BY BONG PEDRALVEZ
DISAPPOINTED by his lackluster showing in the recent Asian Challenge Cup group matches in Myanmar, striker William Espinosa intends to show he has what it takes when he suits up for Global Smartmatic, the team of Philippine team manager Dan Palami, next weekend in the United Football League.
"I was not happy with my form in Myanmar. That was not the real me," Espinosa, 29, said during a welcome dinner for the Azkals hosted by businessman Jack Rodriguez at the California Pizza Kitchen restaurant at the Glorietta 4 in Makati City Monday night.
Espinosa, who was adopted by a German family after his Laguna-born parents migrated to Germany, was used sparingly by coach Hans Michael Weiss in Myanmar, mostly as a reliever in the waning minutes to mainstays Chieffy Caligdong and Ian Araneta.
This was hardly what the slim, 5-foot-7 Espinosa expected after he impressed Weiss with his workouts with the national team in Bacolod last month that prompted the German mentor to include him on the roster to Myanmar.
In his pre-tournament practice on the eve of their departure to Myanmar, Espinosa didn’t look fit, according to Weiss.
Epinosa said the drastic change in the weather robbed him of his usual explosiveness on the pitch.
"From 30-degrees Celsius in the Philippines I was met by minus-15 when I went back to Germany and this sapped my strength and affected my conditioning," Espinosa explained.
He claimed when he turned up in Manila a week before the nationals left for Myanmar, he still had not fully recovered his strength, which showed in the team’s lone practice at the University of Makati field right after the Azkals returned from Mongolia.