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Wednesday, August 6, 2014
CHAMPIONS aren’t only measured by talent but also by grit.
Defending champions Paref-Springdale Titans showed just that, and scored a come-from-behind victory over a scrappy Abellana National School (ANS)-Pomeroy, 3-1, at the Cebu City Sports Center for another trip to the finals of the secondary division football tournament of the Milo Little Olympics.
Skipper Kennedy Cuizon gave ANS-Pomeroy the lead in the 31st minute with an impressive free kick from 45 yards. With a little help from the wind, the ball twirled and hit the back of the net just inches away from the outstretched arms of lanky Paref-Springdale goalkeeper Conner Hines.
“We didn’t expect that shot, it was around 40 yards away. The wind brought the ball and the goalkeeper wasn’t expecting it,” Paref-Springdale coach Mario Ceniza told Sun.Star Cebu on central defender Cuizon’s amazing long shot.
The Titans, however, got the break that they needed, a penalty kick, after an ANS-Pomeroy defender was called for a handball inside the box.
Lorenzo Ceniza, who was impressive offensively in the quarterfinals, took the shot and converted it to equalize the match in the 47th minute and force extra time.
The momentum shifted in Paref-Springdale’s favor in extra time and Mark Nacional was at the right time at the right moment as he stuck a boot in on a ball that bounced from a defender to give Paref-Springdale a 2-1 lead in the third minute of the first half of extra time.
Nacional scored the clincher after getting past two defenders and flicking the ball past ANS-Pomeroy goalie Joshua Fuertes.
After a very tiring match that was under the scorching heat of the sun, Mario isn’t thinking about any last minute fine-tuning on the team’s strategy for the finals, but to just rest in the few days before the championship match this Saturday.
“We are going to play our normal game. It is not the right time for adjustments. They need to recuperate because of the tough weather condition,” said Mario. “We usually practice at Springdale past 4:30 and all of a sudden, we have this weather condition.
I commend them for their performance despite the weather condition and how they managed to hold on.”
Paref-Springdale will face Sacred Heart School-Ateneo (SHS-AdC) in the finals after the Magis Eagles walked away with a close 2-1 victory over rival Don Bosco Technology Center (DBTC).
SHS-AdC found themselves ahead early with a quick goal by Kintaro Miyagi in just four minutes of play.
Erik Vincent Lovitos scored the equalizer 51st minute from a free kick. Lovitos made the 35-yard shot that just squeaked into a gap between the crossbar and the hands of SHS-AdC goalie Joseph Ariche.
The match went to extra time and Miyagi once again rose up to the occasion to score the winning goal just in the nick of time.
Miyagi positioned himself on the left side of the goal on a corner kick and as the ball bounced form goalkeeper Kenry Balobo’s hands, the SHS-AdC striker struck the ball into the back of the net with just a minute remaining in extra time.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 07, 2014.