July 17, 2022 10:53 p.m.
The Philippines completed the ascent to the top of the Asean Football Federation Women’s Championship last night with a vengeful 3-0 win over Thailand in the final in front of a delighted hometown crowd at the packed Rizal Memorial Stadium
Sporting bright red battle colors and energized by 8,257 noisy local fans, the Filipinas took the fight to the Thais, earning payback for their 0-1 setback to the Thais in the group stage while bagging the country’s first major international title.
It was the latest laurel for the spirited charges of Australian coach Alen Stajcic, who qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time with their semifinal finish in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup last February and a bronze-medal finish in the 31st Vietnam Southeast Asian Games last May.
Defender Jessika Cowart bulldozed her way to the front in heading the first goal just seven minutes into the match off a precise right corner kick by skipper Tahnai Annis then Katrina Guillou threaded the needle inside the box in giving the hosts a surprise 2-0 lead at the break.
And, fittingly, it was irrepressible striker Sarina Bolden who hammered the final nail into the Thailand coffin with a header in the 88th minute, before exiting almost immediately to a standing ovation from the crowd.
The margin could have been bigger if not for the goaltending heroics of Thai keeper Chotmanee Thongmongkol, who was kept busy all night by the predatory hosts.
Her Philippine counterpart, Olivia McDaniel, also shared the spotlight and was superb at the net as usual, especially late in the second half when the four-time champions pressed the attack.
Earlier, Myanmar completed dethroned Vietnam’s humiliation with a thrilling come-from-behind 4-3 win in taking home the bronze medal.
Scoreless in her previous outings, striker San Thaw Thaw cut loose with a hat trick, including the winning goal in the 88th minute on a follow-up in relegating the Vietnamese to fourth place for one of their most miserable outings in the tournament.
“This win is truly exhilarating. We’ve climbed a little hill tonight; we’ve conquered Southeast Asia but I know they are big mountains ahead. It is a big hill to climb and there are bigger challenges ahead of us,” said Stacjic, the architect of first major international football win for the Philippines.
Setting up the rematch for the hosts was their stirring 4-0 upset of defending champion Vietnam in the semifinals last Friday.
The Filipinas continued their relentless drive in the second half, with veteran forward Quinley Quezada getting a clear shot from the right wing in the 60th minute, but the ball hit the right goal post and was cleared by Thongmongkol.
With the exception of defender Dominique Randle, Stajcic assembled what could be his strongest starting 11 led by skipper Annis, inspirational striker Bolden and veteran defenders Eva Madarang, Sofia Harrison and Hali Long plus Jessica Miclat ant Sara Eggesvik patrolling the midfield.
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NU Lady Bulldogs reach UAAP for 9th consecutive time
November 22, 2023 8:30 p.m.
TOP-SEEDED National University needed just one game to dispose of fourth-ranked Ateneo de Manila University, 58-43, and advance to its ninth straight UAAP Women’s Basketball Finals on Wednesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The Lady Bulldogs will seek their eighth consecutive title when they face the winner between the twice-to-beat UST Growling Tigresses and the UP Fighting Maroons in the Season 86 best-of-three championship series.
The UST-UP game is ongoing as of publishing.
This was also NU’s 12th straight win after losing to UP in the first round last October 8, 69-72.
“I thought it’s always hard to play against Kacey Dela Rosa and Jhazmin Joson kasi they’re considered nga the 1-2 punch of Ateneo that’s why our main goal every time we play them is to limit them,” said Lady Bulldogs head coach Aris Dimaunahan.
And that goal of limiting the “Kobe and Shaq” of Ateneo in their second straight Final Four duel? NU successfully achieved.
Dela Rosa was limited to just 10 points, including just two in the second half, but still grabbed 11 rebounds and two blocks. In her final game for the Blue Eagles, Jhaz Joson was held to just seven points on a woeful 2-of-12 shooting while also committing eight turnovers.
NU made some separation from a slim 31-27 lead at the break with a strong third quarter that saw Ann Pingol score eight points after being held scoreless in the first half, helping build a 48-37 advantage heading into the fourth.
The Lady Bulldogs continued their onslaught to open the payoff period with Marylene Solis, Maymay Canuto, and Pingol contributing for a 55-39 cushion with 6:15 to go.
After Junize Calago’s layup at the 7:09 mark, the Lady Bulldogs tightened up, with the Blue Eagles’ next basket coming in at the 2:41 mark on a Kacey Dela Rosa deuce, 41-58.
“Thank you sa mga teammates ko na in-encourage nila ako para makabawi ako nung second half kasi nung first half wala talaga ako,” said Pingol, who scored all her 10 points in the pivotal second half where the Lady Bulldogs broke away.
Camille Clarin paced NU in the first half, making all of her 12 points there to go with four assists and three rebounds.
Maymay Canuto and Jainaba Konateh both tallied eight points while grabbing nine and seven rebounds, respectively.
After the game, Joson was given her moment by NU and Ateneo at center court.
Just like last season, the Blue Eagles finished the season in fourth place.
Calago led Ateneo with 12 points, eight rebounds, four steals, and three assists but went just 5-of-19 from the field, while Sarah Makanjuola also added eight points, 16 rebounds, and two blocks.
Mille Gastador had also played her last game for the Blue Eagles.
The Final Four battle was also attended by Gilas Pilipinas players Janine Pontejos, Chack Cabinbin, Khate Castillo, Trina Guytingco, and Mikka Cacho.
NU 58 – Clarin 12, Pingol 10, Canuto 8, Konateh 8, Berberabe 4, Solis 4, Cayabyab 3, Betanio 3, Talas 3, Surada 2, Fabruada 1, Alterado 0, Alcantara 0.
Ateneo 43 – Calago 12, Dela Rosa 10, Makanjuola 8, Joson 7, Villacruz 6, Gastador 0, Angala 0, Solis 0, Nieves 0, Mataga 0, Fetalvero 0, Eufemiano 0.
Quarterscores: 13-11, 31-27, 48-37, 58-43.
Pacquiao lauds Marcial, wants Asiad silver medalist to fight in Manila before Paris stint
November 12, 2023 5:50 p.m.
RETIRED eight-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has just personally congratulated Paris Olympic-bound fighter Eumir Felix Marcial for winning a silver medal in the recent Hangzhou 19th Asian Games in China.
Not only becoming the first Filipino boxer to qualify for the Paris Games after reaching the Asiad final — an Olympic continental qualifier, the 28-year-old boxer from Zamboanga City got boxing tips from Pacquiao during their meet up at the Forbes Park in Makati City last Friday.
“He [Marcial] was congratulated by the Senator personally after bagging a silver medal in the Asian Games and making it to the Olympics for the second time,” International matchmaker Sean Gibbons said. “The living legend Pacquiao was so excited to see him, he also gave Eumir some boxing tips.”
But there was a bigger story from there.
The 44-year-old future hall of famer, according to Gibbons, is planning to set up a pro fight here in an undetermined venue in Manila for Marcial — one of Marcial’s possible two scheduled pro bouts — before competing to the Paris Olympics from July 26 to August 11.
“The Asiad silver medalist, Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist just met with Viva Manny Pacquiao, he presented him the silver medal, and the big news was the senator wants to do a fight here in Manila, maybe in February to be sponsored by the Manny Pacquiao promotions,” Gibbons added.
Marcial, who is sporting a 4-0 win-loss record with two knockouts, expressed excitement to fight in front of his hometown, noting that the last time he fought in Manila was in 2019 Philippines 30th Southeast Asian Games when he won the gold in the middleweight class.
“It definitely excites me to hear it from Senator himself that he wanted to arrange a fight here for me under his promotions,” Marcial said. “There are many Filipinos who like to see me fight here. I’m begging for the support of my fellow Filipinos.”
Marcial will definitely be the main event bout of the fight card to be arranged by Gibbons later on, but the training of the four-time Southeast Asian Games middleweight king will definitely stay in the United States.
“My training stays in the United States for sure because that’s only the ideal place to train not only for my pro bouts but also for my Olympic campaign,” added Marcial. “I will just return to Manila two weeks before the fight if it’s officially announced.”