by Mars G. Alison, Correspondent
Rick Gabuya, Sports Editor
THE UNIVERSITY of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) clinched the top spot as the elimination round of the 10th CESAFI College Football Championship ended yesterday at the University of San Carlos Technological Center (USC-TC) in barangay Talamban, Cebu City.
USPF’s 3-2 win yesterday against the University of Cebu (UC) would have given the Panthers just the no. 2 spot.
But the defending champion University of San Jose Recoletos (USJ-R) ended its match against former leader USC in a scoreless draw.
The Panthers, thus, took the top spot with nine points after dropping only one of its four elimination assignments.
It was a hard-fought match for the Panthers as the Webmasters refused to go down without a fight by fortifying its defense and allowed 28 minutes before USPF could find a hole courtesy of Joseph Rodriguez.
It was Rodriguez again who found the weakest link in the Panthers' defense in the 40th minute.
In the second half, it was the Panthers who first found the back of the net when Albert Tejas drove in his goal at the 51st minute.
The Webmasters were able to penetrate the Panthers' defense four minutes later with a goal from Neri Mole Jr. UC's Clarence Rosco broke through at the 88th minute to slice USPF's lead to just one.
However, time was not on the Webmasters' side as they were not able to do much in the remaining three minutes.
In the most awaited meet-up between defending champions USJ-R and top contender USC, neither gave the other room to maneuver for a goal.
As a result, the Jaguars and the Warriors will be meeting each other again in the semifinals next week after dropping to no. 3 and 2, respectively, in the standings.
USC finished with eight points two wins and two draws, while USJ-R accumulated seven points with two wins, one draw and one loss.
The other semifinal match will once again see the USPF facing UC, which ended with three points after winning only one game in the eliminations. /CORRESPONDENT MARS G. ALISON