Dec 122014

For more than 4,500 players who trooped to the Alabang Country Club Fields in Muntinlupa to join the much-awaited 19th Alaska Football Cup, the overwhelming stint was all worth it. A total of 300 teams from different parts of the country battled not just to win the championship, but to fulfill their dreams of playing in one of the biggest football leagues in the Philippines.

Alaska Football Cup remains to be one of the most prestigious sports events, and the longest-running youth football competition in the country. From only 20 teams in 1995, the annual league recently gathered teams from Metro Manila, Davao, Davao Sur, Palawan, Legaspi, Laguna, Batangas, Bukidnon, Zambales, Pampanga, Tarlac, Ilocos, Bicol, Romblon, COMVAL, Quezon, Cavite, Albay, Pangasinan, Bacolod, Iloilo, and Mindoro.

 “The football cup is all about team effort. The event showcases the best players of the country, especially the children—the future of Philippine football,” says Coach Tomas Lozano, tournament director and a former player of Real Madrid. He is also the founder-director of the Makati Football School.

Alaska Milk’s nationwide football summit is not only for the country’s best players but also for those who are passionate and determined to play.

As the players roamed the massive football grounds — which was divided into 30 football fields to allow the teams play simultaneously, parents can be seen on their toes, watching intently.

An exciting sports event

Coach Mario Nañola is excited about the event as it will expose his U-16 players — the Bristol (Bristol Integrated School) team from Lucena City, Quezon into a competition that is different from what they are used to. “Win or lose, we’re happy. Imagine, this is a form of exposure to our players. By that point, we were already thankful,” he enthuses.

 Nañola also shared that he is not the only person from his family who’s coaching in this year’s  football competition. He introduced his son, Kaybee Nañola, who’s probably the youngest coach in the league.

For the 17-year old Nañola, coach of Bristol team for U-12, age doesn’t matter as he assures that whoever they’re up against, they can manage to give a good match-up. He adds that he is glad that Alaska Milk has granted his request to handle a qualified team to play.

“Mabuti nga na may ganitong event. Pantay-pantay ang lahat. Walang mayaman o mahirap. Dito mo makikita ang tunay na sportsmanship.”

When asked what prompted him to become a football coach, “I love the sport, and to say— I’m a fan of my Dad. Ito ang buhay namin, so I have to continue our passion.”

When Alaska Milk introduced the Alaska Football Cup in the country, as well as its other sports programs — the company has been known in recognizing Filipino talent and passion. Alaska has helped many children to develop and improve their abilities to hopefully bring pride to the country.

Proper Nutrition, Real Champion

Alaska Milk believes that the combination of proper nutrition, training and right values such as determination, discipline, teamwork, and hardwork will help children develop into champions.

According to the seventh National Nutrition Survey done by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute and the Department of Science and Technology in 2008, there are about two out of 10 children aged zero to 10 years are overweight while three out of 10 children remain undernourished.

Being obese is one of the most common nutritional problems of Filipino children and adults. It can lead to serious heart problems and diabetes at a young age which could have serious health, economic and social implications in adulthood.

Over the years, the number of overweight children continues to rise. That’s why vigilance should be exercised in preventing an increase in overnutrition since the condition increases the risk of diet-related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus and cancer later in life. This calls for good nutrition habits balanced with a healthy lifestyle and physical activities such as sports.

Gianni Laviola, an Italian architect locally employed and living in the Philippines for the past five years, takes pride in his son Anthony, who started joining the Alaska Football Cup last year. He believes that children need to develop a proper diet, as well as strong bodies.

According to Laviola, despite his busy schedule of work, he still makes sure that his son gets enough nutrition, vitamins and right food. “Before he goes to school, he drinks milk. I believe that it helps him to be energetic the whole day.”

Equality in sports

Alaska Milk provides equal opportunities among athletes regardless of their gender, race and even disabilities.

Paolo Santos, another U-16 Bristol player who has been playing football for three years, showed that a deaf-mute can also play this sport.

According to Coach Mario, despite Santos’ inability to speak and difficulty in hearing, he considered him as one of the best players in the team. He communicates with the child using hand and body signals every game. With the spirit of team work, they are able to explain Santos the team’s plan using sketches on a paper.

 “He is so competitive. He could even show a good match-up with other players. Parang normal lang. I am definitely proud to train and coach him.”

When asked how did Santos join his team, “Dati, nanonood lang iyan sa mga practice namin. I approach him, then nalaman na lang naming na gusto rin pala niya sumali. We gave him a chance, wala namang imposible, kahit ano pang kalagayan niya. Hindi rin naman kasi siya mahirap turuan.”

Lozano, noticing Santos’ participation, he approached the child and told him that he is already a champion. “How is it possible? It’s because of the heart he dedicated to the sport. That’s good. He should keep playing hard.”

With the help of his teammates, and using sign language, Santos shares that he is always excited to play, especially in this kind of competition. He is elated that they (coach and teammates) allowed him to join the team.

Alaska Milk is doing its part in nation-building. Through youth development programs, the company is able to develop the potential of young, and prove that when it comes to sports, everyone deserves fair treatment. 

It’s time for Leylam FC

Leylam FC (Team 2) of Cebu, returns to the Alaska Football Cup in style after winning the men’s open besting 29 other teams mainly from Luzon. This is the second time Leylam FC joined the event after a quarterfinal finish in 2012.

Leylam snatched the title from defending champions Airforce Team by 2-1. Rene Sanchez scored the first goal for Leylam in the finals while Airforce managed to get one. Determined to win, Ranulfo Colina, who was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) in his division, put up a tough defense until Yani Miranda delivered the second goal to seal their victory.

Aside from their skills and talent, Leylam FC is also known as a team built engaged in causes as they organize tournaments to help others who may need their help.

It’s not about the result

Some parents, when asked about their opinion regarding the result of the games, say it doesn’t matter and it won’t affect the amount of support they give to their children.

“Okay lang naman kung matalo iyong anak ko, win or lose, as a parent, I have to support him. Saka sa mga ganitong event nga nakikita iyong tiyaga ng mga bata,” says by Lilibeth Bajala, mother of Jesse, who started participating the Alaska Football Cup five years ago for Our Lourdes Elementary School-Bukidnon.

“And kahit nga matalo sila ng team niya every year, pag-uwi namin sa Bukidnon, Masaya pa rin siya,” she added.

Parents may differ with regard to how they react to their children’s on-field performances, but they all have the same wish—to see their sons and daughters excel in a big sports event.


Alaska Football Cup aims to give Filipino children the chance and possibility to reach their dreams of playing professional football. For more information about Alaska Milk Corporation, visit For more details about Alaska Football Cup, visit For reel-time Twitter updates, follow @ALASKAsportshub.

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