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Phil vs James: Who's the better Younghusband?

Both teams taking a lap around University of Makati to thank all the fans who supported the Clear Dream Match

MANILA, Philippines - Not even the sporadic rains could dampen the spirits of fans excited to watch the best of the United Football League, the best of college football, and the best football-loving celebrities as they went head-to-head in the first-ever “Clear Dream Match” last Aug. 25.

With 2,800 fans in attendance, the University of Makati was filled to capacity. Finally, after five weeks of online voting and never-ending debates as to whom the better Younghusband football player is, the score was going to be settled.

Though the match-up of James and Phil Younghusband was the highly anticipated rivalry, the game also saw other match-ups take place: Kaya FC brothers Armand and Anton Del Rosario; Philippine Volcanoes Eric Tai and Andrew Wolff; and Boys Night Out DJs Tony Toni and Slick Rick all played on opposite ends of the field.

Hosted by 89.9 radio DJ Mia Bayuga, the event kicked off with Jamaican drummers rallying the crowd, followed by an upbeat dance number by the Clear Dream Match beneficiary, the Tuloy sa Don Bosco kids, as they grooved to the beat of the Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling. Afterwards both teams walked hand in hand with kids from Tuloy, as former UAAP football player Alejandro Rivera sang the national anthem. 

In a muddy affair that Kaya FC player Jonah Romero dubbed “mud wrestling,” it was the younger Younghusband’s display of defense that won the game, defeating older brother James 5-1. “We took the game seriously and we were as professional as we could be,” said Phil.

Phil had a defensive strategy. He made a good choice on his first five draft picks. They were Kaya FC keeper Saba Garmaroudi, defenders Yves Ashime of Pachanga, Park Minho and Roxy Dorlas of Loyola Meralco Sparks, and Armand Del Rosario of Kaya FC.

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His choices paid off because by halftime Phil had already scored two goals and Oussenyou Diop added to the goal tally, making it 3-0.

During halftime, Rico Blanco performed three songs. The third song, Awit ng Kabataan, was the perfect song to sum up the cause of the Tuloy sa Don Bosco Foundation. 

After the halftime James scored, drilling the ball into the back of the net. But Team Phil’s defense proved to be too strong, as Phil completed a hat trick, and Yannick Tuason scored one more to put the game away.

Though many UFL players participated in the match, composed in a large part of both Team James and Team Phil, several non-footballers also played their part in the match-up.

Models Daniel Matsuanaga and Fabio Ide, TV host Paolo Bediones, and actor Rafael Rosell played some key minutes for Team Phil, while Steven Silva and Marvin Kiefer suited up for Team James.

The night also saw former national team players Alvin Ocampo and Rudy Del Rosario show flashes of brilliance.

By the game’s end it was team Phil that lifted the first-ever Clear Dream Match trophy, but the ultimate winner was the sport of football and the children of the Tuloy sa Don Bosco Foundation — the Clear Dream Match beneficiary.

Individual awards were given to Saba Garmaroudi for Best Keeper, Yves Ashime for Best Defender, and Ateneo’s Mikko Mabanag for Best Midfielder. Overall MVP was awarded to Park Min Ho and the People’s Choice Award, which was decided by Twitter votes, was given to Eric Tai.

“I have to be careful about winding up Phil now,” said James. “He has bragging rights now. But I’m already thinking of next year’s game.”

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