I MET coach Jo Sacil of Springdale a couple of weeks ago, one of the original Carmen boys who I’ve seen develop from the age group, to college to the men’s open and becoming a member of the coaching ranks. It was at the sideline of the Aboitiz Cup U9 division and he said that some of their young players would be fielded by head coach Mario Ceniza in the elementary division of the City Olympics.
I saw their game against DBTC, one that ended in a 13-0 loss. The age and height disparity were obvious, as some of the Springdale players, two to three years younger, were almost a foot shorter. What they lacked in height, they made up for in heart, never backing down to any challenge.
“When the time comes that they will be at the right age, they’d be very experienced,” Jo said that time.
Though there is always that risk of injury, playing outside your age group can be an advantage and I believe two years from now, these Springdale kids would be the standard in the elementary division.
I also saw the Springdale vs. DBTC high school finals in the afternoon and boy, what a game it was. I was with DBTC’s Keith Buyco and Rodney Orale but I was rooting for Springdale. Who couldn’t in that situation? The game was all DBTC but the Titans held up for more than 97 minutes.
Goalkeeper Ernest Elizondo came up with six gutsy saves by my count and I arrived late in the second half. Bottom left, right, top left or right, he got it. In the dying minutes of regulation, he punched out point-blank headers, a looping free kick headed to the bottom left and cleared the ball in a scramble. He reminded me of another great keeper from Springdale, Paolo Pascual.
Springdale too had a couple of promising counterattacks that had the fans on their toes.
I wanted Springdale to win so I could see a full 90-minute match since DBTC had a twice-to-beat advantage but DBTC ended that with a goal in extension. You could feel Springdale’s will get deflated, but only for a while though. These guys never gave up and I think they were only a lucky bounce away from an equalizer.
The game was intense and there were the usual complaints on calls and rough plays but all were forgotten after the final whistle. As it should be.