July 22, 2017

Paolo Pascual: Being a part of the Azkals is a very, very big achievement

MANILA, Philippines — Yannick Tuason and Paolo Pascual leave everything behind for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play with the Azkals.

Paolo Pascual, goalkeeper: The other ‘Papa P’

He may not be Piolo, but Paolo Pascual now has his fair share of crazy, adoring fans since joining the Azkals as one of its newest homegrown recruits.

Paolo and the rest of the U-23 (Under 23) players are currently preparing for the Southeast Asian Games in November in Indonesia where he will be the first goalkeeper.

He is also getting back to fighting form after he dislocated his shoulder almost two months ago.
 
Photo grabbed with permission from Paolo's Facebook.

Paolo was just a regular Business and Entrepreneurship college junior at the University of San Carlos in Cebu when he got a call from the Philippine Football Federation asking him to try out for the Azkals.

While it’s already an achievement to try out with other experienced and talented players who come from the other parts of the globe, what sets Paolo apart is the fact that he made it to the national team at only 20 years old. The 5’11” Cebuano native has been training with the Azkals since January.

Paolo started playing football when he was seven years old at Paref Springdale School. He was a striker until Grade VII when his coach Mario Ceniza realized Paolo had the potential to be a good goalkeeper given his height. He has since played in Global Smartmatic FC and in the Philippine U-19 team that competed in China.

Paolo is supposed to be in fourth year college now, but because most of the trainings are conducted in Manila, he is now looking for a school in the capital city where he can continue his studies while he attends the national team trainings at the same time.

Even if he is away from home, Paolo relates that he is always reminded by his father to “always be an intelligent athlete” by balancing academics and sports.

How did you get into football? I started when I was seven years old, for school. Since then, I’ve been playing football in elementary, high school and college. It has always been my childhood dream to play football.

Who are your football idols? Being a goalkeeper, I look up to Iker Casillas. Locally, I look up to my partner, Eduard Sacapano. He has a good work ethic and he has been with the team for so long so I think he deserves to get noticed, he deserves credit.

How would you describe yourself as a player? A goalkeeper should have discipline and a good work ethic. You shouldn’t give up. Even up to the last minute, you should give it your all. Neil Etheridge gives us a lot of tips. When he’s here, he trains us. He’s got a lot of really, really good and useful tips.

What type of a student are you? I’m silent, kinda studious and friendly.

Was it a tough decision choosing between school and being part of the national football team? It is football for now. But I know you can’t get a living by just doing football. You have to earn after football also. So you need a college degree and all that to go through with life. I talked to my mom and dad about it first and I told them that this is just a once-in-alifetime experience. My parents have been very supportive. They’re the ones who have been encouraging me to join the Azkals.

Who inspires you during a game? Number one is God. Next is ‘yung mga na-achieve nung veteran teammates namin, all the Pinoys who have been with the Azkals ever since, like Roel Gener. Their dedication to the team and to the country is amazing.

Do you have any rituals before a game? I just pray.

How has football changed your life? Now that we’re part of the team, you should be more conscious about your health. That’s something to focus on.

What do you consider is your biggest achievement so far? I think being a part of the Azkals is a very, very big achievement already.

What was your craziest experience with a fan? In Barotac (Iloilo) it is pretty wild. The crowd there is rowdy compared to Manila. Here kasi, they keep things to themselves. There they would, they release. They do anything.

Are you single or in a relationship? I’m single.

What do you look for in a girlfriend? I like someone who is God-fearing and family-oriented.

The biggest sacrifice that you have to make as an Azkal? Being away from the family. I’m from Cebu and to move here to Manila is a big sacrifice for me.

What was the biggest adjustment for you coming from Cebu? The life and the family. Homesickness. In Cebu, I have everything there, you have a home, you’re family is there for you. But here, you have to be independent. You have to learn how to live on your own. You have to find ways to get by here in Manila. It was hard adjusting. But after probably a month, I got used to it already.

If you were not a football player, what would you be doing now? I will be studying. Get my business degree then maybe I’ll go become a pilot. It’s been my dream as well.

Do you think the Azkals will survive without the Fil-foreigners? I think we also need the Fil-foreigners. They bring a lot of experience to the team. But skills-wise, I think the pureblooded Filipinos have it.

What was your initial reaction when you saw your team captain, Aly Borromeo’s billboard? Good for him. I’m happy for him. If you have that kind of body, why not flaunt it. Aly has been with the team for so long already, he really deserves all the attention and fame that he has been getting now. Same with Ian (Araneta), Chieffy (Caligdong) and Role (Gener). I’m closest to them and Yannick (Tuason).

Is there a player in the team that you get intimidated by? In football, if you get intimidated, nothing will happen to you. You have to be strong.
 
Published in the Manila Bulletin on July 20, 2011.

Rising Football Superstar of Cebu

THE rising football superstar of Cebu, Paolo Pascual, showed positive signs of making it to the pool of players who will compose either the senior team or the Under-23 squad of the Philippine National Football team.

The official announcement of the final list will be released today but Azkals team manager Dan Palami already confirmed that the remaining 13 hopefuls are part of the training pool.

 

Foto by Jazz Perez, Sports Unlimited

“The pool of players are already considered as part of the team,” Palami said. 

The Azkals coaching staff required the players to go through a series of practice games and trainings while waiting for the final list. 

“Paolo is performing well. He is training with other goal keepers and he will train with the national team as well,” he added. 

Only two goalkeepers will be sent to play for the upcoming match by the Philippine team against Mongolia and Neil Etheridge had already confirmed his presence. 

They will announce today who the other keeper will be. 

ABS-CBN will be the official broadcasting partner of the AFC Cup game in Bacolod this Feb. 9. 

Offers 

Meanwhile, while waiting for the final results of the tryout, Pascual received an offer to play with the Global FC. 

Global FC is a team under the APC Global Incorporated, which actively participates in the premier football leagues in the Philippines such as the United Football League. 

“He is young, trainable and has a good work ethic,” said Franco Lorenzo, team manager of Global FC. Lorenzo founded the team with Palami. 

They first noticed Pascual when the Cebuano became part of their training pool, who played for the Under-19 Asian Qualifiers in China in 2009 when he was still 17. 

Passion 

Lorenzo said he admired Pascual’s enthusiasm and passion for football and his willingness made him throw the offer to the aspiring professional football player. 

Pascual said he has not confirmed it yet. “I am is still weighing my options regarding the offer to play for Global FC. I still need to consult my parents,” said Pascual. 

Lorenzo offered him a monthly allowance and a slot in the trainings for the Under-23 team of Global FC. 

“I’m not forcing him because I know he still has obligations in Cebu and he still has to pursue his education but this is a good chance towards achieving his dream,” Lorenzo said. 

The young player is overwhelmed by the response of other football teams to his performance. 

“I feel so happy. It’s a good team with good players,” said Pascual. 

Lorenzo asked Pascual to watch the championship game today of the Global FC against the Army Team so that he will get to know the players and observe them. 

He already included Pascual in the list of players for the team’s next game. 

“There are a lot of options. I could go to school here and and train at the same time or I could go back to Cebu and come back whenever they have trainings for the under 23 but my priority would be playing for the Azkals,” Pascual said. 

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 22, 2011.

Little Azkals open bid in AFC U-13 today

THE Philippine Under 13 (RP U13) tagged as the “Little Azkals” will open their campaign in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U13 Festival of Football today.

The team is composed of Major Dean Ebarle of the Abellana National School (ANS); Mario Lorenzo Ceniza of PAREF Springdale; Moiselle Angelo Alforque and Vincent Lobitos of Don Bosco Technology Center (DBTC); Kintaro Miyagi of Bright Academy; Lawrence Colina of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF); Lorenzo Genco; Yared Anton, Ian Daniel Eamague, Kyric Parao and Henry Hamdam of the Negros Oriental Football Association (NORFA); Mason Trent Vergara of Dumaguete City; Darios Diamante and Javier Romero-Salas of Davao FA; Sebastian Patangan of Dipolog FA; Jeremaih Borlongan and Dimitri Lionel Limbo of Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental FA; Harel Dayan, Josh Albert Miller, John William Abraham, Ray Vincent Sanciangco and Marco Alessandro Casambre of the Rizal Football Association (RIFA).

First up for the Little Azkals will be Laos and Singapore this morning and Indonesia in the afternoon.

Team manager Richard Montayre explained that teams will play a total of 40 minutes with the first 11 of each team playing in the first 20 and the second 11 playing in the remaining 20 minutes.

On June 4 will be a skills test and matches will resume on Sunday and Monday. The Little Azkals coaching staff is made up of Oliver Colina as head coach, Eleazar Toledo as assistant coach, Noel Marcaida as goalkeeping coach and Eliezer Fabroada as coach instruct.

Marcaida said the target for the Little Azkals is to better the winless performance last year’s RP U14. 

/CORRESPONDENT MARS G. ALISON

Azkals to Award Inter-club Winners

By

Participating teams in the Cebu Amateur Football Club (CAFC) 11th National Interclub Football Cup will have an added incentive in vying for the championships. The Philippine national football team more famously known as the Azkals will be awarding the champions of the tournament during its closing ceremonies on May 29 at the football field of the University of San Carlos Technological Center (USC-TC).

The tournament kicks off today in various football pitches in Cebu City. In a final coaches meeting last Thursday night, CAFC president Glenn Quisido urged all teams to go for the title as they will not only have the privilege to be awarded by the Azkals but will also have the chance to share the stage with them and have their photos taken with the national team.

The Azkals will be having their one-week team bonding here in Cebu City as part of their preparation for the World Cup qualifiers. According to Quisido, they will arrive on May 25 and will immediately start their training. Quisido said he was grateful that the Azkals agreed to spare the CAFC one day. In exchange, the club will be partly supporting the national team’s stay in Cebu.

The CAFC will also help the Azkals in their fund-raising activity by selling official Azkals shirts during the week-long tournament. The CAFC will put up booths in the three playing venues—USC-TC, San Roque football field and Paref Springdale and sell the shirts starting today until May 29.

The tournament, considered one of the biggest outside Manila, has gathered teams from the Manila Soccer Academy, San Carlos City, Masbate, Iloilo, Ormoc, Bohol and Northern Samar.

In an effort to make the tournament flow more smoothly, CAFC has decided to schedule only two games in the morning and two games in the afternoon in all playing venues. And just like in the previous years, Quisido lamented the scarcity of girls teams in the tournament. “We have encouraged them to join the tournament, however, most refused because they said they cannot come up with 11 members to compromise a team,” Quisido said. The tournament though has three girls teams contesting the girls 17-Under title. These are Queen City United, Aroroy FC of Masbate and the USC-TC.