Cracks show in Azkals eleven
I AM disturbed by reports that brothers Phil and James Younghusband have been removed from the Azkals football team over conflicts in their various commitments.
Are the Younghusbands playing for money or flag and country? How sad that this question is now being asked considering that the brothers were partly responsible for the newfound popularity of football in the country.
Even though the brothers did not play in a recent tournament, including the just-ended Peace Cup where the Philippines emerged victorious for the first time in 99 years, beating Chinese Taipei, 3-1 at the near capacity Rizal Memorial football field, Phil and James’ absence was hardly felt. The Azkals had also defeated a young team from Guam, 1-0 and humbled Macau, 5-0.
On the other hand, Azkals head coach Michael Weiss of Germany, said Phil and James have overstretched their star status a little bit too much, noting that the two brothers have missed training sessions and matches in lieu of other commitments.
The Younghusbands have a number of activities apart from playing for the national team. They are also under contract with UFL club Loyola Meralco and run their own football academy aside from various commercial endorsements.
Playing cool, calculated pool, former world No. 1 billiards player Dennis Orcollo of the Philippines nipped Chinese-Taipei’s Lu Hui-chen, 11-9, to win the recent 2012 China 9-Ball Open in Shanghai.
The pulsating victory clinched for the former fisherman from Bislig, Surigao, the first prize money of $40,000 (roughly P1.65 million). He also joined the elite ranks of millionaire-players like Efren “Bata” Reyes, Francisco “Django” Bustamante and Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan.
“I was nervous,” said Orcollo, a veteran internationalist who now dons the Bugsy Promotions colors of businessman Perry Mariano. “But I just tried to calm down and enjoy the game. I have a lot of experience playing on the TV table and this helped me to overcome the pressure.”
In making the finals, Orcollo upended another cue artist from Taiwan, Chang Yu-lung, nosing out the Taiwanese, 11-9. Lu reached the finals by beating 2001 World 9-Ball champion Yukio Akakararigama of Japan.
Had billiards been in the Olympics, a Filipino would have been a winner of that much-coveted Olympic gold. In a past issue of Billiards Digest, a prestigious magazine devoted mostly to pool aficionados, it reported that 14 out of the 49 world tournaments were won by players from the Philippines.
Spearheading the Filipino pool pros are Efren “Bata” Reyes, his longtime buddy and kumpadre Django Bustamante, Alex Pagulayan, Marlon Manalo, Dennis Orcollo, Ronnie Alcano, Antonio Gabica, Antonio Lining, Leonardo Andam and Lee Van Corteza, among others.
Billiards originated in England in the 14th century and popularized by French trick shot cue artists Captain Mingaud in 1790s and by Englishman Jack Carr in the early 1800s. In the US, the most famous players were Ralph Greenleaf and Willie Mosconi, 15-time American champion between 1940 and 1950.