HANOI — The Philippine men’s football team is using Manny Pacquiao’s as motivation for the rest of its Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup campaign.
A day after overpowering Laos, 4-1, to kick off their title bid on a bright note, the Azkals took time off to join a group of Filipinos at a bar in the Vietnamese capital to witness the Pinoy boxing hero outclass Chris Algieri to retain the World Boxing Organization welterweight championship belt.
“It’s a good activity for us today,” goalkeeper Patrick Deyto said in a chat with Spin.ph after the fight. “It’s inspiring every time Manny fights for the country. And I hope we can use it as motivation for Tuesday’s game.”
Deyto, who cheered along with the rest of his teammates every time Pacquiao scored a knockdown, said he needs the motivation after admitting he played below his expectations, conceding one goal.
“I don’t think I really played well last game, so I want to play much, much better next game,” the 24-year-old netminder said as he looks forward to their match against Indonesia where the Azkals can already clinch a semifinal berth.
Team manager Dan Palami said they managed to find a viewing party by getting in touch with the Philippine embassy, which then put them in contact with the Filipino community here in Hanoi.
“The Azkals are big fans of Manny Pacquiao and we always watch his fights,” the Azkals boss said. “We try not to miss any fight.”
Palami said the Azkals should play like how Pacquiao fights.
“We should be fighting like Pacquiao — moving forward, clinical in his punches,” he said. “He’s an athlete all players should emulate.”