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As attention shifts to UFL Cup playoffs, Tanton cherishes first Azkals call-up

Kaya FC

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Miguel Tanton admitted that he did not expect a last-minute call-up from Azkals coach Tom Dooley nor even a start for their showdown with North Korea on Tuesday night.

"The call up was unexpected. Besides [Kaya], I'm not entirely sure people knew if I was Filipino," the midfielder said after the historic win.

[Related Story: Never-say-die Azkals finish qualifiers with comebacker against NoKor]

Luckily for him, he had comrade Louis Clark and the SOMK group to thank for.

"Thanks to Louis Clark's social media presence and the Ultras (SOMK) getting involved, word may have reached the right ears," Tanton continued.

About getting the starter role plus playing the full match, he said, "The idea of starting never really came to mind, I was just happy to be there. I did have my fingers crossed I would see some time though."

Tanton's main highlight of the game was when he dished out a backheel assist to Manny Ott for the equalizing goal that sparked the Azkals' late comeback.

Now that a breakthrough international football stretch that featured two straight wins by Kaya in the AFC Cup and the Azkals call-up is done, Tanton's focus is now on the UFL Cup quarterfinals as the defending champion takes on Loyola on Saturday night.

"Our match on Saturday is against a team we know well," he said ahead of both clubs' 20th head-to-head showdown in all competitions.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno