May 6 — No one expected this kind of success –not the teams we competed with, not the tournament organizers, not even the players and coaches themselves.
We entered the tournament knowing we were capable, not realizing we had transcended from being an able team, to a championship caliber team less than a year after bowing out early in the group stages of the 2011 Alaska Cup.
On May 6, 2012, a 10-man contingent representing 14Under footballers from GK sites impressed with a 3rd place finish in the 2012 Coca-Cola Football Festival. Half of the selected players were from the Dream Big Pilipinas Football Program run for the Welfareville Community in Mandaluyong,
The team used quick one-touch passing, and capitalized on quick attacks from the flanks. With Dream Big Pilipinas players combining on defense and managing the middle, it was certainly a spectacle to watch how easily the team held possession for all their matches and kept play at the oppositions’ half. All matches were high scoring affairs, thanks to barrages of through balls and wall passes by the Dream Big Pilipinas play-makers, which opened up countless scoring opportunities for the forwards and strikers.
The team opened with a 4-1 victory over Makati Football School, then continued with one-sided affairs against International British Academy and Alabang Football Academy with 6-0 and 7-1 routes to qualify for the elimination stages. The team then ousted top-seeded Batangas Club, the Nasugbu Wildcats 5-2 to enter the top 4.
The team was humbled by Manila Football School’s Select Team, in a 3-0 loss to end its amazing title run. The team also lost 3 of its players through extreme fatigue and cramps –a learning experience that will make the team stronger and more physically prepared.
In the battle for third against Olongapo FC, the team salvaged a winning goal on penalties, from Dream Big Pilipinas player, Rodney Armada, whose shot hit the side post before entering the net to seal Bronze. The Select Team finished 3rd among 20 top football clubs that included well respected clubs from La Salle, University of The Philippines, Manila Football School, Japan School, among many others.
Dream Big Pilipinas would like to thank Gawad Kalinga for allowing us and the players to represent the Foundation, Kevin and Myra Gaco for the honor and privilege to coach and manage an amazing group of talents from our low-income communities. We are very grateful and fortunate to share in the success.