On paper, the two stongest teams of this tournament would undoubtedly be Rizal San Beda FC, and NCR Teknika FC. San Beda because of the presence of the Younghusband brothers’ Phil and James, and also because of their performance in the eliminations, often beating opponents in double digit margins. Teknika, on the other hand, has three Azkals on its roster: Ian Araneta, Chieffy Caligdong and Misagh Bahadoran. On top of that, they also have the prolific import in the UFL, Izo El-Habbib.
My biggest question in this tournament, though, is where the hell is Bacolod? They have not been represented in this tournament, which is a bit strange, as Bacolod is known as the Football Capital of the country. They also won the 2011 PFF Suzuki Cup early this year, so having one of the strongest regions not represented in this tournament is a bit of a travesty.
‘Day One – Tuesday, August 9, 2011’
I woke up expecting extensive coverage of the PFF Smart Interclub Championships which will start TODAY. And yet when I scanned the Manila dailies, NOT A SINGLE ONE of them carried any news about the tournament. Football in the Philippines isn’t going anywhere soon unless our local Football tournaments get as much support as Basketball in the media and among spectators.
The only coverage of the PFF Smart Club Championships came from Sun Star Cebu, and its not even complete. No mention what time the games will commence. Looks like we will have to rely on private groups and individuals for a more extensive coverage of the 2011 PFF Smart National Men’s Club Championships, like the one from the Azkalero website (see “Sources” section below).
* Rizal San Beda FC (6) – Iligan Ba-o Breakers (0)
– San Beda FC continues their routing ways with a solid half a dozen goal trumping of the Ba-o Breakers. James Younghusband scored a Hat Trick, while Phil scored a goal.
– Goalscorers: San Beda – James Younghusband (34′, 49′, 52), Phil Younghusband (73′), Vaughn Melendrez (24′), Eliezer Fabroada (41′)
* NCR Teknika FC (2) – Leyte Laos FC (2)
– The biggest news so far: The highly-touted Teknika FC (Global FC in the UFL) managing only a draw with Laos FC. Can and will they bounce back? We’ll see in the next few games. Teknika’s two imports, Ayi Aryee and Izo El-Habib scored a goal each for Teknika.
– Goalscorers: Teknika – Ayi Aryee (7′), Izo El-Habbib Izo (10′); Laos – Ange Tressor Guizo (12′), Papiniano Macayanan III (22′)
* NCR Pachanga FC (2) – Iloilo Smart Stallions (0)
– The home team Smart Stallions FC also bowed to Pachanga FC in Iloilo. Iloilo is thought to be one of the favored teams in this tournament due to the popularity of the sport in that area, this is a big setback for them.
– Goalscorers: Pachanga – Shinmar Pelongco (2′), Alex Obiang (77′)
* Davao Columbia FC (2) – Baguio Goshenland (0)
Good start by Davao with a convincing win, inauspicious start by Baguio.
– Goalscorers: Columbia – Glen Bolaquina (24′), Nur Mentang (45′)
‘Day Two – Thursday, August 11, 2011’
Second day of the PFF Smart National Interclub Tournaments, and there is very little coverage of the tournament in the local media. This just goes to show, that Football has NOT arrived in the Philippines. The Azkals have arrived in the country, but not necessarily Football, which is sad news for the sport. All the we get about the PFF Smart Interclub Tournament, is a press release which is posted in only two major dailies. And it doesn’t give a lot of useful information, like schedules, results, etc.
* NCR Teknika FC (9) – Iligan Ba-o Breakers (0)
– The Ba-O Breakers are really being “broken” in this tournament. Second straight game where they yielded half a dozen or more goals. They have conceded fifteen goals in two games, without scoring even once on their own. They need to score some goals in this tournament, if they are to salvage a bit of their pride.
– Goalscorers: Teknika – Izzeldin El Habbib (15′, 59′, 70′, 86′), Aye Arye Nil (8′, 43′, 70′)
* Rizal San Beda FC (1) – Leyte Laos FC (0)
– Leyte Laos FC may have lost, but they have established themselves as a strong team by limiting the usually prolific San Beda FC to a single goal. Plus the fact that they have shut down the Younghusband brothers!!
– Goalscorer: San Beda – David Fornea (49′)
* Davao Columbia FC (1) – NCR Pachanga FC (0)
– In a battle between two favored teams, Columbia FC established themselves as the team to beat in the semi-finals. Also the second straight win for Davao Columbia FC.
– Goalscorer: Columbia – Nur Mentang (33′)
* Smart Stallions FC (10) – Baguio Goshenland United FC (3)
– Thirteen goals between Baguio Goshenland United FC and Smart Stallions FC Iloilo. At least Baguio scored some goals.
– Goalscorers: Stallions – Ruben Doctora (5′, 11′, 19′, 45′, 63′), Lee Joo Young (50′), Bervic Italia (53′), Francis Gustilo (57′), Anton Albor (79′), Jimmy Vergara (90′); Goshenland – Mohamad Farah (20′), Homer Alinsog (69′), Aris Bocalan (82′)
* Day Two Wrap Up
Rizal San Beda FC in Group A and Davao Columbia FC in Group B reaches the semifinals with two wins each. NCR Teknika FC has the inside track for the other semi-finalist in Group A, but it is still possible for Leyte Laos FC to sneak in and take over that spot if San Beda FC beats Teknika, and they win over the Ba-o Breakers (which is very likely). My guess is that it could all boil down to goal difference.
On the other group, NCR Pachanga FC is favored to barge into other semi-finals slot as they have already convincingly beaten their rival for that spot, Iloilo’s Smart Stallions FC.
The last day of the quarterfinals eliminations is exciting in that it will feature matches between Rizal San Beda FC and NCR Teknika FC, technically the strongest teams on paper. The other matches also will determine who the other semi-finalists will be.