Of Azkals and Pusakals

OFW power

Never mind the 3-0 score. What was amazing in Kuwait last Saturday was OFW power for the Azkals.

The photos posted by “Pamatay Homesick” in his Facebook Wall give us an exhilarating feeling.

Filipinos in Kuwait came in droves, most probably took a day off from work, to give moral support to the team that is now giving Filipinos a new sense of pride.

“Pamatay Homesick”, an interior designer and project design coordinator, posted on his FB wall: “Binabati ko ang lahat, sa matagumpay na kaganapan sa larong football dito sa kuwait.Natalo man ang ating Azkals, nakita ko naman ang pagsasama sama ng ating mga kababayan dito sa kuwait.Mabuhay!”

He added: “Kahit tayo ay nasawi, tayo parin ang nagwagi!”

That’s the attitude.

The Azkals have already achieved something priceless – making Filipinos proud of being Filipino. That, by itself, is already a score.

Besides, losing is part and parcel of life. The Azkas were really the underdog against the highly-rated Kuwaiti team. Victory will come in the future with the support of the Filipino people.

It’s also touching that Azkals appreciate the outpouring of admiration for them. Phil Younghusband twitted,” Thank you to all the Filipinos who supported us.And its still not over.”

The next game against Kuwait in the World Cup qualifying rounds is on Thursday, July 28 at Rizal stadium.

Anton del Rosario said “Thank you all for supporting… Sorry about the result but we have Thursday to make it up.”

Jason Sabio said, “Tough result tonight. Unfortunate goals. Maraming salamat sa inyong suporta. Words cannot express how much it means to us.”

The Azkals are not just sports personalities to their fans. They have become role models. Their story of overcoming lack of government support and initial public apathy by sheer grit and determination strikes at the heart of every Filipino who battles odds in his daily life.

But the Azkals should realize their popularity comes with a responsibility to be good.

That’s why stories about an alleged rape involving members of the team are spoilers. The info I got was there was no rape. The incident, whatever that was, should make the Azkals realize that fame comes with temptations and traps. It would take more than fancy footwork to handle these more vicious adversaries.
There’s another football ball team that makes also for a good story.

Two weeks ago, I went with Assistant Solicitor General Karl Miranda and some officials of the German Embassy to the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa. I was supposed to meet with inmates who are students under a more meaningful rehabilitation program that the government is undertaking for members of our society who have strayed from the path.

Prison officials told us that another activity they have for the inmates is sports and they have formed a football team: Pusakal.

“Pusakal” can mean “criminal”. But it can also mean “stray cat”.

The team captain of the Puzakal is an inmate from Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo, hometown of Azkals Chieffy Caligdong, Roel Gener and Ian Araneta. He said he used to be a member of the University of Santo Tomas Football team. He is serving time for a drug-related case.

Only medium-security prisoners are allowed to join the football team. An official said the Pusakals used to include Nigerian inmates, members of the West African Drugs syndicate.

The officials said the Nigerians were good players but they were temperamental. They have been transferred to the maximum security detention and are no longer allowed to join the Pusakal team.

We were shown a video of the Pusakal’s game with a visiting French football team which the latter won. The German visitors toyed with the idea of having an Askal versus Pusakal game. Wouldn’t that be great?

July 24, 2011 10:12 pm  Tags: ,   Posted in: Illegal Drugs, Justice, Sports

59 Responses

  1. joeseg - July 25, 2011 12:54 am

    `The Azkals have already achieved something priceless – making Filipinos proud of being Filipino. That, by itself, is already a score.`

    Nakakabilib ang ipinakitang pagkakaisa ng mga Pinoy sa Kuwait sa kanilang suporta at panonood sa laban ng Azkals!Kahit natalo ang ating koponan, hindi sila umuwing luhaan bagkos ay nagkakatuwaan pa…

    Taliwas sa mga pulitiko sa sariling bayan na kapag natalo, dinaya! At yun namang nanalo, hindi serbisyo ang dulot kundi perhuwisyo dahil sa korapsyong todo-todo…

  2. parasabayan - July 25, 2011 2:08 am

    At least now we are making a name in this sport. More power to you Azkals.

    May “people power” din tayo sa Kuwait. Way to go! Kahit sa isang araw lang e naaliw ng mga Azkals ang ating mga OFWs. Nakaka”homesick” nga naman talaga kung nagtatratrabaho ka sa ibang bansa at ang ka-pamilya mo eh nasa Pinas,

  3. parasabayan - July 25, 2011 2:09 am

    The heat must have gotten the Azkals to slow down. Sana pagdating nila sa PInas, ang Azkals naman ang manalo. Iba ang naibibigay ng “home court”.

  4. Ka Enchong - July 25, 2011 2:15 am

    Nakakatuwa talaga.

    25,000 ang capacity ng Qadsiya Stadium – punung-puno talaga, marami pang Pinoy ang hindi nakapasok kahit may mga hawak na tiket.

    Out of the estimated 30,000 people inside the stadium, my estimate is that there were less than 2,000 Kuwaitis, most of them were allowed entry without tickets.

    The 3-0 score was decent enough, considering that Kuwait trashed the Lebanese team in a not-so-“friendly” match 6-0.

    Our Azkals are not used to the extreme heat (41 degrees during the game). This is probably why they were not able to sustain a very aggressive first half play.

    The mostly Filipino crowd practically exploded everytime the Azkals took ball possession.

    It was, indeed, an experience of a lifetime to have been part of the sweat-drenched, cheerful and patriotic Filipino crowd showing the Pinoy Pride even in hostile territory.

    Now, I’m considering flying back home to catch the next round. Hmmmmmmm….

  5. Ka Enchong - July 25, 2011 2:31 am

    The heat must have gotten the Azkals to slow down. Sana pagdating nila sa PInas, ang Azkals naman ang manalo. Iba ang naibibigay ng “home court”.

    If not for the heat, a Pinoy would have felt like it’s “home court”

  6. acibig - July 25, 2011 3:19 am

    I am proud of the azkals, but I think we have to be realistic of our expectations. They are not good enough against the big/powerful teams. The members are rookies who were rejected by football teams in 1st world country . So now they are here. Its like high school grads—– those students who are accepted to UST UP etc are different from those accepted to colleges in far flung provinces( IQ wise i mean, not considering the financial aspect)

  7. Becky - July 25, 2011 9:30 am

    Acibig, the Azkals is still a young team. Those big, powerful teams have become what they are after so many years. Makakarating din tayo doon in the future.

    Ellen, you went to Bilibid prison?

    Azkal versus Pusakal. Pang headline yun a. Safe kaya yun for the Azkals?

    Grabe siguro ang security aspect noon.

  8. arvin95 - July 25, 2011 10:07 am

    Sa totoo lang pag aaksaya lang ng panahon at pera ang para sa Azkals. Kasi malabo naman talaga sila na maging world champion. Hindi nila makakayang makipag compete sa mga bigatin. Katulad ng sa Smart Gilas na basketball team. Malaking pera rin ang nagagastos pero hindi nila kayang maging world champion. Ang dapat pagtuunan ng pansin iyong sport na puwede na maging world champion ang representative ng Pilipinas. Kagaya ng boxing, billiards, bowling o ano pa. Ang sports na iyon hindi sayang ang nagagasto kasi may magandang kinahihinatnan. Eh ang football at basketball,wala. Kung ang pera na budget o ginagasto sa football at basketball ilaan para sa naghihirap may maganda pa sanang patutunguhan.

  9. arvin95 - July 25, 2011 10:24 am

    Nagbibigay lang sila ng kahihiyan para sa bansang Pilipinas kasi talo naman. Oo nga hindi masama ang makipag compete pero kung football at basketball makipag compete sa ibang bansa ay walang kahihinatnan. Talo talaga ang kapupuntahan.

  10. Becky - July 25, 2011 10:33 am

    arvin95, don’t be so negative. Even if they lost, the Azkals did the country proud. Tama yung sinasabi ni Ellen.

    Tingnan mo ang kaligayan na nabigay niya sa mga OFW sa Kuwait katulad ni Ka Enchong.

  11. FoxxyBrowne - July 25, 2011 10:54 am

    Arvin hindi dapat ganyan ang attitude. Everythign starts from small steps. Remember, football was a sport here even before basketball took over … In fact, one of football greats ng FC Barcelona ay isang pinoy- from Iloilo. Paulino Alcantara, whose record of goals still stands in Camp Nou..Football is where pinoys can actually excel given ebnough time and support- Di kailangan ang height dito.

    the Azkals lost but they did what most of this country’s politican failed to do, UNITE ALL FILIPINO like what Pacquaio is doing everytime me laro sya.. Ewan ko lang sa yo, but ako, I can smile amidst the negatives news in the country, everytime I watch them play and see the outpouring of love ng ating mga kababayan..

  12. acibig - July 25, 2011 12:37 pm

    i agree with arvin, there are several issues here
    1. limited national/govt resources- dapat i- direct the money /resources sa sports na me good result, if they have private funding then OK lang, pero kung tax payers money then NO
    2. its not being negative, its being REALISTIC
    Kung family ito at me 5 kayong anak, will you spend all your financial resources to have 1 college grad and 4 elementary grads ?? or have 5 high school grads, its about using resources equitably, also, kung ang anak eh mahina sa math from elementary, katangahan ang i encourage him to be a CPA, to be a supportive parent is one thing , to be blind loving parent is another
    3 now , if we are 1st world/ rich country, by all means support all sports, but we are not, ergo, we need to prioritize and distribute the funds equitably, obviously , football is not the only sports pinoys play in this country

  13. Tiago - July 25, 2011 2:20 pm

    Ngayon lang naman natin naumpisahan na talagang tutukan ang larong futbol. Sa akin palagay, may future ang bansa natin kase nga di masyado factor ang height and physique ng manlalaro. I’m all for supporting this sport. Boxing yes, pero billards and bowling, are not even Olympic disciplines. Basketbol? a big NO!!

  14. pamatayhomesick - July 25, 2011 2:43 pm

    suportahan ang mga manlalarong pilipino.. yun ang kaya kong ibigay…mabuhay kayo at more power sa lahat!

  15. Ka Enchong - July 25, 2011 3:00 pm

    Kung wala tayong t’yagang magbuhos ng panahon sa tiyak na pagkatalo, hindi na tayo magkakaroon ng panahong magsaya sa pananagumpay.

    Wala naman yatang kampeon ang nagsimula sa pagiging kampeon.

  16. juggernaut - July 25, 2011 3:50 pm

    hey guys we should be grateful na umabot ang team sa level na to, kailan lang naman tayo naging interesado ulit sa football and kuwait is a strong team, natalo nga nila singapore team na grabe ang supporta ng gobyerno nila ang gaganda pa ng training facilities.
    ang maganda dito pa, team sport to hindi individual like boxing, our kids can learn more from this experience and mas relevant pa in terms of natonal pride kagaya na rugby team ng africa noon (Mandela movie).
    go askals!

  17. juggernaut - July 25, 2011 3:53 pm

    May advantage tayo kasi meron tayong mga pinoy na may lahing europeans, mas malalaki, mas malalakas, wala masyado to sa ibang asean countries, konting practice pa at exposure to international games, tapos menos ang chicks muna siguro. 🙂

  18. Tilamsik - July 25, 2011 6:12 pm

    I wonder if GMA deserve to be a member of Pusakals… I dont think so!

  19. chi - July 25, 2011 6:54 pm

    Congrats, Ka Enchong … and to all pinoy OFWs in Kuwait! 🙂

  20. jawo - July 26, 2011 3:42 am

    I wonder if GMA deserve to be a member of Pusakals—–>Tilamsik

    I’ll tell you this much as far as Gloria is concerned,…..she deserves to be “ma-SAKAL” and be done with her once and for all.

  21. jawo - July 26, 2011 4:25 am

    If we do not believe in the ability to win by our newly-formed soccer team, then why do they even think they deserve to wear our colors ? Becky above is right. The Azkals is still a very young team, but look at what they have accomplished so far. We basked in their glory when they scored convincing wins against teams who are considered heavyweights in the sport. A few losses and we condemn them to the gallows.
    Until Manny Pacquiao started making worthless pipsqueaks of his opponents, Pinoy boxers were perennial losers. But now our boxers are a force to reckon with.
    In any competition, you lose some and you win some. A few wins does not make a champion overnight nor a few losses make one a cellar-dweller. As a team, it takes time, cohesiveness, knowing each other’s abilities and weaknesses and the demeanor to think as ONE to achieve a win.
    As for basketball, we should accept the ugly truth that this is a BIG MAN’s game. We simply do not measure up, height-wise. Our so-called “professionals” cannot even defeat a team comprising of players from America’s NCAA.

  22. AnnaDeBrux - July 26, 2011 7:38 am


    Amazing what football can do — it can unite and encourage even the most tired nation, stop wars even… Remember when Iraq stood still during the last World Cup as they battled it out against another nation? War was forgotten for a time — the only thing the Iraqis wanted was to enjoy and encourage their home team… Pity Iraq didn’t win but had they done it, I’m sure the war would have ended right then and there.

  23. arvin95 - July 26, 2011 10:43 am

    Hindi nakakagulat kung isang araw mabalitaan na ang miyembro ng azkals ay nasa showbiz na. Ngayon pa lang ang dating ay showbiz na.Kapag natatalo kung ano ano sabihin at babawi sa susunod.

  24. arvin95 - July 26, 2011 10:47 am

    Kahit tutukan pa ang football buong araw malabo pa rin na maging world champion. Ganun din sa basketball. Malabo na masali sa olympic basketball ang Pilipinas kasi talo sa ibang bansa. Ang larong basketball ngayon ay bukod sa galing ay pataasan na ng tao. Kung kayabangan ang paglalabanan ay tiyak panalo ang Pilipinas kasi madami ang mayabang.

  25. arvin95 - July 26, 2011 10:51 am

    Ano ang halaga ng pride kung madaming kababayan ang naghihikaos sa buhay.

  26. juggernaut - July 26, 2011 12:31 pm

    Please check out The Green Mile, its a movie about national pride, it revolves around Nelson Mandela but you’ll appreciate what everyone is talking about when you see it.

  27. juggernaut - July 26, 2011 12:35 pm

    there is a different meaning of pride, its not just kayabangan, its more of belief in oneself and getting the strength to rise above self pity and apathy.

  28. juggernaut - July 26, 2011 12:43 pm

    i don’t yhink there is an accurate literal translation of the “pride” we are talking about, its not yabang, its a form of inner strength that makes you rise up again and again after every fall, its about not giving up, its about conquering fear and self doubt, its about pulling ourselves out of the kahirapan on our own, its about not being afraid to shine, to go beyond our perceived limitations, its about perseverance, its about insisting to be human in the midst of all inhumanity, its believing that we can better ourselves and that we too can do it.

  29. Ka Enchong - July 26, 2011 12:48 pm

    i don’t yhink there is an accurate literal translation of the “pride” we are talking about…

    Here it is, Jug: National pride – Pambansang dangal.

    Congrats, Ka Enchong … and to all pinoy OFWs in Kuwait!

    Salamat, Chi… namaos ako after the game, hehehe.

  30. juggernaut - July 26, 2011 12:50 pm

    what ellen is trying to say here is that its awesome to be a Filipino!

  31. juggernaut - July 26, 2011 12:52 pm

    salamat ka enchong, nadagdagan na naman ang aking kaalaman! 🙂

  32. vonjovi2 - July 27, 2011 3:31 am

    Basketball walang pag asa pero sa “SOCCER” ay mayroon tayong pag asa dahil di naman palakihan or pataasan ang laban. Laban ito ng bilisan at husay rin.

    May pag asa tayo kung ang mga AZKAL players ay pag tuunan ang game at di palaging nasa showbiz at publicity.

  33. Ellen - July 27, 2011 12:27 pm

    Jug, re 25. The movie is “Invictus”, I think. Not the “Green Mile” which is about prisoners in the death row.

    We talked about this movie during ou visit to the Bilibid prison.

  34. arvin95 - July 28, 2011 1:34 pm

    Kaabang abang ang pagkatalo ng Azkals mamaya. Apat na goals ang kailangan nila para makapasok. Nabokya nga sila sa unang paghaharap. Ano pa kaya sa ngayon na apat na goals ang kailangan nila. Buti kung hindi kumikilos ang kalaban at naghahangad din na mapasok.

  35. arvin95 - July 28, 2011 1:39 pm

    Siguro manonood mamaya si Amanda Coling. Ewan ko lang kung saan siya mag cheer.

  36. tru blue - July 28, 2011 3:23 pm

    @33 – it was Invictus (Matt Damon). The Green Mile starred Tom Hanks (a great movie too)as a correctional officer…and it was in this movie where the phrase “what happens in Green Mile, stays in Green Mile”. Whoever did the “vegas” thing most likely was siphoned from that film.

  37. tru blue - July 28, 2011 3:39 pm

    “what ellen is trying to say here is that its awesome to be a Filipino!” – jug

    only if the azkals were all born in Pinas, I see no pride in bringing in half-breeds seeded in foreign countries competing in games domestic players can also win, such as soccer but with lots of discipline and PRIDE.

    dami nang half-breeds in our lousy movies, and tv personalities.

  38. parasabayan - July 29, 2011 12:08 am

    Tru Blu, what is wrong with being half blood? Sino ba sa mga Pinoy ang totoong Pinoy? Lahat naman tayo eh may Spanish blood, Japanese, Chinese atbp. Magaganda talaga ang mga half breeds. Kahit na anong mangyari, may Filipino blood pa rin ang mga yan. Let us be proud of them!

  39. patria adorada - July 29, 2011 12:50 am

    natalo na naman ang azkal pero hindi nangangahugan na hihinto na rin tayo.darating ang araw mananalo rin tayo.
    tama ka parasabayan,lahat tayo half-breed.ang basehan ng isang tunay na filipino ay handa siyang mamatay para sa kanyang bayang Filipinas at hindi nangungurakot…

  40. jawo - July 29, 2011 1:55 am

    what is wrong with being half blood?——->psb

    I agree. Tignan niyo si Big MIKE (Arroyo). May dugong-baboy iyan kaya, “half-PIG”.

    Si Gloria naman,———-“HALF”.

  41. AnnaDeBrux - July 29, 2011 3:21 am

    heheheh… you are funny Jawo

  42. juggernaut - July 29, 2011 8:09 am

    true blue,
    The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear “purebreds” is an image of a ,an in uniform, right hand extended foreward at a 45 degree angle, standing ramrod straight, shouting “heil!” while sporting a Charlie Chaplin mustache. 🙂

    The Filipino is a global citizen, we have to accept the “differences” its inevitable.

    Besides, Kuwait was seeded somewhere 102, while Azkals is around 150 or so – and they were still a threat.

    Btw, Azkals, o asong kalye may mean “mongrel” too, and its a dog with no pure pedigree.

  43. juggernaut - July 29, 2011 8:11 am

    The “half’ is undergoing a 4 hour surgery today, imagine, she’ll be completely sedated for 4 hours? At least she’ll be able to sleep for a change. 🙂

  44. parasabayan - July 29, 2011 9:11 am

    Jug, cease fire muna tayo kay pandak. Let us pray she makes it through…for the judgement day.

  45. parasabayan - July 29, 2011 9:12 am

    “Azkals” , mixed breed…bagay na bagay sa mga tisoys.

  46. Ellen - July 29, 2011 9:22 am

    I’m sorry that i have not been up-to-date with a number of breaking news. I’m in Kuala Lumpur attending a conference on Media Legal Defence. I’m taking advantage of this few minutes window before the start of the morning session.

    Will try to update later.


  47. arvin95 - July 29, 2011 9:37 am

    ngayon ay out na ang azkals para sa 2014 world cup qualifier……

  48. tru blue - July 29, 2011 2:21 pm

    “Tru Blu, what is wrong with being half blood?” – psb

    Did I say that? My own granddau is part Argentinian, and my own two grandsons are part white.

    Won’t be proud of them to be part of any team representing a country they’re not a part of. But certainly there are pinoys like you who are in that category.

    Am sure you’ve heard of this phrase before “aba! guapo/maganda anak/apo nyo…dalhin nyo sa Pinas para mag-artista!” That’s your mentality, no more less.

  49. tru blue - July 29, 2011 2:30 pm

    “Sino ba sa mga Pinoy ang totoong Pinoy? Lahat naman tayo eh may Spanish blood, Japanese, Chinese atbp.” – psb

    LAHAT? You don’t speak for me and the millions of over indigenous groups in Pinas. Seriously, do you really think the Aeta group have those bloods you articulated? The Tasadays, Mangyans, and the over 100 IP in Pinas? All I know is I’m an Igorot, and if you want to trace my bloodlines to satisfy your inference LAHAT naman tayo eh may
    blah blah blah blood, feel free. Educate me. Although, I confess some of my Igorot relatives are of Spanish and Japanese sires.

  50. tru blue - July 29, 2011 2:42 pm

    OT: Can’t wait for the Tea Party/Rethugs to get their wish and for the US to Default on it’s debt. Love to see the anti-Obama sweat it out. OB should just go out and play golf somewhere.

  51. tru blue - July 29, 2011 2:55 pm

    “The Filipino is a global citizen, we have to accept the “differences” its inevitable” – jug

    Noypis are a distant second to the chinese in that undisputed feat. Went to Mombasa, Kenya in the early 70’s and much to my surprise, a chinese resto in the dirt poor part of that town.

  52. juggernaut - July 29, 2011 5:20 pm

    Although, I confess some of my Igorot relatives are of Spanish and Japanese sires.

    Wow! Kalahi mo pala si Maria Ozawa? 🙂

  53. tru blue - July 31, 2011 4:52 am

    “Wow! Kalahi mo pala si Maria Ozawa?” – jug

    Wow! Brain in the gutter? Thought you were expert in computer games, yun pala surfing the likes of MO. As psb said, you and her have japanese blood too, just didn’t know it. So maybe MO is related to both of you…wink!

  54. parasabayan - July 31, 2011 7:21 am

    The igorots have very close semblnce to the Japanese looks. Bakit TB, buhay ka na ba noong binubuo ang unang igorot? Even the Aetas, malay mo kung galing sila sa isang parte ng Africa? Ikaw naman, kung gusto baguhin ko yung LAHAT to halos LAHAT para matigil ka. Honestly, there is no such a thing as pure breed kung sa mga tao ang paguusapan. Mix mix na ang lahat.

  55. tru blue - July 31, 2011 12:35 pm

    Your rants are full of surmises. This is not a guessing game, please speak about your own ethnicity and not my own ethnic background…what I know is that I don’t know how the heck we got here. That’s the reason there is a separation of the church and the state.

    “mix mix na lahat”, huh! tell that to any white supremacist/kkk in your nearby neighborhood since you’re not that far from Orange County. You don’t have the guts to say that in their faces.

  56. TonGuE-tWisTeD - August 1, 2011 4:29 pm

    Wag na kayong magtalo, tru/psb. Iisa lahi nyo. Pareho kayong kumakain ng labong sa saluyot na ginisa sa bagoong isda. LOL.

  57. TonGuE-tWisTeD - August 1, 2011 4:49 pm

    Walang purebred na Pinoy. Pinas is not an exclusive originator of race in the Far East.

    Recent scholars have proven in hardcore DNA research studying Austronesians (let’s go technical for a change)that the nonrecombinant Y-chromosome haplogroup named O-M110 (whew!) is first most prevalent in Taiwan, next Philipines, then onwards to the melanesian-guinean populations in the Pacific.

    Hate to say it but we are most probably decended from Taiwanese forefathers.

  58. tru blue - August 2, 2011 5:22 am

    Thanks Ellen.

  59. tru blue - August 2, 2011 5:28 am

    “Pareho kayong kumakain ng labong sa saluyot na ginisa sa bagoong isda. LOL.” – tt

    Not me, aso nga eh won’t even touch it. Give me any fish and I’ll feast on it.

    But that’s my wife’s lifelines.

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