Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Fair Play: Why the USC Warriors should thank the weather

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Oct. 8 issue)
THE University of San Carlos men’s football team should offer a rain dance and thank the weather for the rain delay in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc.football finals.

Not only did the Warriors get an extra day’s rest, but the rescheduling of the high school finals between rivals Don Bosco Technological Center and Sacred Heart School-Jesuit Ateneo de Cebu meant they had the homecourt advantage against USPF.


How so? The USC squad features alumni from both DBTC and SHS-Ateneo and the parents of those players who thought they would see the high school finals at 9:30 a.m., cheeredas one for the Warriors.

The two groups of supporters—some of whom would soon be at each others’ throats—bellowed “Lets go Warriors, lets’ go!” as one. A crowd support like that surely boosted the tired legs of the players.

That USPF was out-cheered, out-supported and out-staffed was obvious. On one side you have USC—which had for its coaches Mario Ceniza, Allan Medalle, Totot Colina and Patrick Uno—and then you have USPF, which only had Eleazer Toledo, who didn’t even have an assistant. I was told a member of the USC cabinet was in the stands to watch the finals, while USPF only had the players’ parents and friends.

Perhaps if the USPF admin saw the disparity in support, it could lead them to pour more resources for its football team.

Despite that, the underdogs took the lead, 3-1, and was still ahead, 3-2, before USC got that last-gasp equalizer. USPF, which played its semifinal match a day after USC had theirs due to a rain-delay, lost their pace late in the match, with some of the players succumbing to muscle cramps.

In the shootout, an error from their second kicker Christian Millebo was all USC needed as the rest of the kickers converted their penalty kicks.

I was told the USPF players were in tears too, but coach Elying told them to use that as a challenge to return to the finals next year.

I was one of those who were surprised that USPF topped the elimination round--the talks were all about USC vs. USJ-R--this year, but I was the only one among my group who predicted that USPF would make it all the way to the finals against USC. (And to gloat a bit, I called it right, too, when I said USPF would score first but USC would win). Given more support from the admin, this USPF team of mainly newcomers should return to the finals.

Right now, it wasn’t meant to be and it’s the turn of USC—which got helped a bit by the weather.

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