COMEBACK KINGS: Mikko Mabanag likens Ateneo's comeback against UST to that of the Philippine Azkals

Santino Honasan on Apr 02, 2016 06:48 PM
Mikko Mabanag likens Ateneo comeback to that the Azkals
"Diba yung Azkals game, sabi niyo puso yun? Pare, pinakita namin yung puso. ‘Yun yon.” -- Ateneo team captain Mikko Mabanag

Ateneo team captain Mikko Mabanag was nothing short of ecstatic, Saturday evening, after his Ateneo Blue Eagles came from two goals down to stun University of Santo Tomas, 4-2.

That was the Blue Eagles’ fourth straight win and they’ve gone 3-0 to start the second round.

Perhaps the bigger story though, is that the Blue Eagles mounted a tremendous comeback against one of the league’s best teams, and a former top-seed in UST.

With every goal scored, Mabanag was as emotional as ever, even if he wasn’t the one scoring, even dropping to his knees when Julian Roxas scored the equalizer in the second half.

“I always thank God for everything,” Mabanag told ABS-CBN Sports. “And I think He’s been helping us throughout the season, kahit natatalo kami, He’s there eh.  Hindi kami bumibigay. I see the spirit in the team.”

In the win against UST, Mabanag said that his teammates showed heart, and likened their comeback to that of the Philippine National Football team against North Korea less than a week ago.

“That’s one of the things  I’m happy about the team the team this year, we showed what heart is. Diba yung Azkals game, sabi niyo puso yun? Pare, pinakita namin yung puso. ‘Yun yon.” Mabanag said, full of emotion.

A little backgrounder: the Philippine Azkals mounted a dramatic comeback in their final World Cup/Asian Cup Qualifiers Group Stage match against North Korea. After scoring early, the Azkals found themselves down, 2-1 until the last ten minutes when they rallied to come away with a 3-2 win. 

Ateneo’s “heart” has thrown the Blue Eagles right back in the mix, as they’re now tied with UST and FEU with 18 points. If they continue to play with the same confidence that they’ve been playing with in their last four games, another Final Four berth is surely within reach. 

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