It was a field of football and I mean it in that sense. Alaska Football Cup 2014 turned the expansive grass area of Ayala Alabang Country Club into multitude parcels of football haven. This catered to a number of football clubs not just here in the metro but nationwide. I even saw one tent filled with parents and supporters from St. John’s Institute Football Club from my hometown of Bacolod City. Various teams from the cutest barely-out-of-toddler-stage kids, who showed no less intensity and fierceness, to the mostly foreign-speaking and looking squad of savy “futbuleros”, jostled it out for the top spot in their age group category in this 2-day event.
I came to watch on Sunday, November 30, the second and last day of the event. I, together with other sports and lifestyle bloggers, was instantly awed by the sheer size of everything football that greeted me. From the number of back-to-back and side-to-side football fields totaling 30, to the footballs flying all around that I even managed to kick a ball or two for the very first time after high school that was eons ago, to the players of all ages and gender, to the family and friends that lined each field to support their players, this just simply screamed FOOTBALL in all sense of the word‼!
All in all, a total of 300 teams representing football clubs from all over the country including Masbate, Baguio, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Davao, Palawan, Legaspi, Laguna, Batangas, Bukidnon, Zambales, Pampanga, Tarlac, Ilocos, Bicol, Romblon, Davao Sur, Compostela Valley, Quezon, Cavite, Albay, Pangasinan, Bacolod, Iloilo, Mindoro and Metro Manila were competing. They fielded 4,500 players for a number of categories starting from as young as six to the more professional looking ones in the open category. This huge participation makes this event sponsored by Alaska Milk the most successful grassroots development program that our country so dearly needs to produce future players of global competitiveness. This is already the 19th edition meaning that this was started back in 1995. But the results are not that easy to effect re the country’s international standing but we are slowly getting there. This I firmly believe so.
The day and the event however were not just for the players, they were for the family and friends who came out in droves just to witness and support the players and coaches too. They lined each playing field cheering, encouraging and appeasing their wards with each goal scored, a good pass, and when hurt and down in the grass. They fill to overflowing capacity the tents assigned to them even bringing their own makeshift stools and umbrellas getting ready for a full day of hard competition. Some even brought buggies just to transport the grandparents. The most Avid Supporter Award though I will give to the yayas who braved the sun staying at the sidelines shouting and all until the very end of each game. They jump with each goal made and release a cumulative sigh of exasperation when their wards were not getting the breaks.
Coaches were in for the grueling 2 days of competition too. Not just with winning the games but with controlling their players’ constant plea to put then into action all at once. I even saw a Borgy Manotoc look-alike coach donning a hoodie making some instructions to his wards prior the game making clear that the authority to choose whom to let play lies on him alone and not the players nor the parents. At least they were clear on this from the start. Some of them were even subject of the young players’ constant penchant for horseplay. This just means that they were not just coaches to begin with; they are also teachers, friends and family members all in one.
The very stars of this event though were the players themselves. They came in from different social strata and localities. The Makati and Alabang Football Clubs were naturally the “alta sosiodad” cluster with a sundry of amenities at their reach including cool looking mestizo parents sitting comfortably in makeshift chairs with umbrellas while the “yayas” do the close supervision by the field. However, once on the field, they were all equal with those coming from orphanage football clubs like Tuloy Sa Don Bosco in the spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie. They all compete without social barriers but for the love of football and for the prestige of winning the top trophy. This is where saw in actuality Alaska Milk’s vision and mission of not just selling milk products but “promoting community development and nation building by nurturing positive values of teamwork, cooperation and fair play through sports activities.”
Here are the results per age category:
For more information on the Alaska Football Cup please visit the
or follow on twitter: @ALASKAsportshub.