Magis Eagles keep futsal crown

CHAMPIONS AGAIN. Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu needed to prevent University of San Carlos from sweeping its elimination matches to set up a championship match. They did that and beat USC again in the finals to keep the crown. (SunStar photo / Arni Aclao)

SACRED Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-AdC) ended a string of heartbreaks with an impressive run in the final day to keep the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. girls’ futsal title last Feb. 10 at the University of San Carlos (USC) gym.

With USC running through the field on its way to a 7-0 record, it needed only another win to claim the title outright via sweep. But SHS-AdC had other ideas and immediately stormed a 2-0 lead in their final elimination round game courtesy of Mikella Tolentino in the 15th and Yoo Jin Kim in the 18th.

Andrea Badinas made it 2-1 in the 27th but it was too late as Ateneo arranged a knockout finals as the two teams finished with a 7-1 record each. USC handed Ateneo a 5-2 beating in their first meeting.

Ateneo, which also beat USC in the finals last year, didn’t let up in the championship match, storming to a 2-0 lead just 12 minutes in.

Sydney Gonzalez got the opener in the fourth minute while Yoo got the second in the 12th minute.

After the break, USC pushed for the equalizer but couldn’t find it, while Ateneo made it 3-0 in the 31st thanks to Andrea Alforque before Katrina Tolentino put the outcome beyond doubt in the 39th.

“The Cesafi futsal championship is a sweet way to end the season, especially for our seniors. The team had to go through ups and downs this school year, including losing players, underperforming in the Aboitiz Cup and Mandaue Division meet, and adjusting to a new coach,” said SHS-AdC athletic director Rico Navarro.

That loss in the Division Meet was doubly disappointing as it meant Ateneo wouldn’t be able to defend the Palarong Pambansa title it won last year.

Navarro was present in those heartbreaking losses and paid homage to an old sports superstition by skipping the championship, hoping his team would win.

It worked.

“They stepped up just in time, with the first game loss to USC as a wake-up call. We’re grateful for the effort of the Lady Magis Eagles, the coaching staff and the parent support group,” said Navarro. (ML)


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