Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fair Play: DBC, USC: a case for a football program

I READ a rather interesting article in the national paper the other day, about the much-hyped NCR squad in the Palarong Pambansa, which eventually won the high school gold.

I have nothing against NCR, especially its team manager Vince Santos, but reading something like “NCR is expected to go for gold against Central Visayas, the defending champion but the underdog here, early today,” sure left a bad taste in my mouth.

Scoring 35 goals in four games, sure, speaks a lot about a football program, but so is making the finals in the Palarong Pambansa, which for me, is still the barometer of a football program because of the things teams have to go through, just to get to the games.

And making the finals is what both Cebu City teams—both led by Don Bosco College—did in the Palaro, winning the elementary division and losing the high school finals.

And you have to hand it to their elementary squad, winning one Palaro title may be amazing, but winning three in six years?  That speaks a lot for what kind of program Don Bosco has because it can find an able replacement to whoever graduates.

DBC has won the gold medal in 2006, 2008 and 2012, while finishing second in 2007 and 2011. Some members of the 2007 team that failed to defend its title, guys like Val Calvo and Jay Arrizabal, are also members of this year’s losing high school squad.  I saw how disappointed the elementary team was in 2007 and I’m sure the guys are just as bitter that they end their Palaro stint with another loss.

The NCR squad has been likened to be the younger version of the Loyola Meralco Sparks and what does that make of Don Bosco? For sure, they are no younger version of any Cebu squad, but I sure do hope that their success in the Palaro competition can be mirrored in the other national football tournaments like the age groups.

Why is it we can win the tough ones like the Palaro, but lose badly in the other contests when these tournaments basically feature the same players?

I think the answer, and I’m sure some of the coaches out there know it, would be an interesting one.

Aside from Don Bosco, the University of San Carlos, led by coaches Gary Panagsagan and Joshua Fegidero, deserves a huge pat in the back for topping the Prisaa national finals.

Even if they beat my kababayans from South Cotabato in the finals, I was really happy that USC won because this is one college team that really takes its football, seriously. It also means Gary, the former assistant to Joshua, has now done one better than his former boss.

Back when Joshua was still in charge, the former national team player said he had a massive plan for USC’s football program that would involve the most crucial level—elementary.  Sadly, that program never kicked off and USC is a curious case as it has a champion college team, whose high school and elementary counterparts are doormats.

Because of its size, a good football program in the elementary would greatly benefit the high school and college teams and I think the Prisaa win should prod the folks running USC to listen to what Gary and Joshua has to say. 

These guys have proven that they know what they’re doing and I think if you USC gives them the permission, or expand their job description, these guys can give Don Bosco a run for their money in a few years in the elementary division.

Go USC!

5 comments:

tugashaligi said...

Mike,

If I sound like I'm sourgraping then so be it but not all members of the NCR squad are from NCR. I know of at least two who are from Davao. So what does that say about the state of NCR football?

tugashaligi said...

Mike,

If I sound like I'm sourgraping then so be it but not all members of the NCR team are from the NCR. I know of at least two who are from Davao (on FEU scholarships I think). What does that say about the state of NCR football?

Mike Limpag said...

It means they really have a wide recruiting program and also speaks a lot about Davao players.

Last time Cebu made the national finals of age group tourney (U19, 2004), guess who won? Davao!

Can't forget Davao, our high school team back in 93, made national U16 finals for first time and got eliminated by Ateneo, whose goalkeeper became our friend in college.

Back to the question. NCR has always been known to be strong, partly because of its recruitment program. I didn't realize that extend to high school sports.

Mike Limpag said...

It means they really have a wide recruiting program and also speaks a lot about Davao players.

Last time Cebu made the national finals of age group tourney (U19, 2004), guess who won? Davao!

Can't forget Davao, our high school team back in 93, made national U16 finals for first time and got eliminated by Ateneo, whose goalkeeper became our friend in college.

Back to the question. NCR has always been known to be strong, partly because of its recruitment program. I didn't realize that extend to high school sports.

tugashaligi said...

Mike,

I know Davao has a good program. My beef is that the Palarong Pambansa is supposed to be an inter-regional competition. If it was a club vs. club competition then I have no problem. But NCR (represented by FEU) got players from outside the NCR. Can you imagine if Central Visayas won by getting players from Ilo-ilo? I hope the Central Visayas coaches won't do that. It's the same thing and we'd get hell from the sports press for it.