MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals' “Chieffy” Caligdong is proof that you don’t need to be tall to do well in football.
At 5’5”, he outruns and outwits even the tallest defenders, and plays with a lot of heart and passion.
“S’yempre, hindi porke maliit ka, hindi mo kayang maglaro ng football,” the 28-year-old Azkals co-team captain told abs-cbnNEWS.com.
A veteran of international competitions, Caligdong has been with the Azkals in matches held in Southeast Asia, such as in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
When the Azkals played against Mongolia in Bacolod City, he made sure Filipinos would remember him.
In that game, he scored a jaw -dropping tunnel shot between the goalkeeper’s legs which sent local spectators in a frenzy.
For Caligdong, football is all about proving your worth on the field.
“Show your best palagi at pakita mong kaya mo ang laro,” he said. – With Crystal Kaye Noda
Name: Emilio “Chieffy” Caligdong
Birthday: Sept. 28, 1982
Birthplace: Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo
Position in the Azkals team: Left wing
Favorite player: Messi
Start of football career: He’s been playing since he was 7
How did you get into football?
Sa encouragement ng brother ko. ‘Yung brother ko nagturo sakin matuto ng football. Mga 7 years old ako. Former team member siya ng UST.
What are the leagues you've joined?
Tiger Cup 2002 and 2004, 2005 SEA Games, 2006 Suzuki Cup qualifying, 2007 AFC, 2008 Challenge Cup, 2009 Maldives Challenge Cup, 2009 Suzuki Cup in Vietnam and still playing in competitions up to present.
What’s your most memorable game?
'Yung 2010, first time na nanalo ang Pilipinas. Ako ang naka-goal doon against Timor Leste. ‘Yun ang pinaka-best game ko, sa Tiger Cup 2010.
What would you be doing if you had not gotten into football?
Commerce ang gusto kong kunin, so siguro management ang trabaho ‘ko.
Starting June 15, abs-cbnNEWS.com will feature several members of the Philippine National football team to give local football fans a chance to get to know better their favorite Azkal players.
ABS-CBN Sports will be airing live the home and away FIFA World Cup qualifier between the Philippine Azkals and Sri Lanka on June 29 and July 23.