Goal-getters: Filipino football players who made a mark in 2018

Bob Guerrero
A recap of the people and moments that made 2018 another great year for Philippine football

MANILA, Philippines – From the collegiate scene to the international stage, 2018 had been a colorful year for Philippine football. 

Here are the players who stamped their class this year: 

Player of the Year: Shelah Mae Cadag

The Masbateña from UST shone in the Olympic qualifiers for women’s football with 7 goals. Only one other player in the competition from the 16 other teams scored more than her, Chinese Taipei’s Yu Hsiu Chin.

Cadag also scored 8 times in UAAP football, including one in the final against La Salle, where UST lost 2-1. Unfortunately for her, the Tigresses also finished 2nd to La Salle in the PFF Women’s League. Perhaps it was because Cadag was with the national team and not the Tigresses in their pivotal final match of the season.

Cadag illustrates how Masbate is really one of the country’s underrated football hotbeds.

Honorable Mention: Phil Younghusband

The striker breached the half-century mark this year with his goals for the country in the AFC Asian Cup qualifying. He also helped Davao Aguilas finish 2nd in the Cup.

Coach of the Year: Anto Gonzales

The UP Maroons mentor lifted yet another UAAP men’s football crown this season after going undefeated and capping their campaign with a 1-0 win over UST in the final.

But the young coach wasn’t done.

UP also won the Unigames in Dumaguete. Then Gonzales was handed the reins to the Azkals for the Bangabandhu Cup in Bangladesh, and the team did not disappoint. They beat the hosts and Laos to reach the semis where they went down swinging to Tajikistan 2-0. Not bad for a hastily-assembled squad with very little practice.

Honorable Mention: Let Dimzon

The coach of the ladies Olympic qualifying team took a team with just 3 overseas-bred players and booked a ticket to the next series of qualifiers this coming April. Her team bullied Singapore, Mongolia, and Tajikistan with a combined score of 17-2. Only a very tough Chinese Taipei squad beat them.

Comeback Player of the Year: Patrick Reichelt

The Ceres Negros man began the year working his way to fitness from a bad knee injury. He ended it as the Philippines’ only multiple scorer in the AFF Suzuki Cup. Take a bow, Patrick. All the hard work in rehab paid off.

Saves of the Year: Neil Etheridge

The Philippines No. 1 shone in his Premiership debut, stoning Callum Wilson from 12 yards out to keep the Bluebirds in the game.


Cardiff City would lose that game but the very next week get their first point of the campaign thanks to Etheridge.

In the 96th minute, the keeper would deny Kenedy of Newcastle from the spot to preserve a goalless draw. I dare you to watch this clip and not have goosebumps with the commentary.


Honorable Mention: Frank Rieza of UE

Check out this astonishing denial of NU’s Momoy Dagsa from last March. Rieza swats away the top-corner free kick effort with a sensational leap.


Goal of the Year: Kevin Ingreso vs Tajikistan

March 27, 2018 was almost the worst day of Kevin Ingreso’s football career. The Ceres man had just minutes earlier given up a penalty that put Tajikistan up 1-0, and would condemn the Azkals to the sidelines of the AFC Cup.

But the football gods had other plans, as they put him in the right spot to nod in Iain Ramsay’s cross that clinched qualification, and also caused commentator Cedelf Tupas to lose his mind.


Other great goals from 2018, in no particular order:

Jovin Bedic saves the day for the Azkals with this odd, but nonetheless, fantastic equalizer against Thailand in Panaad. You could almost here Barotac Nuevo explode with joy from across the Guimaras strait.


Phil Younghusband confirms our passage to the AFC Asian Cup and gets his 50th goal in a Philippines shirt. And once again it’s Strepsils for Mr. Tupas.


No way is Stephan Schrock going to be left out of this party. Look at this ludicrous scissor-kick against Global from the PFL!


Kyla Inquig comes up huge in the UAAP women’s final with not one, but two long-range bombs to give the Lady Archers a second straight title. In between, Shelah Mae Cadag struck for UST.


Bienve Marañon dazzled the Ceres faithful in Panaad with his gorgeous pitching wedge goal against Yangon United. The Spaniard displaying the touch of a surgeon despite being at full gallop on the break.


Leo Maquiling gives Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu the CESAFI secondary schools’ title with the only goal in the final against the University of San Jose-Recoletos. And what a goal it is. The U19 national team striker sets Cebu’s Abellana Field alight with this stunning free kick.


Patrick Reichelt scores the Philippines’ first goal in the semifinal stage of an AFF Suzuki Cup. It’s a splendid team effort.

Bedic spots Phil Younghusband’s run and with the outside of his boot, delivers the perfect lead pass. Phil is right-footed and yet he somehow manages to execute a glorious left-footed cross on the run. Patrick takes the pass from what looks like nipple-height and volleys it home.


Reichelt’s other Suzuki Cup goal, the game winner against Singapore, wasn’t too shabby either.


Jesse Shugg, Quinley Quezada, and Shelah Mae Cadag with 3 of the best goals from our WNT, out of a total of 26. Good job Mia Montayre on the compilation!


The caption for this next goal sounds better in Filipino.

Mananahi siguro si Regil Kent Galaura ng UE. Kahit football nailulusot niya sa butas ng karayom.


The Kuala Lumpur stadium can retire their lawnmowers. Martin Steuble with the perfect grass cutter finish against Timor Leste at 1:05 of this clip.



The Philippines picked up a rare win in age group national team play when the U19s stunned Singapore earlier this year in Gresik, Indonesia. Go to 2:10 to see UP’s Fidel Tacardon grab his first goal and then to 8:24 for his epic game winner in the 94th minute.



Jarvey Gayoso notched his first-ever senior international goal against Laos. The left-footer hardly ever heads the ball for Ateneo since he takes so many corner kicks. But in this game, he showed his world-class aerial game, steering in Pika Minegishi’s cross into the net. Check it out at 1:45.


FEU’s Gio Pabualan scored two ridiculous goals in 2018. This is the first one, an audacious volley from the parking lot in the UAAP juniors final versus La Salle Zobel. Make sure you have something soft under your jaw.

And then he silenced a crowd of 16,950 Indonesian fans in Sidoarjo during the AFF U19 championships with this outrageous free kick to give the Filipinos a 1-0 lead. Go to 3:50 to see it.


Kaya grabs the silverware with this extra time winner against Davao in the PFL Cup final. Jovin Bedic with the tap in but massive props to Robert Lopez Mendy for his hard work in warding off Marco Casambre and centering.


Ian Clarino concluded ihs UAAP career in the best possible fashion, by scoring the only goal in the men’s football final. The flick off JB Borlongan’s free kick is inch-perfect, and he ended the day as a champion and league MVP.

Follow Bob on Twitter @PassionateFanPH Rappler.com

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