Flag Football in Cebu? ‘The Sharks’ Devour

Among all the established sports that dribble and bounce in our city, flag football is one of the newest. It’s been passing and running on the grass fields of Cebu for only three years now. It’s still an infant. Right? Not true. The Cebu Flag Football League (CFFL) now boasts of over 550 active members. Quarterbacks. Wide Receivers. Men. Women. Yes, lots of girls join. Spiked shoes. Bandanas. Shin guards. Flags sticking out at the hips.

The other Saturday, on June 9, the CFFL hosted the championship bout–ala Super Bowl of Cebu–between a first-time finalist (The Rebels) against the four-time defending champs and the recent winners of the national championships (The LaserArt Sharks).

The Sharks could not be bitten. Like any shark swimming underneath the ocean, they were too big, too strong, too powerful. They won. But in the women’s side, Madille Salinas led the Dark Angels in a major upset, scoring the only touchdown of the game to beat the Sharkettes, 7-0. She won the MVP.

My good friend and former high school schoolmate Harry Radaza is one of the pioneers and movers of the sport. He’s also the Wide Receiver and Playing Coach of the Sharks. Harry tells me that while Flag Football in Cebu has been around for only three years now, in Manila it’s been circling the football fields for the past five years. And despite that early head start for Imperial Manila–and the fact that they have hundreds of thousands more of residents there–just this year, the Cebu teams (Sharks, for the men; Sharkettes, for the girls) finally beat Manila in the Nationals. Great accomplishment, Cebu!

The next Flag Football event? “All teams have confirmed joining the next league in September,” says Harry. “When the league started it was 5-on-5 with no contact. We have slowly elevated the level of play to finally get to the ultimate format which we first used this season and is here to stay… 9-on-9 full contact downfield blocking. As close as you can get to real NFL football. The only difference is the ball carrier CANNOT be hit. Contact is LEGAL for everyone else.”

Two upcoming out-of-town events, says Harry, are the Borakay Bowl – (5on5 beach flag) from Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2007, and in Panglao, Bohol (4-on-4 beach flag) April 2008. “There will be a CFFL Clinics this August,” adds Harry. “Players interested to join but have no team can contact us at http://cebuflagfootball.blogspot.com.”

Together with Harry are a group of passionate players and aficionados of the sport: Josh Pritchard, Richard Sharpe, Rayner Sangil, Loy De Los Santos, Kyle Thomas, John Paul Chongbian, Brian Lim, and Dennis Unchuan.

Here are the Winners for Season 8…..

MENS: 1st) LaserArt Sharks 2nd) Pyroworks Rebels 3rd) Browning and Sole Cocks. WOMEN’S: 1st) Browning and Sole Dark Angels 2nd) LaserArt Sharkettes 3rd) Pyroworks Bombshells. Most Improved Player: Mens – Sabellon (Rebels) Womens – Melicor (Dark Angels). Rookie of the Season: Mens – Lamban (Sherdogs) Womens – Erasga (Dark Angels). Regular Season MVP: Mens – Tanedo (Rebels) Womens – Salinas (Dark Angels). Superbowl MVP: Mens – Falcon (Sharks) Womens – Salinas (Dark Angels).

Also, watch these amazing YouTube videos: Double Reverse pass trick play to the Quarterback which put us up for good. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8wt59LbUB8) and a 60 yard Touchdown pass to Celocia (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF3emqnrhtE). Plus, read this January 22 story by my Sun.Star Cebu colleague, Jade Violeta, entitled, “Cebu’s Flag Football Dynasty in the Making.”

Want to get a glimpse of this sport? Watch this amazing 70-yard touchdown…

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