An annual sporting event that draws crowds from all over Asia, the RHB Singapore Cup welcomes football clubs from Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Myanmar. Meralco Sparks, the first Philippine team to join the RHB Singapore Cup, is ready to take on its biggest challenge to date. Much like many Filipino fans, Cebu Pacific, the country’s largest flag carrier, has given the team their full support with roundtrip tickets for every single match, the first one being against Singapore’s Geylang United FC early this year.
Undaunted by their underdog status, the Loyola Meralco Sparks Futbol Club, led by captain James Younghusband and vice-captain Pat Ozaeta, is set to square off with Singapore’s Tampines Rovers FC on October 28 in a race to the finals. Indeed, the Loyola Meralco Sparks is shaping up to be this season’s dark horse. Going through intensive mental and physical preparation for their next history-making match, the country’s bet for the cup title is undoubtedly pulling out all the stops. “Football has taken the Philippines by storm and Cebu Pacific wants to do its part in promoting the sport,” says Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific VP for Marketing. “This partnership with the Loyola Meralco Sparks is especially meaningful in that we are helping a talented team represent the Philippines on the international stage.”
Win or lose, the Sparks’ strong showing in the RHB Singapore Cup isn’t just indicative of the team’s true skill but also a gauge of the quality of Philippine football. “Winning would show the other countries that the Philippines is really on the football map, not just with the national team (Azkals) but with the clubs as well,” says Phil Younghusband, Meralco Sparks’forward. With football currently experiencing a major boost, Cebu Pacific’s partnership with the Loyola Meralco Sparks can help solidify the sport in the Philippines, paving the way for talented teams such as the Sparks to gain the recognition they deserve in both the national and international arena.