Friday, August 31, 2012

Fair Play: Tamaraw and the USC Warriors' future

THERE'S an interesting development in football and it may not mean much for some, for the University of San Carlos, it speaks volumes.

USC won the P10 division in the San Roque Cup recently and it may be just a small tournament, but for me, it means a shift in USC football, at least where elementary football is concerned. 

Back when I was still in the football beat and was a regular fixture in tournaments like the San Roque Cup, you'd never  see a USC football team in events other than the Milo Little Olympics and the Cebu City Olympics. And sometimes, during these events,  I'd get to talk to fellow USC alumni and we'd all agree, USC's absence in these tournaments meant it's wasting its potential.

They have thousands of students in a university system, but no football program.

But it seems that is changing, thanks to Edwin Arganza or better known now as Coach Tamaraw.  

I've never met Edwin Arganza but I remember Coach Graeme Mackinnon bellowing out his name in that Australian twang of his back in 1997 when the M. Lhuillier team rejoined the local football scene in the Aboitiz Cup. Who could forget a nickname like that? There was another guy, too, named Animal!

A few days ago, I got an e-mail from Guada Arganza, a football mom from USC, saying their team, under coach Tamaraw won the P10 division of the San Roque Cup, one of the regular football festivals in Cebu City.

The team, composed of team captain Louis Zozobrado, Augustus David Canoy, Trevor Lood, Antonio Stuart Amaba, Joshua Paul Flores Hanze Tugao, John Vince Villanueva and Carl Montaner, had just set history because I think this is the first time USC has won an age group tournament since I got back into journalism in 2004. 

The only way to get better is to have a solid program and join as many tournaments as you can. And I think, Coach Tamaraw is slowly gaining grounds too. In the Milo Little Olympics, USC lost by shootout, 3-2, to another football program in the rebound, Camp Lapu-Lapu Elementary School, which is being handled by former national team member Alex Ballesteros.  Normally, USC loses by a mile in competitions like the Milo Olympics.

In the school football scene, all you need is a dedicated coach, who can think out of the box, and a dedicated group of parents to launch a successful program.  Look at what Jun Santillan started in Canduman and MTI, both schools now schools that have a football tradition—Springdale, Abellana, Don Bosco Technological Center and Sacred Heart.

I hope USC will support Coach Tamaraw’s program because this will be to their advantage.  

One of the complaints I hear from the college coaches, who long for a program like this, is that USC’s elementary, high school and college campuses act like independent bodies with no coordination.  There is no direction.

For this, I hope the USC athletic director, together with the high school, college and coach Tamaraw sit down and meet.

A strong elementary team means a strong high school team, and an improved secondary squad could mean USC’s college team—one of the best in Cebu—doesn’t have to recruit outside the system (most of their college players are from Don Bosco).

They had something like this, although in a limited scale, for basketball in early 2000 but I think it was discontinued because the stars of that program left for other schools and if Coach Tamaraw’s program gets going that could happen, too.

But that should be taken as a reward since it only shows that what they are doing is right if the other schools too lazy to start a program of their own want to pirate their players. Besides, if a player gets recruited by another school, it means USC has given its student the right tools to be rewarded by a scholarship.

And if coach Tamaraw can do this for football, what does it mean for the other sports program for the USC Warriors?

It’s time for USC to recognize its potential.

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