Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Most Notable Players in the Smart PFF U22 Championships in 2015 Group E

I have been covering daily the recent 3 day Smart PFF Under 22 Championships and as I took photos, watch the boys played and look at the stats, I can't help but noticed that there are gems that needs to be polished among them. You see, tournaments like this is part of grassroots development and it is very encouraging. While football may not have gain foothold in majority of the youth's today, the present generation of young players holds promise for the future of Philippine football. 

And with this, I try to share my thoughts in the hopes our officials in football can recognize the talents that are waiting to be tapped in this part of the country. Mindanao, after all, is the source of football talents in the national arena, perhaps second only to the Western Visayas region. 

And so here is my list of the outstanding performances in the recent tournament. Check it out, make some reactions, comments, additional informations, and suggestions,  if you like, to make the list more comprehensive and true. I have 8 on the list and I will start from the Number 8. 

8. The entire Butuan squad

I can't figure an individual among them who stands out. Maybe because of their dismal showing in this tournament. But I see how they play, how they defend and how they attack. These boys play cohesive football as a unit. They maybe down, but they are always threatening in their attacks. Oh how lovely to look at them when they run together, so fluid and so coordinated. The only one thats missing is a great finishing. Give these boys some more time to play together and they will make waves. 

7. Reneil Tare, Surigao goalkeeper

Sure, he conceded five goals but most of them were indefensible. However, he was able to save a penalty against Butuan in the last game. The opposition could have scored more but his generalship in the goal keep the scoreline respectable for the host team. That's why he earned my nod. 

6. Ariel Saren, Iligan striker

The burly and barreling striker scored 4 goals in the games I witnessed. His control of the passes is exceptional and his positioning almost deliberate. He can mow down weak defenses with his strong physique. He is terror when he is inside the box blasting shots. 

5. Clint Agustine Timones, Bukidnon left wing

This Bukidnon left wing scored two goals in his three starts. In the winning performance against Iligan, Timones, set a screamer from outside the box that furiously swing at the back of the net. Though not a physically endowed as a left winger, he is a very reliable workhorse at the front who can score anytime as well. 

4. Alberto Echin Jr., One Surigao left wing

This Surigao No. 14 remains true to his billing. A member of the University of the East men's football varsity, the Association went out of its way to make him play and available in this tournament. He never disappoints. He score two goals as in many games he played. Watch this guy play in the UAAP Football tournament come February next year. 

3. Juarlito Daga-ang, Bukidnon midfielder

If there is a description of a workhorse, then this guy squarely fits. He is everywhere. Defenders sometimes are reduced crawling on all fours just to keep up with him. His work rate is amazing. He scored a goal against One Surigao in this tournament. 

2. Clayton Bhai, Bukidnon striker 

I refer him as the "Emmanuel Adebayor" of this tournament. He score the lone goal in its game against Butuan and a hat trick against Iligan.  He terrorized opposing teams goals with his strength, stamina and hustle play. Perhaps his great asset is his long and quick strides. He can circle goalkeepers or side step defenders in clock work fashion. No wonder he is prolific in this tournament. 

And my number 1. 

Eliezer Dominic de la Torre, Iligan Left wing

Now, if you put all the 22 players on the pitch and they will start to move, you already know who is the best. This boy really stands out of the crowd. His moves are so different that you will really notice him, even if your not a football buff. His dribbling ability is superior and the way he shifts his body is outstanding. This guy is a dribbler par excellence. He never scored but that doesn't take away the talent dish out by this diminutive winger. 

Guys, you are looking at a future Azkal here.

So there you go again folks, I am no football expert. I was just trying to make football interesting and well at the same time help these guys to be noticed whoever wants to notice. 

Be free to react and disagree. It's welcome. 

Smart PFF U22: One Surigao salvages a win against Butuan 2-1

Surigao City - Saving the best for last.That is what the host One Surigao team is doing  against an equally determined Butuan side in the last game in the Group E competitions of Smart PFF Under 22.

The first goal from One Surigao was courtesy of Alberto Echin Jr.which is his second  in as many games he played.  Echin, who is a mainstay of the University of the East in the UAAP was called all expenses paid just to beef up the One Surigao IX.  It paid off as Echin scored two goals in the two games that he suited up for One Surigao. 

One Surigao increased its lead with a sublime through ball that found Nikko Chad Concha all alone and slotted the ball against a diving goalkeeper.

Nikko Chad Concha scored after a through ball
The two goal cushion however was gone when Butuan scored a goal midway into the second half.  The game turned messy later in the second half as emotions got into the players with each team being given red cards for hard fouls and unsportsmanlike behavior.  

One Surigao held on to the slim lead at the final whistle. With the win, One Surigao finished third with 4 points behind Iligan with 6 and the eventual winner, Bukidnon with 7. Butuan finished last without a point but with one goal at the final tally. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

PFF U22: Bukidnon runs riot, bulldozed Iligan 7-2, tops Group E

Iligan players celebrated after Bhai's second goal

Surigao City - Bukidnon surprised Iligan with an aggressive play that they were not able to counter in the final game of the Group E stage of the Philippine Football Federation Under 22 Championships. 

Bukidnon which was stymied by a draw with One Surigao on November 26, fought like there is no tomorrow. The route was set when striker Clayton Bhai forced an own goal on Aljur Anor in the 13th minute.  Iligan however lost no time as main man Ariel Saren answered  in the 20th minute with his own,  leveling up the game at 1-1. 

It remained that way until Bukidnon grabbed the lead with a goal at the 37th minute courtesy of Anthony William Pen. Three minutes later, Bukidnon struck again with another goal. Juanito Daga-ang struck a goal at the 40th minute. Slowly, the title was slipping away from Iligan which only needed a draw to advance to the finals. 

Clayton Bhai's goal at 47th minute

Clayton Bhai's goal at 48th minute

Then, the riot began at the beginning of the second half.  Claython Bhai sneaked himself in the right side and slotted a goal at the 47th minute. Right after the ensuing kick off, Bukidnon again attacked the goal and Claython Bhai circled Iligan Keeper Arnold Madayag leaving the hapless defenders to protect the goal but to no avail. Bhai scored another goal in the 48th minute. The Iligan defense was non existent. 

The Iligan collapse continued when in the next play, Clint Augustine Tomines fired a screamer and completed it in the 49th minute. Three goals in three minutes and Bukidnon is unreachable with a 6-1 tally.

Timones' goal at 49th minute

So confident was the Bukidnon bench that the coaching staff removed stalwarts Aljobert Mahilum and Clint Augustine Timones with still plenty of time in the game. 

Iligan got some consolation after Ariel Saren scored in the 83rd minute. That goal however was answered when Clayton Bhai struck another goal in the 86th minute to make the final tally and complete the domination. 

Bukidnon will represent Group E in the National Finals of the Smart PFF Under 22 Championships at Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City come February 2016. 

Clayton Bhai scores a hat trick for Bukidnon

Anor 13' (OG), Pen 37'; Daga-ang 40' Bhai 47' 48' 86' Timones 49'

Iligan: Saren 20' 83'

Thursday, November 26, 2015

PFF U22: One Surigao steals a point against Bukidnon 2-2

Surigao City - One Surigao was able to steal a point from the Bukidnon side in a dramatic fashion as it tries to show a respectable finish in the ongoing PFF Smart Under 22 Championships. 

Bouyed by their opening day conquests of Butuan/Agusan del Norte FA, Bukidnon lost no time in unleashing its attack on One Surigao team.  Not long thereafter, Bukidnon scored its first goal courtesy of left wing Marc Joseph Macabale in the 7th minute. Ten minutes later, his teammate Clint Agustin Timones added another goal in the 17th minute to complete their shock and awe treatment on the clueless hosts. 

Clint Agustin Timones score the opening goal for Bukidnon

It looks like One Surigao is resigned to another frustrating day when their hope came alive in the added time when Alberto Echin Jr. outsmarted the goalkeeper who rush to him by beating him and scored on an empty net.  

Goalkeeper Raneil Tare celebrated after Echin scored the opening goal for One Surigao before halftime 
Bukidnon resumed their dangerous attacks on One Surigao goal in the second half. But good defense coupled with great stops by goalkeeper Reneil Tare and One Surigao kept the visitors at bay. 

Bukidnon suffered a setback in the second half when striker Clayton Bhai ask to be relieved after suffering an injury.  Few minutes after Bhai's relief, all hell broke loose when Jerald Anghag scored a spectacular shot in the 64th minute. 

Set up from midfield, Anghag received the ball which bounced cleanly above his head. Sensing an opportunity, Anghag unleashed an acrobatic bicycle shot that sent the hometown crowd into frenzy. One Surigao completed a monumental comeback against a very talented Bukidnon IX. 

One Surigao players whoop it up after Anghag scored an equalizer
Both teams tried to breakaway from a looming draw, with Bukidnon getting a good share of opportunities including the one when Tare missed the ball, only to find a very late Bukidnon attacker before it went out of line. 

Both teams settled for a draw. All is not lost however for Bukidnon, as it still can win the No. 1 spot when it will tackle undefeated Iligan in the first encounter this afternoon at 1:00 p.m. With four points, Bukidnon can overtake Iligan which has 6 points with a win today catapulting it to 7 points.  For Iligan, all it has to do is to force a draw and it will qualify to the national finals in Bacolod on February 2016. 

One Surigao on the other hand will try to win its game today against Butuan and can finish second place depending on the outcome of the Bukidnon-Iligan game. Or it might end up last should it will lose to the still winless Butuan City in their 3:30 encounter today. 

Bukidnon 2-2 One Surigao 

Bukidnon FA: Marc Joseph Macabale 7'; Clint Agustin Timones 17' 
One Surigao: Alberto Echin Jr. 45+'; Jerald Anghag 64' 

PFF U22: Ariel Saren's double sends undermanned Iligan past Butuan 2-0

Butuan bore the brunt of a intensely rough and physical game

Surigao City - Striker Ariel Saren scored a double to put ILNOSURFA on top of the heap in Group E in the Smart PFF U22 Championships here. 

Ariel Saren (blue) is in his dominant form 
The barreling striker made the opening goal in the 9th minute when he found an opening and rifled a shot that was too high for Butuan goalkeeper France Yaon to reach. 

Iligan's euphoria however was shortlived as it centerback Elmer AniƱon was sent off in the 15th minute for stepping into the fallen Kenneth Pyosalan of Butuan City. 

Despite downed to 10 men, Iligan pressed for the attack and was able to create great opportunities. Saren was about to add another goal when he fired a volley that was deflected by France Yaon. Few minutes later, winger Dominic de la Torre was released but his open shot went high. 

In a very physical game, yellow cards were issued and not a few Butuan players were downed on the pitch. 

Ariel Saren scored his second goal in the 85th minute completing its dominance of Butuan FA despite its deficiency in numbers. With the win, ILNOSURFA is now at the commanding lead with 6 points while Butuan remain winless and without a goal in two games. 

Iligan will face Bukidnon at 1:30 today while Butuan will wrap up its campaign against host One Surigao in the last game at 3:00 in the afternoon. 

Ilnosurfa 2-0 Banfa 

Ilnosurfa: Ariel Saren 9'; 85' 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

PFF U22: Bukidnon sneaked past Butuan 1-0

Bukidnon (Blue and White). Butuan (Green and Blue) 
Surigao City - Bukidnon earned a much needed 3 points against a very dangerous and persistent Butuan side in the second game of the Smart PFF Under 22 Championships here. 

Bukidnon, which is mostly composed of students from Bukidnon State University in Malaybalay,  scored its only goal from its striker, Palamine in the first half action.  

Clayton Bhai of Bukidnon scoed the only goal of the game
Trailing at the half, Butuan showed brilliance in its attacking formation in the second canto.  It dominated for most of the second half and was repeatedly threatening the Bukidnon goal. 

Butuan almost equalized the game when a shot hit the near post and bounced across the goal but never crossed the line. That brought the Butuan bench in uproar as well a small crowd of  high school students from the stands. 

Bukidnon remain dangerous though with their swift counterattacks and pacy forwards who always left the Butuan defenders always catching up.  There were several good opportunities for Bukidnon to increase the lead but its striker were inches away from few good crosses.  

The game was intense and physical with Bukidnon's Aljobert Mahilum was sent off in the dying minutes of the game for so much complaining. The match ended with Butuan vainly trying to find an equalizer. 

Bukidnon will face the host One Surigao today November 26, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. Meanwhile, Butuan will continue its quest against Iligan, the opening day conqueror of One Surigao, in the curtain raiser at 1:30 p.m. Games are played at Surigao del Norte Grandstand.