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Azkals bring semifinals home

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Angel Guirado. Photo from AFF Suzuki Cup website.

BANGKOK—The past two years had been full of questions whether or not the “Miracle of Hanoi” was just that: A miracle.

With the same dogged determination as in 2010 but with more flair in their play, the Philippines got its validation on Friday night here.

Unflagging and peerless, the Philippines finally overcame Myanmar (Burma), 2-0, at the Suphachalasai Stadium to book its place in the semifinals of the AFF Suzuki Cup for the second straight time.

On a day the country remembered one of its foremost heroes in Andres Bonifacio, the Azkals proved they were heroes in their own right.

Phil Younghusband and Angel Guirado scored in the second half in a well-drilled and disciplined display that considerably boosted the Azkals’ stock in the tournament.

With the victory, the Azkals are bringing the tournament, which lured 192 million televiewers throughout the region two years ago, to Manila with the semifinals to be played home-and-away on Dec. 8 and 12.

The Azkals will be playing the top team in Group B—being contested by Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos and Singapore—at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Off-target in the first two matches, Younghusband delivered when the Azkals needed him most, showing a fine first touch, poise under pressure, good balance and terrific skill in slotting the ball past a stranded Thiha Si Thu in the 47th minute after a weighted pass from Jason de Jong at midfield.

Guirado, coming in as a first-half substitute, displayed pace and power in finishing off the Burmese, latching onto a long ball from Carli de Murga, before shrugging off his defender for his goal.

Guirado did the salsa as he celebrated his first goal since he struck the game-winner in the 2-1 win over Tajikistan in the AFC Challenge Cup early this year.

By the time the final whistle blew, the long-haired attacker had tears in his eyes while he hugged Paul Mulders.

“I was trying to see the difference from 2010 but I could not see it as it felt as sweet as ever getting back to the semifinals,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami.

“All the 6 a.m. training that the guys had to do, those midnight runs just to get ready for this tournament, it all comes out in the final whistle,” said defender Rob Gier. “You can’t describe the emotion.”

The Azkals had bounced back mightily from the brink of elimination to emerge as the No. 2 side in the tournament’s so-called Group of Death. Thailand topped the group with nine points, after sweeping its group assignments while the Philippines finished second with six points.


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  • amanrox8653

    im malaysian, just to clear my curious, are the typhoon has reached manila? are the RMS be affected by that? sorry if sound to rude. may god bless you.

  • captainramius

    As for me its soccer from now on…. will buy ticket this saturday .   

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3CF3PXUVL4BSYTRU2R362LFUPE SolidBasketball

    sa Philippine Basketball Team lahat homegrown 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Leucille-Lazreagues/1280348279 Leucille Lazreagues

      boy kilala mo si marcus douthit? naturalized center ng Gilas? grade6 ka ba? kanina ka pa nagkakamali wag ka na magcomment kung di mo alam ang sasabihin mo. musmos utak talangka.

      • captainramius

        dont answer this guy may tama ata ito.

    • http://jaoromero.com/ Jao Romero

      hahahahaha!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OBW2HWBGYKLYI4HYYSQOG3WLRU MarioC

    ang mga football and azkal haters ay mga basketball and pba die hard fanatics. ang mahirap sa kanila kinukumpara ang basketball sa football. hindi purke bobo ang isang bansa sa basketball eh bobo na rin sa football

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/3CF3PXUVL4BSYTRU2R362LFUPE SolidBasketball

       No. 1 pa din ang PBA at Basketball sa Pilipinas !!  daming tao nanonood ng PBA

      • captainramius

        He he he you can eat your PBA pie nobody is stopping you.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K7Y5ARO7WH6V54BWDHOOQWW6SM erwin

        haha ayus, supalpal ang PBA nya lewl

  • captainramius

    I already follow soccer and the Azkals I have long stop watching the PBA and the NCAA , I watch basketball NBA Finals and Olympic Games.    To the basketball fanatics dito sa Pinas you can always enjoy the game here …forget about international stint of our team its like Manny Pacquiao going up in the heavyweight division … no chance at all our physical attributes is not designed for this kind of sport.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/3CF3PXUVL4BSYTRU2R362LFUPE SolidBasketball

       Smart Gilas tinalo ang USA sa Jones Cup, kung kaya natin talunin ang USA lalo na ang China .

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OBW2HWBGYKLYI4HYYSQOG3WLRU MarioC

        USA. hindi naman dream team. hindi sila lebron, kobe, wade and tinalo ng smart gilas.

      • captainramius

        Lol may tama ka ata…. yong USA mo … mga preacher ata yon from the states… man lalaro sa simbahan at naging church choir pa … ha ha ha.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K7Y5ARO7WH6V54BWDHOOQWW6SM erwin

      I was also following PBA before, but stopped watching already because for me, the officiating is really bad comparing it to NBA coz I watch NBA too. Go Azkals, dont mind those talangka people.. ndi lahat utak Arnold CRABio tsaka talangka

  • captainramius

    Its about time we take up soccer… basketball is for tall people ….

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/3CF3PXUVL4BSYTRU2R362LFUPE SolidBasketball

      si Japeth Aguilar NBA player na, we will dominate asia again in basketball.  Kung nakita mo maglaro ang Ginebra super galing mas sikat pa sila sa Azkals.

      • captainramius

        I think you should expand your reading search … this guy did not even make it to the D league in the NBA he was cut .

        Dominating Asia in Basketball ?  People will colonize Mars and this will still not happened.   We are only good in basketball in our country Pinoy vs Pinoy…

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Leucille-Lazreagues/1280348279 Leucille Lazreagues

        si Japeth Aguilar NBA player na? bobo ka magbasa ka naman ng balita! tangina ginebra fan ka pala kaya ganyan ka magisip

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BGEXLIHIZFFENAK67D436QPP74 PBA

     “With the victory, the Azkals are bringing the tournament, which lured
    192 million televiewers throughout the region two years ago, to Manila
    with the semifinals to be played home-and-away on Dec. 8 and 12.”  – 192 million viewers ??? in my opinion the Asean Basketball League is the most popular tournament in south east asia.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PWUMXMSVRFJPACXLBU7QF6ANNU Roger

      I beg to disagree. Basketball is popular only in the PH.

      • efriend

        Correct.

    • Yxon

      malaysia and indonesia is in a standstil whenever their teams are playing; same goes even when england, brazil,spain are playing. indonesians are now in mourning as they were out of the semis

    • captainramius

      are you reading newspaper , connected to the web or in living in some cave in the mountain ? Soccer is the nos on3 sport in Asia and in the world…. we are the only idiots nation who follow basketball like soccer fanatics in other countries .  Most people in asia dont even know Asean Basketball League exist

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OBW2HWBGYKLYI4HYYSQOG3WLRU MarioC

      ya right! huhang!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gio-Cuison/1083953307 Gio Cuison

      my friend you are disillusion,only america and philippine takes basketball seriously the rest of the world football is thier primary sports…filipino basketball is a parody.when westerners comes to our country and see all this midget trying to dunk a basketball they`re all think we are hopeless dreamers, bottom line is basketball is a blind obsession for filipinoes.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GRVAJUYIO6PRIAPQHNE6MYKNEQ Lando

    we believe ! laban azkals ! kayang kaya ang singapore ! kayang kaya ang pinoy crabs !



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