MANILA, Philippines – Azkals striker Ian Araneta can't imagine life without football.
This is because the sport runs in the familiy.
“Football family talaga kami,” the 29-year-old Ilonggo told abs-cbnNEWS.com.
Araneta grew up playing the sport in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo, the hotbed of Philippine football.
His father, a member of the Philippine National Football team in the '80s, introduced him to the world’s most popular sport. Even his grandfather and his uncles played football.
Araneta said this is the reason why the sport is deeply entrenched in his way of life.
“’Yun talaga, parang buhay ko na talaga ang football, hindi ko alam kung nasaan ako ngayon kundi sa football,” he said.
When asked what he would have been without football, he joked: “Baka basurero na 'ko.” – With Crystal Kaye Noda
Name: Ian Bayona Araneta
Birthday: March 2, 1982
Position in the Azkals team: Striker
Start of football career: Started playing football at the age of 6. Joined his first real game in Grade 4.
Favorite players: Cristiano Ronaldo
Hobbies: Football and nothing else
How did you get involved in football?
Impluwensya ng tatay ko. Kasi tatay ko football player din, member din siya ng national team noong ‘80s. Tapos yun lagi niya akong dinadala sa game niya. Sa dugo na rin siguro kasi pamilya naming puro football player. Lolo ko naglalaro ng football, kapatid ng erpat ko.
How old were you when you first started to play?
Six years old. Pero nagstart akong sumali ng liga doon sa Milo Cup, Grade 4 ako, mga 10 years old.
What leagues have you competed in?
Sa local, lahat ata ng liga dito sa Manila sinalihan namin. Member ako ng Philippine Air Force sa UFL. Tapos sa NCR Champions League. Sa international naman, year 2000 ako nagstart sa Tiger Cup, Suzuki Cup… madami.
What made you decide to join the national team?
Kasi ako talaga, dati pa ang hilig ko talaga ay maglaro ng football. Yung goal ko talaga nung bata pa ako makalaro sa national team. Yun talaga, parang buhay ko na talaga ang football, hindi ko alam kung nasaan ako ngayon kundi sa football.
What is your most memorable game?
‘Yung sa Taiwan ‘yung nagqualifying kami, naka-hat trick ako doon, eh. We beat Macau, 5-0.
Starting June 15, abs-cbnNEWS.com will feature several members of the Philippine National football team to give local football fans a chance to get to know better their favorite Azkals players.
ABS-CBN Sports will be airing live the home and away FIFA World Cup qualifier between the Philippine Azkals and Sri Lanka on June 29 and July 23.