A KOREAN-reinforced Philippine Army showed it will be a force to reckon with in the United Football League as it thumped Socceroo, 4-0, on Thursday night at the Emperador Stadium in Mckinley Hill.
After barely avoiding relegation last season when they finished in ninth place by winning only twice in 18 games, the Troopers joined forces with General Trias International in the offseason to boost their aging personnel and help their financial woes.
The merger seemed to pay dividends as they displayed the offensive punch that was sorely lacking last year en route to the blowout victory that translated to three points and the share of the lead with title favorite Loyola Meralco.
“Yung mga kailangan ko na position, humingi ako, like forward, wings, at defense. At lahat binigay kaya nag-materialize yung team,” Troopers assistant coach Ricky Cain.
The development makes Army the first military team to infuse foreign reinforcement since Division 2 sides Air Force and Navy remain all-Filipino squads.
The move, though, is not unprecedented as Army’s women’s volleyball team in the V-League also has Thai and Japanese recruits.
Seok Jeon Shin shone brightest with a goal and two assists on Thursday as the Troopers dealt the Division 1 rookie Socceroo its second straight loss to stay at the bottom of the nine-team standings.
After dishing on Song Woo’s opening goal 14 minutes into the game, Seok was at the firing end nine minutes later with a free kick conversion.
Lauren Bedia showed Filipinos can also contribute as he joined the scoring party with a close-range strike in the 75th minute, before Nam Gi Won punctuated the statement win with his own goal two minutes before stoppage time.
Ed Sacapaño, who had yet to train with the team after coming from vacation, came in late for the game.