The long road to glory

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

THEY saved the day for the entire Ateneo de Davao University delegation, bringing home a championship trophy when the rest of its teams fell short.

Thanks to Joshua Royce Lim whose winning goal lifted Ateneo's 1-0 win over Sacred Heart of Cebu in their boys under-14 titular showdown at the recently-concluded 18th Alaska Football Cup held at the Alabang Country Club in Muntinlupa City.

Lim's goal was indeed an answered prayer for his already injury-laden squad.

Ateneo's coaching staff would have settled for a draw and have their boys fight for the title in a shootout instead as three players were out on the field barely enduring their pains.

"Unexpected talaga ang goal ni Lim. Our three players were playing with injury. Patayo-tayo nalang sila sa game, ang apat nalang ang kumakayod talaga. Naisip ko pag mag draw then sa shootout nalang kami babawi," Coach Alex Adolfo said in a recent phone interview.

The 14-year-old Lim, who played all positions (defender, midfielder, winger, striker/forward) during the eliminations of the 7-A-Side tournament, was limited to playing forward/striker in the finals since he got injured.

"I couldn't really run fast anymore. I feel overjoyed and most of all thankful to God for guiding and being with me in every game we’ve faced, and every step we took to reach the finals and later on, be crowned as the champions," Lim said.

He continued, "I was on cloud nine when I took the final shot of the game that sealed the victory. I was so happy that I didn’t know how to celebrate. I thought I was dreaming! Lastly, when the referee finally blew the full time whistle, I cried, knelt down and thanked the Lord for the rightful decision He has made. This was from the blood, sweat, tears and hardwork I’ve struggled in training everyday."

He said his grandparents Lolo Luis, Lolo Aya and Lola Agin who passed away recently motivated him to give his best in the game despite his injury.

"I vowed to dedicate the match to them," Lim, who made his seventh appearance in the Alaska Cup, added.

Goalkeeper Gabriel Dominic A. Leyson was down with a high fever before the games, saying, "I did everything to get well because I really wanted to play and I know that this is another chance to be a champion in Alaska Cup. I really gave 100 percent especially in the quarters, semis and finals."

Leyson also said, "I feel very elated that we won the championship after six to seven years. It was a great victory. We gave our best and we sacrficed all the way to the finals and our parents also sacrificed for this."

Defender Elijah Jacob Nuere, who was competing for the second time, said they tightened up defense as some of his teammates were already suffering from cramps, adding: "I cannot put words to how I felt when I heard the final whistle knowing that we made ourselves champions. I definitely felt proud of us. Our team played as one. We all had the same goal and we achieved it. It was an answered prayer."

Striker Joshua Ryan Lagon, for his part, sprained his ankle but he worked hard and believed that they can become champions.

"It was worth it that we became champions in my seventh Alaska Cup,"Lagon said.

John Rey Lagura, who played midfielder and striker, said, "I had an injury and I played the championship game with my heart. I felt happy because we won the Alaska Cup for the first time," Lagura said.

Winger/midfielder Justin Luis Uy, 13, said, "I think that my spirit to win allowed our team to win this year. It feels very good because I have been joining this tournament for a long time and never tasted the sweetness of victory only now."

Luke Justin Amoguis, 14, and Jose Antonio Lopez, 13, also shared how they beefed up the squad's title victory.

"In the La Salle game, I made a throw to assist Lagura and he scored a goal to make the game, 1-0," Amoguis said.

Lopez, a defender, recalled, "I had one goal and saved some goals. Overall, I played good for the team. I feel great because we deserve it the most."

Kyrt Anton Dimaandal, meanwhile, said he defended their goal, adding: "I feel very happy." He had played in the Alaska Cup for seven years as well and only tasted a championship for the first time.

Adolfo was joined by Albert Ryan Lim, Ruel Sasuman and Sandro Balderas in the coaching staff.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 22, 2013.


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