Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Fair Play: Standouts in the Univille Cup

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Aug. 12 edition)
I GOT to watch a football festival again for the first time in months and it was fun. As expected, the favorite teams like Springdale and Ateneo de Cebu got most of the crowns, though I think things would have been more interesting had Don Bosco Technological Center joined the fray.

Consolacion FC also won one crown, while the University of San Carlos won the U13 division.


Coach Mario Ceniza was all praises for one of his players, Ethan Roxas, who played in both the U9 and U11 divisions and the coach thinks highly of the crafty player who could play almost all positions.

"Pwede maski asa ibutang," coach Ceniza said.

And if this Roxas impresses a coach who has seen some of his wards move on to the national team, then I think this guy's one player to watch in the local scene.

As expected, Ateneo de Cebu again took the Girls 15 and 18-Under titles, like what they did in the Aboitiz Cup. Ateneo had some help, though, in the visiting Kara Montilla, who's from Carson, California and is in Cebu for a vacation.

You could see she learned her skills somewhere else as she was too fast and too skillful for her defenders. She had excellent movement off the ball, too, and had a great eye for passing. Still, it's good to note that some of the skills of the players from Ateneo—especially girls who've had national team duties like Itsuko Batucan and Arantxa Trebol—were at par with her.

That shows at least that grassroots development here is getting there and our players’ skills may not be far off from those who learned the game in the US.

There was another visitor too, this time from Madrid, Spain in Santiago Rubico. The member of the vaunted Atletico Madrid youth team played in the U9, U11 and U13 divisions and carried himself well, highlighting the huge gap between those who learned the game here and in one of the top schools in the world.

One player that also got my attention was Ateneo’s Yoji Selman. When I saw him in the U15 finals I thought, what is this little guy doing here?

Then I saw him play. Standing almost a foot shorter, he was unafraid to mix it up. He even stripped a defender of the ball, turned, and shot in one go. He had great vision too and his final pass was the one that led to Ateneo’s goal in the final.

Overall, it was great to see the best teams in Cebu take the field again and it makes me look forward to the next tournament—Cesafi.

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