With a raucous Pinoy crowd at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium clamoring for an equalizing goal, it was 19-year old Justin Baas who stepped up and gave the hometown fans a reason to cheer, Wednesday afternoon.
Down 0-1 the first half of their 2019 Southeast Asian Games Men's Football Tournament Group A matchup against Myanmar, the Philippine Under-22 Men's Football National Team banked on Baas, who delivered by finishing from inside the box off an assist from Dennis Chung to tie things up at 1-1.
Unfortunately for Baas and the rest of the U-22 Azkals however, Myanmar would reclaim the lead later on in the second half and hold on for a heartbreaking 2-1 lead.
While the end result was obviously a bitter pill to swallow for the Pinoy side, it was still quite the memorable moment for the young Dutch-Filipino. The maiden goal was made even more special by the fact that Baas had a lot of family in attendance, Wednesday afternoon.
"I was able to shoot and score, and it was a good goal," Baas said after the match. "Of course, I was very emotional, my mother was in the stands, my grandmother, my family, everyone was there, so I was very happy with my first goal, of course, but also disappointed with the result."
Being able to give his family and the country something to cheer for was a proud moment, added Baas.
Raised in the Netherlands, Baas was born to a Filipina mother from Quezon City and a Dutch father. Prior to this inclusion in the U-22 SEA Games squad, Baas has worn the tri-color before with four previous stints with the senior Azkals squad.
"I was proud of course, because Filipinos are proud, so when I scored, I was proud because I scored for this nation, for this country, but also for my family, because they were there. I scored for every Filipino, so I was really happy with my goal, and of course, my family is there, which is always something special."
From here on out, it's do-or-die for Baas and the U-22 Azkals if they want to have a chance at coming out of Group A and earning a spot in the semifinals. It won't be an easy task however, as they have Malaysia to deal with next.
"We have to fight, we have to to work hard, and anything can happen. It we win these two games, it's just different, we could be on top of the group, so anything can happen, we just have to see, game by game, and not looking like counting points or something like that, no. First game, first match is as important as the next match," said Baas.