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Dugout Triple Threat presents Azkals' to-do list for 2015

By Dugout Philippines

It's a brand-new year in sports, and a new segment in Dugout comes your way! Presenting the Triple Threat. Three of our friends from the press or three guys knowledgeable of the game will tackle some things about a particular team or league. In the opening salvo of the Triple Threat this year, let's evaluate the Philippine Azkals the past year and look at our "new year's resolutions" to them. Presenting the panelists, all from Dugout Philippines...

Alex Estoesta
Gil Mar Moriones
Ivan Saldajeno

We first asked how they evaluated the Azkals their performance last year, particularly in the AFF Suzuki Cup, where they once again made the semifinals. Here are what they said...

Alex-Compared to the past Suzuki Cup appearances, there has been a marked improvement with this year’s campaign of the Nationals in this biennial football tournament. One thing that stands out is the 4-0 thrashing of Indonesia in the groups stages. But I believe that this team would’ve fared better had there not been any unwarranted incidents, such as the resignation of some players from national duty.

Gil Mar-They impressed the football community after the curse breaker run in the group stage up to the semi phase, they dominated the Indonesia Merha Putih, 4-0 for the first time after eight decades of sufferings. On their third semis appearance at the Rizal Memorial Stadium against the War Elephants, they were only able to salvage a draw, but for me it was an astonishing performance of the national elevens. Therefore, even the Azkals was deprived of the championship, they really performed and improved well in areas which they demanded to focus on it. Thanks to the new national mentor Thomas Dooley and the coaching staff, without of his expertise and his dedication to our boys all of these would be impossible.

Ivan-Evaluating their AFF Suzuki Cup performance, the Azkals, despite bowing to Vietnam and Thailand, were better than the 2012 team. One thing I was impressed more was that most of the players are young and could have a longer time playing in the Suzuki Cup. That's one thing I like from Coach Tom. Another thing was that the passing game became more fluid.

Now, the main points to ponder. Click on the next page to see their takes.

Continued on the next page...

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