Sluggish in their first match in two months, the Philippine Azkals slipped past Maldives, 2-0, in their international friendly match Thursday at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
An own goal from Maldives forward Mohammed Samdhooh at the 49th minute broke the ice as he inadvertently headed the ball, which was originally intended for Iain Ramsay, to his squad’s net.
Jerry Lucena then struck with another header at the 55th minute to double the lead.
The Philippines will play Uzbekistan on Tuesday at Philippine Sports Stadium to continue its journey in the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.
Philippine coach Thomas Dooley was relieved that no one from the Azkals was injured during the Azkals international friendly match against Maldives on Thursday.
While Patrick Reichelt seemingly pulled his hamstring during extra time at Rizal a Memorial Stadium, Dooley is confident that the Ceres striker would be ready to go for the Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Uzbekistan on Tuesday.
“It’s a great thing that we won and nobody got injured,” he said at the post-match press conference following the Azkals’ 2-0 win over Maldives.
“He [Reichelt] should be fine. Tomorrow’s day off sure will be helpful for him but I expect him to be ready on Tuesday.”
The Azkals can breathe a sigh of relief as the squad is still reeling from the loss of key players due to injury.
The squad is still coping with the injuries of Simone Rota (ribs) and Rob Gier (knee), but Dooley is expecting a squad in full strength against the Uzbeks for the all-important qualifying match.
Baser Amer, in jeans and a red shirt, reeled in the atmosphere of NCAA basketball as Mapua and San Sebastian took the San Juan Arena court.
The Red Lions were about face Jose Rizal University in the second game, and it was Amer’s first time to don his Red and white jersey after more than a month of recovering from a shoulder injury.
He wasn’t included on the starters but got the chance to set foot on the court he usually owned again in the 8:42 mark of the second quarter.
For the whole time he played in the second quarter, Baser registered three rebounds and four assists. He finished the game with four rebounds and five assists.
Amer said being away for seven weeks made him miss the game that made him a household name.
“I was so happy, I’ve missed playing,” Amer said. “This is my last year, I want to make it special.”
Red Lions head coach Jamike Jarin said with Amer back in the fold, he has another leader on the court to rely on aside from co-captain Art De La Cruz.
“Baser’s return is really big,” Jarin said. “His leadership, demeanor, and winning attitude you can’t coach that.”
Amer attempted four shots in his return, three from beyond the arc, but nine games out gave him the typical jitters after a long absence due to injury.
“It’s still not at a hundred percent, I’m still continuing my therapy in Ateneo, maybe I’m at 90 percent,” Amer said of his injury he sustained in a game against Letran on July 16.
Still, Amer knew he was set to be reinstated into the lineup in the game against JRU after the doctors advised him and Jarin he would be good to go.
“When the doctor said I’m good to go, I knew I had to be ready.”
Manny Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum said his prized fighter is eyeing the presidency after he retires from boxing.
Talking to TMZ, the Top Rank CEO said Pacquiao would retire in 2016 to become the President of the Philippines.
“He’s gonna fight again next year but his goal is to become a senator in the Philippines, which he will be next year, and then to be president,” Arum said.
Pacquiao, who is only 36-years-old, is still ineligible to run for the Philippines’ highest political seat but a Senate stint is attainable as the Philippine Constitution only requires 35 years as the minimum age.
“I think Manny will retire once he’s elected to the Senate of the Philippines which is next year … he’s gonna hang up the gloves.”
MADRID — Chris Froome has pulled out of the Spanish Vuelta after fracturing a bone in his foot.
The two-time Tour de France champion — and two-time Vuelta runner-up — said on his Twitter account that the navicular bone in his foot was fractured, adding, “End of the Vuelta for me.”
Froome, who had been hoping to win the Vuelta after winning this year’s Tour de France, fell early in Wednesday’s 11th stage and looked to be in pain for the rest of the tough mountainous ride, although he managed to finish.
The Team Sky rider was 15th overall, 7 minutes, 30 seconds behind race leader Fabio Aru.
The 30-year-old Froome won his second Tour title in July.
ZURICH — Copa America winner Chile rises two places to No. 8 in the FIFA rankings still led by Argentina.
Chile’s swap with No. 10 England is the only top-10 movement after no elite teams played last month. Ranking changes reflect matches played since 2011 reducing in value.
Belgium edges World Cup winner Germany for the No. 2 slot. Colombia and Brazil remain in fourth and fifth.
Wales are ninth and above neighbor England.
Algeria leads African nations at No. 19.
Mexico is CONCACAF’s best at No. 26, two ahead of the United States.
No. 40 Iran leads Asia.
The next rankings will take account of two rounds in European Championship qualifying matches and World Cup qualifiers in Asia and CONCACAF.
Head coach: Bo Perasol
Last season: 11-3 (First)
Key losses: Nico Elorde, Chris Newsome
Key returnees: Kiefer Ravena, Von Pessumal, Arvin Tolentino
Key additions: Hubert Cani, Jerie Pingoy, Matt Nieto, Mike Nieto, Chibueze Ikeh
For the better part of the decade, Ateneo has been the undisputed king of the UAAP but an early exit in 2013 and a Final Four loss in 2014 saw most people forget about the five-peat reign from 2008 to 2012.
Of the holdovers from the Blue Eagles’ last title-winning team, Kiefer Ravena is seen as the savior of the Blue Eagles.
Blue Eagles head coach Bo Perasol said Ravena understands he has to put in a little more as he becomes the ultimate centerpiece of a team looking to wrap the UAAP Basketball title in blue-and-white laurels.
“It’s good for us, he understands that it isn’t just his scoring, not only his individual efforts are the things needed,” Perasol said of the 2014 MVP. “It’s how he will influence or inspire his teammates to really help him out in this campaign.”
Ateneo got the shock of its life when eventual runner-up University of Santo Tomas took the last Final Four slot in the last match between the two teams in 2013.
UAAP Season 77 also wasn’t all too kind for the Blue Eagles when eventual champion National University started its playoffs with two inspired victories over them.
This year, Perasol is dealing with the exit of Chris Newsome as the swingman enters the pros and rookie-laden team that has yet to be tested.
“I’m not sure how to describe last year, I’m still waiting how the new kids will respond,” Perasol said. “The exit of Newsome is definitely a huge impact, we lost a scorer, and it’s not to say we don’t have scorers but I’m waiting who will step up from the new players.”
“Of course there’s Kiefer and Von [Pessumal] but I don’t think they’d be enough to propel us to the top.”
Ateneo has six rookies including two prized point guards and one a Nigerian big man who Blue Eagles will look to once the UAAP’s big men come marching on their paint.
Jerie Pingoy has served his two-year residency with the Blue Eagles while Hubert Cani got his eligibility green lit after Sen. Pia Cayetano’s Student-Athletes Bill was signed into a law by President Benigno Aquino III.
Perasol is confident his new recruits are ready mentally but he has yet to see they can handle the pressure of the UAAP men’s basketball.
“They are ready if the mental aspect is concerned, but I still don’t know once the games come you all know how noisy the UAAP can get.”
Manning the blue paint is rookie power forward Chibueze Ikeh who has to fill void Ateneo in the low post which has been the biggest weakness for the Blue Eagles since the departure of seven-footer Greg Slaughter.
Perasol does not put too much pressure on his new big man but he hopes Chibueze can at least do the part of the typical big man who rebounds and protects the paint.
“All I need from him is to become a decent big man, get the rebounds for the guards, play tough defense, and match up on the other teams’ bigs,” Perasol said. “Definitely he’s not in the league of Alfred Arroga and Karim Abdul but he gets the job done.”
Head coach: Rensy Bajar
Last season: 1-13 (7th place)
Key losses: Moriah Gingerich, Martin Pascual
Key returnees: Henry Asilum, Diego Darrio, JR Gallarza
Key additions: Noah Webb, Cheick Mohamed Kone, Jerson Prado, Jose Longa
It has always been UAAP’s doormat, but for season 78 the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons vow to change all that.
With a new coach handling the reins of a frenetic team, UP believes it can shatter the UAAP landscape.
Fighting Maroons head coach Rensy Bajar said Season 78 would be completely different for them especially with massive revamp which included a shake up of the coaching staff.
“It’s a blank page for us, a new coaching staff, a new system, everything’s new,” Bajar said. “We are expecting to be a very hard working team especially on defense.”
“Actually we treat ourselves as a new team, the past is past, we are starting all over again. We don’t give importance to what’s happened in the past.”
Newly-instated team captain JR Gallarza seconded his coach’s expectations and said the players are feeling the coaching staff’s pressure.
“It starts with the coaching staff, they’re the epitome of tough love, they’re 80 percent tough, 20 percent love,” Gallarza said. “They don’t show the love too much but it’s there.”
As the Fighting Maroons start to change the public’s perception of the maroon-and-green, defense will be their first order of business.
Gone are the zones and calculated shifts, now comes a rabid press that’s tailor-made to exhaust opposing offenses.
“Our team has this ‘never say die’ attitude, we are going to be physical” Bajar said. “We are going to fight until the end.”
UP proved in the offseason that is was a changed team with a championship in the Filsports Basketball Association.
“The FBA was a very good experience for us, they proved they’re winners, they proved they’re champions,” Bajar said.
Stepping in prepared long before the next Southeast Asian Games now comes as a top priority for the Philippine Olympic Committee.
POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr. said Thursday that the build-up for the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Games should also get the attention in the same magnitude of the qualifying tournaments for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
“From what we had learned in the last SEA Games, we have to study and plot our preparation early,’’ said Cojuangco.
The POC chief probably took the cue from Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association president Philip Ella Juico, who already presented the proposed budget for athletics two years before the regional sportsfest.
Juico is looking beyond the 2016 Olympics and has also set up programs for the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang and 2019 Manila SEAG before the culmination in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Cojuangco sees preparation as the key to success for the country to improve its performance after the Philippines landed sixth overall in the recent Singapore Games among 11 countries.
But there are several things that need to be addressed quickly to ensure progress, like building a training center for instance.
“Give us a training center. The best approach is for our athletes to stay in the training center right after the (Singapore) SEA Games,’’ said Cojuangco.
The Philippine Sports Commission is still negotiating with the Clark International Airport Corporation in putting up a sports complex in a 50-hectare property inside the Clark field in Pampanga.
“If we have a training center, things will be different. Right now, we have two places that are not conducive,’’ said Cojuangco, referring to the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila and Philsports in Pasig City.
“It’s different if everything is centralized.”
POC secretary general Steve Hontiveros said Kuala Lumpur organizers have started to put the pieces of their hosting job together and will call a meeting among the 11 member-countries early January to push the pace.
Looking at a probable comeback from Jose Rizal University, Ola Adeogun carried San Beda down the stretch for an 83-75 trumping of the Heavy Bombers in the NCAA Seniors Basketball tournament Thursday at San Juan Arena.
Adeogun made the paint his personal playground, going on a solo 9-0 run to put some distance between the Red Lions and the Heavy Bombers with an 80-71 lead with 2:19 remaining.
Before Adeogun went on his personal outing, the Red Lions were subject to a Tey Teodoro explosion as the diminutive guard went on a his own 8-0 run that gave the Heavy Bombers a taset of the lead, 69-67, with 7:01 remaining.
Art De La Cruz, meanwhile, put up his first triple-double in his NCAA career with 26 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists while Adeogun had 23 points and 12 rebounds.
Red Lions head coach Jamike Jarin attributed their second half collapse to complacency as the Heavy Bombers pressed hard on defense forcing San Beda to numerous turnovers.
“We didn’t take care of the ball during the JRU run,” Jarin said. “We played complacent and turned the ball over many times and what’s bad is our back-to-back turnovers gave the Heavy Bombers the momentum.”
With the win, San Beda broke the tie atop the standings with idle Letran as the Red Lions improved to 10-2.
Paolo Pontejos had a team-high 19 points for the 6-5 JRU while Teodoro added 16.