MUCH like his father after making that unforgettable shot that made him a La Salle hero more than a decade ago, Andres Aldeguer would raise his arms and run the length of the field each time he scored a goal.
Unlike Dino Aldeguer, whose three-pointer that forced overtime in the deciding game of the 1999 UAAP Finals and fueled the Archers’ title conquest against University of Santo Tomas made him forever a part of DLSU's basketball history, Andres is now making a name for himself not in basketball but in football.
Andres is one of Dino’s sons, the other being Lucas — the eldest of three siblings - who are nurturing a career in the world’s No. 1 sport. And the young Andres is this early making heads turn.
The nine-year-old striker led the United Football League Youth Under-11 Division in scoring with 15 goals for a Loyola Meralco side that lost only once in eight games, barely losing the championship to Agila on goal difference about two months ago.
Last July, Andres, along with his older brother, was part of the national team that took part in three international tournaments, including the Gothia Cup, considered as the world’s biggest youth football tournament, in Sweden.
More recently, Andres was back on home soil and scored eight goals in seven games in the Coca-Cola Cup, playing under the banner of Makati FC, where he started to play competitive football less than two years ago.
So where did Dino’s kids get their passion for football?
“Definitely hindi sa akin,” said the father, a two-time UAAP champion who has stints in the pro ranks both in the PBA and the defunct MBA. “I think because of the popular demand ngayon (for football), I think that’s what influenced my boys.”
Andres said he gave his father's sport a try, but didn't have as much fun as playing the Beautiful Game.
“Of all the sports I played, football is the most fun,” Andres admitted. “I tried basketball, but it was hard, and swimming I didn’t like it.”
“I just want to be a soccer player,” added Andres, who lists Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as his idols.
“And for me, as a parent, I’m just here to support them, give them the best support they can get,” said Dino, who, in fact, spent for almost the whole trip of his kids in the recent European tour, which included a stop in Spain for the Costa Blanca Cup and in Denmark for the Dana Cup.
Every cent spent has definitely been worth it, Dino said.
“As much as you want to influence them sa basketball, I believe na okay na sila sa football. And if they play football well and get familiar with the sport, kahit anong sport madali na because it’s a combination of many things: footwork, power, strength, resistance, stamina, physicality, and teamwork.”
More than becoming a future Azkal, Andres, a Grade 4 student at Bridge School in BF Homes, Alabang, dreams of playing professional football abroad for either one of the teams where his favorites players suit up for — Barcelona or Madrid.
Simon Greatwich, the Sparks mainstay and U-11 Loyola mentor who also spends time with Andres in private sessions and in the Chelsea Philippines football school, has only positive things to say about his ward.
“He’s a very talented young player,” Greatwich said, recalling a time when Aldeguer scored four goals in the first 10 minutes in a game. “He has a natural ability in front of goal.”
“His strength is obviously shooting, but he’s got things to improve on with his overall game — his hold-up play, distribution,” Greatwich added.
“But he’s definitely got a bright future ahead of him.”