The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons reached the UAAP Season 78 Men’s Football Tournament Finals after they defeated the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, 3-0, last Thursday (April 28, 2016) at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila. Crucial to that Fighting Maroons win was midfielder and captain Daniel Gadia who provided two assists in the first half to set UP on their way to a first Finals appearance since Season 75.
In spite of his two assists, Gadia was still not satisfied with his personal performance. He shared, “Kasi ako as a player hindi ko naman pwedeng sabihin UAAP lang pero I have bigger goals ngayon eh. Sineset sa sarili ko kaya each and every game talagang ina-assess ko sarili ko. Talagang ni-write down ko tapos iniimprove ko next game.”
That personal dissatisfaction is derived from the Fighting Maroons’ motivation to improve in every training session and game. Gadia admitted that he and his teammates didn’t care about the elimination standings at the start of the campaign. He expounded, “Laging improve lang kami, improve lang. Kunwari natalo kami ngayon, improve kami next game. Bandang huli na namin na-realize na kailangan naming tignan yung tally para malaman namin kung ano yung kailangan namin.”
Gadia explained that UP head coach Anto Gonzales valued performance as much as results and that the Maroons’ coach always reminded his players to play like it was their last game. He appreciated this mindset and felt that Gonzales was still dissatisfied with the Fighting Maroons despite their resounding win over the Growling Tigers.
“We scored a lot of goals pero lahat ng objective na binigay niya, hindi namin na-achieve especially yung switching of balls sa flanks ng UST. Actually nung second half medyo nagawa-gawa namin kaunti pero throughout the game hindi namin nakuha objective namin eh so we need to, I think, train more sa Rizal (Memorial) kasi masyadong malaki ang Rizal eh sa pinagte-training namin eh”, Gadia elaborated.
Goalscoring has been UP’s problem this season. The other end, though, was a more secured proposition. Gadia credited his teammate, Patxi Santos, for the Fighting Maroons’ defensive solidity. “Sa buong playing years ko sa UP, siya yung talagang humawak ng backline namin kasi before erratic kami, nalulusutan kami lagi. That’s why when Patxi Santos started in the first eleven sa backline, naging strong yung backline namin.”
A date with the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles for the championship this Thursday (May 5, 2016) at the Rizal Memorial is the reward for Gadia and the rest of the Fighting Maroons after their big win. In the end, though, winning the championship itself was far and away from Gadia’s mind. “Maybe finishing tapos hindi ako satisfied eh sa performance namin ngayon so keep on improving lang. Hindi pa. Kailangan pa namin mag-train para mas makuha yung objective namin.” This attitude bodes well for UP as they look to clinch a first championship since Season 74. If they do indeed win the gold, then in his quest for self-improvement has played a key role in that triumph.
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