Despite a painful loss against Global in their last game, the Loyola Meralco Sparks witnessed the emergence of another young talent.
Daniel Gadia came out during the second half to support Loyola’s attempt for an equalizer. Armed with determination to take the lead, Gadia came out of the bench and brought firepower to the Sparks. Unfortunately, it was too late and the squad fell short. However, his impressive performance left everyone in awe, including head coach Simon McMenemy.
Unrecognized by others, Daniel Gadia, at a young age, is already a powerhouse ready to take on everything thrown at him. He led the UP Men’s Football team to their first UAAP Championship title in four years. In addition to the title, he took home the Most Valuable Player award.
“First of all, masaya ako talaga na nakapag champion ngayong year. Since high school, since San Beda, since NCAA then I studied in UP, hindi pa talaga ako nakaka-win ng UAAP. I said kanina na may ginive up akong mga tao just to focus and I think para mag-grow ako as a player and as a person. Sobrang saya na nakuha namin halos most of the tournaments na linaruan namin, Uni Games, Ang Liga, and UAAP, nakuha namin. Blessed ngayong season and especially binigay namin lahat kay Rogie (Maglinas),” said Gadia.
His past achievements did not only impress McMenemy, but also his Sparks teammates and collegiate coach, Anto Gonzales.
According to Gonzales, Gadia is the type of player that puts everything into the game and if other players would replicate his discipline, mentality, attitude and work rate, they would come along way.
Gonzales also added that, “Daniel is the type of player who really puts up a lot of effort into this game, works on the things he needs to work on and has discipline, eats properly, he rests well. Football is just not on the pitch for him, it’s a lifestyle. He eats and breathes football, practically. His desire to really be able to compete to the highest level is really really high and really works hard to get there.”
On the other hand, Ian Clarino, his teammate from UP and fellow Meralco player, said that Gadia is a leader in the making. He resembled Anto Gonzales in terms of concern to his teammates without exception. Whether you are a senior or a freshie, Gadia is there to guide the players and tell them what they need to improve on.
“Lahat (kaya niyang gawin) parang si coach anto yan eh,” said Ian.
“Lahat ng players from freshie to seniors, ginagabayan nya. ‘Oh, to, matulog ka ng maigi kasi nakikita ko palagi kang puyat. Oh eto, i-take mo itong medicine na to pampalakas to. Itong weights training, eto yung kelangan mong iimprove.’ So chinecheck nya yung each member ng team kung ano kelangan nyang iimprove. Sakin lagi nya akong sinasabihan, ‘Ian, ganito kelangan mong maimprove. Minsan di mo kelangang pilitin pa, i-long [ball] mo na lang para safe tayo.’ Syempre ako naman, naniniwala ako, kaya nga sya ginawang captain dahil may tiwala si coach at syempre may tiwala ako sa kanya,” he added.
Ace Villanueva, UP and Sparks goalkeeper also attested that Gadia is a natural leader.
“Daniel Gadia ay magaling na leader. Pinupush nya bawat teammate namin, especially yung mga magstastart, pinupush nya to get through the limits. As his teammate, talagang di ka nya papabayaan, sasaluhin ka nya. Pinush nya rin yung sarili nya para mahandle yung team kahit na medyo hirap sya dahil may acads (academics) din and other commitments like here sa Meralco,” declared Villanueva.
Catch Daniel Gadia and the rest of the club’s UP contingent on June 9, as the Sparks return to action against Agila FC.