It was an exciting and intense afternoon at SPARTA Philippines on Saturday, March 4, as eight football teams competed to land a qualifying spot at the Neymar Jr’s Five global finals, which was sponsored by Red Bull and is scheduled sometime this year in Brazil. After a series of round robin matches, the Naxional Team (consisting of Miguel Artillera, Roberto Orlandez, Ahmed Hwedi, and former ULF Stallion members, Hector Zaghi, Mark Daniel Rivera and Team Captain, Daniel Matsunaga) won first place.
We didn't miss the opportunity to chat with the winning team captain, of course! Read on for our interview with Brapanese hottie Daniel:
How do you keep fit? "Doing sports and eating healthy."
What’s a day in your life like nowadays? "Easy! A lot of work. I have a new show called I Can Do That that you guys should really watch. It’s super amazing and super exciting. I also train."
Can you share with us your tried and tested workout routine? "Crossfit! I do it very often now. You can see my hands are full of kalyo. Crossfit kasi is all circuit training. There are days you do pull ups, pushups, and running. Other days you do rowing, bicycle, lunges, and hatchets. [I also go to the] gym [and play] football."
You love to eat. How do you balance it with keeping fit? "It’s pretty tough because being an artista, you’re always puyat. You always work on TV and you really need to eat something to get energy. But as much as possible, I eat healthy food. I have my own business called The Healthy House. I always have that, especially when I’m on a diet. I use my business for my own good."
[related: Cheat Sheet: Iza, Anne, Solenn, Erwan, Daniel, And Coleen Show Us How To Eat As Healthy As Them]
The way Neymar Jr’s Five works is that teams of five are pitted against each other in head-to-head, 10-minute matches. Every time one team scores, the opposing team loses a player. It’s like football but with a twist—fast, technical, and tactical. Interestingly enough, Daniel is close to members of other teams, so we just had to ask how it felt playing opposite of them...
How was it like going up against friends like Anton del Rosario? "We haven’t faced off yet. He won the first and second day. He won against six teams [while] we won against 13. Right now, it’s the quarter finals. They’re checking who’s going to face who. But all the teams are very tough. I can’t say who’s going to win or whatever because this tournament is very tricky. If you lose a player it’s a big thing."
Likewise, football is a huge deal in Brazil—the country in which Daniel was born and raised. Up until now, Daniel has nothing but good things to say about his native land… so much so that his knowledge of where to go and what to do might convince you to book a trip there, stat.
What do you love most about Brazil? "Everything! I love Brazil. It’s my country. I love the food, the people, the places, and my family."
What are five adventures one must not miss when traveling to Brazil? "People should go to Ipanema Beach, for sure, to see the Christ the Redeemer. I love The South of Brazil and the North East. You have to see Iguazu Falls too; it’s really nice. There’s also a place called Bonito [where] it’s all waterfalls and lakes."
[related: In Focus: Art And Nature Intertwined At Massive Brazilian Park]
Travel tips for Brazil first-timers? "Well they should bring money kasi mahal e [laughs]. Lahat ng mga stuff there are expensive. [As for] tips? Just go there and enjoy the food. If you go to Brazil Churrasco, it’s amazing. I have a restaurant here called Naxional in The Fort, Uptown Parade 2nd floor. It’s really good! You can try the food and see a little bit of how it looks like so that don’t go, 'Wow' and be surprised. Also, try hard to look for somebody who speaks English."
ALSO READ: In Focus: How Now-Certified Duathlete Kim Chiu Inspired Us to Have a More Active Lifestyle
Interview and photographs by Jana Jimenez and other images courtesy of Red Bull