Published in Sun Star Cebu Newspaper on Oct. 23, 2010 Saturday issue
by Mike Limpag, Columnist - Fair Play & Sports Editor
A FEW weeks ago, you’d be crazy to pick UC as this year’s football champion in the Cesafi.
The team that perennially fails to make the semifinal round barely qualified with one win and three losses, its lone victory coming against UV in the first day of the elimination round.
After three straight losses, including 3-2, against USPF in week 5, UC made the semis at No. 4, and was to face No. 1 USPF.
While everyone was expecting USPF to face USJ-R in the finals, Coach Glenn Ramos thought otherwise, telling his boys that it doesn’t matter if they’re No. 4 against No. 1.
It’s the semifinals and in football, everyone is on level terms in the knockout stages.
Against the grizzled veterans of USJ-R, coach Glen knew his team couldn’t take the initiative in the offense end as it would only open up its defense to the vaunted scoring machines of USJ-R.
It’s not a beautiful tactic, but it works.
One player showed his displeasure against UC’s style in the chatbox of pabolfc.com, “Amo tanan atake, pero kami pa jud pildi.”
But unless UC went Netherlands in that final, I don’t think it deserves to be criticized for following that strategy, beautiful football be damned.
It merely shows how smart Coach Glenn is by acknowledging his team’s strengths and using these against the other’s weakness.
It shows UC can follow a strategy to the hilt.
The team, because of how it won the title, was bashed and was told, by an anonymous poster in the pabolfc.com chat box, to forget about representing Cebu in the Prisaa regionals.
UC the champion should forget about listening to sour-graping folks like that.
Besides, here’s a thing with chatboxes and Internet posters: without anonymity, they’re never brave enough to stand by what they say.
I used to have a chatbox once and when people started posting venomous accusations to sully the names of good folks, I asked—nay—ordered everyone to use their real names.
Guess what? Nobody found the courage to say anything.
Jonathan Maximo, who maintains Pabolfc.com, was wise enough to warn people to keep the comments clean.
Some may be apprehensive about UC representing Cebu in the Prisaa but not me.
It takes a really good team to win the Cesafi football title.
And to win the Cesafi football title with a rookie-laden team?
A champion team can't do that, only the team with the heart of a champion.
SCHEDULING CLASH. I learned from Rico Navarro’s column the other week that it wasn’t only the Cebu City-based teams that had problems with the scheduling conflicts between the Cesafi and the DepEd meets.
Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, a powerhouse in athletics, football and basketball, had to skip the Mandaue City meet since the schedule clashed with the Cesafi.
But that it went unreported doesn’t mean it’s not also a bad thing.
I know the Cesafi is trying to avoid such conflicts next year, so I guess it’s time for a compromise.
These conflicts often hit the high school teams because of the City meets, which is the first of a series of competitions that will identify players for the Palarong Pambansa.
These meets are usually held late September or early October, so as a compromise, perhaps Cesafi should ensure that their games—at least in the high school level—are over early September? Or if not, give way to the City meets? These often last for only three to four days.
Just a suggestion.