Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fair Play: Fans, attitude can boost Azkals in tough qualifiers

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's April 17 edition)
SO the draw for the Fifa World Cup 2018 qualifiers for Asia is out and it hasn’t been that kind to the Philippines. We got Uzbekistan, Bahrain and North Korea, the top teams in Pots 2 and 4, and Yemen.

The best scenario would have been getting the bottom teams in Pots 1, 2, 4 and 5 but wishing for a lucky break in a football draw is a futile exercise and besides, if we truly want to be taken as a serious football nation, facing the top teams in Asia is inevitable.

So, Uzbekistan, Bahrain and North Korea it is--teams that we’ve lost to in the previous years, in tournaments and in friendlies.

Fair Play: Latest basketball drama an insult to CCSC

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's April 15 edition)
SUMMER is a time when sports action picks up and organizers of various tournaments turn to the government for support. For some, like those in football, badminton, tennis, swimming and the other less-popular sports, the private sector is who they turn to for tournaments, so kids can have events to join.

Not so with basketball. That's why teams in the Cebu City Mayor's Cup are lucky the Cebu City Sports Commission rolled out the red carpet for them.

But, it turns out, three team owners don't know how lucky they are and are acting like a bunch of sore losers who'd bite the hand the feeds them.

Fair Play: Walking out should not be an option

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's April 14 edition)
LOST in the drama regarding the University of the Visayas’ walkout against USC in Medellin is the nonchalant way some treat walkouts in basketball—that they are normal and unavoidable. And that, I think, is the reason for the problem itself.

Here’s a newsflash for those who think that way—walkouts are NOT normal. Basketball coaches get away with it because of the absence of a governing body here that oversees the sport; if you walkout on Ricky, you can get away with it when you play in Mike’s tournament next.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fair Play: No welcome for an Azkal gone astray

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's April 10 edition)
WHEN Javier Patino first came to town, football fans drooled at the options this Filipino-Spaniard offered on the offensive end for the Azkals.

For years, Phil Younghusband had been a lonely presence on attack for the Philippines, and the first partnership of the two had Phil hitting a hat trick, while Patino scored twice.

And not a few football fans thought, “Surely, with such a potent threat up front, glory in the beautiful game would be ours.”

That was before.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Fair Play:A regional rivalry that defined PHL football

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's April 9 edition)
BEFORE the generation of the Azkals, there was one sure way to get to the national senior team--learn your football in either Iloilo or Bacolod.

These two football hotbeds virtually had a monopoly of the national team, and depending on who you are asking, are the football capital of the Philippines.

Barotac Nuevo of Iloilo has been the traditional football hotbed, and is home to majority of the national team players before 2004, when we started scouring for Pinoys abroad. Sometimes, being someone from that place readily gives you that mantra of football invincibility.

Fair Play: Lessons for kids from the May 2 mega-fight

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's April 7 edition)
WHILE talking with some parents about their preparation for the Palarong Pambansa, one dropped the all important question—are you ready for the fight?

He wasn’t talking, of course, of the coming battle against the top teams in the country in the biggest sporting meet for students.

He was talking about what most of us would be talking about come Palaro time--Manny Pacquaio vs. Floyd Mayweather. You see, the May 2 fight on Saturday night in the US, will be on Sunday morning, Philippine time, coinciding with the opening parade of the Palarong Pambansa. Which makes you wonder, will this year’s Palarong Pambansa open to a packed stadium or to an empty one with crickets in the background?

Joaquin Buyco: A role model for Cebu Sports

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's April 2 edition)
AS an awardee of the Sportswriters Association of Cebu-San Miguel Beer Cebu Sports Awards, the young Joaquin Buyco was just one of the many standouts of Cebu sports in the previous year.

A member of the Don Bosco Technological Center football team, he got two awards last Saturday, one for being a member of the gold medalist futsal team of Cebu City and for earning the Most Outstanding Athlete award in the Milo Little Olympics national finals last October.

Fair Play: Coaches' headaches in DepEd meets

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's April 5 edition)
AFTER the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association meet comes the much dreaded time for coaches, dreaded because it’s a time when they know that sometimes, athletic skills don’t matter.

What is this moment? It’s that time when champion coaches receive recommendations from the Department of Education as to which player to absorb in his team for the Palarong Pambansa.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Fair Play: Azkals welcome Zayne Malik into its fold

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's April 1 edition)
THE Philippine Azkals profile and reach will reach new highs and shrieks after team management revealed it has signed up former One Direction member Zayn Malik for the World Cup qualifiers.

Malik traces his Filipino lineage to having been born in a hospital ran by Filipinos in Bradford and has long dreamed of becoming an international football player. It was during the lead-up to One Direction's tour to the Philippines that he finally got the chance.

"Zayn Malik always wanted to be a football player, and he finally got the chance. When he learned about the Philippine tour, he also learned about the Azkals and he seized the opportunity,” said Malik's official spokesperson April Folle.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Fair Play: Cebu's Olympic dream hits a snag

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's March 16 edition)
A COUPLE of years ago, the Cebu City Sports Commission launched an ambitious project aimed at sending a beach volleyball team to the Olympics, powered by the belief that if you give a local players the chance, they can make it.

But such is the challenge of being an athlete in a Third World country that the CCSC is learning, albeit late, that even beliefs, dreams or the honor of playing for the flag isn’t enough.

Fair Play: Invest in your child's future this summer

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's March 14 edition)
AS you can tell from the weather, summer is almost here. With school out and a lot of idle time in their hands, summer is the perfect time to get your kids into sports.

Sweating it out and playing under the sun may turn them a few shades darker, but that’s a whole lot better than them accidentally clicking a fifty shades of grey parody on YouTube, right? Try explaining that to your kid.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fair Play: Push FAs to match fans' fund-campaign

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's March 12 edition)
JUST recently, a group of fans started the Small Change, Big Change online campaign, a fund-raising campaign for the Philippine men’s national team.

Of course, skeptics will ask--what? The over-hyped and much-marketed Azkals need money? Don’t they have TV shows for that or that multi-million peso deal with ABS CBN?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Fair Play: A nod to CFA's youth program

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's March 11 edition)
YOU have to excuse my friend Raffy Musni if he seems to be walking on a high lately. Not only did his son's team beat archrival Don Bosco Technological Center for the Cviraa crown impressively, 23 players of the Cebu elite teams were also called up for the national training squad.

And along the way, ever the jokester, he also gets to rib the DBTC parents who are part of the Cebu Football Association.

Fair Play: Mandaue pulls surprise in Cviraa

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's March 8 edition)
WHILE reading through the posts online of the secondary football results of the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association, and seeing how the Don Bosco-led Cebu City team was dominating the opposition, I told my friend coach Ray Calo that I was willing to wager a few cold ones for his team.

Luckily, no one took it because the next thing I know, Mandaue City, represented by Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu plus some players from Canduman, brought Don Bosco back to earth with a humbling 3-1 defeat in the semifinals before blanking Dumaguete, 2-0, in the finals.