18 June 2016

RP Women gearing up for ASEAN meet

By Mia Montayre

The National Team that won silver earlier this month, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is kick-starting preparations for another women’s football tournament.
This time it’s the senior women’s national team entering competition at the ASEAN Football Federation’s Women’s Championship in Mandalay, Myanmar which will take place from July 26 to August 4, 2016. The Philippines is grouped with Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand; while hosts Myanmar, Malaysia, Timor Leste and guest team Australia U-20 round out the rest of the competition.
Tryouts were conducted last Monday to Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium with 48 players showing up on the last day. All UAAP teams were well represented including Season 78 standouts invited by the PFF. From the reigning UAAP champions University of the Philippines: MVP Molly Manalansan, Captain Cristina De Los Reyes, Mary Rose Obra, Christille Mae Ardiente and Aira Agustin took part. From De La Salle University: Captain and Season 78 top keeper Inna Palacios, Season 78 top striker Shannon Arthur, Season 78 top rookie Sara Castañeda, Season 78 top defender Regine Metillo, Irish Navaja, Kyla Inquig and Mary Cristine Duran showed up. From Ateneo de Manila: Antonette Amoncio, Isabella Sabio, Martie Bautista, Cathy Cabrera, Pam Diaz and Kimberlee Jimenez made their presence felt. From Far Eastern University: Captain Alesa Dolino, Portia Acibar, Kimberly Pariña, Zhyrelle Lou Belluga and Hazel Arce attended. From University of Sto. Tomas: Captain Chanda Solite, Jennizel Cabalan, Niña Acuña and Rachelle Sanchez Labajo tried out as well. 
Notable absences include the Huff sisters from U.P., Marie and Kali, who are sidelined by knee injuries sustained from Season 78, same with Ateneo captain Camille Rodriguez. Other invited players who failed to make the tryouts are currently at their home provinces for the summer break or on vacation.

Other than the collegiate players, among those also present at the tryouts were notable members from the PFF Women’s Cup last year such as Green Archers United’s Haya Ibarra, Marianne Narciso, Miel Ampil and Milka Romero, Sikat F.C.’s Natasha Alquiros, Lea Tanton and Amanda Fernandez, Chelsea F.C. S.S.’s Joma Clemente, Mea Bernal and Mara Sabanal, Lady Tamaraw F.C.’s Analou Amita and Mae Copiat Sullano. A few players from the UFL U-17 Ladies also turned up such as Forza FC’s Anicka Castañeda and Loyola Meralco Sparks’ Anne-Marie Dimanche.
Players from overseas were also in attendance headlined by long time national team veteran Heather Cooke. Hanna Parado, Camille Wilson, Claire Lim, Shelby Salvacion, Krystal de Ramos, Caitlyn Kreutz, Hali Long and Patricia Tomanon make up the rest of the North American group with Sidra Bugsch, Chandler McDaniel and Sara Urbano expected to join up soon. These players were selected from a separate camp.
The tryouts were overseen by senior women’s national team head coach Letecia “Buda” Bautista, with occasional assistance from PFF technical director Aris Caslib, PFF coaching education department head Marlon Maro, coach Patrice Impelido, coach Merlie Acibar, and coach Isabella Fernando. Tune-up games for the players who attended the tryouts are being scheduled and will take place this coming week. The preparations will enter the month-long camp proper on June 25, where around 30 players will be selected to be part of the pool.

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