AFF CHAMPIONSHIP PARA SA MGA PINOY

Ni ANN ENCARNACION

WALANG ‘night-night’ celebration reaction gaya nang pina­sikat ni Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry sa last season’s NBA ­championship, kundi literal na humiga si Sarina Bolden sa gitna ng football field ng Rizal Memorial Stadium matapos ang historic victory ng Filipinas sa AFF Women’s Championship nitong Linggo.

“It feels surreal,” wika ng 5-foot-8 forward mula Loyola Marymount na si Bolden. “We couldn’t have done it without the support of the fans obviously, all my teammates, obviously the staff. This win was obviously for the country but it was for the Pinoys, the Filipino people, so it’s ­really, really special.”

Ikalawang pagkaka­taon ni Bolden maglaro sa makasaysayang stadium sa bansa, ang una ay noong 2019 Southeast Asian Games kung saan kinapos mag-podium ­finish ang Philippine women’s football team nang pumang-apat lang.

Bumawi naman ang ­Filipinas sa sumunod na SEA Games sa Hanoi, ­Vietnam sa kanilang historic bronze medal finish.

Ngunit walang nag-akala na hihigitan agad nila ito sa pagkakampeon sa AFF Championship nang dominahin ang Thailand sa iskor na 3-0.

At babala ng Filipinas, nagsisimula pa lang sila.

“We have a bunch of stuff in store so I think the only way to go is up. We just keep working, ­learning, and growing and I’m just excited to see where we go, to be honest,” sabi ni Bolden patungkol sa team na kinabibilangan din nina Inna Palacios, Cam Rodriguez, Hali Long at Quinley Quezada.

“It’s been a work in ­progress for a really, ­really, really long time and you know when you stick with something, when you believe in it, only good can come out of it,” dagdag niya.

Unang tinalo ng Pilipinas sa Group A ang Australia U23 sa iskor na 1-0, isinunod ang Singapore (7-0) at Malaysia (4-0).

Nabigo ang Pinay ­booters sa Thailand (0-1), dahilan kaya’t nakatapat nila sa semifinals ang powerhouse Vietnam.

Ngunit hinubaran ng korona ng Filipinas ang 7-time SEA Games gold medalist Vietnam, 4-0.

Magugunitang noong Pebrero, sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon ay nagawa rin ng Pinay booters na mag-qualify sa 2023 FIFA ­Women’s World Cup.

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