Men's National Team

#JoinTheHuddle: Philippines U-22 performance review, a roundtable discussion

We won, yet we lose. That was the scenario that the Philippines U-22 had to endure after the final whistle against Timor Leste where they won six goals to one but missed out on the semifinals slot just by a goal margin in the goal difference.

It was a valiant stand from our Young Azkals with the help of two senior players Stephan Schröck and Amani Aguinaldo but the final push was not enough as Cambodia went on to win three goals to one against Malaysia to progress to the semis via goal difference.

They left it all out in the pitch, they gave us a glimpse of what’s in stock for the future of the sport here in the country and, in some way, we should keep our heads held high.

We huddled up to bring you our insights on our Young Azkals’ performance as well as what does the future hold for the age group teams of the Philippines.

1) How would you rate the young Azkals’ performance in the sea games and why did you give them this rating (1-10)?

Jaimer Dela Cruz (Ang Tito Mong Football Blogger)

“I’d like to rate them 7.5 in this tournament. We’ve seen a glimpse of ups and downs for the Young Azkals specifically when they conceded the first goal against Cambodia and when they lost against Myanmar.”

“However, come the Malaysia and Timor Leste matches, they showed what they’re truly capable of doing as they controlled both matches and went away with a historic win.”

“These kids have a lot more to do but they really don’t have to prove much as they’ve given everything that they have, kinapos lang talaga sa huli.”

John Rabelas (Big Daddy J)

“I gave them a rating of 5.5. Yung nagstep-up ramdam mo talaga. Yung kinain ng pressure, completely and utterly cost the Young Azkals.

Earl Averilla (5th Minute of Added Time)

” I rate them at 7. Improvements have been evident. Never has the Philippines this competitive in SEA Games football for years. As a matter of fact, EVER!”

Jeffrey Pedroso Gumawid

“6/10. Para sa akin, bad to medyo average yung performance ng karamihan ng players. Maraming beses na sinalo sila ni Schrock at Aguinaldo, lalo na sa goalscoring front. Missing in action ang forwards, kay Schrock mag-isa dumaan ang midfield play, decent defence at times na nadale ng errors.”

Ced Seredrica

“6/10. It was the best showing we had in the SEA Games in forever. Given more exposure together, this bunch could cause trouble in SEA in the coming years.”

Mark Anthony

“6-7 for me. Young Azkals played as expected. The team showed what they were capable of after prepping up for this tournament during the CoPA. What worked for them was they worked cohesively as a team and the preparation, in a way, paid off. What failed them: unfortunate punishment by the loss against Myanmar, the lack of confidence in the attacking from and depth in the roster.”

Kent Garcia

“6.5/10. They particularly showed a better performance than two years ago despite not reaching the semifinal round. But there are concerns regarding player fitness, team chemistry and lack of finishing which I think cost them dearly.”

2) To whom would you give the player of the tournament award to for the Philippines and why?


“We already know that Stephan Schröck would easily win this award but I’m giving it to Justin Baas instead. The 19-year old midfielder from the academy of AZ Alkmaar not only proved his worth on the pitch but also won a lot of fans and even haters.

Justin Baas Celebrating with the fans. Photo by Ultras Filipinas

“For you to be successful, you’ll have doubters, haters and supporters. After the historic win against Malaysia, Baas came into the spotlight as shown in the photo above when he celebrated the win with the Ultras Filipinas.”

“After the celebrations, he was then spotted giving some intense high-fives to the Malaysian players which sparked some issues over the social media.”

“Nevertheless, the kid showed his skills as well as what he can bring to the table especially after that rocket of a goal against Myanmar.”


” Yrik Gallantes, I guess. Lightning down the flank and more often than not his balls had endpoints sa attack.”

Photo by: The Azkals


“Stephan Schröck. He has been a consistent leader, inspiration and a constant spark from the middle of the park.

Photo by: Janb Dayrit

“Operating as a playmaker, his initiative and deliveries for a scoring chance have put the Philippines in contention for the semis until the end despite the team eventually falling short by the slimmest of tiebreakers.”


“Stephan Schrock. Lahat ng offensive play ng team, sa kanya dumadaan. Says a lot about the current quality ng ating future Azkals na siya mag-isa ang nag-dictate ng momentum and passing ng squad.”


“I’d give it to Schröck since everything went through him. He was literally a man among boys and the opponents had a difficult time matching up with him, but if I was to give it to a youngster it has to be JR Suba.

Photo By: Philippines Football League

“Dude was solid and is bound to be a legit depth piece for the senior team for these upcoming WC Qualifiers. “


“Schröck definitely was a major factor for this squad. He was always involved with attacking runs for the squad. Commend the works of Yrick, Dennis Chung, Justin Baas and Suba.”


“Stephan Schrock. He was a great addition, added lots of experience and life to the midfield and wing role. Honourable mentions for me are Amani Aguinaldo, Justin Baas, Dennis Chung and Mar Diano.”

3) What’s next for the Young Azkals?


“There are a lot of things to happen for the Young Azkals. With this performance, we might be looking at the possible starters or reinforcements for next year’s Suzuki Cup.”

“Rumour has it as well that the Philippines U-22 might feature in the upcoming fourth season of the Philippines Football League which will do them some good.”

“We already saw this happen to Malaysia when they had a deal with the Football Association of Singapore to let their youth sides Harimau Muda participate in the Singapore Premier League and it should do us a lot of improvement.”


“A lot! Looking forward to those. Despite not surviving the group, this could be a watershed campaign. Expecting a different fight and belief from our youth in the coming years.”

“It won’t be instant but there’s that difference already and it will all point to this 2019 SEA Games squad.”


“Sadly, kailangan iangat ang level ng coaching sa Pilipinas in the sense na kailangan ng coaches na mag-dedevelop ng football IQ at mechanics ng players. Walang problema sa workrate yung squad, kaso kulang sa game sense, positioning at hindi na-pickout yung mga libreng pasa at nalilibreng kalaban.

Tumatak din sa akin yung mga runs ni Chima Uzoka na hindi niya agad natatantya na offside na siya. Yung ganung mga tipong small things ang dumale sa kanila.

Kailangan nating i-aim na by the next SEA games in 2 years time, at least kalahati ng squad ay meron nang decent football IQ at hindi lang dinadaan sa purong takbuhan.”


“They need to stay together for future tournaments so that their growth won’t be stunted. I’m hoping their respective club teams will play them more come next season.”

“Also, Jarvey just graduated so I’m hoping he gets to a team that will utilize him effectively. I think this year’s SEA games sapped him of his confidence.”


“I would love to see the CoPA U-22 project be put to good use in the future to allow our younger players an opportunity to compete and step up their game.”

Photo by: Philippines Football League

“Make them a proper team in the league and they would be a beast in no time! Glad to see the major contributions of the players under 20 years old. Hopefully, in the next SEA Games, they would be available to play for us.”


“We need to keep the pool intact, especially those players who are still eligible for the next SEAG. Future members of the squad should be also identified in advance so that they can start preparing early.”

“It gave me some hope for the Suzuki Cup next year. May chance tayo na makapasok sa final.If anything, this showed that proper preparation can take us far.”

That’s it for what the guys thought about our Young Azkals’ campaign in the recently concluded 30th Southeast Asian Games. Let us know what are your thoughts as well!

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