Wednesday, October 24, 2012

SHS-Ateneo, DBC make case for nat'l tourney

The Milo Little Olympics may be like a national competition--with regional eliminations--like the Palarong Pambansa, but unlike the DepED meet, it's not the battle of the best players, but that of the best schools.

Teams are not allowed to get reinforcement from eliminated schools for the next phase, as is the practice in the DepEd meets, so, as the cliche goes, you're only as strong as your weakest link.

And, for the second straight year, Cebu's football teams showed they're stronger than the rest of the country.

Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, playing in the nationals (now using the 11-a-side format) for the first time, won all their games without  conceding a single goal, beating Luzon, 4-0, NCR, 2-0, and Mindanao, 3-0. 

The DBC elementary team was just an impressive, banking on Pierre Obispo, Kyle Ronquillo and Christian Pacana to beat Luzon, 4-1, NCR, 4-0, and Mindanao, 1-0. Obispo finished with 4 goals, Pacana had 3, while Ronquillo, who scored the gamewinning goal against Mindanao, wa named the Most Outstanding Athetle, in the school's third Milo national title in four years.

We may not be as dominant in the Palarong Pambansa, but, other factors, not just a team's skills influence their fate--schedule and referees especially--but in the Milo Olympics, which could be considered as the battle of champions, at least Cebu schools are doing well.

It's unfortunate that there's no longer any Philippine Football Federation-organized competitions for the Under 16s, and even the Under 12s because according to Cyril Dofitas, the PFF doesn't want to duplicate what's already being done, which is the Palarong and the organization only sends scouts to these events.

However, I think there's still room for a national U16 and U12 competition, it's just that, the PFF these days don't have enough personnel to run it as the group is busy with the Smart Club championships and the Suzuki Under 23.

A pity, but, I think it is in this regard that Cebu can again, take the lead.

The Cebu Amateur Football Club--some of whose former members now sit in the Cebu Football Association--has been running an invitational U12s, U17 competition every summer along with its signature invitational inter-club tournament.

For next year’s event, I hope the club seriously considers inviting the U12 and U17 champion schools of Davao, Bukidnon, Iloilo, Bacolod, NCR and from other football hotbeds in the country.  This would change the football landscape, but at least, it would be nice for the school  teams to be able to gauge where their level against the best of the country in a real football tournament and not a seven-a-side competition, don’t you think?

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