Inquirer Sports performer of the week: Chieffy CaligdongBy Mark C. Giongco
Caligdong, the 29-year-old star striker, flirted with a hat-trick twice in the recently concluded Long Teng Cup to help the Philippine Azkals seize second place.
“I can still feel the pain on my leg but I’m happy to have contributed in the win,” Caligdong told the Inquirer’s Cedelf P. Tupas in Macau.
“Chieffy has been very consistent in this campaign,” team manager Dan Palami also told the Inquirer from Macau.
In the Philippines win over Macau, Caligdong flourished with two scintillating goals despite coming in as a substitute in the second half.
Earlier in the tournament, he scored the Philippines’ two of the three points in a draw against defending champion Hong Kong.
His four goals earned him the Golden Boot award as the four-nation tournament’s top scorer. His last two, meanwhile, sealed Inquirer Sports’ for the top performing athlete of the week from Oct. 2 to Oct. 8. Among the other notable performers were PBA rookies Paul Lee of Rain or Shine and Chris Lutz of Petron and cycling star Santi Barnachea.
“He (Caligdong) just comes out and proves that you can count on him,” added Palami.
Hong Kong went on to retain its crown after overwhelming host Chinese Taipei, 6-0.
One of the most popular members of the Azkals due to his crowd-pleasing personality, Caligdong already has netted six international goals just this year for a total of 14 in his career.
Caligdong and the rest of the Azkals, beefed up with highly-touted recruits, arrived in Singapore Thursday night for a friendly.
The Philippines will take on Singapore at 7:30pm Friday before returning to Manila on October 11 to face Nepal at the Rizal Memorial Stadium for its second international friendly match in less than a week.
Though still banged up, Caligdong is raring to go, along with fellow key cogs skipper Aly Borromeo and Phil Younghusband among others expected to give Singapore a tough time.
“I’m not 100% but I’m ready to play,” said the five-foot-five Caligdong.
(Editor’s note: Every Saturday, Inquirer Sports will pick the best performer from among the athletes in the country’s sporting scene and produce a short feature on his heroics. The selection period will be on a Sunday to Saturday basis.)