Monday, July 31, 2017

Kaya Makati Denied Sixth Straight Victory

Kaya FC against Stallion Laguna FC

Kaya Makati missed out on a record sixth straight victory in the Philippines Football League, after Stallion Laguna held them to 1-1 draw at the Biñan Football Stadium. Jordan Mintah's second half header put the away side ahead, but Dan Villarico's rebound ensured the points were shared.

"Switching off for a split second, in a game like this, can cost you a goal, especially on the counterattack. And it happened in this game," rued Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida. "I think my players played well. It's just that we couldn't finish despite the many chances that we got. So, that's one aspect of our game we need to work on. We take the one point, learn from it, and move on."

Robert Mendy had two great chances to score in the opening period, but his early free header went over, and his curling effort inside the box could only graze the post.  Meanwhile, Ref Cuaresma reacted well to deny Gabriele Mascazinni's near post strike.

Mintah opened the scoring from close range five minutes into the second period, heading in Janrick Soriano's wonderful delivery from the right flank. But the lead only lasted four minutes. Jhan-Jhan Melliza wriggled free from a counterattack and was given space to fire. Although his shot was well stopped by Cuaresma, the ball fell kindly for Villarico to tap in.

With the teams level, tensions started rising. Things almost boiled over between Jovin Bedic and Ruben Doctora. Bedic had clearly tugged at Doctora, who took exception, and retaliated with a shot to Jovin's face. Both players were cautioned for the incident.

The introduction of Kenshiro Daniels and Antonio Ugarte provided more control of possession, and allowed Kaya to pepper Stallion's defense. Mendy headed over again, Mintah had a strike go wide, and Ugarte had a deflected strike stopped. In the end, Makati's pressure failed to yield a go-ahead.

"When I play against Stallion, I know they're going to play physical, and they're going to play all out. We prepared for that," said Man of the Match, and former Stallion player, Jordan Mintah. "Today, that wasn't like our side. If you get the chances we got, if we finished them, we would've won. We have to go back and work on it. Then, it is time to face Meralco [Manila] again."

Jordan Mintah and Noel Marcaida
Although the result denied Kaya the distinction of being the first team to reach six straight wins in the PFL, coach Noel Marcaida refused to be too disappointed.

"The month of July we did well. Having seven games unbeaten — drawing two, and winning five — it's a pretty good record. We were able to meet our objective of getting more points in the month of July. Now we regroup and focus our attention on facing Meralco [Manila] next week."

Sunday, July 30, 2017

FC Meralco Manila bids Younghusbands farewell with road win

In their final game with the squad, the Younghusband brothers made sure it was a winning one, securing a come-from-behind 3-2 victory for FC Meralco Manila over Davao Aguilas FC in the lone Philippines Football League matchup scheduled this past Saturday at the Davao del Norte Sports Complex in Tagum City.

Milan Nikolic scored twice for the Sparks, with his second goal turning out to be the game-winner for the visitors in the 66th minute. FC Meralco Manila had tied the game a couple of minutes earlier c/o James Younghusband off an assist from brother Phil.

Both teams came into the match without a key central defender, with Joaco Cañas for the Sparks and Milos Krstic for the Aguilas both suspended.

The returning Ace Villanueva was tested early, repulsing a strike from recent Davao signing Jason de Jong. But the hosts eventually scored first, thank to their recent signing Harrison Sawyer in the 33rd minute, taking advantage of a defensive lapse.

Nikolic equalized for the Sparks in the 41st minute, nodding in a corner from Phil, but the Aguilas quickly responded to restore the lead, thanks to Matthew Hartmann.

The second half provided an early opportunity for FC Meralco Manila to equalize, but Marko Trkulja deftly denies a Phil free kick three minutes in. Seven minutes later, James had a chance, but was unable to convert.

Eventually, the Sparks found the tying goal, when Phil beat the defense on the right flank, and then centered to James, who then slipped it past Trkulja. Curt Dizon then found Nikolic on a cross to give the lead.

Post-match, head coach Aris Caslib praised Daniel Gadia's performance, noting that he "came in and pushed Phil and James upfield. That was our main adjustment in the second half."

Nikolic appreciated the crowd in Tagum and thanks the Younghusbands for all that they have done for the club. He added, "It was an emotional match."

James told the team after the game, "You all are like brothers to me."

With the victory, the Sparks temporarily take hold of first place in the PFL with 27 points, with ertswhile leaders Kaya FC set to face Stallion Laguna FC later this afternoon. The loss pegs the Aguilas in seventh place at five points.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Joshua Pacio seeks Macao repeat

Joshua "The Passion" Pacio
Team Lakay's Joshua Pacio wants to replicate his last visit to Macao when he faces Hayato Suzuki on ONE: Kings and Conquerors this coming August 5.

A year ago, "The Passion" was part of the first-ever MMA event ONE Championship organized in the Special Administrative Region, ONE: Heroes of the World. At that event, he forced Thai grappler Kritsada Kongsrichai to submit at the 4:37 mark of the first round due to a rear-naked choke.

The 21-year-old Baguio native did not mince his excitement in being part of ONE: Kings and Conquerors, "I love fighting in Macao. The venue is so awesome. It's truly world-class. Furthermore, there are a lot of Filipinos living and working there. Whenever I compete there, it feels like I am fighting back home. The energy is palpable. I can't wait to be back."

Pacio will have a formidable opponent in Suzuki, a well-rounded warrior armed with heavy hands and technical grappling skills. The Japanese has a 16-0-2 record, with eleven wins coming by way of a finish. When asked about his upcoming match, Joshua says, "It's going to be an action-packed fight. I cannot be complacent. Moreover, I have to be two steps or three steps ahead of him."

He adds, "He's never been knocked out. He's never been submitted. He's undefeated. This is MMA. Anything can happen. My skills versus his skills will be incredible. This will be one of the fights that will be remembered because he will showcase his skills and I will showcase mine, so you had better watch it."

Pacio is fresh from beating Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, although he acknowledges that there is "room for improvement." He shared that, "This time, we enhanced timing and precision. We added speed as well as proper executions of game plan."

Make sure to check out for the latest updates on ONE Championship.

Friday, July 28, 2017

New-look Aguilas set to host Sparks on PFL Saturday

FC Meralco Manila striker Phil Younghusband with Davao midfielder Nate Burkey.
The Davao del Norte Sports Complex will be hosting FC Meralco Manila as they aspire to retake the lead in Philippines Football League against home side Davao Aguilas FC this weekend.

The last time both teams faced off down south, The Sparks' undefeated season took a dent, as the Aguilas forced a 2-2 draw. Since then, the Sparks have had a mixed form, winning just two of its last five matches and got battered by Ceres-Negros, 7-0. As for the Mindanao-based side, they still have not yet logged a single win this season, losing three of its last four completed matches.

Matthew Hartmann
In addition, Davao has decided to upgrade its roster, taking full advantage of the PFL's transfer window. Matthew Hartmann and Harry Sawyer made their debut against Ceres-Negros at Panaad Stadium last week, with Nick O'Donnell on the substitutes' bench. They have also entered into agreements with ertswhile Ceres players Jason de Jong, Jorrel Aristorenas, and Simone Rota, while also snapping up Reymart Cubon from Kaya FC's B-team, although it remains to be seen if all four will be cleared to play in time for the match. It also looks like Gilmar has departed from the club, considering this tweet below.

Aris Caslib's defense will be affected by the absence of Joaco Cañas, who will be observing a one-match suspension due to accumulated yellow cards. The Sparks will also kick off a stretch of three games in eight days, with matches against Global-Cebu FC and Kaya FC at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in the horizon.

Both teams will have the benefit of having key players return from the Philippines' U-23 team that took part in the AFC U-23 Qualifiers. Daniel Gadia and Ace Villanueva return to action for FC Meralco Manila, while Dylan De Bruycker, Jordan Jarvis, and Junjun Talaroc comprise the key cogs coming back for the Aguilas, along with Cubon.

Tickets for the match will be available at the gate. Kickoff is slated at 4pm.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

​​ Jomary Torres set for ONE Championship debut

ONE Championship revealed on Tuesday another fight that will take place on the ONE: Kings and Conquerors MMA event at the Cotai Arena of The Venetian Macao this coming August 5, an atomweight matchup between Jomary Torres and Rika Ishige.

Jomary Torres is set to make her ONE Championship debut at ONE: Kings and Conquerors, fresh from making her MMA debut back in August 2016 for the URCC, defeating Krisna Limdaga via unanimous decision.

Torres says, "It's my first time to compete in ONE Championship. I am honored and blessed to be in this top-notch organization, which is widely considered as the front-runner of MMA in the region. Of course, I am aiming to get a big win. I have worked hard just to make it here. I won't waste this opportunity."

The prospect from the Catalan Fighting System gym is set to face off against a well-rounded MMA competitor in the form of Rika Ishige.

"Tinydoll" is of Thai and Japanese heritage, coming from a family of martial arts practitioners. Her late father took up judo, while her older sister took up taekwondo. She began her martial arts training at the age of nine, learning aikido, karate, and taekwondo.

Ishige is currently 2-0 this year, defeating Audreylaura Boniface via first round TKO last March, then forcing Nita Dea to tap out in the first round last May.

When asked about her upcoming opponent, Jomary says, "We are keenly studying my opponent for this fight. She is a true martial artist. It is part of her lifestyle. It is in her blood. I know what she is capable of doing inside the cage. She has a good Muay Thai base. Aside from that, she also has a good ground game. But I am coming into this bout very prepared. I am not giving myself any room for error." She adds, "My foundation is Wushu. I have no problem if she wants to fight standing up. I am already expecting that she will trade strikes with me. I can strike very hard, too."

Jomary also believes that the key to defeating Rika lies within her, noting that "I will work hard on myself. I like to concentrate my training on myself. It does not matter about the opponent. The important thing for success is self-confidence. The key to self-confidence is preparation, and I am well prepared for this fight. If I have good preparation, I can fight anybody."

For further updates on ONE Championship, do check out

New Champions in NBA 3X Philippines 2017

The 2017 edition NBA 3X Philippines presented by AXA reached some new milestones this past weekend, with 176 teams from Metro Manila and the provinces taking part in the various divisions for both men's and women's.

This year's edition had two phases of competition, with the field being whittled to 56 with the qualifiers that took place at Don Bosco-Makati last July 15-16. Quarterfinals and Semifinals were played at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall on July 22, with the champions of each division being crowned on July 23. The only exception was the by-invite-only Celebrity Division, which held its tournament in its entirety on the 23rd.

The Men's Open Division saw new champions with reigning titleholders EGS Elite unable to show up in the quarterfinals on Saturday. Team Rocan's quartet of Christian Chua, Mark Fernandez, Elmer de la Cruz and Philip Torres beat Team 459 Legaspi to claim the title.

The Women's Open matchup was an all-NU affair, with the A-team composed of Trixie Antiquiera, Joy Nabalan, Samantha Harada, and Rhena Itesi beating their B-team for the title. Trixie adds, "It was a challenge to have to face our teammates who are familiar with our style of play, but we are proud to earn this victory. This was the similar case in the Boys' Under-18 Division, where two teams from Escuela de Sophia battled for the title.

The Boys' Under-16 Finals saw the Berkeley Aquanauts from Baguio besting Makati Basketball. The matchup saw a couple of Jr. NBA National Training Camp finalists Jazzy de Ayre and Ethan Rodelas entertaining the crowd. As for the Boys' Under-13 Division, La Salle-Zobel's second team beat the Aquanauts for the title, while a Cindy Gonzales-led Team Bulacan bested the University of Baguio for the Girls' Under-18 Division title.

With the entry of AXA, a special division was crafted this year tailored for its employees, with AXA Life-A defeated Go Elite in the final.

And with Marco Alcaraz's injury keeping him out from defending his Celebrity Division title, Team Uy, Uy, Uy of Dominic Uy, Vince Hizon, and Charles Tiu defeated Mongrel Mob of Mac Andaya, Bobby Yan, and Neil Sese claimed the championship.

In the special events, Billion Enriquez was named as the AXA Three-Point Shootout Champion, Brian Agarin as the Panasonic Master Three-Point Contest Champion, Alexis Ramos as the Cloudfone Shoot-Solve-Selfie Challenge Champion, Shekel Estrelles as the Globe Do It Different Three-Point Challenge Champion, and Jebb Bulawan as the Slam Dunk Champion.

A select group of free throw shooters managed to raise PhP 70,000 for Tahanang Walang Hagdan during the AXA Shoot for a Cause challenge.

Gracing the weekend were Oklahoma City big man Steven Adams, Cal State-Northridge head coach Reggie Theus, and the Laker Girls, who awarded the different winners. In addition, the latter conducted a halftime performance that entertained the crowed at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall.

CloudFone, Globe At Home, Globe Prepaid, Panasonic are NBA 3X Philippines's official partners, while SM Mall of Asia and Spalding are its supporting partners. ABS-CBN S+A, Basketball TV, and NBA Premium TV are the official broadcasters

Further details on NBA 3X Philippines 2017 can be seen on

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

BVR on Tour National Championship set this weekend

From L-R: Joey Alvaro (Delimondo), Jimmy Escano (CGAL), Kristen Enrile (Delimondo), Bea Tan (BVR), Charo Soriano (BVR), Tony Boy Liao (#BVROnTour National Championship Tourney Director)
The beach volleyball scene moves up a notch, with the formal announcement of the Beach Volleyball Republic (#BVROnTour) National Championship last week.

Anguib Beach in Sta. Ana, Cagayan will be hosting the National Championship on July 28-30, with 32 teams slugging out in the men's and women's divisions. Some of these teams took part in the seven different #BVROnTour legs that were spread all across the country.

The tournament has been sanctioned by the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc., and the top 3 teams from both divisions will be integrated into the national training pool for potential selection as the Philippines' representatives for the upcoming Southeast Asian Beach Volleyball Games to be held in Singapore later this year. The BVR contingent will compete with the PSL contingent to see which players will get the chance to represent the country in international competition.

BVR founder Bea Tan says, "We are really excited not only for BVR but for the direction of beach volleyball. We go to international tournaments without practice and still win some games. We're excited about what we can achieve with preparation." She adds, "very competitive teams from the provinces will come to Anguib to compete."

Among the participants for the National Championship include: FEU, Dipolog, Philippine Coast Guard, NU, Bacolod, Iloilo, Cebu, RTU, USLS, Ateneo, and the Philippine Navy in the men's division, and RTU, Ateneo, Iloilo, Cebu, Bacolod, Tagum, Philippine National Police, and Perlas Spikers in the women's division.

Claiming the title in this tournament rewards the winning tandem PhP 50,000. The losing finalists net PhP 30,000. The third-placed duo gets PhP 15,000.

ABS-CBN Sports will have delayed telecast coverage of the #BVROnTour National Championship.

Reggie Theus graces 2017 Gatorade NBA Training Center

Group Photo at the Gatorade National Training Center

NBA Philippines and Gatorade recently held their 4th Gatorade National Training Center at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong, with NBA Legend (and current Cal State Northridge head coach) Reggie Theus as this year's guest of honor.

The Gatorade NBA Training Center is part of the NBA Fit program, which highlights the importance of healthy and active lifestyles through three pillars: be active, eat healthy, and play together. It is specifically an exclusive basketball clinic that provides discussions, demonstrations, and expert guidance on mechanics, fitness, and conditioning, as well as proper nutrition and hydration for top-level athletic performance.

This year's edition brings in Theus to impart his basketball acumen and coaching philosophies to a select group of Filipino players and coaches. According to the first-time Philippine visitor, "I can't wait to experience the passion Filipinos have for basketball. I am eager to work with the athletes and coaches on fitness and conditioning, and share my coaching expertise on the game."

Afterwards, he shares, "I didn't expect this kind of excitement for basketball here in the Philippines, but it has been a really welcoming and heartening experience. I watched the body language of the players as well as their ability to listen and understand the drills, and it showed in the outstanding work they have put in the program."

Pepsico Philippines Marketing Manager for Hydration Tony Atayde adds, "As the world leader in sports hydration, Gatorade will always actively support initiatives to empower the Philippines' next generation of basketball superstars. We are grateful to work with the NBA on this campaign, and we look forward to spreading our message of hydration to more athletes nationwide.

Additional matches for ONE: Kings and Conquerors

This coming August 5. ONE: Kings and Conquerors
With the upcoming ONE: Kings and Conquerors looming in the horizon this coming August 5 at the Cotai Arena at the Venetian Macao, ONE Championship has announced three additional matches to complement the main event matchup of ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes against Andrew Leone.

Serving as the co-main event for ONE: Kings and Conquerors is a match to determine the true ONE Flyweight World Champion. Current champion Kairat Akhmetov is undefeated in his entire six-year stint as a MMA pro spanning 23 fights. His split decision victory over Adriano Moraes back in November 2015 to claim the title also happened to be his last match coming into this one, due to injuries and other family matters.

Since dropping the tile to Akhmetov, Moraes bounced back with a win over Eugene Toquero, then followed it with a submission victory over Tilek Batyrov for the ONE: Interim Flyweight World Title. Now that Akhmetov is ready, the long-awaited rematch that originally was supposed to be the main event in the now-postponed ONE: Conquest of Kings is finally here.

In addition to the co-main event, ONE Championship has set up a bantamweight match featuring Toni Tauru and Leandro Issa, as well as a middleweight match involving Marcin Prachnio and Gilberto Galvão.

"The Dynamite" is toting an 11-5-1 record, with eight of the Finn's wins coming through submission. He will go up against "Brodinho" and his 13-6 record, with nine of the Brazilian's wins coming by submission.

Prachnio totes a 12-2 professional MMA record, with a seven-match winning streak. That streak includes his three ONE Championship matches (Alexandre Machado, Leandro Ataides, Jake Butler). To be considered as a top contender for the middleweight title, he would have to deal with "Giba," who has 29 victories under his belt, including his ONE Championship debut against Tatsuya Mizuno.

One can check out for the latest news on ONE Championship.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Battle of the Rivals telecast on tap tonight

Later today
Volleyball fans will finally get a taste of the dramatic "Battle of the Rivals" matchup between Ateneo and La Salle later today at 6pm on S+A and S+A HD.

Originally taking place last July 16 at the Mall of Asia Arena, former and current Lady Eagles went up against an all-alumnae Lady Archers, reliving a great rivalry in front of over thirteen thousand fans. La Salle took the first two sets, before Ateneo embarked on winning the last three sets. Named as the MVPs for both teams are Jia Morado and Aby Marano.

The team captains from both teams, Cha Cruz and Alyssa Valdez, agreed that the match felt invigorating, especially since this was for a good cause. According to Cruz, "It's a great feeling to play with friends especially after recalling the hard-fought battles we had in the past. At the end of the day, we are all friends and getting reunited for a good cause is what it is all about. Plus, there is nothing like seeing green and blue on the same court." As for Valdez, she says, "Rivalry brings out the best and that extra excitement in us. We are now giving a whole new meaning to the word rival in the sense that it isn't something negative, but something that excites people and fuels us to play our best not just for ourselves but for our team and what we represent as a whole."

Other than the Ateneo-La Salle matchup, the event included a Skills Challenge hosted by Andrei Felix and Carmela Tunay, as well as friendly between the LVPI men's national team against Macau, which the hosts took in straight sets.

Proceeds from "Battle of the Rivals" will benefit scholars from both universities, as well as the Rebisco Foundation, Inc.

FC Meralco Manila seeks bounce back versus Global Cebu FC

Phil Younghusband in action against Ilocos United

FC Meralco Manila seeks to leave the disappointment of their 7-0 loss to Ceres-Negros FC last week as they face Global Cebu FC this afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

According to team skipper James Younghusband, "We want to make amends and bounce back. That score doesn't reflect who we are." He adds, "We need to prove something as a club. Global are the same level as Ceres, since both are in the AFC Cup. We want to show that the last game was a one-off (aberration).

Head coach Aris Caslib believes that, "People with a string rebound mentality are the ones who succeed in life."

During the pre-match press conference, Curt Dizon noted that the squad has "decided to move on," adding that they "are excited to get out there and show what we can do."

They will be facing a Global side that was fresh from being held to a goalless draw by Davao Aguilas FC at the Cebu City Sports Complex.

When asked about their upcoming opposition, Tyler Matas finds their matchup "interesting," noting that "I think of Global as a fast, counterattacking team, similar to us." Joaco Cañas expects a bruising contest, says, "They are a tough opponent and they never make it easy for you. It will be a physical game"

Caslib adds, "They are a team of transition (from offense to defense and back). They use their pace well as a unit. We will need to manage the transitions well."

The loss, combined with the other results from the recently played games, have led to the Sparks ceding solo leadership in the Philippines Football League. Kaya FC-Makati, although level on points at 23, has the edge against FC Meralco Manila on goal difference. And with Global Cebu FC just two points behind in solo third place, the winner has the chance to take the lead at the end of the day.

This was something that Misagh Bahadoran highlighted during the pre-match press conference. He says, "We have to get the three points. We will go a hundred percent. The top of the table is where Global belongs."

Kickoff for the match is at 4pm, with tickets available at the gate for PhP 20 (bleachers) and PhP 50 (grandstand). Streaming link can be seen below.

The other Philippines Football League matchup sees Ceres-Negros host a souped up Davao Aguilas FC side at 7pm. The visitors, who will be missing a bunch of players called up for national team duty in the AFC U23 Qualifiers in Phnom Penh, is embarking on an aggressive player acquisition, which included securing the likes of Matthew Hartmann and Nick O'Donnell from Global Cebu, and Jason de Jong, Jorrel Aristorenas, and Simone Rota from their upcoming opposition.


Both teams will be missing a player due to suspension. FC Meralco Manila will not have Alvin Sarmiento, while Global Cebu will not have Amani Aguinaldo. Marjo Allado says that Dennis Villanueva will cover for the Amani's absence.

Global has activated Darryl Roberts for this matchup, with the departure of Matthew Hartmann and Nick O'Donnell. According to Misagh and Marjo, he knows how to supply strikers.

Quick Turnaround Presents Fresh Opportunities for Kaya Makati and Ilocos United

Jordan Mintah against Ilocos United

After Wednesday’s 5-2 victory, Kaya Makati hosts Ilocos United again on Sunday at the University of Makati Stadium. The quick turnaround against the same opposition seemed like a curious scheduling decision from the Philippines Football League at first, but it’s development that is now being embraced by both teams.

“I think it’s fantastic. I think the PFL should be looking to do more things like that,” said Ilocos head coach Ian Gillan. “Especially since we have to travel a long distance, I think this type of thing should be a regular fixture in the schedule. I’m a believer that we should be traveling and playing several games away.”

With only three days in between the matches, Sunday’s affair will likely not only see a shuffle in lineups, but also a change in tactics. Alfred Osei is certainly out of the picture, as the Kaya center back picked up a yellow card on Wednesday and will subsequently be suspended.

“It’s going to be an interesting game, playing a team twice in a row in one week. They were really aggressive in how they approached the match. It will be interesting to see what adjustments Ilocos will make in the game,” said Makati head coach Noel Marcaida. “For Kaya, we aim to play well and have our winning streak improve to five. We also need to improve in how we deal with set pieces defensively.”

“We’re considering three or four new starters. When you play three games in eight games, it’s not easy. But also, playing the same opposition so soon, a few mind games could be good — switch things up a little, so they don’t know what to expect.”

Wednesday’s encounter saw Jordan Mintah score a hat-trick, with fellow striker, Robert Mendy getting on the score sheet as well. The duo have now scored in back-to-back matches at home, and together, account for 14 of the club’s 27 goals so far this season.

“I’m happy for them. They’re really working hard. But for me, it’s not enough. They will always have to perform well in every game. If at least 50% of the chances they have, they convert, I would be happy with that,” said Marcaida.

Having lost to Kaya on two occasions now, 4-2 in Ilocos, and 5-2 in Makati, United is eager to utilize the quick turnaround to correct their shortcomings.

“We find out about our opponent’s strengths and weaknesses fairly quickly now. And it’s nice and fresh in your mind and you can actually go out there and address it in the next game,” said Gillan.

“As a player, it gives me a chance to fix the mistakes, fix what went wrong, and we have that chance on Sunday.” said Ilocos player Caygill, who earned a penalty and scored a goal on Wednesday.

Kaya Makati is currently at the top of the standings, level on points with Meralco Manila with 23, but with a superior goal difference. The Makati club has played two more matches than Manila however. Ilocos, meanwhile, are still winless in 11 outings, and are currently at the bottom of the table with three points.

Sunday's match kicks off at 7pm.

ONE Championship postpones ONE: Conquest of Kings

ONE Championship announced on Friday that its inaugural MMA event in Surabaya, Indonesia, called ONE: Conquest of Kings, has been rescheduled from its initial July 29 date, citing logistical issues.

ONE Championship has not yet revealed a new date for the Surabaya event, although they reaffirmed their commitment to have four MMA events in Indonesia for 2018, so fans can anticipate their favorite local superstars like Sunoto, Stefer Rahardian, and Anthony Engelen to be involved in those.

ONE Championship's next major MMA event will take place at the Cotai Arena in Macao. Set to occur on August 5, ONE: Kings and Conquerors will have Bibiano Fernandes defend his ONE Bantamweight title against Andrew Leone.

On a 12-match winning streak, Fernandes has remained the Bantamweight titleholder since 2013, and is considered one of the best in the world in that division. Leone, on the other hand, earned his shot at the title with three solid wins over top-caliber opponents.

Make sure to check out for the latest updates on the ONE Championship.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Mintah Hat-trick Propels Kaya Makati Over Ilocos United

Jordan Mintah

Kaya Makati fired in five goals against Ilocos United on Wednesday night, making it four straight wins in the Philippines Football League. It was another performance to remember for Jordan Mintah at the University of Makati, as the striker completed his first hat-trick of the season en route to a 5-2 victory.

“First of all I gave thanks to almighty God for giving me my first hat-trick in the league,” said Mintah after the match. “It’s not easy. I worked so hard for it. But the entire team worked so hard for it as well. So I thank the teamwork too.”

While his first goal, less than 10 minutes into the contest, was typical of his exceptional touch and clinical shooting, it was the Ghanaian forward’s heading prowess that took the spotlight the rest of the way. Shortly after John Kanayama leveled the score from the penalty spot, Mintah restored the advantage by rising highest and thumping in the ball from a corner. Similarly, his hat-trick was completed through dominating his defender in the air. Well above his marker on a far post free kick delivery, he calmly powered a header across goal to add gloss to the victory.

“Sometimes in training, when I jump, coach will tell me, ‘Next time, close your mouth and open your eyes.’ So today, I just opened my mouth and closed my eyes,” Mintah laughed. “If I open my mouth and close my eyes, that means I’m going to score. That’s why I got two headed goals. It’s not easy.”

Just as in the win over JPV Marikina last weekend, Robert Mendy was also on the scoresheet. And not for the first time this season, Eric Giganto came on in the second half to score a goal — an assured finish to Mintah’s cutback.

“Basically it’s hard work,” said Kaya Makati head coach Noel Marcaida on his team’s current run, which includes back-to-back wins at home. “The players have really been playing consistently in training. And also, the players have been able to manage themselves to recover despite the heavy schedule that we’ve had this July.”

A Graham Caygill goal took a bit of luster from the triumph, but it did little to dampen Kaya’s confidence ahead of a scheduled rematch on Sunday, July 23.

“We scored two goals. [With] Two goals you should be able to get a point. But you can’t leak five. Kaya were the better team, I don’t deny that,” said Ilocos United head coach Ian Gillan. “We just move on and play Kaya again next week (sic) and hopefully we’ll get something better out of that.”

Sunday’s game kicks off at 7:00pm at the University of Makati.

University Town heads to National University

Danny and Shaun Ildefonso
The third stop of the second season of University Town heads to Bustillos, as National University gets their turn to host the show on Sunday, July 23 on S+A and S+A HD at 1pm.

The main highlight of the show sees Robi Domingo and Gretchen Ho hang out with noted alumnus Danny Ildefonso, whose son Shaun makes an appearance. The latter just transferred to NU from Ateneo during the offseason, as he tries to follow-up on the legacy his father developed.

Gelo Alolino and Glenn Khobuntin

Two members of the Season 77 championship team, Gelo Alolino and Glenn Khobuntin, also share their life as students during the show.

NU Women's Basketball, the hottest team in collegiate sports as of the moment.

One new quirk of "U-Town" is being able to shed some spotlight on the less prominent sporting disciplines, take for example their excellence in Women's Basketball, Lawn Tennis, Badminton, and in the highly anticipated Cheerdance Competition.

In white, that is Mark Marcaida

One of the segments for this edition of U-Town features men's football player Mark Marcaida. Those who have been watching UAAP football telecasts will be familiar with his story. He's partially deaf and mute, but yet he has been able to pick up and execute their game plan, while also being able to balance things as a student-athlete from the province, in his case, Masbate.

Already in its second season, University Town aims to feature all eight schools participating in the UAAP.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Kaya Makati Gears Up for Back-to-back Ilocos United Challenge

From L-R: Noel Marcaida, Ref Cuaresma, Paolo Pavone, Ian Gillan
On the back of three straight victories in the Philippines Football League, Kaya Makati is set to face Ilocos United in two consecutive matches at the University of Makati. The first one takes place on Wednesday night, with the other taking place four days later, on Sunday evening. Both matches will kickoff at 7:00pm.
"Kaya at the moment are an in form team. They’ve won their last few games and are near the top of the table," said Ilocos head coach Ian Gillan. "They must be playing well because, they beat JPV [Marikina] last week, 2-0, and I rate JPV. I think JPV is probably one of the most structured teams in the competition. The results that Kaya have been getting of late have been impressive."

After a rough three-game spell at the end of June, Makati have picked up momentum in the PFL. And with wins over Stallion Laguna, Davao Aguilas, and JPV Marikina in quick succession, the team has been propelled to third in the standings, just three points away from league leading Meralco Manila.

"For the past weeks, the players have really been performing in training and that has shown in the games that they’re in top form," said Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida on his team's current run. "When we started this month, that game against Global [Cebu] (2-2 draw at UMak) really set the tone. But there’s still a lot of room for improvement, that’s why in training we always demand for quality and consistency."

The last time Kaya and United met was in Ilocos back in May, with Makati coming away with a 4-2 victory.

"I think on the Kaya side, no big changes. We just need to make sure we play to our strength. Like what we saw against JPV, we just need to make sure that we capitalize on all the chances we might get against Ilocos tomorrow," said Marcaida.

One aspect that has changed in the last few games for Makati, has been the presence of Ref Cuaresma. The goalkeeper has been preferred in the last five matches, in a run that has yielded three wins, one draw, and one loss.

"Now that I’m starting, I want to show that I’m in the right position, that I’m ready to play. It’s been a good run, and I want to continue with total discipline outside the pitch. And I just had my first clean sheet, so I’m going to continue building from there," he said.

Meanwhile, Ilocos United will be looking to eliminate the little mistakes that they felt led to their demise in their earlier meeting with Kaya.

"Last time we played Kaya, I thought we were performing well, but I gave away a silly penalty which changed the momentum of the game," said Ilocos player Paolo Pavone. "I think this time around, we’re more mature as a team, and we’ll be able to bounce back from a little mistake that cost us dearly last time around. If we can eliminate the little mistakes, we can get a result against Kaya, even if they’re an excellent team. I think we’re up for it."

United will also be welcoming new signing Adam Mitter to the their team, a defender who recently played for Meralco in the now defunct United Football League.

"Are we going to have a difficult game tomorrow? Yeah we are. But I tell you, my boys will be up for the fight," said Gillan.

United are currently at the bottom of the table with three points. Their last match was a 1-1 draw against Stallion Laguna.

Philippines reveals AFC U23 roster

Jordan Jarvis and Dylan De Bruycker. Two of the 23 called up to represent the Philippines in international duty.

The Philippine Football Federation on Tuesday officially revealed its 23-man roster for the upcoming AFC U23 Qualifiers that will commence later this afternoon at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The twenty-three names are:

Michael Asong (San Beda)
Nimrod Balabat (San Beda)
Junell Mark Bautista (Davao Aguilas FC)
JB Borlongan (UP / Kaya FC -Makati B)
Enzo Cheng (Davao Aguilas FC)
Ian Clarino (UP / FC Meralco Manila)

Roberto Corsame, Jr (Arellano)
Reymart Cubon (FEU / Kaya FC-Makati B)
Dylan De Bruycker (Davao Aguilas FC)
Rey Franco Miguel De La Torre (Davao Aguilas FC)
Van Rey Diaz (Davao Aguilas FC)
Daniel Gadia (FC Meralco Manila)
Jarvey Gayoso (Ateneo)
Josh Grommen (Ceres-Negros FC)
Jordan Jarvis (Davao Aguilas FC)
RJ Joyel (FEU / Kaya FC-Makati B)
Yoshiharu Koizumi (La Salle)
Christian Lapas (UP / Kaya FC-Makati B)
Dimitri Limbo (Kaya FC-Makati B)
Jayrah Rocha (Ateneo / Kaya FC-Makati B)
Richard Talaroc Jr (Davao Aguilas FC)
Patrick Valenzuela (NU)
Ace Villanueva (FC Meralco Manila)

The Philippines Football League's Davao Aguilas FC has seven players called up from its ranks, with Kaya FC-Makati has six players coming from its B-team. In addition, half of the squad has championship experience from the collegiate ranks.

Coaching this squad is Marlon Maro.

Davao's chairman Jefferson Cheng hailed the call-ups from his team, calling it "a proud moment" for the club.

The team departed for Cambodia this past Monday, in time for the start of their Group J Qualifiers later this afternoon. The schedule is as follows (Manila time):

July 19 vs Japan: 430pm
July 21 vs China PR: 430pm
July 23 vs Cambodia: 730pm

No details available yet if there is streaming for any of the three matches.

Whoever tops this group will advance to the finals, as well as the runner-up, provided that team is among the five best among the different groups. It is important to note that China PR has already booked its seat in the final as they are the host team for that portion of the AFC U23.

To prepare for this competition, the team regularly had training sessions at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. In addition, seventeen of these players participated at a training camp in Japan earlier this month, that was coordinated by the Philippine Football Federation and their Japanese counterparts. Said camp included friendlies against Tokai University (3-1 loss), JFA Fukushima Academy (1-0 loss), and Ryutsu Keizai University (3-0 loss).

The Qualifiers will also help with preparations for the upcoming 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in less than a month's time.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Kaya Makati Sweeps Aside JPV Marikina for Third Straight Win, Move into Third

Jordan Mintah against JPV Marikina FC
Second half goals from Jordan Mintah and Robert Mendy ensured Kaya Makati made it three straight wins in the Philippines Football League. Up against a tricky JPV Marikina, the home side put in a solid team effort to prevail 2-0 at the University of Makati Stadium, moving the club into third in the standings.
"I'm very happy for the win. All the players performed well. They responded well to the plan before the game. Playing a tough team in JPV, and having a good result like this will really be a motivating factor for Kaya," said head coach Noel Marcaida after the game.

Despite a dominant performance in the first half from Makati, which included two penalty shouts, and two great chances in open play, the period ended scoreless. Kaya then picked up where they left off after the break, applying pressure and exhausting Marikina of space to exploit. And shortly after a third penalty appeal was waved away, the home side got their much deserved breakthrough.

It was a piece of exquisite skill that opened the scoring on the hour mark. Adam Reed, from a central position, curled a pass towards Mintah. The striker cushioned it with his chest, turned his defender, took a touch on his head, and when the ball dropped, he fired it hard and low across goal to score. It was the perfect reward for Jordan's unrelenting work ethic and refusal to be disheartened, despite three earlier penalty appeals being turned down.

He would be involved again for the second goal in the 81st minute, knocking on a clearance into the path of his strike partner. Mendy took one touch to take it away from his marker, and from outside the box, curled an expertly taken low shot into the corner.

"In my life, everything happens for God's reasons," said Mintah, who was named Man of the Match. "God knows why the referee didn't blow his whistle. I said to myself, 'I need to continue going.' You can see the team spirit is very high. This was my very best match I've played in," he added.

After their well earned victory, Kaya Makati have very little time to rest, with back-to-back matches against Ilocos United scheduled at the University of Makati. The first one will be on Wednesday, July 19, and the second on Sunday, July 23.

"Going into our back-to-back games against Ilocos, the most crucial thing will be recovery, especially for the players that played 90 minutes today," said Marcaida. "It's very difficult to play three games in eight days, so on the management side, we make sure that the players are rested properly."

Tickets to the upcoming matches against Ilocos United can be purchased at, or any SM Tickets outlet.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Davao holds Global Cebu to a draw

Man of the Match Marko Trkulja leads the team in thanking the Cebu crowd
Global Cebu FC's aspirations of taking over the leadership of the Philippines Football League took a major hit against Davao Aguilas FC on Saturday night, as they were held to a goalless draw at the Cebu City Sports Center.

The Sugbu squad came into the night off back-to-back wins, while the visitors are fresh from a 5-1 battering at home against Kaya FC-Makati.

The hosts tried to take advantage of Davao missing their skipper and defender Jason Cordova, but they could not convert on their early scoring opportunities from Shu Sasaki. Marjo Allado tried to make adjustments in the second half, but Aguilas goalkeeper Marko Trkulja prevented potential game-winners from Hikaru Minegeshi and Sekou Sylla.

Speaking to the media after the match Trkulja was pleased with securing the clean sheet, noting that head coach Gary Phillips highlighted the "good effort" put in the match. For Phillips, he was "very proud of the team's performance tonight, particularly at the back of last week's results, which was unacceptable." He added that they stuck together and maintained their discipline.

Allado praised Davao's defending, saying that it "made the difference tonight." He adds, "We tried to adjust at halftime in order to score and to break the line of their defense but still we couldn't." "It's a lesson for us, he says, "we need to train on how to beat that when we play against them again."


The Sportswriters Association of Cebu, along with San Miguel Brewery, handed over their 35th All-Cebu Sports Awards Special Citation (for excellence in football and contributing to the professionalism of the sport) to Davao Aguilas FC defender Jordan Jarvis. Jarvis helped Ateneo claim the UAAP Season 79 Men's Football title, while being named as its Rookie of Year, before making the leap to the professional ranks with Davao.

Kaya FC-Makati hosts tricky JPV Marikina

From L-R: Dan Padernal, Takashi Odawara, Adam Reed, Noel Marcaida
A couple of teams in the top pack of the Philippines Football League are set to face off this Sunday afternoon at the University of Makati, as Kaya FC-Makati hosts JPV Marikina FC at 4pm.

This matchup had been scheduled to take place two months earlier, but had been postponed due to a venue issue.

The visitors are seeking to bounce back from their five-match winning streak being snapped a week earlier by FC Meralco Manila, while the hosts are seeking their third consecutive victory. Both sides are currently separated by a point, and are looking to pounce on moving up the bunched-up standings with the Sparks losing 7-0 to Ceres-Negros FC and Global-Cebu FC being held to a goalless draw against Davao Aguilas FC.

According to Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida, JPV has "been performing well" and have "been very consistent." He adds, "They have players who are technically sound." Noel thinks this is "an important match" and will be "a tough test for both sides."

As for his counterpart Dan Padernal, he believes that this fixture "will be a test of our character, how we move up again to becoming a winning team." He adds that they are ready and have had "good preparation."

Adam Reed in the pre-match press conference says that "if we stick to our game plan and prepare will, we'll do well tomorrow." He also acknowledges that the team is "always improving" and that they are "going in the right direction." His counterpart in the pre-match press conference, Takashi Odawara, thinks that "they can win the game."


Marcaida says that all players are available save for Woody Ugarte, who will be fit to play next week.

Streaming of this fixture has been made available online, as seen below.

The other PFL matchup scheduled today sees the two teams with the worst record in the league with Ilocos United FC hosting Stallion Laguna FC at the Elpidio P. Quirino Stadium in Bantay, Ilocos Sur.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

FC Meralco Manila ready for Ceres-Negros FC challenge

Captain James Younghusband rallies the troops in training last Wednesday.

FC Meralco Manila faces arguably their biggest test of the Philippines Football League when they host high-flying Ceres-Negros FC later today, Saturday, July 15 at Rizal Memorial. Kickoff is slated at 4:00 pm, with tickets (PhP 20 for bleachers, PhP 50 for grandstand) available at the gate.

The Sparks hold the Busmen in high regard, as the lone Filipino side in continental competition. Phil Younghusband says, "They have players with good reputations and deservedly so. Any one of their players can produce a moment of magic," pertaining to their strikeforce of Manny Ott, Stephan Schroeck, Iain Ramsay, and Bienve Marañon. He counters, though, noting that the "We are a confident team. Winning is a habit and we have been winning. Our organization is very good, I think that is what has brought us success."

Head coach Aris Caslib adds, "It will take determination and concentration to win this game. Both sides have good quality. Whoever wants it more will win." At the pre-match press conference, he hoped that "we have a good match," noting that this would be "good for the league and for the fans." He adds, "Ceres is a very organized team. They are playing right now in the AFC Cup. It speaks well of their level, so it is a good motivation for the club to play against them."

With Ace Villanueva still unavailable due to his U-22 national team commitments, Junjun Badelic will be asked to once again protect the goal for the Sparks. He admits that the coaching staff has been asking him to take a more vocal role with the defense, and acknowledges that this matchup will be a challenge.

Risto Vidakovic in the pre-match press conferences said that they respect the Sparks since they are leading the table and views them as a challenge, noting their desire to be the first team to defeat them in the PFL and "make it a good game." He adds, "I think if we play 100%, if we do the things we did before, and if we take the game serious and we work altogether, i think we can make a good game. We must give 100% tomorrow."

Mike Casas added that the team is 200% ready for today's matchup, with a week of training under their belt.

Ceres-Negros is currently in fifth place with 16 points, but a win over FC Meralco Manila will move them up to third place and allow the other contenders to creep up to the current leaders. The Busmen are fresh from a 7-0 annihilation of Ilocos United at home in Panaad Stadium in Bacolod. Meanwhile, the Sparks would like to expand their lead in the Philippines Football League with a win this afternoon.


No Daniel Gadia and Ashley Flores for FC Meralco Manila, while Joaco Cañas is "50/50" with the injury he incurred late against JPV. Caslib did say he took park in the practices, noting his desire to participate in such a big game. However, the gaffer acknowledged that they have been preparing with Tyler Matas and Neil Dorimon in case the Spanish defender is a no-go. James Younghusband has been limited as a substitute for the past couple of games, although he did score the game-winner against JPV. Jake Morallo did practice, although he is nursing a sore Achilles tendon. In spite with these injury issues, Caslib says, "We're good, from the starting eleven to the players coming from the bench."

Vidakovic revealed that everything is going according to plan with Reichelt's rehab schedule and return to form, which is currently capped off by his return to action against Ilocos, scoring twice as a substitute. He also noted that Simone Rota has returned to action after being sidelined with an injury.

Although the match will not be televised, here is the streaming link for this huge PFL matchup.

The other PFL matchup today features Global-Cebu FC hosting Davao Aguilas FC at the Cebu City Sports Complex at 7pm today. The Sugbu side is seeking to consolidate their hold of second place against the visitors, who have yet to win a single match so far this season.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

ONE Championship reveals major fights for ONE: Quest for Greatness

The Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur will be the backdrop for the upcoming ONE Championship mixed martial arts event in the country, ONE: Quest for Greatness, which is set to take place on August 18, a day before the official start of the 29th Southeast Asian Games.

ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong stated that "It is always an exciting time in Kuala Lumpur whenever our world-class athletes climb atop Asia's biggest and grandest martial arts stage. Our warriors are eager to put on a show for fans in Kuala Lumpur, and it is our honor to have them perform in this marvelous city."

The main event of ONE: Quest for Greatness features current ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat Gafurov in a title defense against Martin Nguyen. According to Sityodtong, Gafurov and Nguyen "are two of the promotion's finest featherweights."

The Cobra is toting a 15-0 record, with eleven of those win coming via submission, reflecting his high-level grappling skills. He has been the champion since defeating Narantungalag Jadambaa in 2015. He has since defeated Jadambaa in a rematch one year later, which is his last match before this upcoming fight.

The Situ-Asian is seeking to avenge his lone loss in nine fights, which he took on a few days notice to face Gafurov. All of his fights have resulted in a finish, with five knockouts, including his latest victory against Kazunori Yokota, and three submission triumphs.

The other fights under the ONE: Quest for Greatness card are as follows:

Ev Ting vs Nobutatsu Suzuki
Agilan Thani vs Sherif Mohamed
Kevin Belingon vs Reece McLaren
Gianni Subba vs Riku Shibuya
Ann Osman vs May Ooi
Robin Catalan vs Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke
Keanu Subba vs Christian Lee
Edward Kelly vs Emilio Urrutia
Rene Catalan vs Bu Huo You Ga

Ev Ting is seeking to bounce back from his defeat to current ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang by facing off against former ONE Welterweight World Champion Nobutatsu Suzuki, who dropped down in weight for this lightweight matchup.

Like Ting, Agilan Thani is also seeking to bounce back from his title defeat, after bowing to current ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren. The Alligator will face off against Sherif Mohamed. The Shark is currently the Evolution Light Heavyweight Champion, with all of his eight victories having resulted in a finish, evenly split between submissions and knockouts. Mohamed recently made his ONE Championship debut against Igor Subora and will seek to impress by taking down his upcoming opponent in his home turf.

Kevin Belingon is one of the most talented Filipino mixed martial artists. The Team Lakay fighter has a 15-5 record, with six wins coming via knockout. The Silencer is fresh from stopping Toni Tauru and is set to take on Reece McLaren. Just like Ting and Thani, Lightning is coming off a title defeat, just falling short against current ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes via split decision.

Gianni Subba is seeking to continue his impressive run in the flyweight division, having won five of his last six fights and toting a 8-2 record. He will be up against former ONE Flyweight World contender Riku Shibuya, who has built a following with his exciting, unorthodox style and powerful combinations. The Outsider is toting a 13-3-2 record, and is fresh from a decision victory over Roy Doliguez.

The Causeway rivalry takes a new dimension with Ann Osman facing off against ONE Championship debutant May Ooi. Athena will seek to use her strength and aggressiveness to overpower her opponents. Ooi represented Singapore in Olympic Swimming at Barcelona in 1992, before making the pivot toward mixed martial arts. She totes a 2-2 record as a strawweight prospect.

Robin Catalan is part of the Catalan family of fighters, with a 6-2 record in the strawweight division. Fresh from securing a split decision victory over fellow Pinoy fighter Jeremy Miado, Robin will be facing former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke. The three-time Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai world champion has a 7-2 MMA record with over 25 years of competitive experience, with his latest bout being a first round KO win over Adrian Matheis.

In a Causeway matchup of two very promising young featherweight prospects, Keanu Subba faces Christian Lee. The 22-year-old Subba totes a 5-2 record after initially making his named as a MIMMA featherweight champion. The KL native defeated Ahmed Mujtaba via submission in his last match. Meanwhile, the 19-year-old Lee rattled off five straight thrilling finishes in his young MMA career. The Warrior defeated Wan Jianping via first round TKO in his last match. Of course, many recognize Christian as the younger brother of current ONE Women's Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee.

Edward Kelly is considered as one of the brightest Filipino featherweight MMA prospects. Part of Team Lakay, "The Ferocious" has won his last three fights, including a third round TKO of Sunoto in his last match. He is slated to face Emilio Urrutia, who will make his ONE Championship debut as a featherweight and has a 9-4 MMA record.

2006 Asian Games gold medalist Rene Catalan also returns to the cage, seeking his third straight victory in ONE Championship against 2016 ONE Hefei Flyweight Tournament winner Bu Huo You Ga.

For further details on the ONE: Quest For Greatness or other updates from ONE Championship, one can check out

Kaya Makati Smash Five Past Davao Aguilas Amidst Electric Davao del Norte Atmosphere

Eric Giganto is back home.

Eric Giganto couldn't have asked for a better homecoming, as Kaya FC-Makati romped to a 5-1 victory over Davao Aguilas in the Philippines Football League this past Sunday. In front of thousands of spectators at the Davao del Norte Sports Complex in Tagum City, Kaya scored four goals in the second half, including one from Eric himself.

Jovin Bedic's brace, and goals from Alfred Osei, Giganto, and Kenshiro Daniels ensured Kaya will be flying back home with maximum points and spirits flying high.

The first half gave no indication of a one-sided score line, as the opening period finished 1-0. Bedic scored the lone goal in the 20th minute, firing in Robert Lopez Mendy's cross. The goal came against the run of play, as the hosts had back-to-back chances just a few minutes prior that drew a great save from Ref Cuaresma, as well as a crucial defensive block. The rest of the half saw Makati struggling to really create opportunities against a game Davao defense.

Shortly after the restart, Davao found an equalizer, as Nikola Grubjesic fired in a ball that was headed into his path off a free kick.

The game totally changed seven minutes later, though. A Jason Cordova studs up challenge towards Marwin Angeles resulted in the Davao skipper being immediately sent off. Fortunately for Kaya, the former Philippine international escaped serious injury.

The visitors made sure to full benefit from their personnel advantage, as Osei's diving header off a Miguel Tanton free kick restored the lead for Kaya. Bedic then made it 3-1 with a strong finish from a Daniels cut back.

Giganto would then get his long-awaited moment, scoring his first-ever goal in the PFL off an assist from Adam Reed to make it 4-1. Daniels capped off scoring in impressive fashion with a lovely free kick in injury time.

After the match, head coach Noel Marcaida highlighted that due to the Aguilas being a man down, "they started leaving a lot of space for us to operate. We exploited them every chance we could." He also added that "Davao really showed what they could do" during the first half.

Retaking fourth place in the PFL, they will have the chance to improve their standing in the league this Sunday, as they host JPV Marikina FC.

NOTE: Giganto is a native of Maco, Compostela Valley, and many of his family members and friends were at the game to finally watch him play.

Monday, July 10, 2017

NBA 3X Philippines set to kick off 2017 edition

2017 NBA3X
This past weekend, the NBA announced that the 2017 edition of NBA 3X in the Philippines will be graced by Steven Adams, Reggie Theus, and by the Laker Girls.

The other half of the Oklahoma City Thunder's Stache Bros, Adams is "looking forward to meeting the Filipino fans and experiencing the country's vibrant culture." He adds, "I'm also excited to work with the talented athletes from across the Philippines at NBA 3X." The Kiwi big man and Pitt alum averaged 11.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, and a block this past season.

Theus played 13 seasons in the NBA, before making the transition to coaching, which included a stint as a head coach with the Sacramento Kings. He now is the head coach at Cal State-Northridge, where Kobe Paras is set to resume his NCAA career after transferring out of Creighton. He says, "This will be my first trip to the Philippines, and I can't wait to see the passion Filipinos have for the game of basketball. With the inclusion of 3-on-3 basketball in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, NBA 3X is a testament to the growth and popularity of the game internationally.

NBA 3X is the league's foray into the 3x3 tournament, with men's and women's teams from different age groups tangle across different divisions. For the 2017 edition presented by AXA Philippines, there will be a preliminary tournament set to take place at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati, scheduled on July 15-16. Results from that prelims will determine the finalists that will participate at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall, which will take place on July 22-23. The finals will also be spiced up with the NBA level entertainment.

In addition, the NBA will have a NBA Cares event on July 19 at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines' College of Engineering with 10-14 year-old kids.

Registration is already ongoing for the different divisions on a first-come, first-served basis. There are five men's divisions (U-13, U-16, U-18, Open), and two women's divisions (U-16, Open). Of course, there will be a by-invitation-only Celebrity Division, and new division that is exclusive for AXA Philippines employees and distributors. Just head to for further details.

According to AXA Philippines President and CEO Raul Hora, "We are excited to partner with NBA 3X Philippines and see this as a platform to elevate 3-on-3 basketball in the country. In the same way that we assist clients in making sound financial decision, we look forward to seeing boys and girls of all ages showcase their skills, exhibit teamwork, and execute their gameplan to win on and off the court. With Steven, Reggie, and the Laker Girls in attendance, this event is a great opportunity to provide the NBA experience to fans."

Aside from AXA Philippines, the 2017 edition of NBA 3X Philippines has CloudFone, Globe at Home and Globe Prepaid, and Panasonic as its official partners, with SM Mall of Asia and Spalding as supporting partners. Official broadcast coverage is possible with ABS-CBN S+A, Basketball TV, and NBA Premium TV.

FC Meralco Manila strengthen hold atop PFL

In a matchup featuring the top two teams in the Philippines Football League, FC Meralco Manila snapped JPV Marikina's winning run with a 2-1 victory at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Saturday night.

Much like their previous meeting, team skipper James Younghusband scored the game-winner for the Sparks in the 67th minute. In this case, James took the throw-in from Tyler Matas and flicked it past Nelson Gasic.

FC Meralco Manila opened scoring in the 23rd minute, when JPV central defender Masaaki Yanagawa and Gasic had a miscommunication error leading to the former scoring an own goal. JPV does manage to find a quick equalizer five minutes later, with John Celiz took advantage of a miscue by Daniel Gadia and found Satoshi Otomo, who then beat Junjun Badelic at the top corner.

Gadia's rough day was capped off with the former UP skipper being sent off for being booked for his second yellow card of the evening in the 76th minute.

JPV tried to find an equalizer and make full use of their personnel advantage, but the Sparks worked together to prevent one from happening. The closest answer they could have was an attempt from Takashi Odawara late, but it was off to right of the post.

In spite of the loss, Dan Padernal remained optimistic about the team's performance, knowing that the goals scored came off a set piece and a miscommunication. He also cited the team's ball possession and creation of scoring chances, but they just were unable to convert. He added that the team "will learn from their mistakes, " and praised the Sparks' adjustments to combat their personnel disadvantage.

Aris Caslib highlighted his bench as a factor in securing the victory, while also noting that luck played a role, as well. He also highlighted that the team has a desire to go into the next level. As for the game-winner, "James was at the right time, at the right place."

With the win, FC Meralco Manila extended the gap against JPV to five points (23 to 18), with the Marikina side falling to third place with Global Cebu FC's 3-0 victory over Stallion Laguna FC allowing the Sugbu side to move up to second with 20 points.

The Sparks have a huge opportunity to consolidate their reign atop the PFL table as they face Ceres-Negros this weekend, with a 4pm kickoff.


Both Tahj Minniecon and Milan Nikolic returned to action for FC Meralco Manila after observing their one-match suspension in their previous fixture. Joaco Canas suffered a deep cut in his shin and was sent to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

Both Camelo Tacusalme and Takumi Uesato did not play for JPV Marikina due to injury. Padernal did praise David Basa's performance in stepping in Camelo's role during the match. He also acknowledged that the outcome would have been different had Uesato played.

Caslib also highlighted FC Meralco Manila's commitment to the national team, allowing key cog Ace Villanueva to travel and participate in the U22 training camp currently taking place in Japan. He says both Ace and Junjun are starter-caliber.

FC Meralco Manila also honored its youth standouts who did well in the Youth Football League before the game.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Davao Aguilas affirming grassroots development

Although the Davao Aguilas are still searching for their first victory as a team in the Philippines Football League, the club continues to establish itself in the region.

It recently organized a football clinic for 200 kids at the Tionko Football Field in Davao City, with the possibility of future clinics to take place in Davao and at other areas in Mindanao.

Head coach Gary Phillips stressed the importance of setting up a training camp in Davao, as well as in helping to develop football interest in the region, while also being able to tap more local football talents as well.

The team takes pride in having Davao natives and other Mindanao-based football talents within its squad, some of which were named to the Philippine Under-22 team that is slated to have a camp in Japan that was arranged by the Football Associations of the Philippines and Japan.

The team has five representatives in that particular camp, in Junnell Mark Bautista, Jaime Vicenzo Cheng, Rey Franco Miguel de la Torre, Van Rey Diaz, and Richard Talaroc.

The camp is in preparation for the upcoming AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers in Cambodia and the Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia later this year.

Kaya FC-Makati Seeking Back-to-back Away Wins in the PFL

From L to R: Nate Burkey, Gary Phillip, Noel Marcaida, Eric Giganto

Kaya FC Makati is looking to make it back-to-back victories on the road this afternoon, as they travel to Tagum to face Davao Aguilas FC in the prime Philippines Football League matchup today, with LIVE telecast on PTV 4.

One thing that will be expected at the Davao del Norte Sports Complex is a lively home crowd, with a total of sixteen thousand people having watched the last four home matches.

According to head coach Noel Marcaida, "It's a great feeling coming here and playing our first away game against Davao. All the games played by the Davao Aguilas have always had a great atmosphere, so we're expecting a big crowd and we're expecting an exciting game." He adds, "We came here to win and to get maximum points. If we go back to the game where we played them in our home turf, we were very positive. We created lots of chances, and majority of the possession was with us. Although the Aguilas threatened in the second half, we held them to a 2-0 scoreline."

As for Eric Giganto, the match serves as a homecoming, as the young Kaya forward is a native of Maco, Compostela Valley. He expressed excitement to put on a show in front of a familiar audience, much like what his former FEU teammates Paolo Bugas and Amani Aguinaldo got when they had their own homecoming when Global Cebu FC played recently. According to Eric, "Majority of the crowd will be my friends. The crowd will be very supportive. I've experienced it myself as a native of Davao. We hope to give them a great game. They have a strong side. Especially since they are eager to win [their first] three points, I'm expecting they will do their best. And so will we."

Kaya FC-Makati is currently fifth in the league with 14 points after nine matches, just two points behind Ceres-Negros FC, which demolished Ilocos United 7-0 to enter the top half of the standings. Davao is in sixth place with just four points and still seeking their first victory as a team. In their last meeting, Kaya defeated the Aguilas, 2-0 at the University of Makati.

The other PFL matchup today sees Global Cebu FC seeking to follow up its 1-0 victory against Ceres-Negros with another victory against struggling Stallion Laguna FC at the Cebu City Sports Center. Kick off for that matchup will be at 7pm.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

FC Meralco Manila and JPV Marikina clash for PFL leadership

Jake Morallo (in white), battles for possession with JPV's Sean Kane in the first meeting of the teams last May 13.
A clash atop the Philippines Football League leaderboard is set later tonight at 7pm between current leaders FC Meralco Manila and current second placers JPV Marikina FC at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

JPV is toting an impressive form coming into this matchup, with five straight wins heading in and just two points back from first place. That could have been six if the weather was more cooperative last weekend. They led 1-0 against Davao before match officials halted the fixture due to inclement conditions. Their last defeat happened to take place against the Sparks back on May 13, a 1-0 result thanks to a James Younghusband header at the Binan Football Stadium.

Speaking of James, he will be ready for the upcoming match, after making a substitute appearance during their 1-0 win over Ilocos United FC at the EPQ Stadium in Bantay, Ilocos Sur last week. Those were his first on-field minutes since being sidelined by an ankle injury incurred during international duty last month.

One person who will not be available for this matchup is starting goalkeeper Ace Villanueva, who is currently with the Philippines U22 team in Japan for a training camp in preparation for the upcoming AFC U23 qualifiers and the Southeast Asian Games.

The matchup will feature a couple of red-hot goalscorers in Phil Younghusband for the Sparks and Takumi Uesato for JPV. Both teams will have key returnees in time for this match, with Milan Nikolic and Tahj Minniecon returning from suspension for FC Meralco Manila and recent international call-up Camelo Tacusalme for JPV Marikina.

JPV head coach Dan Padernal expects the team to be ready, while Alvin Sarmiento sees this as a good game and a tough battle, hoping that they could get the result that they want.

Tickets are available at the gate for PhP 20 (bleachers) and PhP 50 (grandstand). There is streaming on tap below for those who cannot watch the game.

The other scheduled PFL matchup today sees Ceres-Negros FC go up against Ilocos United at 4pm. That game slated to be shown LIVE on PTV 4. For Bacolod residents, Ceres announced that the game at Panaad Stadium is free admission for the bleachers and grandstand area.