Fans mob Azkals in mall appearance

By TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 18 2011 05:09 PM | Updated as of Feb 19 2011 07:22 AM

Phil Younghusband signs autographs for fans.
MANILA, Philippines -- For the first time since their successful win against Mongolia in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup qualifying match in Bacolod, the Philippine Azkals made a public appearance to meet their Metro Manila based fans.

Hosted by a Bacolod Inasal restaurant in SM Sta. Mesa, the Manila-based Azkals were in full force on Thursday to meet their fans, some of whom even skipped class and work to see their new sports idols in the flesh.

Minus Filipino-foreigners like Neil Etheridge, Jason de Jong, Rob Gier, Ray Johnson, among others, the Azkals still drew their loyal fans.

Although Phil and James Younghusband arrived late coming from a previous commitment, the crowd patiently waited and screamed in delight when they saw the Fil-Brits come down the escalators.

Young and old, the Azkals fans lined up to get their autographs and pictures with their idols. A group of students were even shy to show their face on camera because they cut class to be there, and a grand mother even said she can die now that she had seen Phil.

The Azkals also spoke to the press about their plans to prepare for the second leg against Mongolia and how they feel their popularity is now competing with basketball.