Down, not out: Stephan Schrock tells Young Azkals to keep faith, fight
Down but not out, Philippines skipper Stephan Schrock used the short travel from Rizal Memorial Stadium to the team hotel to rally his teammates.
A 2-1 defeat to Myanmar on Wednesday put a dent on the Young Azkals’ bid to reach the semifinals of the men’s football competition in the Southeast Asian Games, but Schrock felt he needed to speak his teammates, reminding them that all is not lost.
“[B]efore getting off the bus, I told them if we get our legs right on Friday, we will take a big step forward,” said Schrock.
“We can’t sit over here and cry over things. We still have two games and [we should] use that opportunity to advance to the next round.
We have to step up against Malaysia.” Malaysia has been tipped as the strongest team in Group A, but the Young Tigers were held to a 1-1 draw by Myanmar last Monday.
Justin Baas scored a spectacular volley in first half stoppage time to cancel out Aung Kaung Mann’s 16th minute strike.
But as the Young Azkals grew in confidence in the second half, they were hit by a sucker punch in the form of Win Naing Tun’s close range effort on the counter attack.
“We came out good in the second half, we had more control and possession but in [the] last 15 minutes, we fell apart,” said Schrock.
“We are improving. We still have two games to go and we still have a chance.”
The win boosted Myanmar to the top of the group with four points followed by Malaysia, Cambodia and the Philippines with a point each.
The goal was the first at the international level for the 19-year-old Baas, who plays club football for Dutch side AZ Alkmaar.
It was made even more special as his mother Minerva Cagurangan travelled all the way from Hoorn in the Netherlands to support him in his SEA Games debut.
Cagurangan came with Baas’ grandmother, Magdalena Cagurangan.
“I’m happy for the goal, but a bit disappointed with the result,” said Baas, who said he will have a contingent of 50 family and friends supporting him from the grandstand on Friday.
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