By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine football team got a massive boost before it left for the Suzuki Cup Asean Football Championship Qualifiers set from Oct. 21 to 26 in Vientiane, Laos.
Neil Etheridge, the Filipino-British goalkeeper, has been allowed by his London-based club Fulham to join the RP team for the four-nation meet.
The 20-year-old Etheridge has cracked the Fulham first team this season after a four-year stint with the reserve squad, and is already the second-choice keeper behind Australian Mark Schawrzer.
It’s the closest a Southeast Asian player has come to making an appearance in the English Premiere League this season.
Etheridge, who kept a clean sheet in his first three matches for the national team, said he would miss only one English Premiere League game to play for the Suzuki Cup.
The Philippines kicks off its campaign against Timor Leste on Friday, before playing Cambodia on Oct. 24 and Laos on Oct. 26.
Midfielder Manny Ott, who plays in the German second division for FC Ingolstadt 04, is also among the notable additions to the RP team that is coming off a third place finish in the Long Teng Cup in Taiwan last week.