MAWALANG-GALANG NA PO! :|

Disclaimer: Views are my own and nobody else. And please to the band wagoners, Respect. This is a free country, everyone is entitled to freely express himself/herself in any means or form of communication so back off. This is one pissed blogger and football supporter.

 

“As long as Coach Dooley will lead the team, I won’t wear the jersey of Azkals again…” – Stephan Schrock

Official statement released on social media by Stephan Schrock
Official statement released on social media by Stephan Schrock

and shortly after, statements posted by Dennis Cagara on his twitter account:

cagara1 cagara2

Neil Etheridge too voiced his dismay on twitter then deleted it shortly after he posted this:

“I’ve never felt so disrespected my whole life… Kick a man when he’s down…”

If you are a true blue fan and lover of the sport and supporter of your very own National Team, you’ll be heart-broken needless to say. You will lose some sleep, lose a couple of pounds, and maybe refuse to eat, might go catatonic and just spiral down to the depths of depression… Yeah, you get my point? This is the worst that can happen to a team, a communication breakdown with management not being able to talk to players before making announcements, things not being clear to everyone, players being way too selfish and too full of themselves that they put themselves first before the team and the country… This is my worst nightmare happening right before my very eyes.

When rifts happen to your beloved national team, whether it’s Football or Rugby or can be Basketball, and it unfolds to your very eyes, you just can’t help but feel sad about it. It’s like you see your family falling apart and you can’t do anything about it but to watch it, watch while the players, the management, and the coaches throw shit at one another. There’s no resolution to it, nobody wins.

And as if fate wants to play the cruelest of games, I found out about it in the most excruciating way. Click and you find everything on social media. Stephan Schrock, one of the most celebrated players in the Philippine National Team, the guy whom most of us look up to coz he is such an amazing player, seems like a nice guy, always all smiles for fans and supporters, very approachable granting so many photo opts and signing autographs, and seems to flaunt and proud that he is Pinoy (so yeah what’s not to like about him), has just announced he resigned from national team duty because he doesn’t want to play for Coach Dooley. He apparently despised the newly appointed coach and no clear reason was given as to why. Ouch. My first thought was, I thought he’s one of us? I thought he loved us? Then why is he ditching us? Coz I don’t know but somehow his statement came to me just like that, he’s calling it quits and don’t want to play for the Philippines anymore for whatever reason. Masakit. It’s like getting stabbed a number of times with no apparent reason or getting punished for something that you didn’t do. Then as if to add insult to injury, another player followed suit, Dennis Cagara who said the same reason he’s quitting, it’s because of the Coach. Wow two announcements in a day. Then there’s our goal keeper who wanted to do just the same. Why? He’s not included in the line-up for the Peace Cup 2014 happening this September.

I can understand Etheridge coz he’s always been like that, thinking so highly of himself, living bigger than Hollywood. I was not surprised at all by his reaction and I actually saw this coming. You are as good as your last game, my Coach once said. Etheridge only played once during the Challenge Cup and he was benched throughout the tournament coz of an injury he had. He’s not 100% fit so do you think it’s proper to bring him in, play him, though he’s not fit and you have 3 other keepers who got season long exposure, 100% fit and can step up & man the post? It does make sense when Coach Thomas Dooley didn’t enlist him to be part of the Peace Cup. And to throw a fit like that, on social media nonetheless with thousands of eyes watching, saying you felt disrespected by the Coach, isn’t it a bit irrational and way too childish?

What hurts the most is what Schrock and Cagara did. To be honest, I didn’t expect this from this two. I have so much respect for them, I think highly of them and it never crossed my mind that they’ll be doing something like this. I expected it from anyone but not these two. I saw them as proud Filipinos and would do anything for this country, always putting country and team first more than anything else. But heck they proved me wrong. I was an idiot for idolizing people like these two, for looking up to them and making them role models. My heart was broken, twice and I felt like I was insulted and cheated. I was made believed in a façade of goodness & patriotism that turned out to be nothing but a farce. 😦 And the statement from PFF, Manager Dan Palami, and Coach Dooley confirmed it and it doubled the hurting.

But the biggest insult of all is that they ditched us, the country because they are not getting enough playing time in the NT. All of this mess happened just because you’re not fucking getting all the playing time that you want. All because of that fucking playing time! Damn it.

I am asking these players now, what do you actually get from this? Any gratification or satisfaction you get out of making your selfishness public trying to get our sympathy, saying shit about the Coach, disrespecting him and his decisions therefore putting the team and the federation into bad light. Then breaking the hearts of so many of your supporters because you’re not playing coz you can’t get enough of that damn playing time? Happy now that you are putting so much stress on the team, even claiming there are other players who’s feeling the same and would want to have a say? Happy now that by doing just that, by being so selfish, you are destroying the team that we’ve put together by blood, sweat, and tears all these years? Happy now? Ego fed and happily sated? 😦

Just a piece of unsolicited advice from a fan who was hurting from all this drama but got no say at all and was ruthlessly pulled to watch all this horror unfold; Football is a team sport, you win and lose as a team. You gain glory as team and not as an individual player. Like what Coach Dooley said we don’t need the best players, we need to have the best team. We always have to remember that there are 10 more players on the field with you and you have to work for and with each other towards a common goal to be on top of everyone else, to be the best there is. Now, these things – not getting a call up, not being lined up, getting a snub, Coach took you out of the game or subbed you, not getting enough playing time, criticisms from the Coach, these things are not meant to insult you or belittle you and your contributions to the team. You won’t feel hurt or disrespected if you understand perfectly the goals and direction of the team and if you really know what’s good for the team and not what can feed your ego. You always look at how you perform during the last game, your fitness, what you can bring on the plate now and not 5 years ago. You also have to look at the future coz for sure, you are not going to play in the national team till you are 80 years old and you’d want the youngsters to get proper training and exposure in every game, train & pass on your knowledge to an apprentice coz that is what will sustain the NT. Its legacy, you want to be remembered by the team and the fans as the selfless player who shares what he knows and put the welfare of the team first above everything else. Somebody who helped build the team from ground up. Be professional. If you have issues, go straight to the manager or the coach, sit down and talk it within and amongst yourselves and not go straight to Social Media and rant. We would have been spared of all this heartaches and sleepless nights if these players have the decency to just make a call and iron out the differences between them and the coach in private. Now they took it out there, damage has been done, some of it irreversible. Also, what do you do when after you rant in public and ensued an issue of statement from the Federation and the Coach? You stay silent, you keep mum and not go to social media again and post an answer to every statement. You don’t put more fuel to the already burning fire. Again what you can do is phone the people concerned and talk to them, sort it out in private. Lastly, to say that you won’t play for the country as long as he’s the coach, its absolute. No turning back. So now what if he gets to coach the team for 3 years? 4 years? Then it is a guarantee your fans won’t see you wear that jersey again. That’s just unfair and totally irresponsible comment to make.

So where does this leave us? Can our NT be the team to reckon with without the big guns? Yes, I’d like to think so. I would daresay I remain hopeful when I look into that Azkals bench. We have quality players, only lacking is the opportunity to showcase these talents. This is a call for challenge to those players, new and old, to step up and prove that we can make it without the supposedly best players of the team. That the fans can rally behind a team that won’t break even without the cream of the crop. To those left behind, this is your time to shine, take it, seize the opportunity, own it and make something good out of it. And as for the broken-hearted fan like me, I will always support our national teams regardless of the issues they’re tangled with. Coaches and players come and go but the team remains. My loyalty is to the team and the country, not to any coach or any player for that matter. Country and team comes first before anything else.

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change…” – Charles Darwin.

Sincerely Yours

The Disgruntled and Extremely Disappointed Fan

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PUFC Women’s Road to Laurel Cup.. All for the love of the beautiful game.. =)

Several days and off we go to Laurel Cup 2011! woohoo!

Ask me 3 weeks ago and I wouldn’t even want to talk about the tournament. I get so stressed that I shrug off anything that might remind me of the tourney. I dreaded the day I’ll be going out of the pitch to battle it out with several stronger football teams, felt like I just can’t do it even if I’m training for a month now.

But I realized that it’s the make or break point. What’s the point of this whole training for football if I won’t compete? What’s the point of all those Saturdays that I used? What’s the point of all of these? What’s even the point of joining the club if I won’t get myself out there to play and earn wins for the team?

So, after watching the epic game of Philippine Team Azkals last sunday where they crushed, lemme repeat that, crushed Sri Lanka Brave Reds, 4-nil, I conditioned myself that at one point or another, I have to swallow fear and go play the game with the team! Pinoy ata to! Di natatakot at di umuurong sa laban! hehe.. To prep & step up for the match this sunday, me and my team started our very own version of TRAINING CAMP! woot-woot! It may not be as swag as the PHL Azkals German Training Camp and we may not be living under one roof but at least we get a CAMP, period! haha!

We started last Wednesday, June 29 during the Away game of our very own Philippine Football Team Azkals. This was our very first team bonding session and was lucky enough to get free invites from Sky Cable. Thanks to Ms. Enchie of Sky Cable marketing, we dined & watch at the posh Dillinger’s resto in Greenbelt 3, Makati. Drinks were flowing for free and we have complimentary garlic peanuts & pop corn! The game may not end on a sweet note coz its a draw between us and Sri Lanka, but at least my team get to bond!

Pasig United F.C! woot-woot!
me & my mates! =)

With my mates from Pasig United F.C! Let’s take Laurel Cup by storm, shall we?!?! 😀

with our coach! =)

Our coach dropped by Dillinger’s after work! 😀 sad though that most of the team didn’t make it. Should be fun if we’re complete.

posh ang crowd, bow!

the posh but loud crowd at Dillinger’s!

chicken wings FTW!
all done!

Chowed down chicken wings, french fries, garlic peanuts, & pop corn! oh and i downed two servings of iced tea mixed with emperador light! haha!

Ms. Enchie with mah good friend Zsazsa!

Here’s the gorgeous Ms. Enchie and my friend Zsazsa! thanks for the invite ma’am! mabuhay po kayo! 😀

KAHOLEROS!

After watching at Dillinger’s, we all went to the other far side of Greenbelt 3 to see our Kaholero friends who dined at National Sports Grill! They’re PUFC members too! 🙂 After meeting them, we went to Gerry’s Grill, Glorietta 5 to dine for dinner. Over dinner, we all talked about the game, all our plans for the team, and what to do on Laurel Cup. All the talking and the dinner ended our first ever bonding session. 🙂

2 days fast forward and we embark on the next phase: Tune-up/test match with Philippine College of Aeronautics Futsal team. Last saturday we owned the RHS field as we battle it out with the PHILSCA team. Was just sad I couldn’t share pictures (coz I don’t have any). Total of 3 matches and it ended with a draw, 1-1. I was actually thinking we’re gonna loose that game but hell-yeah no, a win was better but I’m elated with a draw. At least we didn’t get stomped on our home field! Good job ladies! 😀

After the intense tune-up game with PHILSCA, we readied ourselves for the main event of the week: WORLD CUP QUALIFYING MATCH!!! Philippine Azkals vs. Sri Lanka Brave Reds at Rizal Stadium. This is the home game so everyone’s excited and all ready to cheer Azkals loud and proud. Me and Zsazsa already have our tickets and on the last minute, PUFC team were able to get tickets for the white bleachers and lucky them, they cheered with the Kaholeros! True, we’re seated in different places but the beautiful game united all of us, not just me & PUFC team, but the country! it just amazes me how one game can unite all people coming from different lives, just amazing..

rain-soaked!

rained that day, not just drops but on full force! so we got all soaked up but proud to say that no one in the crowd moved, we all held our ground despite heaven’s ranting on us! good job Pinoys! nakakabilib talaga tayo! 😀

the dream team Pinas!

see those guys walking at the track? That’s our swag Philippine Team Azkals who didn’t let Sri Lanka score on home soil! good job guys! good job! These pics were taken from a Nokia phone. Professional cameras, SLRs were not allowed that day so I’m sad I wasn’t able to take proper shots with Aly. I feel handicapped without my SLR. ='( thanks to my friend Zsazsa who got her phone up and working and took all the pics that day.

our tickets!

tickets! got it last June 03. yep got that right, I booked it 1 month before the match! Tickets were sold out in a matter of minutes as in serious!

PUFC Dream Team! 😀

Oh there’s the team! We’re seated in different areas but its comforting to know that we’re cheering for one team, one country! and we all share one dream, to qualify to World Cup Brazil 2014! Photo credits goes to my friend Leslie! 🙂

After the historic World Cup qualifying match, some of my mates decided to keep ourselves busy in training in preparation for Laurel Cup. Since we’re basically on a “survive-on-your-own” status now and don’t have the resources and luxury to get enough & proper training, we looked for means and ways to get the much needed training for free and BOOM! We booked ourselves to Rugby Training session at Ultra! It was actually my idea. I needed to work on upper body strength since I play defense for the team so I figured out why not try Rugby. It’s a full-contact sport therefore upper body strength is needed. Running is also essential to the sport so that means there will be lots of running drills. And to top everything off, the training will be facilitated by no less than the Philippine Rugby Football Union which means they’ll have legit coaches training the newbies! So as planned, me and some mates from PUFC tried out Rugby last night. It was intense! Coaches were dead serious with the training so it was really really tough! My running skills were put to a test and I was forced to run 200% faster than usual. It rained before the training and the soggy soil at the Ultra football field (with holes as big as javelyn throws) wasn’t helping at all in making the training easier for us. it was just insane! After the foot drills, we went to passing. Learning to manuever the ball was just hard and I had to use all my core and arm muscles to catch and throw the ball. Then there’s punishment. Whenever we make a bad call or any mistake, it equates to sets of 10 push ups, the male version of push ups! man, that was the toughest night of training i’ve ever been to! And everything commenced into a SCRUMMAGE! yep, you got it right! if football calls the matches srimmage, for Rugby its scrummage. We’re divided into two groups composed of 15 people, after brief instruction from the coach, we do head-on collision of a Rugby game! real intense! I was immensely proud of myself that I finished the training in one piece! haha! oh and I played defender & winger for Rugby! t’was a great experience! 🙂

More than the training, it was actually bonding time for my team too! from bondings, we form chemistry which we can use while playing on the pitch. Chemistry plays an important role in the field coz if players have chemistry, they can easily read each other’s moves therefore creating a favorable game play. Last night’s session also thought us the importance of camaraderie and support to each other. In Rugby, the team moves in synch, moving like one unit so everybody should be attuned to all the members of the team.

Girl Power rules!

man, serious! PUFC girls are tough! to the core! as in!  We were able to finish the intense Rugby training in one piece! haha! proud of you ladies! good job!

My good friend and the team’s star striker Rica bebe with PHL Rugby Team Volcanoes’ Andrew Wolff! 🙂 this was our reward for a job well done on the pitch! haha! so worth it! he’s such a cutie! =P

ladies in waiting!
weee! si andrew ayun! haha!

here, we’re actually waiting for Andrew Wolff to wrap his conversation up with the PHL Rugby team head coach. The coach is quite scary! hehe..

got this new-found respect for the sports Rugby and hands down to all the athletes of PHL Rugby Team and U-23 Football Team!!! why? Ultra pitch is a BEE-OTCH!! as in! super hard to train! saludo po ako sa inyo talaga!

This has been our road to Laurel Cup! On sunday, we’ll put our game face on and go get that win! Go PUFC team!!! maniwala tayo sa goodness! we’ll win this! i believe in you guys! sipa PASIG! 🙂

PHL Team AZKALS got stomped on a friendly match versus UFL All Star Players

Cheers from the “Kaholeros”, crowd energy and enthusiasm, & with visits from BUBBLES PARAISO, MICHELLE MADRIGAL and other “rumored” close friends or girlfriends of some of the team members of the PHL Team Azkals didn’t boost the team’s game play (ok, this is legit coz i saw them standing in the grandstand last June 05). 10,000 spectators, fans, & followers were shocked & dumb-founded when the UFL All Stars team lead by Azkals Jerry Barbaso and UFL main men Mark Hartmann, Eric Dagroh, and Izzeldin El-Habbib stomped the PHL AZKALS and gave them a 3-4 loss on a sunday game last June 05, 2011.

its shocking indeed as spectators and fans were expecting a dominant game play from the National team. Instead, the PHL Azkals were the ones dominated by UFL players’ display of good game play, quick thinking and being a smart-ass inside the pitch.

UFL League’s top scorer Izzeldin El-Habbib from Sudan and member of Global Smartmatic FC struck the goal that closed the winning streak of UFL over the Azkals. Eric Dagroh of Ivory Coast who also plays for Global and Mark Hartmann of Loyola Meralco Sparks assisted in bringing the UFL team to victory.

Like Coach Weiss, I too was disappointed by the game turn out last June 05. They lost the match they shouldn’t have lost. But looking at the other side of the coin, I can say that we still can see a “win-win” situation here. the game revealed the problem of the National Team: Cohesion and poor defense. Cohesion in game play will surely be one of the biggest problem when working with a team that’s mainly composed of imports. To build cohesion, the team should be attuned to playing and practicing together. Now with players coming in from different parts of the globe and coming in the last minute of practice or tune-up games, they’ll be having the hardest time building cohesion.

Now with the defense: the Jason Sabio and Aly Borromeo tandem in the central defense was definitely a mistake and needed to be looked at, again. They lack the chemistry of working as partners and can’t read well the moves of each other. Hence, this is a partnership that will not work. Almost all of the goals by the UFL team that day was the by-product of the errors committed in the defense. In the 40th minute, Borromeo miscontrolled a routine Greatwich back pass, allowing the UFL squad to get the ball easily. Then UFL winger Floriano Pasilan, Jr. completely wrong-footed Jason Sabio and passed the ball to striker Eric Dagroh, who turned towards the Azkals captain with ease for the opening goal. In the build-up to the second goal, Sabio should have been given a yellow card for manhandling Mark Hartmann just outside the box. Hartmann got his sweet revenge though with a perfect curling free kick to the top right corner, beyond the reach of any goal keeper, even with Barclays Premiere League standards like Neil Etheridge. The third UFL goal came as a surprise from a routine UFL throw in, Sabio managed to mis-hit a header back to his own then the ball fell effortlessly to the waiting feet of Eric Dagroh who did not think twice and scored with his right-footed shot. Oh and evidently, PHL Azkals can’t solely depend on Neil Etheridge to save all the goals by the opposing team. Neil may be the third choice goal keeper of  Barclays Premiere League but he is not impenetrable. With the right attitude, proper coaching, and smart-thinking, any player can actually get past a ball off Etheridge’s hands. thus, the back four should also be equally reliable in defending the goal.

But on a lighter note, the Azkals defeat also brings into the light some realizations we might have just passed on: The UFL players have quality among its ranks and it was evident during the game as the Azkals were faced with a strong, determined, and motivated opposition, even if team UFL did not have the benefit of even a single training session before the friendly match. We overheard Coach Rudy del Rosario saying to the UFL team “Wouldn’t it feel great to score against Neil? Against the team? Show them what you’ve got!” If that’s not proper coaching & morale boosting then tell me what it is. UFL’s win validates the quality of players in the group so i guess on the next recruitment phase, we can look into UFL pool of players. we might just get the greatest treat and discover better grass root players in the roster. it also shows that Pinoys are getting good at football as some of the UFL star players that day were Pinoys and this should give us a lot of hope that one day our team will be an all-Pinoy, Pinas grown, kick-ass team. we won’t be relying much on the imports. it’ll be just all home-grown.

and it felt better that we’ve got beaten in a friendly match not in the actual World Cup Qualifiers. at least we got the time to look into the blind spots and re-think of new game strategy that might work in favor of us. So really, its a win-win situation for us. agree? agree! =)

off to the more fun stuff of that day, i was there last June 05 and was immensely rewarded as i got the liberty to roam around and take pictures! thanks to our friends from UFL-LBC and to LBC CorpComm Head Sir Jocel! mabuhay po kayo!

meet the mighty KAHOLEROS!
KAHOLEROS with soccercentral.ph team

meet the KAHOLEROS, the official cheering squad of Philippine Team Azkals. I’m awed with their determination, they’ve been cheering the whole day last June 05, as in literally cheering their hearts out in UMak. Saludo po ako sa inyo!

Blue-haired fanatic! =)

and meet the Blue-Haired Fanatic who took up the challenge of hosting the event that day!

PHL Team Azkals

and here’s the team stretching and warming up for the game. this was the closest i can get to the team. got quite a scare there when hordes of bouncers and marshalls paraded in front of us, the media. haha! thought i’d get into trouble..

our super heroes! haha! agree?

this is one of my prized shots that day. the ball just adds the drama in the picture and the sky is quite perfect. =)

ikaw ang aking super hero! =)

another one of my prized pictures that day! like a scene from Power Rangers although all them are wearing red! hehe! =)

here’s Oj Porteria, Ian Araneta, Yannick Tuason, and Nestorio Margase doing their passing and receiving drills.

this was taken just before the match. here’s simon greatwich, jason sabio, coach josef malinay, & misagh bahadoran..

its Phil! =)

and my friend here got so lucky that she was able to ask phil younghusband to join her in a photo opt! lucky girl indeed! and this makes me hate that i’m the resident photographer! haha!

hey James! look here!

and here’s the ever elusive introvert James Younghusband! trying to hide from the camera eh? haha!

and here’s James Younghusband, Misagh Bahadoran, & the El Capitan Aly Borromeo with the Azkals-Global Football School kids! ang swerteng mga bata! 😀

from left to right: Reserve Keeper Eduardo Sacapano & Christopher Camcam, Azkal’s new kids on the block Nathaniel Burkey, Oj Porteria, James Rochiltz with Yannick Tuason and the new Fil-dutch defender Paul Mulders. my apologies, i don’t know the name of the last guy – i think that’s islam ahmed, not sure though. and at this point i was quite scared at Oj coz he’s looking at me like i’m a lunatic trying to get their picture! hehe.. see the fierceness in his eyes? scary guy! aahaha!

Sir Patrick Ace Bright!

and this was taken after the game. most of the players just disappeared out of thin air! just vanished! POOF! and wala na! haha! but we’ve got the rare chance to have a photo opt with El Hombre dela Hora Sir Patrick Ace Bright! for those who don’t know the man, well let’s just put it this way, Sir Patrick brings the Azkals closer to the fans! and we love him for that! Mabuhay po kayo Ser! =)

yours truly and Manong Chieffy Caligdong! =) finally a picture!!! haha! and swerte because manong chieffy is one of my football heroes! true Pinoy! Madamo gid na salamat ‘Nong Chieffy for the picture! i know your tired but it was nice of you to grant us a photo opt! mabuhay ka! =)

the game was also a tribute to Sir Yanti Barsales who just recently retired from the International football scene. june 05 marked his last day as an Azkal. but sabi nga nila, once an Azkal, always an Azkal so i guess he still is and will forever remain a part of the team. this just makes me sad coz manong yanti’s one of my football heroes too! i admire him coz despite his age, he plays really well and can take on a younger player in a heart beat!

madamo gid na salamat Manong Yanti for making the whole Philippines proud!

Homeless World Cup team Pilipinas

the event also gave the spotlight to the Homeless World Cup Team Pilipinas (man! we should think of a good nickname for them too! that name was just a mouth-full!). This is the team with their coach Sir Rudy del Rosario who’s also a former Philippine Football Team Member. Sana we can also give the same support we give to the Azkals to them since their representing the country to the Homeless World Cup happening in Paris this year. Oh and i admire these kids, super simple lang sila. we saw them in MRT guadalupe station after the event, just taking the train. that for me is just astig! =) 100% pogi points for you boys! mabuhay kayo! =)

so there… it was definitely a fun day for me. a lot of realizations, feasted my eyes on game strategies which is by the way helping me a lot coz i’m playing football as well, playing the defense for Pasig United FC, so really its just one hell of a super fun day for me! hope you guys enjoyed the pictures!

until the next football post! and let’s just keep on loving the game! =)

Araw ng Independensya at Kalayaan: Mga kabayanihang nagbibigay kahulugan sa pagiging Pilipino

Ang panulat na ito ay alay at magsisilbing paggunita at pagpupugay sa darating na araw ng kalayaan ng mga Pilipino.

Ngayong umaga, ako at lahat ng empleyedo sa aming kompanya ay nagkaroon ng isang maagang selebrasyon para sa araw ng ating kalayaan at sa ika-150 na kaarawan ng ating pambansang bayani na si Gat. Jose Rizal.

Ang Philippine National Team Azkals

Puno ng damdamin ng pagiging nasyonalistiko ang selebrasyon kanina. marahil, karamihan sa aking mga kasamahan sa trabaho ay maituturing kong mga makabagong bayani ng ating panahon: ang mga tagapagbalita ng ABS-CBN, sa radyo man o telebisyon na matiyaga at masigasig na nangangalap ng balita para sa bayan… ang mga empleyado sa aming ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. na masipag na nagaabot ng tulong para sa mga kababayang nangangailangan.. a buong samahan ng mga empleyado sa ABS-CBN na masipag at buong galak na hinaharap ang kanilang mga gawain sa opisina araw-araw… ang mga artista ng aming istasyon na napapanuod natin araw-araw at nagsisilbing inspirasyon sa karamihan… sila po para sa akin ay maituturing din na mga bayani…

nakadagdag pa rito ang pag-awit ng ating pambansang awit at ang makahulugang panunumpa para sa bayan kasama ang mga itinuturing ding makabagong bayani sa larangan ng isports, ang Philippine National Team AZKALS, na naghahanda para sa kanilang susunod na laban ngayong Hunyo.

nagkaroon din kami ng pagkakataon na gunitain ang nakaraan, muling alalahanin ang mga nagawa ng ating mga bayani, di lamang ni Gat. Jose Rizal, para ang ating lahi ay maging malaya. at nagkaroon din ng pagkakataong alalahanin at magbigay-pugay sa lahat ng makabagong bayani ng ating panahon.

nawa’y ang lahat ng ating kabayanihan, maliit man o malaki, ay manatiling nag-aalab at maging inspirasyon para sa mga susunod pang henerasyon.

mabuhay ang lahing malaya! mabuhay ang lahing Pilipino! =)

dahil ako po ay nagpupunyagi at kasama ako sa lahi ng di padadaig, na ako po ay Pilipino, sa puso, sa salita, at sa gawa… =)

Azkal Hero Yanti Barsales Retires from International Football (via Roymondous)

One of the PHL footy players I admire the most because despite his age, he plays really well and who Angel Guirado endearingly calls “Grandpa”.. Sir Yanti Barsales retires from International Football.

You’ll be missed Sir! Saludo po ako sa inyo!

Madamo gid na salamat Manong Yanti! =)

Azkal Hero Yanti Barsales Retires from International Football Yanti Barsales confirmed last night after the Air Force clinched the UFL title that he will be retiring from International football. He is starting to find the schedule too difficult to cope with: “I’m tired…” he said, still with a huge smile after winning back to back championships with the Air Force. A professional as always, Barsales noted that “I’ve spoken to Dan [Palami, the National Team manager,] about it but at 38 I’m struggling [to keep … Read More

via Roymondous

nothing beats the heart of a warrior…

(Ok, since I didn’t have any get-away-to-a-vacation article yet, I’ll start with my very first sports article today! Woot! This will also serve as a practice for my future part-time job of contributing to a sports column… So please be kind to animals and here goes nothing folks! Brace yourselves and enjoy the wild ride!)

The “underdogs” in every literal sense of the word… Just imagine: an under-funded and unappreciated football team trying its best to thrive in a basketball-loving and hugging archipelago, comprised of a mix of locals and half Filipinos who grew up overseas and whom haters tagged as the “half breeds” trying desperately to fit in. That’s just how hard a life of an AZKAL can be. Countless unforgivable names were thrown at them but the Philippine National Football Team AZKALS gave nothing less but sheer passion and dedication to the sport and love for their Filipino Heritage. They may not be all pure Filipino by blood, at least half of their lineage are and most importantly, whole by heart. Moved by one vision and fueled by perseverance and determination, the Philippine Football Team AZKALS, as they are more affectionately known, have come from being zero to heroes all in a blink of an eye. The change was brought about by the December 2010 game when Team AZKALS brought the reigning champs Vietnam to their knees with a 2-0 victory at the AFC Suzuki Cup, enabling them to qualify for the semi-finals and the rest, as they say, is history.

They were not able to snag a win in the semi-finals but they sure did win the hearts of their kababayans not only in the Philippines but everywhere in the world. The long and dreary drought of lack of support is over and everybody seems to want to take part and give support to the team in any way they can. Well, until you see the myriads of screaming, giggling, and tumbling fans (you get the picture???) then you’ll understand the impact the group has made in a span of months. You’ll know that the team started something that will stay in all of us for a long time if not forever, the love and appreciation for the sport football. If this is not a “rags to riches” story then tell me what it is. I saw an article/interview with the captain of the team, the 27 year-old center back, Aly Borromeo. He was asked to recount any event that almost had them rethinking about playing under the Philippine Flag and he frankly said “Now, where to start?” then laughed heartily of the mishaps they’ve experience before. He remembered a game in Iloilo where all they’ve got is the plane ticket going to the province and nothing else. Arriving at the airport, the team didn’t know the venue of the game and was quietly thanking God when somebody showed to pick them up. “The driver just left us in the middle of nowhere in Iloilo and we didn’t have the slightest idea where we’ll stay for the duration of the game.” The Captain recalled. Tragic as it may seem but that’s how they’ve earned the moniker “AZKALS” which in Filipino language literally translates to “asong kalye” or a mongrel let loose in the streets. It was a name given to them as an allegory to the team’s then “survive-on-your-own” status.

On a first look, they may seem to be just the typical bunch of players who got famous because of their undeniable good-looks but Team AZKALS proved to be more than just a face (well sometimes we wonder if good looks is a requirement for any individual who wants to get recruited in the team). All players are one mean and lean machine in the football field. Almost all of them, especially the Fil-foreigners, started playing football at the tender age of five and were trained professionally overseas or were even recruited by top football teams in America and Europe. Same is true with the grass root or the home grown players who have been playing the sport all their life.

It is indeed a 360-degrees turn around and these days, aside from seeing them on the field training, you can also catch them in numerous events, or see them on magazines, broadsheets, television and even billboards, advertising a certain product or re-telling the story of the National Football Team. They’re indeed famous and admittedly, they can give John Lloyd Cruz or Derek Ramsey a run for their money as the AZKALS are invading every known medium of communication there is. Thanks again to their dashing and charming good looks and undeniable great skill in football. Fame matched with debonair skill is indeed powerful and anybody may just get caught up with all the hype and mayhem brought about by it. True enough, great power comes with great responsibility. It is now apparent that they’re not just football players; they are now certified public figures and role models to the younger group of the population and to those who wanted to get into football.  Good thing though that these gentlemen are way grounded than anybody else, not letting fame and popularity get inside their heads and feed their ego. It is also a blessing that the captain of the team knows how to keep his charges sane amidst all the craziness that the public attention has brought about. He never fails to remind them of their sole mission. In one of his magazine interviews, he said and I quote “I am here to bring Football to the general public. I no longer play for the sake of fun and we players are definitely not playing for ourselves anymore. We are here for all the people that have worked so hard over the years to develop the sport in this country. We are here to inspire future players so that the popularity of the sport does not die with this team. Philippine football has been around for a long time but only now that we are finally getting the attention that we deserve, which will ultimately help further push the sport.”

And with fame also comes controversies. This is something that is inevitable. There ain’t a famous personality I know that hasn’t tackled any controversy in their career. For the heroes of this story, perhaps the biggest controversy in their career would be one, their love life (what, with all the girls wanting to be their girlfriends) and second would be their Filipino lineage.  Let’s not delve into the first one to avoid drama. Perhaps the second one will be less likely to attract craziness. It is quite obvious that a large part of Team AZKALS comprises of Fil-Foreigners tapped across all parts of the globe and needless to say it will attract unwanted attention from critics (you cannot please everybody, right?). It has been a subject of many debates since World War 1 (Nah! Just Kidding folks!) if we should allow Fil-Foreigners to play for the National Team. Obviously, these Fil-Foreigners shine more than the home-grown ones. For one, they’ve been trained professionally abroad so naturally, they have this aggression and edge among other players. We cannot also deny the fact that the Philippine Team needed them and their skill to be able to snag a decent place in the international football scene. If we are dreaming of eventually getting into the world cup, then we have to have them, period. But think about this, these Fil-Foreigners are after all still very much a Filipino, well at least half of their lineage is. Let me just quote the words of a famous musician and artist Mr. Jim Paredes of APO Hiking Society; “You don’t have to be in the Philippines for you to be called and considered a Filipino. Being a Filipino is not just by blood, it is but most importantly by heart.” And if these gentlemen chose to love and honor their Filipino lineage, who are we to say that they don’t have the right to represent the country?

Team AZKALS did more than just representing our country in the football arena. They roused us Filipinos to football consciousness and made us realize that we can actually excel in the sport given the opportunity, proper training and support from the government and the private sector. Their story was way beyond inspiring, it is motivating and setting everybody in motion, especially the young ones to go out there and start learning the sport. And parents, being aware of the sport, are supportive of their kids if they wanted to get into the sport. I can attest to this for I too have been caught up with Football craze. I’ve been talking to my parents (but still convincing them though) expressing my desire to learn and be able to play the sport. Bottom line is, the Philippine Football Team AZKALS has brought so much pride to us Filipinos and they’re definitely a breath fresh air because for the first time in record history, Filipinos were not cheering for another Manny Pacquiao or Nonito Donaire Jr. or perhaps tiring themselves to yet another basketball game (same old, same old) in the big dome. For the first time, we are cheering for a new sport, a new team, another youngblood, a batch of hopefuls, who have nothing but a bag of courage, determination and skill who for sure, will bring countless victories and honor to our country, Philippines.

The Philippine Football Team AZKALS