National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Football Tournament 2017 Most Valuable Player (MVP) Jay-R Sandoval said that his award is just an added bonus to San Beda College’s triumph.
Playing as a defender, Sandoval had a crucial role in the Red Lions journey toward winning this year’s NCAA crown.
“I did not expect that I would be the MVP. My goal this season was just to bring back the championship to San Beda because we lost it last season,” he told The Manila Times in Filipino.
The Red Lions completed their ascent to the top and a nine-game sweep of the season with a 1-0 victory over College of Saint Benilde at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium last January 17.
The win also marked the return of the NCAA Football crown to Mendiola after San Beda’s four-peat attempt was foiled by last year’s champion Arellano University (AU).
“This is my last playing year for San Beda. I was supposed to get five championships for the team but we were defeated last season. I really strived hard to reclaim the title and it is really sweet to get it back,” Sandoval said.
Sandoval is pleased that all their hard work paid off.
“We really worked hard and sacrificed for this. We did not go home during the holiday season just to train and really prepare to get the championship,” he said.
“The collective effort of the team was really there. Each player really contributed that is why we won the championship with a sweep of the season.”
Besides Sandoval, San Beda’s Ralph Abriol won the Golden Boot Award while his fellow Bedans Jerome
Marzan and Ralph Datoy were named Best Midfielder and Best Goalkeeper, respectively.
Despite his status as MVP, Sandoval revealed his personal struggles each game.
“In my opinion, my performance for the whole season was a bit inconsistent but during the big games that we had, I know I gave it the best that I can do,” he said.
Sandoval, also the team captain of SBC, said that he would always relish wearing the skipper’s armband.
“It is special in a way that any of my teammates can be the captain of this team but the captain’s badge was given to me and I think they respect me,” he said.
Sandoval declared that he is now looking forward to trying out for local clubs after graduation. He also aims to be a member of the Under-22 national team that would compete in the Southeast Asian Games.
“I also tryout for the clubs for the upcoming national league and I am also part of the Under-22 national team training pool for the SEA Games. I think I will try my luck with the clubs after graduation,” he concluded.