Limpag: The other Palami and a ‘screwy PFF office’

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Saturday, January 7, 2012


MY supposedly 24-hour trip to Manila got extended but I didn’t mind spending another 24 hours in traffic-mad Manila because I learned a lot of things.

I went to Manila not for the charity match between the Azkals and the CF Madrid (aired live today at 4 p.m.) as most expected, but to listen to a 20-minute speech Dan Palami gave in Philam Life’s sales convention.

Philam, where my wife works, got Dan as the guest speaker with a little help from me and as a thank you, they got me tickets to Manila. Which, of course, was fine by me.

Now, one of the things I learned is that Dan Palami can be literally in two places at the same time and it’s not by magic.

I met the other Dan Palami and boy has he got stories to tell, and one of these days I’m going to get an exclusive interview with the other Palami. Maybe, I’ll get him to spill some juicy bits about Philippine football. Perhaps, I can also try to convince him to get rid of this uniform provider for the team (because they suck) and get a new one?

I also learned that one Filipino player is going to sign for Barcelona (if Real Madrid doesn’t get him first), and I’m serious. We didn’t have a single drop of alcohol in our system when I, Cedelf Tupas, the original Dan Palami, and Global FC coach Graeme Mackinnon discussed this “uncapped player” who could be also playing for the US national team.

Who is this dude? Just wait. You’ll hear about him soon enough.

When I got to Manila last Wednesday afternoon, I spent the time lounging at the Global APT office in Magallanes and wasn’t able to attend a press conference at the Philippine Football Federation office.

That night, I was at the National Sports Grill—where fans gather to watch football matches—and by god NSG should be ashamed of itself. I was there with Graeme, Azkal fan page’s Andi, Soccer Central’s Icko and Jaron (did I forget anybody), and I just had warmed my seat when the waitress told me she has already taken the last order and couldn’t hand more beer.

It wasn’t even 11 p.m! Gee whiz! A sports bar with a curfew? What happens in late matches? Sorry, we have to close the bar, injury time be damned?

And on Thursday , on my way to the Azkals’ first training session at the Fort, I stopped by the PFF office and realized, for the first time, why Philippine football got so screwed all those previous years.

The folks who go to the area are f***ing around. Literally!

Go to your left, you have those special rates, taxi rates and just in front of the entrance to the three-storey edifice is a hotel with a logo that left nothing to the imagination. Sanamagan.

But the PFF office itself, is quite nice and when I got there, there weren’t too many people around and those who were there were busy preparing for today’s friendly.

And the final stop, of course, was the newly-opened artificial turf at Global City, where the Azkals tried to sweat away their holiday baggage with a training session.

The pitch, though not the standard size, makes for a nice training ground and boy, I spent a few minutes admiring the fake grass because it looked real! I even brought home a patch!

Ernie Nierras said plans for the artificial turf were put on hold during the previous PFF president’s time and when Nonong Araneta took over, he and the guys at Global City pushed through with it.

It was also at that time that Dan and I had a mini-one on one, and I dared the team manager to score a goal with me on goal. Unfortunately, his injured toe prevented him from showing his under-appreciated bend. Unfortunately, too, I left my shades at the pitch. But Ernie, the Malditas team manager and Stallions coach, sure showed he can curl it.

One funny thing, though, one Azkal player (let’s just call him Hollywood) arrived at the first practice with only 10 minutes left. His reason? His English!

The text message for the practice said the schedule was “4 to 6,” and he thought the number “4,” meant “for” and he said “I thought the practice was for 6! Because, you know, sometimes they substitute “4” for “for!”

As I told the player, that’s a nice excuse!

(www.cebufootball.blogspot.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 07, 2012.

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