Azkals-U22

Azkals U22 show promise after win in Copa Alcantara opener

The Philippines Under-22 team achieves a positive start in the 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara after getting a slim but important 1-0 result against Green Archers United in Aboitiz Pitch last October 27.

Assembling its most formidable squad yet, The Azkals management released the list in the morning of matchday which showed a good balance of collegiate standouts and professionals both based locally and abroad.

Meanwhile, right before kickoff, Green Archers fielded a capable starting 11 that has been their staple during their impressive league debut to face against a national squad lineup brimming with talent.

As the opening whistle was blown, the Under-22 side were able to enjoy most of the possession in the early proceedings. However, Green Archers produced the closest breakthrough when John Celiz hit the crossbar in only the eighth minute of the match through a counterattack.

The Young Azkals eventually had their first promising chance of the match when Chima Uzoka almost put his side in front only to see his effort go wide of the left post.

Green Archers eventually settled into the match and found their rhythm as well to produce their own spell of ball possession and building some counterattacking plays.

Paolo Bugas saw his freekick for the Archers go over the bar in the 31st minute while Uzoka saw another attempt go agonizingly wide of the far post in the 34th minute as the dynamics of the match went back and forth a bit for both competing teams.

Late in the half, Jarvey Gayoso and Jimuel Ariola had chances for the Philippines and Green Archers respectively through set-pieces, but the opening goal did not arrive as both teams headed into the break in a deadlock.

Five minutes after the restart, the Philippine team eventually got the much needed breakthrough when Chima Uzoka rose highest to meet Jerome Marzan’s corner kick with a header which went past Henri Bandeken’s outstretched arms.

The lead added a momentary boost to Azkals U22 as another headed effort, this time, from Yrick Gallantes almost got in, only to be denied by the right post.

Green Archers had chances to restore parity with an inspired Jimuel Ariola creating chances but debuting goalkeeper and team captain Anthony Pinthus did well with his custodian duties.

A late shuffle by coach Joel Villarino, opting for an all-out attack, came up empty handed as Pinthus pulled off at least two timely saves late in the match to earn the Young Azkals a positive start to their cup campaign.

Jarvey Gayoso had two late attempts that could have doubled the lead of the national team but Bandeken Fong did well to deny the effort as the clash ended in a 1-0 win for the Philippines U22.

Holders ran riot, Invincibles held

Saturday’s opening fixtures saw a bit of contrasting fortunes for the Philippines’ top two clubs with cup holders Kaya starting their title defense with an emphatic 5-0 victory over Air Force.

Jayson Panhay (29′), Connor Tacagni (37′) and Marwin Angeles (69′) each found the back of the net once while Kenshiro Daniels (33′, 62′) scored a brace to put Coach Noel Marcaida’s men to an early comfortable lead in Group B.

Meanwhile, newly-crowned undefeated 2019 league champions Ceres-Negros squandered a two-goal cushion to end up with a 2-2 draw against a resilient Mendiola FC side.

Robert Mendy’s first-half brace (4′, 31′) were eventually cancelled out as Hamed Hadjimehdi (45+1′) and Papuh Corsame (64′) provided the much needed response for both teams to end up sharing the spoils.

Despite the disappointing draw, Ceres still maintains an undefeated 2019 domestic season and are still in the running. Mendiola meanwhile definitely gets a massive boost with the way they unearthed a result against a firm favorite to reach at least a semifinal spot.

From a neutral standpoint, the draw sets up a possibly interesting scenario for the teams involved when it comes to surviving out of Group A and into the cup semis.

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

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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

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PFL 2019: Battles still up for grabs after Ceres 3-peat

Ceres Negros have just clinched their third straight Philippines Football League (PFL) title after getting a 3-1 win against Green Archers United last October 12, further stamping their dominance in the country’s top flight.

Although the race for the championship is already done and dusted after Ceres’ Angelo Marasigan and Bienvenido Maranon cancelled a John Celiz breakthrough goal for Green Archers United, here are still some of the things to look forward to for the remainder of the PFL 2019 season.

WILL CERES CONCLUDE THE LEAGUE CAMPAIGN AS INVINCIBLES?

The champions-elect no doubt had, for the third straight time, been in ruthless form as they set their hands on the league trophy without suffering a loss.

However, with the reward already in the bag and still a few matches left, can the Busmen sustain the momentum in avoiding a defeat and achieve the unprecedented invincible tag?

It seems very possible feat to achieve given the quality of the Bacolod-based club, but it will depend on Coach Risto Vidakovic’s approach and his wards’ hunger to reach an even greater milestone in this already successful season if they will continue stepping on the gas pedal until the last whistle of their final match.

And, if ever Ceres-Negros do fail to get a point in any of their remaining fixtures, which team (or teams) between Global, Mendiola or Kaya will earn the distinction of defeating the three-time champions this season?

Now, that is something to set one’s sights.

WHO WILL END UP AS LEAGUE TOP SCORER?

As of the moment, Kaya FC Iloilo target-man Jordan Mintah is in the driver’s seat the league’s best scorer for the season with 32 goals, but not far behind is Ceres-Negros hotshot Bienvenido Maranon with 27 conversions.

Both forwards are in rich vein of form respectively, converting chances presented to them into precious goals almost at will. Maranon though will relish the possibility of getting the individual achievement on top of the team trophy to further stamp Ceres’ stellar campaign while Jordan will definitely try to finish strong after his team missed out once again in stealing the title out of Ceres’ grasps.

A battle for individual honors that shouldn’t be missed is definitely being realized and whatever the outcome, this duel between tried and tested forwards from two of the best clubs in the country in recent times will go down as a memorable one.

WHICH LOCAL PLAYER WILL END UP SCORING THE MOST GOALS?

As of the moment, a three-way battle between Mendiola’s Jim Ashley Flores (9 goals) and Stallion teammates, Jesus Melliza (11 goals) and Fitch Arboleda (9 goals) is happening as they vie for who is going to end up as the best scoring local player.

Stallion may have less matches left in the campaign though compared to Mendiola, but in the end, it all boils down on who can maintain their scoring touch in front of goal.

The feat may prove crucial if taken into a much bigger context, as it may play a role when it comes to future national team call-ups, if any of these players are being shortlisted to be part of in the near future.

Photo credit: Philippines Football League

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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.

Mendiola FC gets boost with addition of international players

Mendiola FC 1991 are about to get a significant dose of help in the remainder of the 2019 PFL season as they secure the services of international talents.

Argentine midfielder Ricardo Sendra, and Cameroonian defender Souleyman Ndepe bolster the squad from the backline up.

29-year-old “Ricki” Sendra, who had tenure with Singaporean club Geylang international and has been training with the squad since the early part of the season, has his international transfer certificate (ITC) clearance confirmed last July 19, while Ndepe joined in as a mid-season transfer acquisition also on the same date.

Meanwhile, Ivorian goalkeeper Dini Ouattara is just waiting for clearance from his home federation, the FIF (Fédération Ivoirienne de Football) and FIFA’s green light as of last night, according to club source.

If Ouattara gets the clearance to play this afternoon, he could provide the necessary depth to the goalkeeping position which the club currently has a shortage in.

A few hours before this writing, all three were on the way to Mendiola FC’s match against Stallion Laguna this afternoon and is a possibility that Ouattara may be available to step on the pitch as well.

Currently standing in fifth place out of the seven-team PFL, Mendiola only has one win and one draw, with four losses as they try to pull off a massive turn of results their remaining match-days for a chance to significantly improve their maiden top-flight season’s record.

Mendiola FC 1991’s match against Stallion Laguna at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona kicks off later at 3:30 PM.

Photo credit: Mendiola FC 1991/SG Morales

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

Stallion dominates, Kaya prevails as battle for early supremacy in PFL shapes up

Two matches in the Philippines Football League saw Stallion Laguna get a lopsided 6-1 win against Mendiola FC 1991 while Kaya FC Iloilo toiled to a 1-0 result against a resolute Global FC in last Saturday in the Philippines Football League.

Inspired second half for Stallion

After a seemingly close scoreline of 2-1 at halftime in favor of the hosts courtesy of an early Nathan Alquiros freekick in the sixth minute and a close range conversion by Fitch Arboleda in the eighth to go against a 20th minute penalty kick by Ashley Flores for the visiting side, the Biñan-based outfit produced an inspired performance after the restart to notch in four unanswered goals against 10-man Mendiola FC.

Substitute striker Chyma Uzoka produced a stellar output with his first hat-trick (55′, 83′, 87′) for his new club with Arboleda also adding another in the 86th minute to complete his brace.

Prior to the home side’s barrage, the writing was on the wall when Mendiola went down to ten-men in the 52nd minute when Franco Dela Torre got his marching orders from referee Michael Barajas for a second bookable offense.

The win puts Stallion in third place of the standings, overtaking Green Archers United (which they face on Wednesday, June 19) by a point.

Lone goal puts Kaya on top

Meanwhile, in an almost simultaneous match in Rizal Stadium, a 52nd minute opportunistic pounce by Alfred Osei has been the difference that broke Global’s gallant effort particularly from goalkeeper Nelson Gasic.

A lackluster performance in front of goal that lacked the usual killer instincts from their forward line, Kaya toiled to convert their chances despite a seemingly one-sided affair as Global focused on defense to avoid a similar walloping they suffered at the hands of Ceres-Negros.

At the end of the match, Global were successful in stymieing their more favored opponents for the most part, but they weren’t able to deny Kaya the full three points and hand them their first blemish in the standings as the Iloilo-based squad regains the leadership with a still perfect slate.

Battle for early supremacy shapes up

With Saturday’s results, a crucial match awaits on Wedensday. Although three fixtures are set on June 19, the match between Green Archers United and Stallion Laguna can be the most telling one as it will determine who will momentarily leap-frog Ceres-Negros and seize the provisional second spot in the table.

The clash will serve as the best opportunity for Green Archers to put their form to the test and how far they’ve progressed this early in their maiden season in the pro-ranks. Meanwhile for Stallion, their face-off with the Archers will serve as their next major challenge in their bid to vie for a spot for an AFC competition.

This Wednesday, June 19, is indeed going to be a major barometer for these two clubs.

Meanwhile, for the other fixtures, Philippine Air Force and Global set to battle on who will get their first win. On the other hand, winless Mendiola FC face a monumental task as they try to upset league leaders Kaya.

Photo credit: Kaya FC Iloilo, Stallion Laguna FC

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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

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PFL Match-week 2: Ceres run riot; Green Archers build momentum

The Philippines Football League (PFL) concludes another another set of weekend fixtures ahead of the international break. Here are some of the talking points from what transpired.

Stallion gets to winning column, but at a price (?)

Philippine Air Force 0-3 Stallion Laguna

Stallion got its first win in three matches after scoring three unanswered goals against the Air Force.

Jo Warren Bedia was awarded the man of the match after producing a quality performance in front of goal with a brace under his name.

Such a result and a breakout performance from one of its players, gives the Biñan-based squad a wealth of positives for the upcoming fixtures as Stallion aims for a shot at the top of the standings.

However, not all is well for the club personnel-wise, as pacy winger Joshua Kim suffered a knock in the match joining forward Abou Sy in the injured list. Good thing Stallion is on a lengthy break after this match and starting their campaign against possibly their toughest hurdles, Ceres and Kaya, which could give them enough time to regain the fitness of the injured players and the recovery of the entire squad.

Also, the club’s decision to rest captain Ruben Doctora may have been a wise move, as his availability for the next fixtures maintains the squad’s high level of offensive threat and options.

The match was held in Biñan Football Stadium despite being technically an away fixture for Coach Ernest Nierras’ squad as Air Force are still yet to confirm their home stadium.

Ceres go cold-blooded and all-business

Global FC 0-8 Ceres-Negros

The Busmen went on a tear as they found the back of the net eight times during the match against hapless Global.

Bienvenido Marañon led the scoring with four goals, propelling him to the top of the scorers’ table with a total of eight. Adding the other four goals are forward Mahir Karic who chipped in two while Mike Ott and Jeffrey Christiaens notched a goal each.

The result could be something that head coach Risto Vidakovic might be expecting from his wards given the club’s lackluster start to the season with a draw against Stallion followed by an “unconvincing” 5-0 win over Air Force.

On the other hand, Global are most probably ruing their chances that denied them a win or at least a draw during the 1-0 loss against Green Archers United to start their campaign without being empty-handed in the standings.

And now, with a lopsided beating, the club needs to find its footing before the next match with the hope of getting a much better result.

Green Archers United notch second win in three matches

Mendiola FC 1991 1-5 Green Archers United

Green Archers United got their first convincing win of the domestic campaign after dominating fellow newcomers Mendiola FC 1991 with Val Jurao scoring twice while Floriano Pasilan, James Kim, and John Celiz also finding the back of the net.

The fitness could have been the most telling difference between the two sides as the Archers, who opened a barrage of goals i the second half, already had two matches in the bag prior to their clash against Mendiola.

It was pretty even in the first half as both sides ended with a 1-1 scoreline with Franco De La Torre scoring for the vanquished squad.

The result propels the Weekend Futbol League champions to third place, behind Kaya FC and Ceres-Negros. And with a significant goal-haul, coach Joel Villarino’s squad are now able to notch a +1 goal difference.

Meanwhile Mendiola FC 1991’s head coach Dan Padernal should look into addressing the needed adjustments before their next fixture in about a week’s time against Air Force in the hopes of bouncing back and getting a positive result.

Photo credit: Philippines Football League