IT IS very difficult to win in Bacolod, especially if you’re a visiting team, but the Cebu elite 14-Under girls and the Don Bosco Technology Center (DBTC) are making a habit of it.
Playing in the prestigious Ceres Cup—which is easily the country’s biggest football tournament—the two teams are going home with titles in their divisions.
It’s the second straight for the Cebu Elite 14-Under girls in the Ceres Cup and it comes after they won the Allianz futsal tournament. Led by manager John Soon and coach Sheba Castañares, the Cebu Girls 14 fielded Joshper Halili, Jodi Banzon, Roygen Tingcang, Celina Salazar, Irish Pongasi, Lyka Cueva, Jelena Loren Soon, Mish Castañares and Gwen Estrada for the Ceres Cup.
For Soon, Castañares, Salazar and Tingcang, it’s a familiar two-week spell as playing for a different team last year, they won the Allianz futsal local eliminations and the Ceres Cup before winning the regional eliminations of the Allianz tournament.
After the Ceres Cup, it’s back to Bacolod City for these girls as they will see action in the Allianz regional meet for a chance to advance to the national finals.
DBTC, another perennial Ceres Cup visitor, is taking the same route as its Boys 16 and 14 teams, which won the Allianz futsal local eliminations, also won their division in the Ceres Cup. DBTC sent 29 teams this year, the most from Cebu, and since it started, the Bosconians have calendared the Bacolod tournament as part of their summer program.
DBTC will also return to Bacolod this weekend for the regional tournament and I hope, like the Cebu Girls 14 team, they’ll make it three in a row.
And that’s not an unlikely scenario as both DBTC and the Cebu Elite 14 are the defending regional champions in Allianz.
CEBUANAS IN PHL TEAM. Today, we will know how our girls team fared in the semifinals against Laos, which was played late Sunday, May 19. The Philippines—which has three Cebuanas in the lineup, including captain Raya Tolentino—was to play the dangerous Laos in the crossover semifinals.
Laos topped Group B after a 5-2 thrashing of host Thailand, which still advanced as the No. 2 team in the Group. Vietnam, which beat the Philippines, 2-0, was to face the host in the other semis.
Since that loss against Vietnam, the Pinays have won two straight in impressive fashion, beating Myanmar, 5-0, and then East Timor, 12-0. I hope they continue that streak in the semis so they can return to the finals again and improve on their runner-up finish in 2017.
Aside from Tolentino, the other Cebuanas in the team are Maegan Alforque and Mia Evangelista—all of Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu—while University of San Carlos coach Apple Bariñan is part of the coaching staff.
The girls team has fared well consistently in the international level and I hope the Philippine Football Federation will hold a tournament for them that is similar to the home-and-away event it is planning for the Boys 15.
I’m sure that’s going to give girls football a massive boost.