Mark Winhoffer, who scored one of the three goals in the Philippine Azkals' 3-0 win over Guam, said he was happy he was able to contribute to the team.
The Fil-American midfielder said he dedicated his performance to his grandmother who nurtured him while he was growing up.
"It's been quite emotional," said Winhoffer. "My grandma passed away three to four days before I got called up. All this time away, it's really been about her and representing where she came from."
Winhoffer's grandmother hailed from Davao. She flew to the US to take care of Winhoffer and his siblings since his parents had to work.
He said it was his grandmother who introduced him to football.
"My mom and dad were working, so she was with us in the States. She took us to soccer games," said Winhoffer, who scored on a header off a free kick against Guam.
Winhoffer is expected to start again for the team's final game against Maldives in the World Cup/Asian Cup qualifiers in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates later Tuesday.
"I'm trying to do her proud, trying to my my mom proud, also my dad and my brothers who went to the same track to soccer. They helped me a lot to develop as a person," said Winhoffer.
On the basis of their victory, the Philippines will advance to the third round of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup with three wins against a draw and three losses.
But the Azkals are set to finish at least third in Group A regardless of the result of their final match against Maldives.
"Every game, you're only as good as your last game. Hopefully when this next opportunity, when I get on to the pitch I show well again," he said.
FROM THE ARCHIVES