached by one of the country’s finest female football player & Coach, none other than the Lady Captain of Philippine National Women’s Soccer Team Malditas, Marielle Benitez.

Ms. Benitez, having handled & coached a lot of women’s teams in the past & being part of the National pool, agreed to lend a hand to PUFC Women’s team Coach, Alan Trinanes. Together, they form a formidable coaching duo rallying behind the girls, guiding them both off & on the pitch.

The Women’s team still has a long way to go but they sure is off to a great start. The team may not win all the battles but it’s a great way to learn and be a better team, a better player. Sometimes, the most important lessons in life are the ones we learned when we lose. Keep the fire burning & the hunger ladies and best of luck to your future games! Sipa, sige!

WFL Ladies Division game schedule: Home game of SQS-Pasig United versus Nomads FC on May 27, 2012 (Sunday), 4pm at Rizal Highschool Football Field in Pasig City. Please do watch & support the team.

We also would like to take this opportunity to thank SQS United for lending us a hand in making all of this possible and Ms. Benitez for volunteering to help coach the team. Maraming maraming salamat po!

Interested to play and represent for the PUFC Women’s team? You may contact Coach Alan Triñanes thru his mobile: 09165140009 or via email: alan_trinanes@yahoo.com or pasigunitedfc@gmail.com Good luck to all our lady players! Sipa, Sige! =)

Advertisements

Behind the scenes: Asian 5 Nations 2012 in Manila!

disclaimer: To those expecting for a pure sports blog, well you’ve gone into the wrong place. this is not the blog you’re looking for coz it won’t give you a blow-by-blow Rugby summary of the games, just narration of behind the scenes events, mishaps and what have you. don’t say you’re not duly warned. 😉

Another milestone achieved for Philippine Sports coz this year, we are the proud host of the prestigious rugby event, the Asian 5 Nations 2012. for those who do not know anything about Rugby, HSBC Asian 5 Nations is an annual international rugby union competition held between the top five Asian national rugby sides. The teams play a round-robin competition held on five consecutive weekends throughout April and May. The competition represents the highest tier of international rugby in Asia, and is the apex of a multi-divisional Asian international calendar. also, our National Team for Rugby, the Philippine Volcanoes was hailed champions in Division 1 after beating all the 3 other teams in their division hence promoting us in Asia’s Top 5 team. if that ain’t awesome, i don’t know what is! 😀

right after the Under 20s Rugby tournament held last December 2011, we already knew that the Philippines is hosting A5N and and that massive work is cut out for us to achieve a successful staging of an international sports event in this country. so when the Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU) once again asked for help, I responded right away, ditching everything and immediately filed for a leave of absence at work. it has been a tradition for me actually to help and support the union in any way i can to give back coz i learned Rugby from them and i will forever be grateful for that! =)

last year, I was tasked to be the Liason Officer for Malaysian U-20s team but for A5N, I chose to be with the seniors team of Taiwan, the Chinese Taipei Rugby team. we actually had the free reign to choose whichever team we want to be with and since i already met the coach last year, Coach Pai, Wan-Yin (Edward Pai) when he was with the juniors, i opted to be their LO despite the fact that communication will be a little difficult. And i have a good sense that they’ll be an awesome team to be with (and i am so damn right about that!).

it turned out pretty well, AWESOME actually! I have nothing but praises for these young lads! First meeting was kinda awkward but me & my awesome partner Leslie did warmed up with the team. all it took was a few banters here and there, a little mischief, and some nai cha! viola! we became inseparable! =))))

touring Luneta Park at 2pm under the scorching hot Manila sun! XD

this was taken during our tour in Luneta. t’was scorching hot at 2pm in Manila but the team was still up for the tour! hehehe.. really now, it wasn’t our idea, it was Coach Pai’s idea! hahaha!

so how do i describe the team? they’re pretty young team, young blood, pretty much the youngest team in the tournament. we have players as young as 18 years old and our oldest is 24. i’m even a year older than that player. its a good mix of working & studying individuals who plays and represents their country in the Rugby arena. our first meeting was kinda awkward of course coz we can’t pronounce the names quite correctly, and all I knew was Coach Pai! =)) and communication was a problem, most of the time we have to ask Coach Pai to do the translation to better understand everyone! i remember Coach Pai said to me “You look Chinese, are you Chinese?” i answered “Yes Coach, i’m part Chinese but unfortunately I never learned to speak, understand, and write mandarin! i’m so sorry!” =))) Coach just laughed. he is such a nice guy by the way, always calm and collect. a teacher by profession, the Chinese Taipei Rugby team improved when he started coaching them, starting with their promotion to Division 1 last year up to their campaign to maintain their spot for this year’s A5N.

here’s Coach Pai, Wan-Yin!

looking good, Coach! 😀

he’s a very hands on coach. Running, playing & doing the drills with the team!

it was a bit different approach i had with this team comparing to what i did with Malaysia U-20s. i was able to file a leave for A5N so that means i am free from my real-life work and i was almost always with the team, very much hands on in attending to all their needs and not to mention my partner was also a very hands on and a very protective LO for our team! hahaha! i remember in our game vs the Philippines, Leslie was shouting at the top of her lungs “Not to rough! Please not too rough for my kids!” and Peter from PRFU board was just staring at her w/ his mouth hanging open! hahahaha! hilarious moments during A5N!

here’s my awesome partner Leslie with some of our kids! 😀

when we chose our team, me & Leslie we’re really hoping that they’d be a nice group of lads, praying hard for it actually coz we heard nightmare horror stories of LOs about the teams they’ve handled and we don’t want any of that. and it turned out good. we ended up with the nicest, well-mannered, and fun-to-be-with team! among the 4 teams, they have the least number of requests and most of their requests were just easy to do and manageable. both the coaches were like fathers to us, looking out for us too. =) the players and our physio all play nice, though sometimes they were annoyingly rowdy and naughty (ask the hotel waitresses!) but in general, they are sweet and caring men. very respectful to women and the elders  but at the same time they knew how to have fun! they drink, they party and they love to eat & shop. that’s what they do during their free time. it was definitely a fun & happy week with them!

shopping at Shopwise! I think they demolished the shelf for dried mangoes!

I call them “my kids” coz aside from the fact that they’re way younger than me, they also act like kids! hahaha! i think the words “my kids” as my term of endearment suits them just fine. its always fun when we were with them. what’s amazing about them is that they know how to have fun but they also know when to be serious & productive. they were dead serious during trainings and fierce & ready every game.  i couldn’t be any prouder of them. =)

our pictures during training!

true story: during this training sesh, I was walking quietly on the pitch, holding my DSLR and looking for subjects worth taking snap at when Coach Pai called me and said: “hold this tackle bag for me please..” i was like: “okay, coach.. O_O” did the stance, the one I do when in Rugby 101, then he said “I’ll tackle you!” head straight to me then bam! hahahaha! i was dead scared but good thing it wasn’t a serious tackle from Coach Pai coz I highly doubt if I’ll ever survive that tackle! Coach Pai was laughing at me coz the look on my face was just priceless then he tapped my back and said “Its okay, its just a joke!”

hahaha! Coach Pai did scare the hell out of me there but t’was cool! its not everyday you get tackled by one of the legit rugby coaches here in Asia. I am honored dear Coach Pai! 😀

it was a historic run for Chinese Taipei Rugby team as they’ve just bounced back & got promoted in Division 1 recently. During A5N 2012, our first game versus Sri Lanka was shaky perhaps because the team didn’t have time to prepare and get the players acclimitize to hot Manila weather. Hence it ended with a loss, 29-8.

Determined to bounce back the next game versus the Philippine Volcanoes, our team balanced training, attending functions/commitments for IRB, and relaxation. Found out that Chinese Taipei Team worked brilliantly if they don’t feel as if they’re backs are pushed on the wall, that’s how they are. Coaching is always balanced, never too hard, not too relax either. unfortunately, we weren’t able to snag a win against Philippines, 34-12 but my kids gave the Volcanoes quite a scare when they stretched & demolished the  defense line in the last minutes of the game until finally my kids were able to score.

Game 2 against the Philippines was also nerve-wracking for me & Leslie. 2nd half of the game, one of our kids, Chen, Chia-Han, got hit with a bad tackle from the Philippines and he went down the pitch writhing in pain. We rushed down the tracks to see what happened and to check if he was ok and apparently, he wasn’t. He couldn’t get up after that and worse, he could hardly breathe. Leslie suspects its a broken rib, the medic rushed in & got him to a stretcher off the field. The doctors went on immediately on checking him & administered first aid. It was confirmed, a fracture on the rib. The doctor recommended to rush Chen, Chia-Han to Makati Medical Center for x-ray & further tests to see the extent of the injury. Leslie & Coach Pai went with our kid (Leslie’s a nurse so I asked her to go with Coach coz she knew better than me, I stayed with the team until the game was through). Thank goodness it was just a fractured 7th rib that doesn’t need any surgery. all he needs is rest & chest binder for support, it’ll heal up on its own in weeks. Had it been a broken rib, it’ll be a lot worse coz he’s at risk of puncturing his lung if that’s the case. they were discharged after spending 4hrs at the hospital.

here’s Chen, Chia-Han at the hospital! i won’t forget his name coz I had to memorize his name to get all his medical results & medical certificate before they all went back home to Taiwan. =) it was a close call but glad he’s just fine.

he kept calling us “bad people” for taking & posting his hospital pictures! haha! parang bata talaga i swear! so adorbs..

still in pain after meds were administered.

still smiling.. discharged! Chen, Chia-Han with Coach Pai! 😀 the only downside on all of this is that we’re down to 23 players. the doctors didn’t give clearance to Chen, Chia-Han to play on the finals so he was sidelined. He’s a good player & one of the top scorers of the team so its sad to not see him play in the finals but he did well on the first 2 games already.

heart-breaking to see my kids twice defeated but I admire them coz they never lost hope, kept the hunger to win & the fire to get the job done burning. I never saw them sulk and get all depressed with the loss. Finals came and they were even more determined to keep  their spot in Division 1 and not relegated to second division again coz that would mean the end of their campaign for the Rugby World Cup. And it was indeed one of my proud moments during A5N when they were able to win against Singapore, 31-49! i was close to tears really coz i watched them and been there with the team since day 1 and of course the looks on their faces was just priceless when they won. =’)

in one of the media interviews of Coach Pai after they won, he said and I quote “Now that we have managed to retain our position we plan to select a larger squad earlier so that we can focus on our improvement over the next year. Our goal will be to compete at Division I level and crack the Top 5 of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations for the first time.”

I do have high hopes for this team. they’re extreme hard workers and pretty young bunch so really, the chances of getting into top 5 is doable, they just got a lot of growing up to do, more international caps/games to better gain experience and that’s it, i wouldn’t be surprised if i see them playing against the top teams in Asia. what can i say, i just love this team! they won my heart and for that they can be sure that they’ve got a loyal & true fan and friend here in the Philippines!

more of our misadventures with the Chinese Taipei Rugby Team!

meet Shaun, one of our youngest. He maybe 18 years old but he can take on opponents twice as large as him & twice the age too coz he was able to tackle down our “Flying Jeepney” (so sorry Justin Coveney! we still do love you!)! I’m so sorry I’m just proud of Shaun! 😀 He’ll grew up a fine man and a good rugby player someday. =) he’s all sun-burned in this pic but refused to put on some sunblock! hahaha! so adorable.. we call him “kukulah” — a Sri Lankan word which means chicken head & he’s always asking: “Kukula?!? why?!?” =))

goofing around in one of our pool sessions! hahaha! kids! 😀 the other teams always request for ice baths every after training but my kids, they’re simply content with the hotel swimming pool! 😀

pity this sleeping guy! XD

all smiles! they’re looking at the guy swimming in the public fountain in Luneta and maybe wondering why those men were swimming in a public place! hahaha!

one of our kid trying to replicate Jose Rizal’s pose! hahaha! I gave a little trivia about our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal to them that Rizal is also part Chinese, well most of Pinoys are, like me. they were amazed with the connection & influence the Chinese people have in the Philippines. =)

Sunday, April 22 was my last day as an LO and my last day with them. I sent them off back to Taiwan but surprisingly, we never lost contact. We still talk if given a chance, through facebook chat. they’re updating me about their life after A5N which I really appreciate. I found true friends in the most unlikely places & events and for that I am thankful. I honestly can say I miss them, hanging out with them, story-telling, shopping, Nai Cha moments at Moon Leaf, everything.. and I do hope we get to hang out again sometime in the future.

I owe Rugby a lot. It has taken me to places I’ve never been before and I get to meet people whom I never dreamed of meeting, as in never in my entire 25 years of existence. Rugby even got me new friends i can really count on. so much has changed in my life since i got into Rugby and this Liason Officer experience brought so much change in me since day 1 (last December 2011). It gave me the confidence I never had before, developed my interpersonal communication skills drastically since I have to meet and talk to different kinds of people coming from different culture & upbringing. It made me smart, street-smart perhaps is the correct term and helped me discover all the strengths that i have as an individual. Also, volunteering is a job worth stressing and sweating for.. it makes you fulfilled and makes you feel good about yourself.. true enough VOLUNTEER NOT TO BUILD YOUR RESUME, BUT SO YOU CAN BUILD YOURSELF..

really, its one experience i’ll never forget and will forever be grateful for. so until the next Rugby Adventure guys and keep on moving your feet! =)

**some of the photos here are owned by freelance photographer Mark Cristino and my LO partner Leslie Laya! thanks guys for sharing the pictures! hope you don’t mind me using some of it here.

**More of Mark Cristino’s Rugby photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/streetunka/collections/72157627575497074/, please do check it out.