No sour-grapes allowed

Veredictum

Hard? Yes. Impossible? No.

I admire the irrevocable fighting spirit of our very own Philippine Azkals.

After enduring a disappointing start in the country’s campaign at the 26th Southeast Asian Games against Vietnam, Pinoy pride ruled more than fear in their hearts knowing that they have done better than what they have expected after the 1-3 pressure ended.

Instead of a bitter approach, Philippine coach Michael Weiss admitted that the Vietnamese did “well-deserved” the victory and that they were “a little bit unlucky” in the game despite goalkeeper Roland Muller’s brilliant work. The German mentor even disclosed that he is very proud of the team despite the loss.

Well, this didn’t end there actually. After finding themselves on a losing end during their second game versus lightweight Timor Leste (1-2), the Philippine under-23 football team remained optimistic as they keep their fingers crossed to get a win against Myanmar and Brunei on November 13 and 15 at the Lebak Bulus Stadium, respectively.

Hoping to bounce back from their two heartbreaking defeats, this brood of men kept motivated as they push into a “must-win-big” situation from hereon to keep their slim medal targets alive.

For a nation that was never expected to be seen playing and enduring football, it is not usual for its commoners to embrace something they are not used with.

I am not an avid fan of football. But even before when the Azkals started to publicize themselves, many have already judged this bunch of good-looking athletes that they will just waste toil in the field.

However, these men settled to breakfree from the traditions and risked their time and effort to pursue a goal many Filipinos hesitated to push through – to be extraordinary.

As a Filipino, I even feel confident for these booters. They represented our country in one of the universe’s favorite sports and they proved to the odds that our country can go with the flow despite our intense love for basketball.

Now, they’re influencing many and inspiring the young. I will not be surprised when one day this sport elevates in our society’s preferences – that not only basketball will reign in the hearts of Pinoys, that the next generation will prefer to revel in more productive activities like sports than with modernization.

Indeed, victory is sweeter once tasted defeats. Downfalls complete one’s unique profile, whether high or low. Fiascoes occur because of intense craving for a plum. Adversaries exist to establish a more compact image over the other.

Losing will never be a reason to feel less of a person. Due to our mishaps, we tend to ache for more, to dream big time. No small heart is little enough to store big dreams and no big dream is hard enough to capture by a small heart.

In every match, failing is undeniably possible. But, this doesn’t mean that there is harm in aiming to win. There is no wrong in hoping. It’s good to be a dreamer, a believer, and a risk-taker.

To tell you honestly, when people do not make mistakes, they are as if not doing anything out of this life. Sometimes one needs to be extraordinary even when the only thing he needs to do is to add that shy ‘extra’ in his name just to change the sphere’s monotonous rotation and show that out of the ordinary miracle does happen, that innovation is possible, and that there is something to watch out, to seek and to learn.

Just like what the odd Filipino cliché says, “Libre lang mangarap.”

Do not be overcome by fear, but overcome fear with passion. Stand firm.

To the U23 Azkals, UE delegates and to the rest of our national team, we are Filipinos and we are known for our steadfast and relentless spirit. So, let’s show our opponents what we can do. Laban, ‘Pinas!

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