Team staff keeps Philippine Azkals always prepared | Inquirer Sports
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Team staff keeps Philippine Azkals always prepared

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 02:15 AM July 23, 2011

KUWAIT — The spotlight may fall on the players, but most of the work behind the scenes has come from the support staff of the Philippine Azkals, who have quietly left their mark in every victory of the team.

Assistant coaches Edwin “Deding” Cabalida, Edzel “Brax” Bracamonte and Rolando “Roroy” Pinero, strength and conditioning coach Josef Malinay, physiotherapist Wally Javier, coordinator Patrick Ace Bright, kitman Chester Pelino and security officer Richard Pacana help make sure that the Azkals are prepared for every battle.

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Cabalida serves as lead assistant to coach Hans Michael Weiss and his input from player scouting to tactics has been valuable to the side composed of homegrown and players based abroad.

Link to local players
The Dumaguete-born tactician is also the coach of two-time United Football League champion Philippine Air Force, the team powered by national team standouts Chieffy Caligdong and Ian Araneta.

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“We try to serve as a link between the local players and the head coach,” said Cabalida, referring to the assistant’s most important task in the team.

There is little doubt on Cabalida’s quality in the national level, having steered Air Force to back-to-back UFL titles.

Bracamonte, who played for the national team from 1990 to 1994, also doubles as a goalkeeper coach. A striker when he was still with the national team, Bracamonte also gives Araneta tips on breaking down defenses. Last year, Araneta banged in seven goals for the Azkals, before adding one more this year in the AFC Challenge Cup.

Longest serving
Pinero has been one of the longest serving assistants, having been with the team since the time of former coach Aris Caslib. Pinero, who will be one of the lead assistants for the Under-23 team in the Southeast Asian Games, is usually in charge of player warm-ups.

Before he even graduated with a degree in Sports Science at University of Santo Tomas four years ago, Malinay, tasked to plot exercise routines and warm-ups for players, was also already with the Azkals, after he was given a break by former coach Juan Cutillas in 2006.

His post with the Azkals has been his only job since graduation, and Malinay said watching the team blossom into a mean fighting machine now has been gratifying.

“We may not be earning a lot and are always away from our families, but the experience of traveling the world and helping the team improve makes up for everything,” said Malinay.

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A University of the Philippines film graduate, Bright sorts out the flight schedules of the team, especially the players traveling from abroad, the booking of training venues and fixes the schedule for team functions.

As physiotherapist, Javier helps the players recover from injuries, with several players like Phil Younghusband and Rob Gier turning to him whenever they feel pain.

Pacana’s role ranges from ensuring security of the team to making sure some logistical needs are met—as well as taking photos of the team during matches.

“The strength of the team is dependent not only by the quality of the players, but also the people working in the organization,” said team manager Dan Palami.

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TAGS: Azkals, Chester Pelino, Coaching staff, Dan Palami, Edwin “Deding” Cabalida, Edzel “Brax” Bracamonte, Football, Josef Malinay, Patrick Ace Bright, Philippines, Richard Pacana, Rolando “Roroy” Pinero, Sports, Wally Javier
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