PAREF-SPRINGDALE, one of Cebu football’s powerhouse schools that is seeing a decline, is trying to boost its program to get the club to its former level when it was one of the top teams in Cebu.
And its first step took them to Singapore, where the Titans sent two teams, coming home with the runner-up trophy in the 10-Under division of the Friendship and Football Cup.
“We are trying to get the club to be competitive in all age groups again,” said Coach Mario Ceniza. “Before, we didn’t join that many tournaments but now, we are going to join as many tournaments as we can to give the kids the exposure they need so we can be competitive again.”
In Singapore, the Under 10 team not only got the exposure they needed, they also passed a test of wills that saw the Titans overcome Bermuda Indonesia, 3-2, despite trailing by two goals in the first half.
Ethan Roxas, who scored five goals on the first day for the Titans, started the comeback in the third minute of the second half, showing his impressive dribbling skills by eluding four defenders to make it 2-1.
Five minutes later, Roxas got free on a breakaway for the equalizer and tried to push for the go-ahead run together with Caleb Gilos and Seth Bacolod but time ran out.
In the shootout, Roxas missed his penalty but another hero stepped up the plate for Springdale in keeper Jed Asis.
After making two saves, Asis saveed a third shot and converted on his own penalty to complete the comeback.
However, the team came up short in the finals against Spanish Football Club, with Roxas succumbing to cramps just five minutes in.
“I think the semifinals was their defining game, they gave everything they had and they were exhausted too emotionally,” said Ceniza. “Nahurot na pag finals, ni collapse na.”
Despite finishing second, the organizers of the tournament handed the MVP trophy to Roxas, a practice that is unheard of in Cebu festivals.
“I think it’s a good practice that we could adopt here, instead of letting the winning coach select the MVP,” said Ceniza.
Aside from Roxas, Bacolod, Gilos and Asis, the other members of the Titans U10 team in Singapore are Andres Sarmiento, Jadan Sison, Mateusz Chavez, Jacob Go, Andrew Torres and guest player Sengo Kobayashi.
They also sent the the U12 team of Eguene Molleno, Lucas Sarmiento, Archiles Bongo, Aaryan Nayak, Jade Liong, Javi Sian, Cyryl catalan and guest players Bhyl Gimenez and Daniel Betinol of the Lahug Elementary School. The team made it to the quarterfinalS.
Ceniza, who has contributed a lot of national youth team players in the past, said the Singapore trip is the club’s first step in revitalizing its football program. The coach admits that the club isn’t as strong as it used to be, especially in the older age groups.
“We don’t have a lot of players in the 2002 up to 2005 age groups. We have Ethan’s group in the 2007, and upcoming players in the 2009 and 2010 age groups,” said Ceniza.
At its peak, Springdale would win two to three titles in local festivals and make the finals in the rest.
To get to that level, Ceniza plans to field Springdale Football Club, now headed by Alvin Roxas, in as many festivals as possible, no matter how small.
“Aside from Giuseppe, we plan to join a tournament in Negros, the Bro Cup and we are also looking at returning to Singapore in November. We also returned to the Rifa Cup,” said Ceniza.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 21, 2017.
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