Everyone can agree that 2017 was a roller coaster year for sports. As dynasties were built and legacies continued to unfold, 2017 was a year filled with both triumphs and heartbreaks. You have the Golden State Warriors who won their second championship in three years, Roger Federer who won another Australian Open at the expense of his archrival Rafa Nadal, Real Madrid taking home their 12th UEFA Champions League trophy, and Tom Brady earning his fifth championship with the New England Patriots by defeating the Atlanta Falcons in the 2017 Super Bowl.
The same can be said the for Philippine-based athletes and local sports events. The public witnessed greats such as the San Miguel Beermen establishing themselves as the giants in the PBA with four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo leading the charge, boxing legend and senator Manny Pacquiao suffering a heartbreaking loss to Jeff Horn, and the DLSU Green Archers losing to the Ateneo Blue Eagles by a dagger three-pointer in Game 3 of the Finals courtesy of Isaac Go.
A new year has dawned but the 80th UAAP season hasn’t closed its doors just yet. Just to name a few, the UAAP is still conducting events such as Volleyball and Football, and of course the school’s athletes look to finish strong. Only two months have passed but 2018 looks poised to be the same, if not, a bigger year than 2017 with sporting events around the globe looking to take center stage.
2018 FIFA World Cup
Everyone’s been waiting for four long years and now finally, we will get to witness the 21st FIFA World Cup. It is set to take place in Moscow, Russia from June 14 to July 15. In the last World Cup back in 2014, Germany broke Lionel Messi’s heart by defeating Argentina, 1-0. Some of football’s greatest stars such as Pirlo and Buffon from Italy, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard from England, and Xavi Hernandez and Xabi Alonso, however, will not be be participating in this edition of the tournament.
As we say goodbye to past players, new stars are looking to take the spotlight. After suffering a back injury in his previous world cup, Neymar is back and hungrier than ever to lead a highly talented Brazil team with tons of expectations. But what do other countries have to say about that? We will have to wait a few more months to find out.
Gilas Pilipinas and the FIBA Asian Qualifiers
2010 will host another world cup, the FIBA Basketball World Cup. To get there, however, the Philippines will have win in this year’s qualifiers. After a Cinderella story journey to be able to qualify in the previous FIBA Tournament in 2014, Gilas Pilipinas plans to continue the consistency by consistently climbing up the ranks. Experience is the best teacher and despite going 0-3 in their last FIBA campaign, there was nothing to lose and everything to gain for the the Philippine based squad.
With a mix of youth and experience, veterans who have had previous international experience will be able to guide newcomers. Familiar names such as Calvin Abueva, Gabe Norwood, and Japeth Aguilar will be playing with rising stars such as Kiefer Ravena, RR Pogoy, and Jio Jalalon. Gilas Pilipinas has no other plans than to redeem themselves for 2019, but first it must play all out in this year’s Asian Qualifiers.
2018 Asian Games
Every four years, an international sporting event is held, with only Asian members as its participants, the Asian Games. The Asian games, also known as “Asiad” gathers countries in the Asian region to compete in different sports.
The last Asian Games were hosted by South Korea. For the Philippines, 15 representatives managed to place in different sporting events, with Daniel Caluag winning the only gold for the Philippines in BMX cycling. Three other athletes managed to win silver; two in wushu and one in boxing, while the rest received bronze medals in various sports such as Karate, Taekwondo, and Archery.
This year, 170 athletes are ready to represent the Philippines in the 2018 Asian Games. In 2018, Indonesia will play host to the Asian Games from August 18 to September 2. Drafting athletes was not easy as qualifiers on who will participate is crucial for this event. Those who qualified are athletes already being prepared for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, those who were able to perform well in the last Asian Games, and those who made it just enough to pass through the qualifiers to fill in the roster gaps for team Philippines.
Azkals 2019 Asian Cup Qualifers
The Philippine Azkals have been playing against other countries since 2017 and are looking forward to 2018, as it is the Azkals make or break moment. Football fans all over the country have long been waiting for something new and drastic to happen with the Philippine Azkals since their last match against Nepal. After an intense game, Nepal managed to hold back the Azkals from scoring any goals in their last game, ending their match in a draw. Despite the draw, the Azkals still have the lead in Group F with nine points.
This coming March 27, the Philippines is set to play against Tajikistan in Manila where the Azkals just need at least a draw in order to qualify for the Asian Cup for the first time ever.
2018 has just begun, and the country, and even the University, already has a lot on their plate when it comes to sports. While these are the sporting moments that we expect to see, what makes sports great is its ability to produce surprising moments that no one could’ve seen coming.