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UP’s national team talents laud success of PFF Women’s Cup

Four of UP’s several national team talents raved about the resurgence of women’s football in the Philippines, with the PFF Women’s Cup becoming a symbol of the upbeat development in the sport.

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The finals of the PFF Women’s Cup is just around the corner and while they were not able to make it to the playoffs, four of UP’s several national team talents raved about the resurgence of women’s football in the Philippines, with the tournament becoming a symbol of the upbeat development in the sport. Collectively, the ladies from Diliman thinks the tournament has provided a lot of good things for women’s football in the country.

As most of them have been involved in the football scene since they were in grade school, the recent development definitely means a lot. “Seeing all the big teams competing, this is a great opportunity for us to all get better and it helps the betterment of Philippine football,” stated Kali Navea-Huff.

Kali is among the first members of the national women’s youth football team, having joined since she was 11. Nine years after, the UP winger thinks she has witnessed a huge difference from her early days in the sport. The tournament, where she represented UP-X, attests to that. “We all get exposure. We all get to play against each other and we get to hang out. It keeps it friendly about being competitive,” she assessed.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times UP's national team talents laud success of PFF Women's Cup

National team defender Marie Navea-Huff

Her sister, national team defender Marie Navea-Huff, agrees and even highlights the need for more action on the field. “I think it gives us the ability to play more games because I feel like we lack games,” she aims to address. There were several attempts to introduce a platform where players get to continue their footballing ambitions, but there has not been a genuine, lasting tournament since. When her time in college football runs out, the elder of the Navea-Huff sisters wishes to have the chance to continue playing football regularly with the country’s best players. “Hopefully we’ll have the same opportunity and maybe to use it as a source of income so it can start developing more and move forward,” she suggested.

Marie’s statement reflects the grim reality women’s football in the country has been facing. Players in the tournament are mostly girls in college and alumnae of those schools who are currently engaged with work. In short, the state of the game is currently at amateur or semi-pro at best, which is disheartening because they believe that the skill level is not so bad as compared to other countries. Nicole Adlawan, UP’s goalkeeper and also a member of the national team training pool, believes that helping other players maintain their engagement in the sport will improve the state of women’s football. “They’re [college alumnae] still strong players. Some of them may not be as fit like they used to but their skills are still there. It actually helps the younger players be better,” she finds out. Identifying that tournaments like the PFF Women’s Cup gives players like her the experience exposure, and confidence, Adlawan adds that the interaction the tournament brings to the players will also benefit the growth of the sport not just from outsiders but also amongst themselves involved in women’s football.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times UP's national team talents laud success of PFF Women's Cup

UP Goalkeeper Nic Adlawan

Another player who is happy with the impact of the tournament is Mary Rose Obra. The UP and Philippine team striker reckons that the PFF Women’s Cup enables them to improve not only as individuals but also as teams, especially the college ones. In addition, the incoming third year goalscoring ace sees the tournament as means to cultivate the love for the game, which for her is essential to anyone who plans to invest a lot on a footballing career. “If you don’t have the heart to play, then I don’t think you can play,” Mary Rose stressed.

As competitions seem to increase in women’s football in the Philippines, the challenge of balancing sports with studies is bound to interfere. While all of them conceded that it will be difficult, they all think that it is all down to managing their time and priorities well enough. “Would it be difficult? Yes, it is, but we play for a purpose. The challenge makes it worth it,” tells Kali.

Facing the tasks of improving the state of football, be it securing UP’s first ever UAAP women’s football title or toiling hard to sustain the rise of women’s football in the country, these girls surely have the drive and the energy to try and make those happen. Unsuccessful may be in terms of making waves in the PFF Women’s Cup, these ladies are not totally without success for the path they chose to walk on already is a successful one as they aim to be amongst the agents of women’s football in the country.

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