Limpag: Memories of 2005

Mike T. Limpag

IF YOU haven’t seen the Across the Line podcast by Chris Greatwitch and Cedelf Tupas, you should check it. I saw the Phil and James Younghusband episodes the other night and it was fun.

Phil recalled his start with the national team and even shared a funny anecdote of how his mom gave him a debut party a couple of months before he turned 18.

“Debuts are for girls, right? But my mom gave me one,” he said of his party, where he arrived on a horse-drawn carriage.

He also recalled his stint with the LA Galaxy, just before David Beckham arrived and I remember at that time, the football forums were abuzz with the development as fans got giddy of the possibility of our very own Phil teaming up with Becks. But, the news fizzled out after a week and Phil confirmed what was speculated at that time: the salary wasn’t enough for him to live in the US for three years.

On the other hand, James shared his memories of 2005 of how massive the crowd was during the football matches. The stadium was packed and people were climbing up the trees.

Phil echoed that sentiment and wondered if it could happen again. Chris, who missed that Seag, said he was in disbelief when his brother, also named Phil, shared how massive the crowd was.

“I thought, maybe a couple of hundred?” Chris said.

But there were certainly more than that. I think there were a couple of hundred people outside the stadium waiting to get in. Chris’ brother Phil scored, against Brunei I think, and I remember I was in the stands when their mom Carol ran up and down the stairs and screamed proudly, “That’s my son!”

James also credited two people--Domeka Geramindi and Vince Santos--for their smooth transition to the team. Most fans are not familiar with them now but in 2005, Domeka was the secretary general of the PFF while Vince was the manager of the team.

Phil, who announced his retirement last month, but during that interview was talking about the possibility of coming back also said that for him, what rivals the 2005 Seag crowd was Mongolia in 2011. I agree. That game was crazy and I think the tickets sold was greater than the stadium’s capacity. People I know who hadn’t even seen a local football match were flying in, while we met some fans in the bus ride to Bacolod.

Heck, Smart gave me a nice suite in Bacolod because I was covering the game.

That was something and I hope the national team gets treated to the same crowd in future matches. It won’t be as big for sure because since then, they’ve installed individual seats in Panaad but a packed stadium would be something.

James said people sometimes tell him that their stint was disappointing and I agree with him that it’s wrong to say that. It was our best showing, so far, in the Seag as for 15 minutes against Malaysia, a semifinal stint was in the horizon.

We just came short.

I know Cedelf and the three Azkals greats—Chris, Phil and James--agree with me when I say that I hope this 2019 team overshadows the 2005 squad.