Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon and Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia last night said the victory of the Philippine Azkals over the Mongolian national team was a proud moment for Filipinos.
Leonardia and Marañon, accompanied by Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta, shook the hands of the players of both teams at the Panaad Sports Stadium field before the start of the game.
Marañon said he was very, very happy, and proud as a Filipino with the Azkals victory.
He said the Filipinos in the audience sang the Philippine national anthem with so much passion and nationalism.
“I hope the unity shown by the Filipinos at the football match will continue, because, united, we can do a lot more to move our country forward,” he said.
Leonardia said, “It was a very proud moment for all of us Filipinos. While the Azkals showed the world we are now an emerging football power in Asia, the record crowd displayed the patriotic spirit that puts us at par with the most rabid sport fans in the world.”
“Bacolod City is mighty proud as host of this historic and pivotal sporting event. The Bacoleños have proven that we are fantastic hosts. Bacolod was proclaimed by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry as the most business friendly city in the Philippines, now it can be called the most football friendly city in the Philippines,” the mayor also said.
Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. occ., 3rd District) had one word to describe the match “fabulous!”.
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said it was an unbelievable and beautiful game, and it was so much fun.
He said the huge crowd of football fans, many of whom were unable to get into the stadium, shows the advent of a new era in Philippine football as a favorite sport of Filipinos.
Zubiri said other senators, earlier set to come for the game, did not make it and a lot of people felt bad that President Benigno Aquino was also unable to come.
“He should have seen the crowd, it was amazing,” he said.
The crowd at the stadium estimated at 20,000, mostly wore white and waved Philippine flags as they cheered the Azkals to victory.
As fireworks flared in the sky over the Panaad to celebrate the victory of the Azkals, the crowd sang the song “Pinoy Ako”.
A street party followed along Lacson Street.*CPG