|Former Malditas tactician Buda Bautista (third from left, front row) will fly the flag for Pinay futbol in the AFC Awards in Bangkok. Earl Averilla/Dugout Philippines|
MANILA--The Philippines is back once again in the AFC Awards after an extraordinary feat got them one nomination this year.
After getting the award for its Kasibulan program last year in Abu Dhabi, the PFF will have one nod in a major category as the Asia's best were set to be feted in Bangkok, Thailand eight days from now.
That honor fell to Buda Bautista, as her success in guiding the Malditas to next year's Women's Asian Cup in April ultimately convinced the AFC to nominate her as one of the best women's coaches in the continent
In her swansong as the Malditas gaffer, Bautista was the mastermind in finishing second in a tough, six-team Group A in their qualifiers in Tajikistan that included tournament hosts Jordan who came out on top of the group.
The 19-strong squad won their first three matches and punched their ticket to Amman with a dramatic draw against Bahrain on Holy Tuesday.
Joining her in the category is an elite pair of coaches well known in Asia who are set to replace former double-winning Hong Kong Eastern manager Chan Yuen-ting who won the award last year.
Four-time winner and current Nadeshiko Japan manager Asako Takakura and China's U16 coach Gao Hong complete the trio of nominees.