Tuesday, 28 February 2012

UFL Rant N Rave Top 3: Division 2 Players Who'd Be Great To See in The First Division

If I was granted three wishes to add more exciting players to the already thrilling UFL first division, I’d ask for these three from the Division 2:
Jinggoy Valmayor – The former UAAP Rookie of the Year is expected to rejoin Diliman FC in the March transfer window, after a sensational UAAP season with UP. The San Carlos city native has probably the meanest right foot among our national youth team players, as seen during the SEA Games & UFL Cup. His return to the club will strengthen their push for promotion, as they sit just a few points behind division leaders, Pachanga.
Marwin Angeles – That goal vs Incheon Citizen FC was his ticket to fame. The Venice-born 21 year old has since seen action in the Hassanal Bolkiah trophy tourney & started seniors squad matches in their Middle East tour. Global FC which is Laos FC’s sister team are almost sure to take Marwin in, once they see him ripe to battle with the big boys of division one.
Freddy Gonzales – The comebacking "El Conquistador" will surely light up the first division with his flair & clinical finishing, if Pachanga are to gain promotion at the end of the season. The standout from Colegio de San Agustin & former national team striker is still considered by many as the first ever Filipino professional football player in history & the Philippines' finest striker since the legendary Paulino Alcantara (wiki).

Follow us on @UFLrantNrave for more of our thoughts about the UFL.
Photo credits: Anton Sheker - Goal.ph,, Marwin Angeles, interaksyon.com

Saturday, 25 February 2012

UFL Rant N Rave Top 3: Strikers In A Slump

It’s almost the middle of the season and some have found difficulty adjusting to the demands of the the current campaign. I’ve listed players who were phenomenal in 2011 (League & UFL Cup) but have struggled to regain their form in 2012. Here is my Top 3:
Yanti Barsales (1 goal in 6 games) - I’m tempted not to place him here, in respect to the former Azkals great. But we can't hide the fact that Yanti won the UFL Cup MVP plum just weeks ago & is surprisingly off the mark this season. It seems father time has finally caught up with him, he is 39 after all. 
Phil Connolly (1 goal in 5 games) - A lot was expected from Nomads upon their promotion to the top-flight. The partnership of Borrill and Connolly was also expected to thrive seeing how they dominated division two in 2011, but the attacking duo has only found the back of the net twice this term. Phil & the club have found life at the top-flight in their first year really challenging as they sit in the table’s bottom half.
Nate Burkey (1 goal in 5 games) - The prized striker from Alexandria, Virginia has been off-target for most of this term, after a breakthrough performance during 2011’s UFL Cup. Kaya added more arsenal to their already potent strike force, by signing Kigbu and Beloya at the start of the year. Nate’s starting role & minutes on the pitch have reduced since.

Follow us on Twitter at @UFLrantNrave for more of our random thoughts on the league.
Photo Credits: Mark Cristino, interaksyon.com

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

UFL Rant N Rave Top 3: Club Kits/Jerseys

Grading my favorite UFL club kits of the current 2011-12 season:

 L: Lee JooYoung; R: Juventus away kit

Stallion FC Pink Kit: 
The Stallion FC boss must be a big Juve fan, and it's not just because of their club crest. The pink kit that the TV commentators keep poking fun at, is actually one of my favorites. Alessandro Del Piero would be proud... this kit is almost a perfect imitation of Juventus' current away kit from Nike, save for the sponsor text. But, I am not sure that is Giligan's restaurant's real logo. Obviously there weren't a lot of work done in making this, but fan-girls, who outnumber the vocal majority of local football fans would look great in those.
Grade: B

Younghusband brothers, Cortina 
Loyola Meralco Sparks FC White Kit: 
I like this set better than the all-orange where they all look like the rain-soaked Dutch National team. I never thought blue and orange would go well together. It's like the Loyola futbol club and Meralco sponsorhip were meant to be. The blue name frame at the back is so unique. I just wish they kept it simpler though, sponsor logos are all over the place. 
Grade: B+

L: Rizaei , R: Bolzico, Burkey, Del Rosario  
Kaya FC Black Kit
I dunno but this black jersey which I saw for the first time during the 2011 UFL Cup, gives this sense of toughness. Though, the sponsor logo in the middle with all it's red brightness and box shape, looks a little lost in the mix. And what would football jerseys be without the signature Mizuno details on the sleeves. I don't see them were this anymore, plus they have LBC on their shirts already. For fans planning to go casual on them, this seems to go well with jeans or almost anything - as I've seen on some photos. Grade: B+

I wish these were all out in the market, for us to enjoy. I also wonder if Nike is ready to manufacture a kit for a UFL club, or will it be too costly? Well we all have different tastes, but tell me what your favorite UFL kit is? #UFLkits

Follow us also on Twitter @UFLrantNrave for more of our random thoughts.

*Photo credits: Mark Cristino, interaksyon.com

Thursday, 16 February 2012

UFL Rant N Rave Top 3: Best Foreign Players

UFL's First Division has tons of foreign talents - over 70 of them. They elevate the brand of play of our locals and give our league new flavor. Regardless of the quantity, we picked a few with the best quality in the current season (2011-12). Here's our new Top 3 list:
Eric Dagroh - We call him "The Dagger" and he liked it. Eric may just be Kaya's quickest attacker, constantly making those powerful runs & cuts inside the box. This 22 year-old Ivorian striker, was an important cog in Kaya's run to the UFL Cup semifinals last year. His minutes may be reduced this term, with the inclusion of fellow forwards Beloya and Kigbu, to Kaya's attacking options.
Izo El-Habbib - The Sudanese target man and former Kaya FC standout has always been there among the scoring leaders in league & cup competitions for the past few years. It's his size and technical ability that have given opposing defenders massive headaches. He is undoubtedly the heart of the Global offense and perhaps the best foreign talent in the early years of the league.
Lee Joo Young - He shoots, he SoKors! Trying to make a statement as the new best foreigner is Stallion's out-and-out striker from South Korea. He is arguably the league's best player as of late, contributing hugely to the Stallion's amazing division one debut & leading everyone in goal-scoring. Perhaps the club's most important asset is so in-form this season, that he deserves a cool nickname from the TV commentators: 'K-Pow'?, 'SK-47'?, 'Korean Magician'?, 'SoKoring Machine'?

For more random thoughts about the UFL, follow us on Twitter (@UFLrantNrave).

*Photo credits: Mark Cristino, interaksyon.com

Monday, 13 February 2012

UFL Rant N Rave Top 3: Hottest WAGs Pt.1

WAGs is an acronym used to describe the wives and girlfriends of high-profile footballers. The phrase isn't a new one, having been kicked around for the past few years, most notably during the 2006 World Cup. And since #PhilippineFootballisHereToStay, it wouldn't hurt to also recognize & behold the beauty of some of our local footballers' "significant others". Here is my first Top 3:

Michelle Madrigal
[SO: Jonah Romero - Kaya FC midfielder/defender]
The sexy model-actress & former Survivor Philippines castaway is often seen joining other soccer WAGs in watching Kaya FC matches. The 'jury' thinks there's a deeper reason why, besides being good friends with some of the players. They say, the Kapuso star who was rumored to be seeing an Azkal a year ago, is now the pretty squeeze of Kaya's do-it-all guy. Jo-Mich, yeah?

Isabelle Daza
[SO: Adrien Semblat - Kaya FC defender]
The daughter of the country's first Miss Universe, Gloria Diaz is the apple of the eye of Kaya central defender, Adrien Semblat. She loves & also knows the beautiful game pretty well, having captained the DLSU women's football varsity in her younger years. It shouldn't be long before we see this charming model again, watching & enjoying live UFL games. Don't  let us Miss U so much.

Maria Flores
[SO: Carlie De Murga - Global FC midfielder]
Ola guapa! The Spanish girlfriend of the Global FC newbie has been so supportive, she travels to Manila to cheer him on. The pretty journalism student also follows all of his boy's fan accounts & interacts a lot with fans. If you follow Carlie & Maria, you know they're so in love & are the masters in spreading a lot of 'queso' on Twitter.

Perhaps our version of the team-up of Becks & Posh (the Queen of WAGs) is that of Phil and Angel Locsin. They've been out there for a while, so it's time for new faces to make the list. 
Follow us also on Twitter at @UFLrantNrave.

*Photo Credits: Goal.ph, Mark Cristino, Jojo Lirio, FHM, pinaybeauty.net

Friday, 10 February 2012

UFL Rant N Rave Top 3: Most Underrated Defenders

As it is in most sports, offensive players get the most raves and praises. But there are the proud and few who kill themselves for the ball, for it to be opportunities in offense. They tackle, cut out passes, go up for 50-50 balls, and in some cases, become integral parts of their team’s attack. Of course there are the famous national team defenders could do these, but here are a few more who also deserve some credit for being the ultra aggressive defenders that they are:
Joebel Bermejo: The 30-year old Azkals veteran is arguably the star of the Air Force defensive line - and part of numerous championships for the club. He holds his ground against the speedy wingers and the top strikers of the opposing clubs. If Chieffy delivers from the left flank, Joebel is equally dangerous on the right - when going forward. Not a lot know that he is the reigning league MVP.
Eduardo Gempisaw: What Eduardo lacks in height, he makes up for in tenacity. The rock of the Navy back four has also been called up for national team duty a few times. At just 25, the burly central defender has more time to help the team bring them to their former glory.
Patrick Ozaeta: Pat is perhaps the best defender, Ateneo has ever produced - with Best Defender and UAAP MVP honors to boast of. Don't be fooled, the under-sized former club captain could go toe-to-toe against the fiercest attackers in the league. His toughness & leadership reminds me of 'THE' Fabio Cannavarro.

For more random thoughts about the players and the league, follow us on Twitter @UFLrantNrave.

*Photo credits: interaksyon.com, Mark Cristino

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

UFL Rant N Rave Top 3: Best Goal Celebrations

Goal-celebrations are as much a part of football as the goals themselves. We all know of Tim Cahill's 'boxing Aussie', Nani's acrobatic flips, Peter Crouch's robot dance, and the list goes on. And perhaps the most entertaining set of routines would have to be that of Icelandic side Stajrnan football club.         [Video: Icelandic Team Celebrations ]
 In the UFL's current season, we have seen a few notable goal-rejoicing. Here is our top 3:
Eric Dagroh Dance: You've seen it during the UFL Cup, and again during Kaya versus Air Force. The man they call 'The Dagger' bustamoves after getting one in. We would never know to what beat,  but a source from Kaya says, "in his mind, he is dancing the waka-waka". [VIDEOEric Dagroh goal vs Air Force ].
Roel Gener Acrobatics: Up in the sky, it's a bird, it's Jhong Hilario. No it's Roel Gener. I give the perfectly-placed header a 9, and the somersault-backflip celebration a 10. [VIDEORoel Gener vs Nomads ].
Carli De Murga Pose: Tebowing? Not quite. The Filipino-Spanish fullback notches his second league goal via a penalty kick against Green Archers United. To celebrate, he either points to dedicate it to someone back in EspaƱa or shows GAU how big his bow & arrow is. Or a Rexona moment. [See photo above].

Did we miss any great goal-celebrations in the league? #UFLgoalcelebrations

Follow us on Twitter @UFLrantNrave for more top 3 lists.

*Photo credits: Jojo Lirio, Goal.ph, Peewee Ruiz