Another enjoyable UFL Game Day, I really enjoyed watching the games. I hope that AKTV adds another televised game day, either on Sunday, or middle of the week.
Big hiccup on the first game, though, as the UFL and AKTV was heavily promoting the games today, but come 2:00 pm, there was still no live coverage of the first game. Worst was that there was no advise as to why the UFL games were still not being shown. I had to go to the internet to try to find out what happened, and it was only around 2:45 pm when AKTV started giving out advisories that they were having technical difficulties, hence the delay.
‘Team Socceroo vs. Meralco-Loyola Sparks’
It was only around 3:00 pm when the coverage finally started, and they were only able to show the second half of the first game.
The Sparks brutally manhandled Team Socceroo with at 10-0 scoreline at the first half. I think the scoreline clearly showed the Socceroo was nowhere near the quality of UFL First Division team, let alone the star-studded Meralco Sparks. Hell, this showbiz team Socceroo would probably have problems playing in the 3rd Division of the UFL.
Despite the loopsided scoreline, I still enjoyed watching the brilliance of Phil Younghusband and Mark Hartmann. Phil was showing why he was a Chelsea reserve and starting Striker for the Azkals, earning his probably PBA-level salary with the team by scoring SEVEN goals. Mark, on the other hand, reportedly had a double Brace (4 goals).
Team Socceroo was able to sneak a goal in off a mistake by the substitute goalkeeper, but the Sparks scored another five goals in the second half. The models in Team Socceroo should perhaps stay in the catwalk, and their actors should stay in the TVs and the movies, they definitely do not belong to the pitch. I actually was expecting better from them, after learning that some of the Brapanese models and actors once played in the tough Hong Kong leagues.
‘Diliman Victory Liners vs. Kaya-Cignal FC’
The second game was a LOT better, though. I always was curious of the UP Diliman team which won last year’s Football title in the UAAP. Jinggoy Valmayor, for example, won BOTH the “Golden Boot” and “Rookie of the Year” awards in the UAAP, the first in a long while. Permanes, on the other hand, was the UAAP’s MVP last season. It was great to finally see them play on the pitch.
Valmayor proved his worth by scoring the opening goal off a long shot from the center from outside the box in the second minute of the game. Although he remained a threat all throughout the game, he didn’t get to score again. He is a big player, decent ballhandler, but doesn’t look really fast out there on the pitch.
Permanes, on the hand, wasn’t much of a factor in the game. He looks kinda small and thin, so was having problems with Kaya’s size out there on the field.
After that opening goal, Kaya started dominating the match, and Nate Burkey finally was able to equalize for Kaya. He ended up scoring all of Kaya’s goals (a Hat Trick) in this game. He has shown a lot of quality, a pretty good ballhandler, and has pretty good size. But again, doesn’t look particularly fast out there on the pitch. Certainly not as good as Phil. He will be one of the main men for the U23 Azkals come November.
Kaya lost their momentum after losing Aly Borromeo due to an injury, which was too bad as the Azkals Captain was playing so well on defense for Kaya, at an individual level, and in terms of organizing the defense. Diliman remained dangerous on the counter and scored another goal off a brilliant breakaway.
After the half, Kaya lost another player in lost Lexton Moy after being given a Red Card when he accummulated two successive Yellow Cards in the game. He again was playing well at both ends of the pitch.
Kaya got a boost when Anton Del Rosario was forced to suit up for the game after the two above losses, and it seems to have worked as Kaya again dominated the second half, scoring the equalizer and winning goal even if they were down only to ten men.
Kaya’s size, skill and good coaching put them at just a shade above Diliman in terms of quality, although Diliman was able to give them a good fight by virtue of their familiarity with each other. I like their number 29 player, He is a lanky, but shows good speed, good handling and passing. I think he is a key player to watch in the next couple of years.
Good sized crowd for the UFL, perhaps around a thousand people in the stands. Not yet PBA level, but pretty good on its own.
Commentary done by Jason Webb, Aaron Atayde and Ricky Olivares was good. A bit lacking in technical stuff, but they did a good job of reporting what is happening on the pitch, and conveying the action. Ricky also was very familiar with most the players, giving valuable insights about them. I am satisfied with the commentators, I think they should keep this as a group, unless they can find some people who have really outstanding Football credentials.
Coverage was good, but I want to see a slow-mo replay of all the goals at the end of the game from various angles. It would be good for the audience to finish the games with those goals in mind.
A lot of the Azkals, and former Azkals played very well in these two games, showing their quality over all of the other players on the pitch.
Again, really enjoyable UFL games, I hope to see more televised games on AKTV.