The Kaya fans have a term of endearment for their goalkeeper Saba Sadeghi Garmaroudi. From the galleries they can often be heard shouting "Saba Pogi, Saba Pogi, Saba Pogi, ole, ole ole!"
Now they can call him something else: Overall First Draft Pick.
On Saturday at the CLEAR Dream Match draft day in Tuloy sa Don Bosco, the Iranian dentistry student and Kaya first-choice keeper was selected first by Phil Younghusband's team. The Azkal striker won the coin toss against his brother James to earn that right.James will rely on Nate Burkey to score. Photo copyright Bob Guerrero.
The CLEAR Dream Match is set for Saturday, August 25, 6:30 p.m. At the University of Makati Football Field. Team James will take on Team Phil with TV coverage from AKTV. If at the end of 90 minutes if the score is still tied, there will be penalty kicks to produce a winner.
Fans chose 40 players at the CLEAR Facebook page and from this pool the brothers drafted their 20-strong teams. Each brother picked five players alternately, then the rest were assigned via blind draw.
Phil won the toss and immediately went for Garmaroudi, saying "he is a guy I have a hard time scoring against." Unfortunately Saba was not there to accept the honor. James used his first choice to select former Azkal Anton Del Rosario. Phil's second-round selection was Park Min Ho, another defender and his teammate at Loyola Meralco Sparks.Phil will get Yves Ashime to stop Team James' offense. Photo copyright Bob Guerrero.
James then selected another Kaya Azkal, Nate Burkey to help him in attack. Phil made a terrific third-round pick in Yves Ashime, the Pachanga centerback and team captain. James elected to grab Pat Bocobo, captain of Green Archers Globe United, in the third round.
Phil took another Loyola defender, Roxy Dorlas in the fourth, while James took his third Kaya player, Guam National Team starter Jonah Romero.
In a bit of a surprise, Armand Del Rosario was chosen by Phil in the fifth round, assuring that not all the Kaya players would go to James. James rounded out the picks with Green Archer goalkeeper Patrick Deyto.
Amazingly, five of the ten picks were Kaya players while another one, Ashime, formerly played with them. Phil signified his intent to win on defense by grabbing four defenders and a goalkeeper with his five picks.Phil plays barefoot with kids from Tuloy Sa Don Bosco. Photo Copyright Bob Guerrero.
The next 30 players were then apportioned via blind draw, with the players choosing from Forward, Midfielder, Defender, and Goalkeeper pots.
A mixture of UFL pros and celebrities filled out the rest of the slots. Eric "The Beast" Tai, Paolo Bediones, Daniel Matsunaga, Tony Toni, Fabio Ide went to Phil's squad along with Pachanga team owner and Second Division leading scorer Freddy Gonzales.
James picked up non-Footballing celebs Jake Cuenca, Slick Rick, and Volcano Andrew Wolff, along with Boiboi Fernandez, Ateneo's Mikko Mabanag, and Kaya's lethal striker Eric Dagroh. Ref Cuaresma, Loyola's keeper, is also in James' camp, while goalkeeper Wilson Munoz is the only player from Penson Stallion Gilligans' in the game. He'll be suiting up for Phil.James Younghusband. Photo copyright Bob Guerrero.
After all 40 players were assigned a team, each Younghusband was allowed one selection from outside the list of 40. James picked first and shocked everyone by grabbing Wally Javier, the Azkal's physiotherapist. Phil was more serious, going for Azkal midfielder Anto Gonzales of Loyola.
"I like my team. We have the strikers, the midfielders, and the good-looking guys too" enthused Phil after the draft.
The players also chose their coaching staffs. James went with Meralco manager Vince Santos and father John Cordero. While Phil have Randy Roxas, Loyola Sparks and UFL president.
Before the draft the draftees on hand played fun barefoot games with the kids from Tuloy sa Don Bosco as well as some De La Salle female players at the Tuloy Gym. Tuloy Foundation will be the beneficiary of the match.
You can follow Bob Guerrero on Twitter @bhobg333.