SportsPatrick Deyto: The Pride of La Salle Football
Patrick Deyto: The Pride of La Salle Football

Perhaps one of the best goalkeepers to put on the La Salle jersey, Patrick Deyto once watched over the fields by the goalkeeper box of the old DLSU Football Field and the Rizal Memorial Stadium, which then featured natural grass. Flash forward to today, the Henry Sy Sr. Hall now sits on the site of the school’s old football field while the pitch of the Rizal Memorial Stadium is artificial. Graduating last 2013, the Business Management graduate took the time from his busy schedule to sit down with The LaSallian. Deyto looks back at his accomplishments as a former player of the DLSU Football Team, and how he is living every athlete’s dream by representing one’s country.

 

High school years

Deyto graduated high school from De La Salle Zobel (DLSZ) and played under the famous coach Hans Smit his entire high school career.  Goalkeeping was the starting position he chose the very first time he set foot on the field right before first grade. However, playing the same position as a child got a little tedious. “I got bored, and wanted to play actual football. So I played other positions [midfielder and forward] the following years,” he explains. It was in his junior year of high school that his team was short of a goalkeeper for the UAAP that he decided to go back to his original position.  The following year, Deyto went on to be named Best Goalkeeper and Most Valuable Player. He continued being one of the best in his position as he took on a bigger role playing in the collegiate level of the UAAP.

 

IMG_7025

 

Zobel to Taft

Deciding to study in DLSU gave him another chance to be mentored by Smit for another five years. Arturo Enriquez, Miguel Patag, and Daniel Roque were teammates of Deyto from DLSZ who continued to play for the Green and White. Nonetheless, he was the only one out of the four who maximized their five playing years in the UAAP. “I was the only one who played for five years. The other ones played just for four years, and the other just played for three.”

His biggest reason was that he wanted to leave La Salle with a UAAP Football Championship. Sadly, this was not achieved. Seeing that UAAP is the most prestigious tournament in an athlete’s collegiate career, not getting a chance to clinch a title was his biggest frustration.

Be that as it may, however, the DLSU Football Team led by Deyto won other reputable competitions such as the 16th University Games held last 2011, and the 2012 Independent Philippine Petroleum Companies Association (IPPCA) Football Pre-Season Cup. Deyto proved his skills once again as he was named Best Goalkeeper in the UAAP Season 73, and MVP for the Alaska Cup and the APT Global Football Cup.

 

Branching out

Before graduating, Deyto also had stints in the United Football League (UFL), the de facto football premier league of the country during the UAAP offseason. “I was in third year college when I was part of Pachanga FC, but it was only for a brief stint. I was there 5 to 6 months,” he shares. He then signed to Green Archers United FC (GAU FC) at the end of his fourth year in college. With a mid-table club like GAU FC, he was able to get valuable exposure to situations that he had yet to experience in college.

After two and a half years, Deyto ended his contract with GAU FC and transferred to Global FC in 2014. Transferring to a new club is not easy, something Deyto was well aware of. On his first year with Global he shares that, “I was playing 60 percent of the games. I was working really hard, and playing really well, and yet I was still benched. That’s something I did not understand.” Feeling exasperated with the situation, Deyto was already on his way out of the team. However, with the last four games of that season, Deyto was able to show his worth and became the first choice goalkeeper of the club.

2016 was a fruitful year for Deyto as the goalkeeper of Global. The club, with Deyto playing 90 percent of the games, won the 2016 UFL Season and the 2016 UFL Cup, where he was awarded as the Best Goalkeeper. “It felt very satisfying, I really wanted to win at this level, especially since I didn’t win in the UAAP,” says Deyto on winning the championship-double.

Deyto has not only made a mark with Global FC in local tournaments. The DLSZ graduate has had the opportunity to play in the Singapore Cup, where they regularly participate as a guest team. He was also part of history as Global became the first Filipino domestic club to play at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup back in 2015.

“That’s when you really experience professional, high level football. Everything is organized, we travel in, travel out for games and play in big stadiums,” he recalls on the experience. “We are looking forward to playing in [the AFC Cup] next year. We feel like we’re more prepared, [we] have a better team, so I think we’re gonna make it farther now,” comments Deyto eagerly, as his team failed to qualify for the previous edition of the competition.

 

The Azkals experience

To date, Deyto is a regular member of the Philippine Men’s National Football Team known as the Azkals. He has traveled with the team abroad in its bid to place the Philippines in the international football map. The 6’1” goalkeeper has been called up to tournaments such as the AFC Challenge Cup, the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup, and qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup.

Deyto received his big break in March 2014 when he made his Azkals debut under coach Thomas Dooley. Then still a member of GAU FC, he was the starting goalkeeper for the Philippines in an away friendly match versus Malaysia in a hostile crowd. “The atmosphere in Malaysia is really different. If you’re here in the Philippines, 40,000 [people] in the stadium is not gonna be the the same as 40,000 Malaysians over there,” says Deyto on the atmosphere in his debut, where they managed to salvage a goalless draw.

“[People] jumping and singing, throwing flares, the game being postponed for 30 minutes. It’s really dirty and violent over there [in Malaysia], in a good way,” he shares on an experience which he says is in a class of its own in comparison to playing against rivals ADMU in the UAAP and competing in the UFL. To this day, his Azkals debut still has a special place in his memory. “Every time I remember that game, I get goosebumps. It’s probably the one [memory] that stands out the most until now.”

Deyto is commonly remembered by Filipino Football fans for his heroic penalty save in Cebu in April 2014, also versus Malaysia in the dying moments of the game.  “So I really wasn’t pressured [that time], so it made [the situation] easy,” Deyto calmly recalls in what was a tense situation for the fans.  “I was like, if they score, it’s okay, nothing’s gonna happen. No fingers will be pointed at me because it was penalty. I didn’t make the mistake.  I just guessed which way to go [and save the ball],” recounts Deyto on his heroics on a warm summer evening at the Cebu City Sports Complex.

 

AFF Suzuki Cup

He gained another feat in his international career as he started for the Azkals in all five games of the 2014 edition of the AFF Suzuki Cup. Though the Philippines was knocked out in the semifinals by eventual champions Thailand, the former DLSU Football team captain still had much to cherish and take away from the prestigious experience. “I was nervous for every game, but it was a good tournament [which is] really big. To play in a tournament like that, is somewhat fulfilling. Reaching the semifinals was also a good thing [for us].”

With another edition of the Suzuki Cup set to kickoff on November 19, Deyto is currently competing with fellow goalkeeper, Filipino-German Roland Muller for the starting position. Given their recent showings, the Lasallian alumnus would assess his chances to be at 50-50. Despite this, Deyto remains upbeat about what looms, even if it means getting relegated to the bench. “Whether I play or not, I just have to help the team wherever I can off the field, and on the field. It is a team. We have to understand we cannot play all the time.”

Deyto further explains saying, “I’ve been there already. Getting annoyed, frustrated, getting pissed and not playing. Nothing good comes out of it. You have to be ready if you are called up [to play].” He also added that the team is also looking forward to the event, which will be co-hosted in the country and in Myanmar. “Playing here [in the country], I hope a lot of people watch. That’s the point of being home, so we’re gonna prepare really well [for the tournament].”

 

Growth of Philippine Football

Getting to play in the UAAP, and furthermore, the national team, is something athletes just simply dream of, but Deyto has been able to accomplish both. He tells that pursuing football in this time, with the rise of the Philippines Football League, is more feasible than it used to be. “Five years ago, a college scholarship was [already] the best one could get from playing the sport. We have good facilities now, it’s better than before. There is a career, a livelihood, and an option [to play professional football] already.”

As one of the few UAAP players who have played for the Azkals, Deyto concludes with a message to the current crop of players saying, “It’s a step-by-step [process]. Continue playing for your school, then try to get a club [and play well] to join the A National Team [Azkals]. Show yourself in [national team] training and if you do good, you will be a regular.”