Azkals-U22-Team-Huddle-copapaulinoalcantara

Copa Alcantara: Azkals U22 can still improve – Palami

After putting their 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara campaign off to a positive start, Azkals team manager Dan Palami believes there is still a lot to improve for the Under-22 (U22) squad.

Speaking to the media after the his side’s slim 1-0 win over Green Archers United that signalled the beginning of their cup campaign, the national team boss noted that there are still several elements that needed adjustments in their game and is still quite not yet near the finished article required for the Southeast Asian Games.

“I could say from that game (against Green Archers that) there are a lot of positives, but we have to make sure that (we cover) all the details.

“We made a lot of mistakes. There were a lot of lapses and we were not consistent throughout the game.”

Despite the straightforward assessment by the manager on the things that needed improvement, Palami still provided an air of optimism due to the immense potential shown by the young national squad.

“Even then (with the inconsistencies), we were able to get the win so if we are able to fix those bad habits, then I’m sure we’ll be a stronger team and that’s what we are going to aim for in the next games.”

Meanwhile, Stallion Laguna head coach Ernest Nierras, who is also part of the U22 coaching staff as one of the assistants heaped praise to his young wards who were able to show fortitude especially on the defensive end late in the match, when the Archers (who impressed in their debut season in the PFL) mustered a late concerted effort to find an equalizer to no avail.

“These (U22) players… they were fighting like crazy! Chima (at forward, was) going after everything. The back four played so well. (Anthony) Pinthus (at goal) was amazing,” shared Nierras of the national team.

“We created some chances, which is important. But the important thing was the attitude of the players. We kept on going (throughout the match). So that was important.”

Up Next: The Invincibles

The important result put the Young Azkals flatteringly in the drivers’ seat of the four-team pool that comprises Group A.

However, the team knows that a much tougher task is up ahead as they are about to face undefeated league champions Ceres-Negros who will look to bounce back after squandering a two-goal lead to end their opener against Mendiola in a draw.

“We have to play our game,” said Palami on the prospect of facing The Busmen on Wednesday.

“We can’t expect Ceres-Negros (in the cup) to be (lesser in strength than their league form). I’m sure they have a lot of pride and they would want to make sure that get this win (against us)… It’s going to be a good test match for our U22 (and) I think we could give them a good fight.”

Philippines U22 will next face Ceres-Negros in Group A of the 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara on Wednesday, October 30, at 4PM in Binan Football Stadium.

Photo credit: The Azkals

copapaulinoalcantara

Titleholders Ceres, Kaya see action in 2019 Copa Alcantara opener

Fresh from achieving an undefeated campaign en-route to an unprecedented three-peat, PFL champions Ceres-Negros face Mendiola FC while Kaya FC Iloilo begin their title defence against Air Force in the 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara on Saturday, October 25 and October 26.

Can it be double-delight for the Busmen?

Ceres-Negros’ already milestone-laden campaign could be further consolidated if they can win the Copa, in addition to the league trophy, for a domestic “double” that has never been achieved before at least in the professional era of Philippine football.

However, The Busmen‘s first assignment could prove to be a challenging one as they are up against a promising Mendiola FC 1991 side which were able to acquire reinforcements in key positions during the midseason transfer window.

A lacklustre and inconsistent campaign from Coach Dan Padernal’s men in the league could be enough motivation for a much improved performance as they try to claim the scalp of the much celebrated and trailblazing Ceres 11.

Back-to-back cups beckon for Kaya

Defending cup champions Kaya FC Iloilo are looking to repeat their triumph in the Copa Paulino Alcantara to maintain their AFC Cup participation and and set an early claim to be the Philippines’ Cup Kings.

After failing to unseat what proved to be a mightier Ceres side in the 2019 edition of the league, Coach Noel Marcaida and his wards will definitely go all-out to come up with their second silverware in the professional era in Philippine football.

Kaya’s opener might proved to be a tricky one though as they face a seemingly manageable Air Force squad, but Head Coach Leo Jaena and the rest of his Airmen will use the one-off nature of the cup as an opportunity for a monumental giant-killing.

Azkals U22 debut against dangerous Archers

The nation’s representatives in the upcoming 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games which will be hosted in Manila will finally begin the most crucial part of their preparations for the biennial games as they’re set to face a stern test against Green Archers United, competing as guests in the Copa Alcantara.

2018 Weekend Futbol League champions, Archers, proved that they belong in Philippine football’s top-tier after finishing fourth out of the seven-team PFL in the 2019 season with positive win-loss and goal difference records, making them the undisputed best performing debutants.

All eyes will most likely be on this fixture as a rare matchup between a national team and a progressive club showing strong signs of possible ascendancy will definitely spark the interest of any football fan.

The 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara opens this weekend with Kaya vs Air Force happening on Saturday October 26 at 4PM followed by Ceres vs Mendiola at 7PM. Green Archers United vs Philippines U22 will be on Sunday, October 27 at 4PM. All matches will be hosted in Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa, Batangas.

Photo credit: Philippines Football League

Azkals-u22-seag2019-copa-alcantara

Young Azkals’ participation highlights upcoming 2019 Copa Alcantara

In-line with the preparation for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in Manila, the Philippines U22 squad, the Young Azkals, are set to test themselves against the best clubs in the country as they embark on the 2019 edition of the Copa Paulino Alcantara starting this late October.

As a guest team during the draw for the group stage of the Philippines’ domestic cup tournament last October 20 at the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) House of Football in Pasig, the U22 has been assigned under Group A along with 2019 Philippines Football League (PFL) champion Ceres-Negros FC, Mendiola FC 1991, and Green Archers United.

Meanwhile, Group B is comprised of three teams with defending Copa Paulino Alcantara champion Kaya FC Iloilo, Philippine Air Force, and Stallion Laguna FC.

Competition Format

As discussed by PFL Commissioner Coco Torre, the seven teams will compete within their respective groups during the group/elimination stage where all matches will be in knockout format. The semifinals and final will also be one off fixtures without applying the away goals rule.

The winning team, with the exception of the Philippine U22 squad, will represent the Philippines in the 2020 AFC Cup. If the Young Azkals manage to win, the cup runners-up will be the ones to be nominated to the AFC Cup.

But if PFL champions Ceres-Negros, happen to win the tournament, the second-placer of the league will be the one to be nominated for next year’s AFC Cup competition.

All nominations to the AFC Cup will still be subject to the AFC’s club licensing regulations.

Young Azkals aim high

The Philippine U22 are anticipating at the proposition of testing their mettle against the very best in domestic professional club football scene. Such an opportunity has been further emphasized by their grouping with undefeated PFL 2019 champions and perennial AFC Cup competitors Ceres-Negros.

Azkals Team Manager, Dan Palami, who is also managing the Young Azkals is using the competition in preparation for the 2019 Southeast Asian [SEA] Games which will be held in and around Metro Manila beginning late November, has expressed that the team will compete for honors, despite not being eligible for the AFC Cup if they win it all.

“I’d like to think that we have a good chance dito sa Copa. While even if we become champions, it does not give us a slot in the AFC Cup, but [winning the competition] is what we are aiming for.”

In addition to the serious steps being taken by the national team for the SEA Games, some of the overseas-based young players already have given their full commitment to the squad by taking a significant leave of absence from their respective clubs just to focus on training with the squad.

Players like Elias Edison Suerti Mordal took a leave from Norwegian club Brattvag, and Switzerland-based Anthony Pinthus of FC Kosova is training with the squad until the conclusion of the SEA Games.

The 20 U22 players who will compete in the Copa Alcantara are the ones already in the shortlist for the SEA Games football tournament and might be the ones who will make the final list for the regional biennial tournament.

The Copa Paulino Alcantara kicks off on October 26 until November 16.

Photo credit: The Azkals

azkals-pfl-2019-deserving-callups

3 PFL players who deserve Azkals call-ups this 2019

The Philippine Azkals have three more fixtures for the remainder of 2019 with the World Cup qualifier match against China happening in a fortnight, and with the Philippines Football League (PFL) 2019 season in its end-phase, a few  local players emerged as standouts that could merit a consideration to be in Azkals Head Coach Goran Milojevic’s near future squad.

In the Azkals that recently competed against Syria and Guam for the qualifiers, only OJ Porteria, Mike Ott and Sean Kane (all of Ceres-Negros) represented the domestic pro league. Meanwhile, homegrown PFL player Jovin Bedic of Kaya who probably may have also featured in the squad, suffered an injury which made him unavailable that time.

However, with the domestic season already poised for its conclusion and the performances of players for their respective clubs already becoming clear in terms of how they fared, here is a list of three proven in-form local PFL players who deserve to have at least a shot in being part of the national team before 2019 ends (in no particular order).

Nathan Alquiros (Stallion Laguna, Midfielder)

Nathan Alquiros (Stallion Laguna, 6) battling for the ball against Mike Ott (Ceres-Negros). Source: Philippines Football League

One of Stallion Laguna’s main offensive orchestrators from the middle of the park has been an engine for his squad this PFL 2019 season which is currently at solo third in the standings.

Being the one who usually pull the strings for Coach Ernest Nierras’ Biñan-based squad either in the center or right midfield, with an occasional license to advance and strike forward, the product of De La Salle University’s football program has been a model of industry for his club.

Nathan Alquiros’ vision, ball-control and ability to read the play and unleash a shot in promising situations make him one of the standout creative midfielders in the league, not to mention his willingness to put in the hard work on the defensive end – something that the Azkals coaching staff might need to have a second look to further add a dash of uncompromising industry to the midfield.

Fitch Arboleda (Stallion Laguna, Winger/Forward/Midfielder)

Fitch Arboleda (Stallion Laguna, 27) with the ball as Boris Moudang (Air Force, 37) chases.
Source: Philippines Football League

Definitely one of the most consistent performers for Stallion Laguna this season, Fitch Arboleda has been on a tear for his club either as a scorer or a creator.

The pacy winger has been one of the main focal points of Stallion’s attack and his current output of nine goals, which is tied at fourth, is a testament of how Fitch has become an indispensable part of the club for all these three years in the PFL, not to mention his proven ability to also provide an assist to a much better-positioned strike partner.

However, the Azkals’ wealth in the winger and forward roles may prove a tough challenge for the former University of the East standout in making the squad. But if the Azkals are somehow presented a void on the flanks, Fitch Arboleda definitely is an option that should not be ignored.

Jim Ashley Flores (Mendiola FC 1991, Forward/Striker)

Jim Ashley Flores (Mendiola, 7) in an aerial battle against Chyma Uzoka (Global, 20)
Source: Philippines Football League

Arguably the most deserving of a call-up at the moment, Ashley Flores has been one of the few, yet most significant, positives for an otherwise tough debut season for FC Mendiola 1991 in the PFL.

The former San Beda University product’s current total of nine goals makes him tied in the goal-scorers’ standings at fourth, but what makes his achievement all the more notable is he was able to score against all other opposing PFL clubs, including powerhouses Ceres-Negros and Kaya FC.

A proven scorer deployed either as a main or support striker, whether it’s from a spectacular individual effort or a bundled goal produced from pure graft, Ashley Flores’ qualities and current form definitely merit a chance for an inclusion to the Azkals in at last one of its future qualifier matches.

Honorable Mentions

  • Alen Angeles (Mendiola FC 1991, Forward/Winger)
  • Jesus Melliza (Stallion Laguna, Forward/Midfielder)
  • Paolo Bugas (Green Archers United, Midfielder)
  • Marwin Angeles (Kaya FC Iloilo, Midfielder)
  • Joshua Dutosme (Ceres-Negros, Defender/Wingback)

YOUR OPINION COUNTS TOO!

Do you agree in this list? Which PFL player at the moment do you think deserves a call-up to the national team? Post them on the comments section below or on our social media channels on Facebook.

Former Kaya striker Robert Mendy joins Ceres-Negros

After a stint with UiTM FC in Malaysia Premier League, Robert Lopez Mendy joins Philippines Football League defending champions Ceres-Negros FC.

The signing was completed on July 19, according to Ceres-Negros Head Coach Risto Vidakovic.

The 32-year-old Senegalese forward had been a lethal finisher for his former Filipino club Kaya FC Iloilo, but after a contrasting tenure in front of goal in Malaysia, he gets another opportunity to regain his old scoring ways for Ceres-Negros under Coach Risto.

His 43 goals in 43 appearances for Kaya speak volumes in the Philippine pro football setting as he helped the club win the inaugural Copa Paulino Alcantara and secure an AFC Cup qualification slot, something that his new team would be looking forward from him.

Before that glorious tenure with Kaya, Mendy was with Green Archers United where he made a name as an effective attacking player in what was then known as the United Football League.

As for Ceres-Negros, the club’s reinforcement does not end in their swoop for Mendy as they looked into their young talents this time, promoting two Ceres Youth players Charles Ivan Barberan of Bukidnon and Tristan Kit Robles of Iloilo City to the senior squad for the rest of the domestic campaign.

Ceres Negros will see action in the PFL 2019 season tomorrow, Sunday (July 21), against Green Archers United which will be held in The PFF National Training Center in Carmona. Match will be streamed live via pfltv.ph.

Photo credit: Kaya FC Iloilo

PFL sees century of goals breached as leadership for ‘top hitman’ takes shape

Ruthless and lopsided victories by Ceres Negros and Green Archers United this past weekend have racked up the total number goals scored in the Philippines Football League 2019 to 110 breaching the century-mark as we revisit who, at the moment, are the top scorers in the league.

With three matches completed recently, Ceres Negros scored a dozen of unanswered goals to beat hapless Air Force accompanied by a tightly contested 1-0 win by Kaya against Stallion in a simultaneous fixture that transpired last Saturday, July 13. The two matches were then followed by a 9-0 dismantling of Global FC by in-form Green Archers United the following day, Sunday.

The massive 22-goal haul produced during the course of the weekend has put the current PFL season’s goals tally to well beyond the 100-mark as we look at who are the league leaders when it comes to shaking the back of the net for their respective clubs. Of course, we will also tackle the top performing brands of boots so as to see if there are any surprise names that put their name on the Philippine pro-football map.

PFL TOP SCORERS

Tied at 5th Place: 3 Goals

  • Jovin Bedic (Kaya FC Iloilo)
  • Nathan Alquiros (Stallion Laguna)
  • Fitch Arboleda (Stallion Laguna)
  • Chima Uzoka (Stallion Laguna)
  • Jimuel Ariola (Green Archers Utd)
L-R: Arboleda, Bedic, Alquiros, Uzoka, Ariola

Tied at 4th Place: 4 Goals

  • Curt Dizon (Ceres Negros)
  • Marvin Angeles (Green Archers United)
  • Stephan Schröck (Ceres Negros)
L-R: Dizon, Schröck, Marvin Angeles

Tied at 3rd Place: 5 Goals

  • Mike Ott (Ceres Negros)
  • John Celiz (Green Archers United)
L-R: Mike Ott, John Celiz

2nd Place: 9 Goals

  • Jordan Mintah (Kaya FC Iloilo)

Marañon sits undisputed on the driver’s seat

On top of the standings is none other than Bienvenido Marañon.

Ceres-Negros’ lethal striker has already beaten the opposing defences 16 times making him the only one to get to double digits when it comes to scoring goals at this moment in the on-going season.

His telepathic understanding with talismanic midfielder Stephan Schröck where the Filipino international has been the provider for the Spaniard has been the biggest key producing seven of those goals from that tandem alone.

With the PFL 2019 still far from over, it can be expected that at this form, Marañon could score much more and may be well on his way to top the charts at the campaign’s conclusion.

TOP PERFORMING BOOTS

A total of seven football shoe brands have found the back of the net in the ongoing PFL 2019 season. Before we look into the top 3 most lethal footwear in the league here are the ones that made the list:

  • New Balance (1 goal)
  • Kipsta/Decathlon (1 goal) -> a welcome surprise!
  • Puma (2 goals)
  • Mizuno (4 goals)

TOP 2: ADIDAS Football

With 18 players who scored in the PFL wearing the three stripes on their feet, a total of 35 goals are attributed to the German brand with Jordan Mintah being at the forefront.

TOP 1: NIKE Football

Seemingly a favorite of most attacking players in the PFL with Ceres Negros midfield maestro Stephan Schröck as one of its leading disciples, 25 individuals found the back of the net while equipped with the swoosh brand for a whopping 59 goals all in all.

BIGGEST WINNER

Wait, where’s TOP 3?

Well, it’s been saved for last since the brand can be considered the biggest climber with respect to its relative profile compared to the other global brands and it’s none other than CONCAVE which has Bienvenido Marañon to thank for.

Ceres’ most lethal striker, despite being signed under the Australian brand, began the domestic campaign wearing a different pair of boots opting to limit the use of his Concave Halo’s for the AFC Cup campaign where the Spaniard turned out to be one of the best goalscorers.

Bienvenido Marañon and his Concave shoes

However, once The Busmen’s continental front has come to an end at the ASEAN Zone semifinals, Marañon began to wear Concaves in the PFL where he racked up eight goals in his Halo’s in just four matches to magically push the brand to third spot in the standings!

Now, the question is, with Marañon rocking a pair which does not have mainstream footprint in the Philippines (Concave Asia is based in Indonesia as per its Instagram account), can this influence the striker for a future move to a different country where the brand has a much more visible presence in the near future?

For now, it’s just purely speculation.

Photo credit: Philippines Football League

pfl2019-totw3

PFL Team of the Week 3

In a matchweek that has seen fixtures laid out for quite a stretch, here is the third edition of 5th Minute of Added Time’s eleven standout players that make up the Team of the Week (TOTW) list.

MATCH RESULTS

June 15: Stallion 6-1 Mendiola; Kaya 1-0 Global
June 19: Global 3-1 Air Force, Mendiola 3-6 Kaya, Green Archers 0-0 Stallion
June 22: Global v Mendiola (abandoned)
June 23: Air Force 0-3 Green Archers

Formation: 3-5-2

Goalkeeper: Henri Bandeken Fong (Green Archers United)

The Cameroonian shot-stopper has been immense for Green Archers’ draw against Stallion Laguna last June 19 in a match that is considered as probably one of the toughest challenges they have in their campaign.

With several key saves, Green Archers were able to repel Stallion’s chances holding them scoreless as both teams shared the spoils in which the Archers would consider as a massive achievement, thanks to the efforts of their colossal sentinel that night.

Defender: Reynald Villareal (Stallion Laguna)

Stallion’s centerback has been a key figure in the club’s defense line during its two-game stretch for this edition of TOTW where both Mendiola and Green Archers were not able to find the back of the net.

Defender: Julian Clarino (Stallion Laguna)

The former UP Fighting Maroon has been a dependable force for the Binan-based club both in his defensive role and as a conduit in being one of the channels towards an offensive buildup from the left flank.

His efforts as one of the pieces in Stallion’s backline has been rewarded successfully helping the club get two clean sheets against Mendiola and, more importantly, against Green Archers United.

Defender: Reymart Cubon (Green Archers United)

Definitely not to be missed out as one of this week’s outstanding defenders, homegrown talent Reymart Cubon has been undeniably stellar at the back as Green Archers United amassed two clean-sheets against Stallion and Air Force to help propel the club to second place (as of this writing) in the league standings.

Midfielder/Winger: Fitch Arboleda (Stallion Laguna)

One of Stallion’s go to guy when it comes to the attack, Fitch Arboleda’s brace in a win against Mendiola FC and initiatives up front in a draw against Green Archers United cannot deny his quality for the Laguna-based outfit.

Midfielder: Eric Giganto (Kaya FC Iloilo)

A player who can deliver big time for the club when called upon, Eric Giganto showed once again why he is one of Kaya’s major threats this season with two stellar goals and an assist against Mendiola last June 19.

Now that is one heck of an all-around attacking effort.

Midfielder: Marvin Angeles (Green Archers United)

What can we say? Despite coming in as a substitute, Marvin Angeles showed his undeniable talent and quality when it mattered most by scoring two goals against Air Force.

His second one was a thing of beauty as he connected with Paolo Bugas’ delivery in spectacular fashion with an acrobatic volley as icing on the cake as Green Archers’ leaped their way to second place in the PFL standings.

Midfielder: Alfred Osei (Kaya FC Iloilo)

Whether being an enforcer or a scoring option, Alfred Osei, proves that he can operate as a box-to-box midfielder for Kaya FC.

His scoring capabilities has been witnessed once again as he registered his first goal for the domestic campaign against Global last June 15.

Midfielder: Paolo Bugas (Green Archers United)

Paolo Bugas is turning out to be one of the main midfield architects for his club this 2019 season with his creativity, vision and distribution.

His well-placed and well-weighted pass leading to Marvin Angeles’ highlight reel notched his second assist for the season.

Chima Uzoka (Stallion Laguna)

Chima Uzoka’s hat-trick against Mendiola has been a glimpse of what he can offer for the club.

And despite being held in a goalless draw against Green Archers in the following match, his previous exploits showed his potential for his new club.

Jordan Mintah (Kaya FC Iloilo)

With another hat-trick against Mendiola FC, Jordan Mintah puts his goals tally up to seven, propelling him to second place in the scorers table.

But what’s more important than being up there as one of the most potent strikers in the league is the fact that his efforts helped his club Kaya FC maintain its perfect start to the season and the early grip of the leadership in the race for the domestic league championship.

Photo credit: PFL

PFL: Kaya stays perfect, Global gets breakthrough, Archers and Stallion share spoils

The Philippines Football League concluded a busy Wednesday with Kaya FC Iloilo maintaining their perfect run to the season off a goal-fest and Global FC notching their first win of the campaign. Meanwhile Green Archers United held Stallion to a scoreless draw as both teams rounded up the matchday sharing the spoils.

Kaya FC show firepower over Mendiola in a nine-goal spectacle

The Iloilo representatives of the PFL proved once again that they are legitimate challengers for the throne this season after scoring six goals against Mendiola FC 1991’s three. Jordan Mintah scored a hat-trick while Eric Giganto got a brace with Shirmar Felongco also getting on the scoresheet with a first half conversion.

Despite finding the back of the net thrice with team captain Aaron Altiche, Ashley Flores and Alen Angeles scoring, Mendiola FC 1991 could only look into the positives on the match regarding their offense as the goals were not enough against the might of their opponents for the day.

Global FC fightback results to first win of the campaign

A spirited second half performance by Global FC over Air Force proved to be a much needed boost in the midst of their rebuild as they get their first three points of the season.

Late goals by Kennedy Uzoka, Marvin Bricenio and Matthew Custodio were enough to overturn an Alvin Obero own-goal in the first half.

Stallion held by Green Archers

In what was considered as the marquee matchup for the day, Green Archers United produced a monumental defensive effort, particularly from goalkeeper Henri Bandeken, as they were able to successfully hold their fort and repel the attacks of Stallion to a goalless draw, showing that they are the best performing debutants this early in the PFL season.

Stallion though might consider this result as a lost opportunity that could later haunt them in their aim to contend for an AFC tournament qualification with some squandered gilt-edged chances that could have killed the match in their favor.

Photo credit: Philippines Football League

Current top scoring boot brands in PFL 2019

A little over a month has passed since the third season of the Philippines Football League has commenced. With 43 goals scored in total, here are the top scoring football boots in the country’s top tier (as of June 17, 2019).

Puma, Kipsta: 1 goal each

Mendiola’s Franco Dela Torre scored a goal near the half-hour mark last June 2 against Green Archers United wearing a pair of Kipsta Agility’s.

Alvin Obero of Air Force etched his name in the goalscoring tally after converting against Mendiola near the hour mark last June 8 while armed with his Puma Future boots.

Mizuno: 3 goals

Green Archers United’s Val Jurao scored a brace last June 2 against Mendiola in Morelia Neos.

Meanwhile, defender Martin Steuble scored a spectacular 24th minute goal for Ceres-Negros during the club’s opener against Stallion while also wearing the Morelia Neos.

Adidas: 14 goals

Adidas came in second in the standings with 14 goals, led by Kaya FC Iloilo’s Jordan Mintah who was able to shake the back of the net four times making him the second highest scorer in the league at the moment with his Adidas Nemeziz Initiators.

Other goal-scorers for Adidas: Jayson Panhay (Kaya FC), Christian Zubiri (Green Archers), Mike Ott (Ceres-Negros), Jo Warren Bedia (Stallion), Nathan Alquiros (Stallion), James Kim (Green Archers), Papuh Corsame (Mendiola FC), Alfred Osei (Kaya FC)

Nike: 24 goals

Currently the choice of the league’s deadliest strikers and chance-takers, Nike boasts the most number of conversions with the ball crossing the line and into the back of the net a whopping 24 times.

Although leading by a very significant margin, Nike also has the distinction of scoring an own goal.

Topping the list of scorers at the moment while wearing Nike in the Philippines Football League is Ceres-Negros’ Bienvenido Marañon with a league-leading eight goals under his name, all while wearing Nike Tiempo 7 Stealth Ops.

Other goal-scorers for Nike in the PFL: Abou Sy (Stallion), Jovin Bedic (Kaya FC), Curt Dizon (Ceres-Negros), Mahir Karic (Ceres-Negros), Jeffrey Chirstiaens (Ceres-Negros), Floriano Pasilan (Green Archers), John Celiz (Green Archers), Fitch Arboleda (Stallion), Ashley Flores (Mendiola FC), Chima Uzoka (Stallion)

Photo credit: Philippines Football League

pfl-2019-team-of-the-week-totw-2

PFL Team of the Week 2

Four matches involving six clubs in a long match-week, interrupted by a midweek holiday, have been the basis of this second edition of PFL Team of the Week.

MATCH RESULTS:

June 1: Air Force 0-3 Stallion Laguna; Global 0-8 Ceres-Negros
June 2: Mendiola 1-5 Green Archers United
June 8: Mendiola 1-1 Air Force

A dominant performance by Ceres-Negros FC means that all their starters could make the Team of the Week, but with some commendable performances from the other two victorious clubs, it would be fair to pick some choice players who made a mark for their respective teams as well.

FORMATION: 3-4-3

Center Forward: Bienvenido Marañon (Ceres-Negros FC)

Source: PFL

Ceres-Negros’ Spanish forward propelled The Busmen to their second straight win in three matches by scoring four goals as they went on a rampage against Global FC with an 8-0 result.

The haul also put Marañon on top of the goals tally with a total of eight conversions under his belt.

Such an output and lethal performance makes him the undisputed front-man in this three-pronged attack-line for this week’s standouts’ roster.

Left Winger/Striker: Mike Ott (Ceres-Negros FC)

Source: PFL

Filipino international Mike Ott has logged in a productive shift for the Bacolod-based club against Global, scoring from the penalty right before halftime break and assisting a Mahir Karić goal late in the second half.

The pacy forward, who operates wide and lurks from deep outside the box at times, has shown his array of capabilities in this fixture. And although he started at the right side of the pitch opposite an equally speedy Curt Dizon, his versatility to operate on the other side of the pitch, as demonstrated later on in the match, makes him an effective left winger in this week’s TOTW lineup.

Secondary Striker: Val Jurao (Green Archers United)

Source: PFL

Former FEU front-man Val Jurao showed composure and impeccable positioning in two different occasions that led to his brace, helping his team Green Archers United get a comfortable 5-1 win over Mendiola FC.

A constant live-wire for coach Joel Villarino up front, the striker’s abilities give Green Archers United, which is on its second straight win, an added dimension to its offense along with strike partners, Christian Zubiri and John Celiz.

Left Attacking Midfielder: Jo Warren Bedia (Stallion Laguna)

Source: Arturo Rafael Enriquez / Stallion Laguna

Initially fielded at the left side of the park, Bedia eventually became more involved with Stallion’s front-line where his craftiness and excellent positioning produced two poacher’s goals against Air Force that ended in a 3-0 win for the Biñan-based club.

Bedia’s breakout performance as a starter may have given coach Ernest Nierras an assurance that his squad’s attacking quality remains intact in the midst of forward Abou Sy’s absence through injury.

Such capabilities displayed against Air Force also puts Jo Warren in this edition’s Team of the Week as a deceptive midfielder with the license to move forward in attacking situations.

Central Midfielder: Stephan Schröck (Ceres-Negros FC)

Source: PFL

The Azkals’ current captain once again showed his immense quality with Ceres-Negros as a spark-plug and creator either with his runs or telling passes towards his teammates in front of goal.

One of Schröck’s efforts resulted to another feed for another goal by Bienvenido Marañon, putting the midfield maestro as the sole leader in the assists tally with two. Ceres’ midfield talisman definitely earns his spot into this edition of TOTW.

Central Midfielder: Paolo Bugas (Green Archers United)

Source: PFL

The former FEU star and Global-Cebu stalwart produced a Man of the Match performance for Green Archers United against Mendiola by dictating the proceedings from the middle of the park.

His well-weighted passes and overall ball-distribution have been crucial for the Green Archers’ success, particularly in their latest assignment against Mendiola. To top it all off, Bugas’ pass led to a spectacular Florian Pasilan goal early in the second half.

Such a commendable shift makes Paolo Bugas one of the midfield game changers in this week’s squad.

Right Midfielder: Nathan Alquiros (Stallion Laguna)

Source: Arturo Rafael Enriquez / Stallion Laguna

Despite seeing his attempt from the penalty spot saved during Stallion’s match against Air Force, the midfielder continued to contribute for his team initiating attacks or linking with his teammates from the midfield.

His efforts eventually paid off by scoring his club’s third goal of the fixture and making up for the earlier missed chance he had.

Defender: Jeffrey Christiaens (Ceres-Negros)

Source: PFL

Jeffrey Christiaens put in a solid performance on the defensive end for Ceres against Global while marauding the left flank in attacking situations and providing a steady feed of chances for his team to work on.

A goal scored late in the game proved to be the icing on the cake for Christiaens that further solidifies his place in this edition of TOTW.

Defender: Christian Nana (Stallion Laguna)

Source: PFL

Stallion Laguna’s Senegalese defender stamped his authority in the match against Air Force, not only in being one of the sentinels for Coach Ernest Nierras, but he also on occasions been involved in pushing the ball upfield and initiating the attack.

A clean-sheet, with the opponents generally kept at bay, is enough evidence of an immense defensive performance by the backline in which Nana has been a significant factor.

Defender: Martin Steuble (Ceres-Negros)

Source: PFL

Martin Steuble’s defensive efforts for Ceres against Global produced a convincing one-sided win by keeping the opposition well in check and scoreless.

Aside from his expected role on the defensive end, he was also able to contribute to the attack producing an assist for Bienvenido Marañon towards the business end of that particular match.

Goalkeeper: Roland Müller (Ceres-Negros)

Source: PFL

Ceres’ domination of this TOTW’s lineup ends with Roland Müller, who was able to pull an almost complete turn-around from his previous lackluster performance against Stallion with a clean sheet against Global.

It wasn’t an easy shift for the former Azkals’ shot-stopper though as he was called into action in some occasions, forcing him to make crucial saves as Global were desperate in their attempts to reduce the deficit, to no avail.

Such clean-sheet for a bounce-back performance is enough to put Roland Müller as the keeper in this edition of Team of the Week.

Photo credit: Philippines Football League Facebook page