VAL Calvo got the chance to play overseas and ultimately become a potential Azkals member.
All in a span of two weeks.
Just weeks after being invited to become part of the Philippine Under-19 men’s football team, the Filipino-Spanish booter emerged as one of the vital cogs in the Teen Azkals’ title romp in the Kanga Cup in Australia last month.
The 18-year-old attacking midfielder fired four goals in six games, including the championship goal in the team’s 1-0 victory over Capital Football Senior NTC in the finale of Australia’s premier annual youth football competition.
“Sarap talaga ng feeling kasi other than football, nagkaroon ako ng chance makapunta ng ibang country kasi mahal ang mga ticket ng ganun,” Calvo told Spin.ph.
Born and raised in Cebu, Calvo has been playing the world’s No. 1 sport since he was in Grade 1 at Don Bosco. He eventually transferred to Manila in college and became part of Ateneo’s champion team in the last UAAP season.
Teen Azkals assistant coach Noel Marcaida was surprised by the Kanga Cup performance of Calvo, who will be playing for College of St. Benilde in his sophomore year in college next season.
“We didn’t expect Calvo to perform because he had only been with the team for a short while,” Marcaida said. “Pero ang kagandahan sa kanya nakukuha niya yung crucial goals kasi magaling magbasa ng game eh, tactically sound yung bata, walang arte sa katawan,
“At may size, so ginagamit niya yung laki niya,” he added of the six-foot Calvo.
“Potential na bata. Kailangan lang talaga ma-attach siya sa top level na competition para lumabas siya sa shell niya kasi nahihiya siya minsan,” Marcaida said.
Calvo and the rest of the Marlon Maro-mentored Teen Azkals, playing under the name of Carranz FC, went undefeated in six games in the Kanga Cup, which was part of their preparation for the Asean Football Federation U-19 tournament in Surabaya, Indonesia set from September 9 to 22.
“Maganda yung experience dun kasi malaki kalaban, nasanay kami sa physical plays, magagamit namin speed naming,” Calvo said.