Fair Play: The Paulino Alcantara Cup that wasn't

I was really excited for the Paulino Alcantara Cup because of two things--one, in a tournament against Guam, Macau and Chinese Tapie, the Philippines have a more than even chance of winning the tournament, and two, it was the Paulino Alcantara Cup.

Who is Paulino Alcantara?  He was a football legend before anybody had any idea what a football legend was, a Filipino born to a Spanish father and a Filipina mother in Iloilo, who played for the Philippine and Spanish national teams and made a name for himself in Barcelona.

Yep, that Barcelona.

And having a tournament named after him would have been apt, now that we have a football team whose players are a product of the Filipino diaspora.

But the Paulino Alcantara Cup wasn't meant to be and it's now called the Philippine Football Peace Cup.

I was really surprised with the move because for days, the PFF and the organizers have been calling it the Paulino Alcantara  Peace Cup, while fans have taken to calling it the "Popsie."  And knowing for months of how the PFF has been mulling to honor the great Filipino footballer, why the sudden change?

It turns out the PSC, which operates the Rizal Memorial Stadium, the venue for the tournament, has a rule against sponsoring events named after an individual, hence the change.

The PSC rule makes sense, especially with the penchant of some officials to have a tournament named after them, but come on, this is Paulino Alcantara we are talking about, not some congresman who wanted to have added publicity for his campaign next year.

I'm not sure if everything is too late to have the great Alcantara honored with this year's tournament, but we just have to take comfort, for now, with the latest effort of the PFF to have him recognized because back in 2005, when it was first suggested, the then PFF admin scoffed at the idea.

CCSC FIELD.  It seems everyone had a nasty thing to say about the pitch in the Cambodia vs. Philippines friendly, which resulted to a 0-0 draw.  

And, while reading the comments, I couldn’t help but think about the CCSC field, which, as of now, I think, looks even worse than the Cambodia field.

I know the CCSC management and the Cebu Football Association, have been paying close attention to what the inspectors from the PFF and AFC have said about the field and there are plans to improve it.  With less than nine weeks to go before the Singapore vs. Philippines friendly, I hope they can make the necessary improvements for the game.

By the way, there is still no word if the friendly against Singapore will be on Nov. 15 or Nov. 16 and now is the perfect time to confirm which is which.

Folks are waiting to book their airline tickets for the friendly and this uncertainty isn’t helping.  

As for the game tickets, the last I heard was that the CFA was still finalizing it and as for the price range, they won’t go over P1,000, which for me, is a reasonable  price.  (For the former Paulino Alcantara Peace Cup, tickets are at P500, P300 and P50 and students get a 50 percent discount.  A ticket for all three games is at P1,000.)

I just hope that the friendly in Cebu won’t suffer the same fate as the Mongolia and Philippines match last Feb. 9, 2011, when there more tickets than seats in the stands, resulting to a packed grandstand that was very uncomfortable for some who couldn’t stand standing for 90 minutes.

As Cebu’s coming out party in the hosting of international football matches, the fans will play a big role whether Cebu passes or fails its hosting gig and I hope every move will be done to make sure it does.

And we can start that by confirming whether it’s for Nov. 16 or 15.


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