Pravin is Man of the Match
He was the outsider.
Leaving Singapore after just 55 minutes of football for the LionsXII class of 2012, Pravin Guanasagaran was not even on the radar of South-east Asia (SEA) Games football head coach Aide Iskandar.
Playing in the lower state league in Western Australia where his family now resides, he was out of sight, out of mind.
But last night, as the football tournament kicked into full gear, the midfielder stood tallest among all who wore the team's red, as the Singapore Young Lions fell 2-1 to their Myanmar counterparts.
He was by far the brightest spark, and even as referee Yousef Almarzouq blew to signal the possibility that Singapore might not qualify for the semi-finals, the 22-year-old continued to shine.
As heads and knees dropped around him, Pravin, along with captain Al-Qaasimy Rahman, trooped across the pitch dragging their comrades back up to their feet.
His battle cry was simple - it's not over yet.
"It was frustrating to see us miss all those chances we created, but this is a team game, and I will continue to back my teammates," he said.
Some will lay blame on goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari for two errors that resulted in goals, but Pravin was having none of that.
"We did concede two soft goals, but Syazwan was unlucky. I don't blame him for that, he's still a good goalkeeper and we all know that," he said.
"Everyone around us believes in the team...and they're giving us everything for us to do well - we need to believe in ourselves."
Pravin showed what he could on the pitch.
Dominant in the middle of the park, he was a veritable tank in defence, and astute in orchestrating attacks. And he could even have given the hosts the lead. His 46th minute daisy-cutter just whizzed past the Myanmar post, a goal that would have changed the game.
His efforts did not go unnoticed.
"He was away last year but he's justified his selection. He's made the team proud with his outstanding performance," said coach Aide. "He should start the next game."
Indeed, Pravin was winning plaudits in the stands as well from FA Cup-winning coach Fandi Ahmad, who told The New Paper that his grit and gumption was exactly what Singapore needed.
And Pravin says he give even more.
"I've been injured for a long time (some three weeks), and this is my first game after a long time," said the tough midfielder, who struggled with an abdominal injury that even kept him from jogging.
"I was getting cramps just now, but I can feel my match-fitness coming back.
"I'll be fine in the next game."