Go: Defense-oriented offense was key-A A +A
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
ALI Go, coach of the 2013 PFF-Smart National Club champions Ceres-La Salle Football Club, revealed what he deemed as the key to the team’s victory during its maiden appearance in the prestigious national tourney.
“Our line-up was finalized barely a week before the tournament began so we had very little time to design fancy strategies,” said the former national team mainstay during the press conference at Business Inn yesterday.
The team is composed of three Britons, six Koreans studying at the University of St. La Salle and veteran shinbusters like Azkal Joshua Beloya, Jason Panjay and team captain Jason Cordova.
“We relied on our basics and concentrated on firming-up our defense. Every time we thwarted the opponents’ offense, it opened them up to counter-attacks which our players were quick to capitalize on,” explained Go.
Coach Ramon Janeo narrated that the trip to the national finals was no easy walk on the pitch as, after topping the Visayas Qualifying Leg, Ceres faced former United Football League champs Stallions FC and Global FC in the knockout Round of 16.
“These former UFL champs are very strong teams. If you are eyeing a finals appearance, these are the last teams you would wish to face in the quarterfinals,” he added.
Ceres blanked the Stallions in their clash last January 13 at Panaad via the lone goal of Jun Mook and followed that with a victory at Rizal Memorial Stadium over Global FC, courtesy of Pete Long, one of the three Britons in the team, the other two being Daniel Sandoval and Danny Claxton.
In the semis, Ceres handed Kaya FC a 3-1 drubbing, with goals from Jason Panjay, Gun Hee and Byeong Joon, and thus arranging the finals showdown with Pasargad FC.
Byeong Joon, who eventually was declared Most Valuable Player of the Tournament, scored again against Pasargad at the Rizal Memorial Stadium to clinch the title for Ceres last February 2.
“It was indeed a hard climb to the top,” stressed Go. “However, with the all-out, incomparable support of Ricky and Leo Rey Yanson, our players were all motivated to deliver their best performance.”
“Players of Manila-based teams do not even see the owners of the teams they play for. Here in Ceres, Ricky and Leo Rey join our players during practice and even eat with us,” Go disclosed.
In behalf of the Yanson brothers and the Ceres team, Go thanked all Negrenses and football fans who prayed and rooted for the team.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 06, 2013.