Aly Borromeo: The captain has spoken
THE DIALOGUE - Raymond Gutierrez () - August 17, 2011 - 12:00am

If history played out differently, Aly Borromeo, the team captain of the Philippine Azkals, would be playing in the court as a basketball player rather than out on the field.

 “I played a lot of sports growing up. I played varsity basketball, golf, and tennis. I actually asked myself a few years back that maybe I should have just chosen basketball and if I did, I could have been part of the PBA league already,” he says.

But he made the smartest decision of his life by zeroing in on football. “But I’ve also realized for the past two years that it has been a great decision and that all my hard work are paying off. My passion for football still amazes me, and I can’t believe it that sometimes I have to pinch myself. Being pioneers of this sport in our country brings such honor.”

We tracked down one of the men responsible for the reawakening of football in the country for “The Dialogue.”

PHILIPPINE STAR: What’s a normal day like for you?

Aly Borromeo, the team captain of the Philippine Azkals, wears an olive green shorts from APC and plaid Y3 blazer, available at Univers, G/F One Rockwell Photos by Glen Tungol of Edge of Light Styled by Carlos Concepcion Grooming by Joyce Platon Shoot assisted by Daniel Naval Special thanks to Xander Angeles

Aly Borromeo: I always make sure that I get at least eight hours of sleep. I try to get up early and have breakfast. I’m a morning person. Breakfast is my favorite (meal) of the day. Without breakfast, my day just goes wrong, I feel lazy and all that. Then I run errands before I head to football practice in the afternoon. After that, I go home and hang out with my girlfriend.

What’s the hardest part about being the team captain of the Azkals?

I’m actually the mediator between the local and foreign players of the team. I’m the teammate whom both local and foreign teammates consult for any concern or help. For example, being a Filipino growing up here, locals would be shy to voice out their concerns regarding the team. On the other hand, foreigners are more likely to voice out their opinions and concerns firsthand. Also, I’m the one who talks to the head coach, manager, teammates and everyone else involved with the team.

Is there any tension between the Filipino and foreign players in the team?

Not at all. It’s our coach who actually has a say on who gets to play in the field. It has nothing to do with being foreign or local. But for the past two years now, local Pinoy players understand that foreign players are more skilled than they are and it has challenged them in a good way to always keep improving in their sport. Our coach gave all of us equal chances of proving to him who’s worthy to play on the field.

What has been the toughest game for you so far?

Black Y3 jacket and denim button-down shirt from Topman

We’ve been through so many ups and downs but I would say that the toughest game for me was way back in 2007, when we were against Malaysia and I got injured in the first eight minutes of the game. The Azkals actually started in 2004, it was only two years ago that we gained popularity because of our match with Vietnam, so that was another turning point.

How has popularity changed your team?

Actually, our team didn’t change at all. We all still hang out with each other and get along very well. Communication and strong bonding were keys to the success of our team.

How are you dealing with all the attention on you guys right now? Has it been overwhelming?

In the beginning, it was really overwhelming. But I guess we got used to it already — as long as you do it for the sport and not the popularity. It’s a great feeling that we’ve introduced the masses a new sport, not just the ordinary basketball and boxing. Now they have new icons to look up to. We want to keep it that way for a very long time.

As a team captain, how do you advise your teammates in handling recent scandals and intrigues?

First of all, I told them that whatever they do outside the field, they’re still representing the team. This is not an individual sport. We are all supportive of each other and we know that these allegations are false. There will always be people who will be pulling you down but at the end of the day, we know why we’re here — we just want to bring Football to the Filipinos. Before we never got anything from playing for the country, no allowance, not anything. We were just playing for the flag. Being the captain, I always make sure that every player has the mindset even before wearing the jersey. It’s not for show; it’s a lot of hard work.

Do you think there’s a future for Filipinos in the world of football globally?

Aly Borromeo says, “Football is a great sport for us Pinoys. We definitely have a good future on it but it will take a while. People in our country think that we’re World Cup champions but the truth is, we still have a lot of work to do.”

Yes. There’s definitely a future for us. We want everyone to get involved as much as possible, especially the youth. Let them realize that football is a great sport for us Pinoys. We definitely have a good future on it but it will take a while. People in our country think that we’re World Cup champions but the truth is, we still have a lot of work to do. It’s a long ladder to get there, but it’s a good start. A promising one.

What’s the next step for you?

Being a captain, I want to show everyone that it’s not just about winning games, it’s about helping each other and inspiring one another. It’s not just playing football for fun, its also learning so much from playing for and being in a team. Having responsibilities and giving back to the country.

ALY BORROMEO AZKALS BUT I CARLOS CONCEPCION GROOMING DANIEL NAVAL SPECIAL FOOTBALL PHILIPPINE AZKALS TEAM WORLD CUP
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