After spending a couple seasons with Pachanga, veteran midfielder Anto Gonzales has returned to the Loyola Meralco Sparks. The former Philippine National Team standout is the fourth official signing of the club as the United Football League season inches ever closer.
“I’m quite excited. But also at the same time, I know I’ve not been at the top of my game the last year, so it’s a big challenge for me to be able to contribute and help the team become better. It’s nice to be back and be with some old friends. And I’m looking forward to the new season.”
Gonzales reclaimed his national team status during his stint with the Sparks, and he’s looking forward to reaching the same level upon his return.
“I want to be challenged always. Now is a good time. I know I won’t be playing for too long anymore – maybe two, three years down the road. I really want to give it all out there. This is the perfect team and place to be in now in this stage of my career.”
Anto bolsters a midfield that recently added the services of Arnel Amita and Jason de Jong. And while he sees similarities from the Loyola squad he played in, he also picks out a few stark contrasts.
“I think in terms of quality, we have the same quality in the team as we did before. I think the competitiveness of the players is better in this team. I like how each player is really trying to push themselves always in training, and push each other in training. I like the spirit of the team now.”
Having joined a squad that was well into preseason training ahead of rival clubs, Gonzales is hopeful the extra work will pay dividends in the looming season.
“The team is blending very well. I think in terms of conditioning we’re quite ahead of the other teams. The team has done a lot of work, and let’s just hope that come January we’ll get to pull our strings together.”onemeralcosports.com/loyola-sparks/anto-gonzales-returns-to-loyola-meralco-sparks/
Loyola Meralco Sparks is pleased to announce the signing of goalkeeper Guilherme Hasegawa. The player is the third addition to the team after Arnel Amita and Jason de Jong joined up earlier in the offseason.
“I’m feeling great,” Guilherme said of his move. “Being a part of this great team, I’m loving the training sessions that we have. I like the chemistry in the team. I’m happy.”
Like de Jong, Hasegawa brings championship experience to the club, having won the League with Stallion three years ago. The Brazilian admits he’s delighted to be back in an environment where winning trophies is top priority.
“In my first years in the UFL, I experienced being champion with Stallion. With Socceroo it was different. The team didn’t have the ambition to be champion. Here in Loyola, I feel that everyone wants to be champion in the League, in the Cup, and whatever comes. I like that. I like that ambition to win every time,” he said.
Guilherme’s move is also a reunion with Tomas Trigo, who similarly joined the Sparks from Team Socceroo.
“In Socceroo, I played with Tommy before and we did very well. I’ve obviously trained with him. In football and outside of football we’re very good friends. I like Tommy. He’s always pushing himself, so I like that. I’m pretty sure we’re going to do well together.”