Football teamdate posted: 2006-12-05 17:00:50
This year, the Ateneo Sports Hall of Fame gives due recognition to seven young football players for excelling in their chosen sport and for clinching the Ateneo Football Team’s historic three-peat in the 2004, 2005, and 2006 UAAP tournaments.
The seven athletes are Emmanuel “Mickee” Gimarino (GS 1998, HS 2002, AB Mgt. Eco. 2006), Ignatius “Mickey” Ingles (GS 1998, HS 2002, BS Com. Tech. 2006), Roger Lastimado (GS 1998, HS 2002, AB Pol. Sci. 2006), John Paul “JP” Merida (MA), Patrick “Pat” Ozaeta (GS 1999, HS 2003, BS ME 2007), Alvin Perez (GS 1999, HS 2003, IV BS ME), and Tristan Tongson (GS 1997, HS 2001, ABMEco 2005). Six out of seven footballers are proudly homegrown in the Ateneo, from grade school to college.
Mickee Gimarino is known for his endurance in the field—a result of running distance events for the track team in high school. As a football rookie, he was a competent alternative to the team’s central midfielder/ playmaker. He was also a consistent stronghold as a wing midfielder and defender. Holding various positions in the game showed his flexibility and reliability, as well as the ability to adjust to the different needs of the team in terms of style and play. Moreover, he was the only player who was never substituted throughout the elimination games. At present, he is based in the United States, still training in the sport that he loves.
Mickey Ingles, co-captain of the 2004 UAAP championship team and team captain of the 2005 and 2006 champion teams, has carved a number of memorable events in Ateneo football history. On the first championship, he provided the game-winning assist to Jason Costanilla’s header against defending champion University of the Philippines (UP). He also scored the late game-winning goals against La Salle in the 2005 opening game and late winning goals against UP in the last game of the 2005 first round. Since high school, Mickey has also built a reputation as the right-winger to watch out for by opponents, and as the player with the quick pace and skill, who could both score and provide for his teammates. A sound mind and a sound body co-exist within him as he was a dean’s lister and the UAAP Season 68 Athlete-Scholar Awardee (2006). He is currently in Shanghai, China pursuing Mandarin studies. At the same time, he also plays as starting winger for the Italian Azzuri Team of the Shanghai International Football League.
Roger Lastimado, was the central defender or sweeper in his freshman year. In his sophomore year, he was selected to be part of the futsal national team and thus became a striker. Due to injuries, though, he found it difficult to play entire games. But this did not prevent him from making memorable performances that helped clinch the team’s three-peat win. On the first championship, he gave the telling through pass to Mickey Ingles who crossed the ball for Jason Costanilla’s winning header. On the second championship, he was awarded as the best goal scorer of the season. On the third championship, he scored the lone winning goal at overtime against La Salle. Roger is currently taking up law at the Ateneo Law School.
JP Merida, prized recruit from Romblon and nephew of coach Ompong Merida, is a strong player of the three-peat football midfielder line. Nicknamed “Stone,” owing to his strength and intimidating presence in the midfield, he is remembered for being the defensive anchor of the midfield, for winning every loose ball, whether in the air or on the ground, for being a great tackler, and for initiating the attack with his passes and surging runs. At present, he is a successful soccer coach to a team of young athletes who, under his tutelage, win their fair share of tournaments.
Pat Ozaeta is the talented and hardworking central-back defender of the team. His teammates, coaches, and even people outside the football pitch look up to him as the prime example of excellence in a student-athlete as shown by the awards he has garnered: Rookie of the Year (2004), Best Defender (2004, 2005), Most Valuable Player (2005, 2006), and UAAP Athlete of the Year (2005). His calm demeanor shows his focus and is a foil for the controlled intensity of his pitch. And despite his numerous awards, he has remained humble and simple, the feat more difficult to achieve.
Alvin Perez brings to the team that overlap, that sweet cross, and that heart that never says die. On and off the field, he is a teammate, a friend and a brother that one can count on through thick and thin. He is the player who thinks outside the box and does unusual yet effective moves during games. He creates opportunities for his teammates with his crosses, and poses a threat to opponents with his headers. This is Alvin, a young man of hard work, determination, and perseverance.
Tristan Tongson is a coach’s adviser and a teammate’s mentor. A lot of people think that Tristan is just another loud-mouthed player of the Ateneo team, but what a lot of people do not see is his leadership, vision of the game, and unflinching aim to be a champion. He often talks about his utopian style of play that is applicable to every situation, and this style shows through his discipline—a kind of discipline he was familiarized with during the team’s earlier years, when they did not have the chance to lift The Trophy. It was when they got their first trophy that he was able to fully grasp the idea of discipline. Thus, all the harsh words were his way of pushing the team to perfection. That is the torch he tried to pass on to the next generation of players.