March 27, 2018 - Rizal Memorial Stadium, MANILA PHILIPPINES

(Philippines Vs Tajikistan - AFC Asian Cup UAE Qualifier 2019)

A night of History was made for the Philippines National Football Team, the grandstand jam-packed crowd, and all the Filipinos around the world.

So this is how watching a Football is like. It drove my nerves crazy and all. I even felt chills down my spine, OMG! ganito pala. It's nerve-racking, Really! And I wasn't even there yet. I was only live-streaming.

Before the Friendly match with the Fiji last March 22nd, the official IG account of The Azkals posted and asked  the fans who's their favorite Azkal player and why; in exchange of  free tickets for the best answer. So, I participated even though I couldn't watch the game regardless if I've won or not. I just really wanted to show my support too and as to why chose him. Thus,  I commented and even took the guts (yes, I needed the courage) to have mentioned Kevin. I felt a little sad that there are fewer fans (in general) than I ever thought. And I also noticed that a lot of Azkals players are less celebrated than the others.

I know. Not judging the fellow fans here. We are on the same page. It's just that we differ on the player preferences, and I respect that--- a lot.

Nonetheless, March 27 was indeed a night of History for the Philippine Football.

Nakaka-iyak! I saw how anxious and disappointed of himself he was when he committed an error that resulted to penalty, (you know what happened next), I thought the victory was in jeopardy, too.  Looking at him devastated but still continued to push through the game composed, made me admire him more.

But that was only a twist, I guess. A test of faith. Everyone, even the 4,671 crowd seemed to waver, having that 0-1 score until 73' happened.

Just when you thought about everything's falling apart, that's the time when a sweet miracle occurs.

Ingreso made up for his error real fast and redeemed himself by heading a cross from Iain Ramsay, an unprecedented move that made the whole RMS crowd up-roar; giving everyone a glimpse of hope towards victory. Even I, who's watching from afar felt really  giddy.

Boy, that's Kevin. And was it phenomenal!

That goal did not only equalize the score into 1-1 but also put the players on fire on both teams, as it was crucial. It wasn't an easy ride, of course. Both patience and resilience were tested. You can see everyone's tenacity and commitment. If I am to use a metaphor I'd say I can see them literally on fire that night. Willing to fight 'till the end, not giving up. Reichelt got fouled when set to receive a ball delivered by Ingreso that resulted to a penalty; which sent the whole RMS  into pandemonium again! And there goes the penalty kick (winning goal) from Phil Younghusband at 90' (2-1) that made his 50th International goal and booked the Azkals their spot to the Asian Cup UAE 2019.                                                                                                                                                            I must add, the teamwork was remarkable!

Truly, If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

Uwian na, may nanalo na!

So happy that I have come to like football and never did I imagine that I would learn to love it in just a short span of time. Even my friends now are liking football; Azkals in particular, of course. Glad that I have brought awareness to them. It's really worth it, you know. Rather than supporting other nationalities and counties, why not support our own?

They need us to support them. Win or lose, they need our support to uplift their confidence and inspire them. That could be our fair share in making our country known in this sport.

From that volley kick during the Friendly match against Fiji to the crucial Asian Cup Qualifying Match Vs Tajikistan with a header, Kevin Ingreso was on a roll.

I feel so proud that I stand to be his supporter even from faraway.  And now, I just can't contain my joy that the team is actually coming here in the UAE for their first Asian Cup ever! By then, I can fulfill my role as a fan and make myself useful on the crowd cheering not just for him but for the the whole team! I look forward to that day when I can proudly stand as a Filipino on a foreign land cheering for my own country.

That would be epic!

For now, let us just savor and seize the victory! Carpe Diem! If it wasn't hard, if there wasn't a thin line between winning and losing; It wouldn't be great and worth it, isn't it? With everyone safe, euphoric, no serious injuries; the sacrifices, hardwork, sweat, blood and tears are all paid-off.  There might have been many lost chances before but that's nothing compared to what they have gained right now. And most of all, long-time dreams and prayers have been answered in such a wonderful timing. That's an achievement no dark past could ever resurface.

The long wait is over. Finally, the Philippines has taken a milestone in the Football Industry - yet to make another History!

That was a match made in heaven. Beyond magical, even.

When you give glory to God, and you acknowledge that he is the source of all things, and there's nothing that He can't do--He will bless you abundantly, even more than you can imagine at the least expected circumstances. Talk about God's timing; it's never late, never too early, and worth the wait.

"When the time is right, I, the Lord will make it happen."  Isaiah 60 :22

So, this happened.

IMG_4048_res Heroes of the match made in Heaven

Kevin Ingreso "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13, NKJV

                 This by far, is my favorite among all the photos. This shows faith, passion and gratitude in one.

The best is yet to come, Pilipinas kong mahal!

                                                                                                                             x x
Disclaimer: 
I wrote on my first blog about KI that it's gonna be the first and last one. Now, I take that back. That was just the first,  and hopefully, there'd be more. Credits to the owner of re Photos used.

Published by Mayne Andaya