One look at the field and it’s relatively evident that it had seen better times: the grass, uneven, as patches of ungrown grass peppered the area. The line markings, faded.
A blatant sign that the pitch had gone through a lot as the years went by.
Another way of looking at it is that the field emanated a strong sense of history and had constantly been used as a venue to foster and develop the skills of Marikina’s football enthusiasts.
“We would like to be part of the sports development program of the Philippines,” stressed Dr Angelito A. Llabres M.D. as he saw JP Voltes’ (JPV) Football Club Manager Kyo Nagami off after having a 40-minute talk about improving Marikina Sports Center’s (MSC) football field.
With the advent JPV’s decision to represent Marikina, the 5-year sports administrator is adamant in ensuring that MSC’s facilities are in proper shape in hosting its future games on the upcoming Philippines Football League.
With a certain twinge of pride, Dr Llabres mentioned that the MSC’s football field was where the 2005 Southeast Asian Games (women’s division) were held.
“Special lights for games were installed and the field was converted to comply with the standards imposed by FIFA,” he mused.
In the meantime, however, Dr Llabres is currently focusing on the preparing the venue for the upcoming Marikina Football Summer Camp. In the span of the summer season, four sessions will be held at MSC to conduct a comprehensive grassroots-level training for the people who signed up. Each session typically has a batch of 60 to 100 people.
At the time of writing, the slots has been filled up to two sessions worth of people.
“I do believe that sports is one avenue of developing [our] youth,” he stated, hoping that the summer camp would inspire more people to engage in football and would instill “discipline, the perseverance to win, incite the desire for dedication, and to be healthy” to those who would partake in said event.
When asked whether football is a booming trade in Marikina when compared to other sports, he responded “hindi ganoon kalakas ang football sa Marikina,” (Football isn’t yet a big thing in Marikina) he claimed as a matter-of-factly.
In comparison to other sports, he particularly had high praise of Marikina’s swimmers as they were the ones who are usually picked to represent the Philippine team in national competitions.
He is, however, quite welcoming to JPV’s move to make Marikina their home base.
“I’m very happy to meet [these] guys who are determined to push the football scene here in Marikina.”
Now that the football field is in the process of being renovated, Dr Llabres is optimistic and excited in working with JP Voltes.
With the Philippine Football League looming possibly by the end of April, he’s looking forward on how the field would turn out as well as how JPV’s involvement would affect the city’s future prospects in garnering not only football fans but sports enthusiasts in general.