Loyola Meralco Sparks: Arrival
Second Round of the 2012 RHB Singapore Cup
by rick olivares
Day One, July 3, 2012
The Loyola Meralco Sparks left for Singapore today in three batches. Interestingly, the batches are the three groups (due to ethnicity and nothing more) within the team.
The Korean contingent left early today with head coach Kim Chul Su and players Min Ho Park, Jeong Byeong Yeol, and Park Kwangseek.
The second batch left after lunch and were all the homegrown players – Ref Cuaresma, Pat Ozaeta, Jayson Cutamora, Jake Morallo, Lando Cabaniero, Anto Gonzales as well as coaches Gil Talavera and Dang Pedro and physiologists Mike Yamomoto and Reza Regacho.
The third batch that left at 830pm were the Fil-Euros in the Younghusband and Hartmann brothers and Roxy Dorlas as well as Davide Cortina.
Their departure for the second round of the 2012 Singapore Cup comes at a time when the team is still licking its wounds following a disappointing fade at the end of the UFL season where the team touted to win it all finished third. But in spite of the concerns, the team collectively would love to salvage the season by moving on to the next round of the Singapore Cup.
Yet despite everything, the team retained its sense of humor. When the second batch of Loyola players arrived at Changi’s Budget Terminal, the team was picked up by its liaison from the Football Association of Singapore, Kumar and bus driver Shao Lin Master (the driver has one of those nifty Fu Manchu beards). Ref Cuaresma and the others have a laugh but all in good nature. Nevertheless, the laughter and mirth was like a breath of fresh air given the pressure of the last few weeks.
When the team takes to the Jalan Besar Stadium for its first practice tomorrow, Wednesday, they’ll be complete. Unlike in the opening round when there was uncertainty about who would could suit up given the concerns of a PFF suspension and the lack of a transfer certificate, this time the Sparks have none of those apprehensions.
The apprehensions were channeled elsewhere – the hotel rooms. When the team arrived at the hotel, the Santa Grand East Hotel, the same one they stayed at during the first round, the rooms were once more an issue. There were not enough so others had to cramp in small rooms making it somewhat uncomfortable. “At least we have rooms,” quipped Belay Fernando, Sparks acting-team-manager-in-the-absence-of-Woowee-Evangelista.
So the players who were on hand contented themselves to a hearty dinner. Over the meal some planned on doing some running in a nearby park to burn off the unessential stuff. It’s a good head start because tomorrow is where the team begins to really focus at the task at hand – beating Kanbawza of Myanmar.
The Loyola Meralco Sparks participation in the 2012 RHB Singapore Cup is sponsored by Meralco, Cebu Pacific, and in part by Gatorade.