Friday, October 28, 2011

Queen City fights for pride

(This is my story for Sun.Star Cebu on Oct. 29)
A DETERMINED Cebu Queen City United will play for pride today as it takes on the dangerous Pachanga FC in its final Group C match of the UFL Cup at the University of Makati field.

Cebu Queen City, which lost its first two matches to Global FC and the Stallions, is no longer in the hunt for a spot in the knockout stage, while Pachanga still has a chance to finish at No. 7 in the standings and will face the No. 10 qualifier in the round-of-16.

A win by Queen City will also put Global FC as the second qualifier in the Group of Death, but Pachanga is still expected to make the KO stage as the wild card.  The Stallions, which finished with six points on two wins, topped the group.

“The team is in high spirits again. Taas ang motiviation,” said coach Mario Ceniza.

Ceniza admitted that after the team’s 8-0 loss to the Stallions last week--which was aired live over national television--the players were demoralized.

“But I told them that past is past,” he said. “Tomorrow (today) the least that they can do is to play for themselves, for the club, our sponsors and for our fellow Cebuanos. Dinhi matest ila character.”

Since they lost starters Ronald Mahilum and Nino Zapanta to suspensions and co-captain Rocky Garciano to an old injury, Ceniza said he will be tweaking the lineup for today’s game against Pachanga, which is owned by former national team member Freddy Gonzales.

Set to start for the Cebuanos today are goalkeeper PO2 (Not SPO2 as earlier reported) Alex Boanghog Jr., Jack Reston, Dave Gerali, Marion Cubelo, Lemar Baunsit, Ariel Cahilig, Julius Acre, team captain Jan Michael Flores, Rommel Cuizon, Junard Aguilar and Mitsu Tsunakiri.

The reserves are goalkeeper Gary Garciano, Yance and Rene Menchavez, Blui Arriola, Carlito Abadia and Josaphat Sacil.

The Cebuanos are familiar with Pachanga since Ruben Doctora Jr., and Joshua Fegidero played for Crazy Horse during the 2010 Cebu Interclub. Boanghog and Tsunakiri also played for Crazy Horse.

The club has to overcome a few hurdles just going to Manila for today’s game, which was supposed to be played in the opening weekend last Oct. 9 but was moved due to the rains in Manila.

Initially, the UFL informed Queen City that it would try to have the game be held in Cebu but last Wednesday, the league informed them that the board decided to have it in Manila at 2 p.m., which will be the first of today’s televised games.

Nagkapuliki mi’g book sa tickets,” club president Glen Quisido said. “May na lang nakakuha mi.” (We had to scramble for tickets and it's a good thing we were able to book)

Because it’s a long weekend, tickets are hard to come by and since they booked late, the team had to spend almost P250,000 on airfare alone--more than twice the amount it spent last weekend, which was at P90,000.

The team is set to meet with the UFL officials today to request them if they could shoulder some of the amount they spent for the re-scheduled game.

“Wala pa nay labot sa kaon (That's doesn't include our food),” said Quisido. “All the hotels we called are fully booked. It’s a good thing we managed to contact Dan Palami. We are staying at his house now. Nagpabaga na lang mi nawong.” (Really can't translate this, right?---Mike)

Cebu Queen City United, which is backed by Landmasters, is one of two non-Manila based teams and flies to Manila for its game. It has spent more than P500,000 for airfare for four weekends in Manila, including the opening day when its game was cancelled.  The team also pays for the salaries of the coaching staff and 25-man team as well as spending for its training and equipment)

Aside from the Queen City vs. Pachanga match, the Green Archers will also take on Pasargad today at 4 p.m. to determine the second qualifiers of Group E, while Baguio FC, the other non-Manila based team in the UFL, takes on the Lions at 7 p.m.

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