Harry Roque, the often embattled spokesman, said this (in Filipino) last Friday: “Practice and conditioning are now allowed in basketball and football, in accordance with the request of the PBA and other football associations.”
This brings bad news and good news.
Bad news because basketball and football are “anti-social distancing” activities. Both games are close-contact sports. Apart from wrestling, I can’t think of any other sport that requires more body-to-body action than soccer and basketball. Scary? Yes. If a player is Covid-19 positive and he plays 5-on-5 basketball, we know the end result. Everybody gets infected.
Good news because the authorities are confident. While Cebu City is stuck in ECQ mode, the outlook in Metro Manila is different. They’re opening up. This is good news because the world needs sports. Amidst all the negativity and hopelessness, the world of sports brings hope and (pun intended) positivity.
How will the PBA do this? The Board will meet soon to lay out their plans for practice sessions. They also hope to plot options for a date for the PBA’s full return; a single conference season is targeted to end 2020.
Willie Marcial, the PBA commissioner, said that a “bubble” will be enforced to ensure safety for all. In an interview, he said that all players and staff will be tested three days prior to the first practice session. After that, they’ll be tested every 10 days.
Tim Cone, the coach of Barangay Ginebra, told the Inquirer: “(There are still) so much details (that) needs to be worked out.” And SMB coach Leo Austria added: “We’re still far from what we all long for, which is official games. But the mere fact that we’re making such progress gives hope to the people.”
In this era of Michael Phelps, Serena Williams, Usain Bolt, Roger Federer and (should I include him?) Floyd Mayweather, Jr., when we are all witnesses to the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) athletes, one man has enshrined himself as NFL’s best quarterback.
Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. is old at 39. In this merciless sport when a 314-lb. linebacker can bulldoze your body from behind, when injuries are ever-present and the banging and hammering of quarterbacks is the defense’s No. 1 goal, Tom Terrific is terrific.
“Brady is getting better with age,” said Lapu-Lapu City councilor Harry Radaza, a long-time football fan. “That cements Brady’s legacy. He went from ‘arguably’ the best QB to ‘definitively’ the best. I would love to see him retire but he still wants to play. That means we get to see the GOAT for another 4 years. Enjoy it while we can! And did you know he was the 199th pick? When the rookie met owner Robert Kraft, he told him, ‘I’m the best decision this organization has ever made.’”
With the Super Bowl, I did not get to watch the live telecast last Monday. It was only late that night when I switched on the Sports Illustrated channel 763 that I saw the important moments of SB LI: the Patriots were down 9-28 with 14 minutes left. No way they could mount a comeback. But they scored and scored — 25 unanswered points to zero for the Falcons — en route to a miraculous 34-28 victory in front of 70,807 fans in Houston.
The highlight was Julian Edelman’s catch with 2:03 left in the 4th. Surrounded by three Falcons defenders, Edelman was able to catch the throw of Brady with the ball floating inches from the ground.
Ping-J Villegas, writing from New Jersey, watched the game at home with his wife Jenn: “The game was one of the best since I moved to the U.S. 20 years ago. It was nerve-wrecking. At first, I thought the game would be lousy because of the score before the 2nd half. I guess Lady GaGa woke up Brady, hehe. I made a bet with my boss that the Patriots will win and now I have a free lunch to collect. It was dead at work at Bloomberg for a Monday morning. A lot of people called in sick or just worked from home.”
My wife’s cousin Richard Baluyot, who lives in Atlanta, said, “I’m watching the news and the city is in a somber state. The fans are heartbroken. When the Falcons returned, there was only a small crowd to greet them. Here it’s called Monday Mourning.”
If you’re wondering what “LI” stands for, that’s the Roman numeral for 51. Tomorrow (9:30 a.m., Phil. time), it’s the 51st Super Bowl. An estimated 110 million TV viewers will watch “Super Bowl Sunday” in what’s unofficially billed as American’s national holiday. It’s the single most watched television broadcast in the U.S.
“Football is perfect for TV,” said Dan Mastous, my long-time tennis friend who resides in New Hampshire and was in Cebu recently with wife Julie to swim with the butandings and trek to Tops. “The games are played once a week, so there is plenty of time for discussion and build up. The excitement grows as the game approaches. Even the commercials have become ‘must see TV.’ Sometimes the commercials are better than the game.”
How much does a 30-second ad cost? During the first Super Bowl in 1967, it cost $42,000. Expensive, yes. But here’s the mind-boggling figure from last year: $5 million. That’s $166,666 or PhP8.3 million per second.
On the game of American football, it’s thrilling. Back in Dec. of 2014, my CIS schoolmate and now New York resident Ping-J Villegas picked me up in his BMW Boxster convertible to watch the New York Giants and Washington Redskins in MetLife Stadium. Drinking beer and devouring hotdogs in the freezing cold while watching Eli Manning pass to Odell Beckham was an unforgettable two-hour experience.
With Super Bowl LI, this is the finals of the National Football League (NFL). When the season started four months ago, 32 teams competed. The New England Patriots amassed a 14-2 regular season record while the Atlanta Falcons scored 11-5. Both teams clash tomorrow in Houston.
What’s electrifying is the clash of the quarterbacks. The Patriots have Tom Brady, the 39-year-old four-time Super Bowl champ who stands 6-foot-4 and is married to Gisele Bundchen. At the opposite end is the Falcon’s Matt Ryan. Though they’re of the same height and weight (around 220 lbs.), Ryan’s credentials do not match Brady’s but he might have a better prize: Ryan is slated to be this season’s MVP.
Oddsmakers tilt the betting on the Patriots. Understandable because they’ve won four times during the Brady-Belichick era.
“It’s a gladiator sport which has plenty of explosive action and precision that at times is difficult to understand for the layman,” Dan Mastous said. True. And, apart from Brady vs. Ryan and those $5 million ads, there’s the halftime show featuring Lady Gaga.
Last Sunday, I published the comments of Dan Mastous, my long-time American friend who, although he’s a Dallas Cowboys fan, thought that the New England Patriots should not be punished. Well, the verdict is out and it’s severe: four games suspension for Brady and $1 million in fines (plus no upcoming draft picks).
To the non-NFL fan, four games might be very few — but in the NFL, this is plenty. Consider that while MLB (baseball) has 162 games in the regular season and the NBA has 82, the NFL only has 16 regular season games. Why so few? Because NFL is all about physical contact. It’s two giants colliding; a defender ramming a quarterback while he’s not looking; helmets head-butting; it’s 275-lb. musclemen jumping on top of each other.
Brady’s four-game suspension appears to be one of the most severe penalties ever handed, especially to a mighty superstar. It’s like informing Lionel Messi that he can’t play for two months. Like Dana White telling Jon Bones Jones that he’s suspended indefinitely. (He is!)
I agree with the suspension. Based on the findings — though there was no personal admission and no witnesses saw the actual “DeflateGate” — it was clear that cheating ensued. And even if the act was inconsequential, cheating is cheating. It has no place in sports. To condone it will be a terrible message for the public, particularly to the youth.
I’ve known him for 20 years. Each time he visits, we play tennis at Casino Español. He stands 6-foot-6, lives north of Boston, and is a lifelong sports fanatic.
Dan Mastous emailed me on “DeflateGate.” It’s the biggest “scandal” in America today and it involves a star NFL quarterback, the husband of supermodel Gisele Bundchen. Here’s Dan’s take on the controversy:
“I live about an hour-and-a-half north of Foxboro, MA (home of the New England Patriots). It’s definitively Patriot country.
“Under-inflated balls did not help the Patriots beat the Colts 47-7, and they certainly didn’t help Tom Brady torch one of the NFL’s best secondaries in the Super Bowl.
“The bottom line to me is — and this is the case in most of life in the USA — when someone is successful, as the Patriots have been for 15 years, everyone is looking to knock them off their perch. Everyone is looking to find fault with them.
“First there was the ‘tuck rule’ then Spy-gate, now deflate-gate. It’s all pebbles on a beach. Each charge is small and insignificant. They win because Bill Belichick is a better coach. He rarely has the best players, though they are very good.
“Tom Brady is a big part of that, however, and when he starts to slow down, we’ll see if Belichick can keep it up. My guess is he won’t bother to try. He’ll retire along with Brady. Still I’m a bit disappointed in the Pats.
“It’s the American way… if you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying. The Pats are doing nothing the other teams aren’t doing. They are covering all the bases to win. They do have some standard about the types of players they have. They don’t mind if they have a bad record necessarily. Just as long as they don’t do anything bad while on the Patriots. Aaron Hernandez, now on trial for murder, aside, they have a good record in this.
“As far as what the Pats are accused of, I don’t think it makes a considerable difference in the outcome of a game. The game in question showed that. The Pats were dominant all game. The issue was discovered and corrected during half time. There was no question the balls were properly inflated during the Super Bowl, and Brady demoralized the Seahawks at times during that game.
“I don’t think the inflation of the footballs is as influential on the game as Performance-Enhancing Drugs (PEDs), but I think PEDs are less of an issue than most in this country. The only reason PEDs are frowned upon in pro sports is because of the influence pro athletes have on kids. PEDs are not too damaging to adults (in fact they are frequently prescribed for older people), but they are very damaging to the growth of kids. So they are outlawed.
“There was a moment in last year’s NBA Finals, maybe you saw it. I think it was Game 2. Dwayne Wade had the ball at half court and lost it. He was trying to get control of it and Manu Ginobili brought his hands up near Wade’s face. Not really close, didn’t hit Wade, but Wade turned his head and fell back like he got punched. This resulted in a foul on Ginobili and free throws for Wade. A phantom foul clearly influenced by Wade.
“I think that kind of thing is much worse than what the Pats are accused of, possibly even worse than steroids. What Pete Rose did was much worse that what the Pats are accused of.
“There is cheating and then there is CHEATING. Affecting the outcome of a game, either by what Wade did, or what Rose may have done (as a manager to win his bets), is very bad. Or even in tennis. Calling a shot out that wasn’t out in a friendly match is very bad. Breaking the law (illegal drugs, steroids aren’t completely illegal, murder, theft, that kind of thing) is very bad. It doesn’t have an effect on the game, but it shouldn’t be looked past either.
“What the Pats did was wrong because they broke the rules, but not all that influential on the game, so no I don’t think it was that big of a deal. I think it’s simply that most of the other teams looking for reasons they can’t beat Belichick & Brady.”
It started last Friday at 5:30 p.m. It ran that whole night. The next day, from morning until midnight, the games ensued. Same with last Sunday. For 16 hours that day, there was nonstop kicking, heading, passing and diving.
One dozen “Thirsty Cups” have concluded and three men have remained constant since the event started in 2004. My brother Charlie, who conceptualized this tournament, and his good friends, Chad Songalia and Neil Montesclaros.
The Thirsty Cup has dribbled from venue to venue — the Ayala (Cebu Business Park) grounds to San Roque to USC Talamban and now, the Cebu City Sports Center — but these three have been the same triumvirate behind the event.
This tournament is unique for many reasons. It brings over 200 teams nationwide in one site. Multiplied by 10 players per squad, that’s over 2,000 participants. A record 30+ teams traveled from outside Cebu to join.
Girls play in one pitch while boys play in the other. A 7-year-old boy kicks his first kick while a 50-something fires a winning goal. Father and son join. The music, expertly played by “DJ Chad,” rocks the stadium. (Aina Lacson loved the 80s hits.) It’s football and beach football rolled in one. It’s a format that allows you to lose once but still have a chance to win the trophy. It’s plenty of 0-0 scores and scary penalty shootouts to decide either heartbreak or ecstasy.
In July of 2013, Pope Francis stood before hundreds of thousands of young people on Copacabana Beach. Here’s what he said during the 14th World Youth Day: “A field is a training ground. Jesus asks us to follow him for life, he asks us to be his disciples, to ‘play on his team.’ I think that most of you love sports! Here in Brazil, as in other countries, football is a national passion. Now, what do players do when they are asked to join a team? They have to train, and to train a lot! The same is true of our lives as the Lord’s disciples. Saint Paul tells us: ‘Athletes deny themselves all sorts of things; they do this to win a crown of leaves that withers, but we a crown that is imperishable’ (1 Cor 9:25).
“Jesus offers us something bigger than the World Cup! He offers us the possibility of a fulfilled and fruitful life; he also offers us a future with him, an endless future, eternal life. But he asks us to train, ‘to get in shape,’ so that we can face every situation in life undaunted, bearing witness to our faith. How do we get in shape? By talking with him: by prayer, which is our daily conversation with God, who always listens to us. By the sacraments, which make his life grow within us and conform us to Christ. By loving one another, learning to listen, to understand, to forgive, to be accepting and to help others, everybody, with no one excluded or ostracized. Dear young people, be true “athletes of Christ!”
Beautiful! Just like all the messages that we’ve heard from the Holy Father these past few days.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born 78 years ago in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In a nation that has produced Diego Maradona, the pope grew up following the local Club Atletico San Lorenzo squad. Lionel Messi, his countryman, upon meeting the pope last year, said these words: “Without doubt, one of the most special days of my life.”
In May of last year at the Vatican, the pope tackled the game of football. He spoke to the Italian and Argentinian teams.
“He reminded the players that they are role models for many football fans and encouraged them to take that responsibility seriously. He then asked them to foster the ‘beauty, generosity, and camaraderie’ that sport can produce,” said the story in the Catholic Herald website.
“Pope Francis… called on players to ‘live your sport as a gift from God, an opportunity not only to improve your talents, but also a responsibility.’ And he returned to the idea that athletes should act as role models, encouraging them to set an example of loyalty, respect, and selflessness. ‘I have confidence,’ he said, ‘in all the good you can do, especially among young people.’
“Pope Francis concluded by praying that the athletes will continue to be able to pursue the “noble vocation” of sport – and he asked them to pray for him, too, ‘that in the playing field that the Lord has placed me, I can play the game honestly and courageously, for the good of all.’”
NEW YORK—Here in the U.S., the most popular sport is not baseball or the NBA or hockey or Serena Williams’ game or soccer. It’s American football. From the first name alone (“American”), we know that this game is deeply rooted to this nation’s 320 million people.
The National Football League (NFL) is the name of the sport’s professional league. It features 32 teams divided into two groups: the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The season doesn’t run for 12 months; it’s only from September until February and it culminates with the biggest sporting event in America: the Super Bowl. This season, it will be held on Feb. 1, 2015 in Arizona. The Super Bowl is that one-game-only Finals that is watched by over 110 million TV viewers.
I’ve followed American football. This started back in high school at the Cebu International School when, surrounded by American schoolmates, we’d toss and throw the football.
On TV, I watched the Super Bowl plenty of times. Featuring half-time performances that would invite names like The Rolling Stones, Madonna and The Black Eyed Peas, it’s a mega sporting and entertainment event. The hosting of the Super Bowl hops from one city to another.
Last February, Super Bowl XLVIII was played at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. That’s where I was last Sunday.
The moment when Jasmin, Jana and I finalized our plans to spend Christmas in the U.S., I contacted a friend to find time and join me in watching a spectacle that I’ve longed to see for years: a live NFL game.
Ping-J Villegas is someone I’ve known for over 25 years now. Her older sister, Cefelin, was my girlfriend in high school and I’m very close to his two other siblings, Lovelin and JP. A huge sports fan who played basketball at CIS and Cebu Doctor’s back in Cebu, Ping-J has now resided in New York for over 17 years. Within minutes of my contacting Ping-J a few months back, we researched the options and Ping-J quickly bought tickets online.
The date was set: Dec. 14 at the MetLife Stadium featuring the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins.
From Cebu, we arrived at the Newark Airport in New Jersey the night before the game (Saturday) at 9 p.m. and made sure that no jet lag would hamper the following day’s excitement. After hearing mass at 10 a.m., Ping-J was right on time picking me up at 11.
A Porsche Boxster, Ping-J’s two-seater of a sporting machine, stood shining at the front. We were off. The temperature? It’s 4 degrees Celsius cold in NYC. But that didn’t stop us from opening the hood of the Porsche and speeding towards the arena (at over 80 mph) in the New Jersey cold.
We got to the Metlife Stadium early. The game was to start at 1 p.m. but, over an hour before the kickoff, thousands had congregated in the humongous parking area. For here’s what I learned about American football: it’s not just about the game. It’s family. It’s friends. It’s a Sunday timeout. It’s a moment to bond, to drink Bud Light, to wear blue Giants jerseys, to brave the bitter cold for warm smiles — this is a traditional American pastime.
All the parking areas were filled with people cooking barbeque, sipping beer, munching hotdogs. It’s called “tailgating” and it’s part of the whole football experience. People arrive hours before the game, they take out their portable grilling equipment and they cook. And eat. And party.
Ping-J parked the Porsche Boxster as we proceeded to the stadium. Security is tight, as what you’d expect from a gigantic event of 70,000 spectators.
With an hour to spare, Ping-J and I did the one thing you do when you’re at a game: drink beer. We ordered two bottles (in plastic cups) each. With liquor, they’re very strict here: each one is asked to present an I.D. We sat just outside the stadium’s doors and talked about Cebu, our families, biking (Ping-J has a Cannondale road bike and he pedals often).
Ping-J Villegas and I watched the New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins game last Dec. 14. I wore three layers of clothing: an inner warmer, a Uniqlo sweater and a thick Zara jacket borrowed from Dr. Ron Eullaran. Gloves covered my hands; a beanie did the same with my head. A scarf wrapped my neck. It was 4C.
The MetLife Stadium is gigantic. It seats over 82,000, making it the second largest among the NFL teams in terms of capacity. The other Sunday, I estimate the stadium to be 80 percent full. That’s nearly 70,000 people, all jammed in the same outdoor space, all cheering for the same blue team. What’s interesting about MetLife Stadium is that it houses two NFL teams, the NY Giants and the NY Jets. Yes, America’s most populous city has two football teams and, because they play just once a week, they alternate playing in the same arena — the only NFL stadium among the league’s 32 teams that’s shared by two teams. MetLife Stadium is new; it finished in April 2010 and is reputed to be the world’s most expensive stadium at $1.6 billion.
Ping-J and I had good seats. It wasn’t all the way up (they call them ‘nosebleed’ seats) and not too close that we can’t see the formations. We paid $233 per ticket. As you’d expect, everything here is expensive. Parking costs $30 (that’s with an “S” and not in pesos.)
The Redskins scored first, on a field goal (3-0). On the succeeding play, the Giants, led by 2-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning (Peyton’s brother) threw a pinpoint pass to a sprinting catcher who ran for a touchdown. After a successful extra-point attempt (via kicking), the score was 7-3 in favor of New York.
Fans here are fanatical. They wear Giants shirts and all-blue; a popular activity is everybody standing up and waving the white towels (that were given to us for free upon entry) to cheer on the home team. What a sight: tens of thousands of Giants fans, all standing, cheering, waving the towels.
American football is physical. It’s like boxing with body padding. Giant men with Schwarzenegger-like muscles barge into each other. They slam, tackle and block the offense. They’re 11 men on each side who bump, slam, barge head-on. You see sprinters who dart onwards. You see a kicker who’s brought in to score a field goal. You see the quarterback, the leader of the team, calling the shots and passing. That’s Eli Manning.
What I’ve observed here: the people who troop to watch don’t come simply to watch. It’s more than a game; they cook barbeque at the parking lot and dine there for lunch (tailgating); they order beer and gulp a dozen; dads enjoy the company of their sons. It’s a whole American tradition every Sunday.
You know how we get together every time Manny Pacquiao fights? It’s the same here on Sundays. For football fans, they either go to a real game to watch (and eat and get drunk), or congregate in a sports bar with friends, or they troop to someone’s house for lunch and watch the game on TV.
Back to the game: After the Giants scored a touchdown, it was the turn of their neighbors from Washington, D.C. to score theirs. By the end of two quarters, it was 10-7, advantage Redskins. That’s when the combination of Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. took over. Manning is the quarterback while Beckham Jr. is the wide receiver. Their tandem resulted in 17 more points in the 2nd half for the Giants. At game’s end, Beckham Jr. had 12 catches for 143 yards. The 22-year-old is poised to become not only the Rookie of the Year but one of NFL’s best. This month, he had dinner with LeBron and Michael Jordan and him are text-mates.
Despite the 24-13 win by the Giants, they’re lousy this season. Prior to the Redskins game, they sported a 4-9 record (which included losing seven straight from October to November). Since then, they’ve recovered (winning three in a row) and now carry a 6-9 win-loss card. As recently as 2007 and 2011, they were Super Bowl champs.
For a first-timer, what an experience for me to see this giant-sized American game.
If it sounds absurd to play nonstop football for 101 hours — that’s four days/nights straight plus five hours — it’s because, well, it is ridiculous. But, as the saying goes, “Just because something is unbelievable it does not mean you shouldn’t believe it.”
Well, you better believe it. It’s happening from Dec. 2 to 6 at the San Roque Football Field in the city led by Mayor Jonas Cortes. And it’s another Guinness World Record attempt. (Pretty soon, Cebu will amass a world record for having the most number of sports-related world records!)
Jaq Siwala is one of the lead organizers of this herculean task. We met two afternoons ago at the office and if the prospect of two teams, manned by a total of 18 players each, playing for 6,060 consecutive minutes is crazy — it is. It’s also for a wonderful cause because the proceeds will benefit children with congenital heart diseases, through the NGO called Let It Echo.
As the countdown nears for Dec. 2, we ask the Cebuano public to support this project — through donations, word-of-mouth publicity, and to visit and cheer-on these indefatigable players.
Sebastian Lacson was, during college, the Ateneo Blue Eagles team captain. He swam from Europe to Africa (Strait of Gibraltar) and, just last Feb., he finished the Tokyo Marathon. But today, I yield this space because the top VECO executive writes about football. Here’s Basti’s full piece:
Few things can equal the real-life drama that sport provides. On occasion, the drama reaches such a high note that it leaves the spectator breathless, wanting no more and yet wishing it would never end. Such was my experience in Bacolod City, of all places, watching a well-coached bunch of Cebuano boys, all aged 11 or less.
Football (sorry, I cannot get myself to refer to it as “soccer”) tops the world in terms of popularity and viewership. In the Philippines, thanks to the resurgent Azkals, it is only recently that the sport has taken on a more widespread appeal. Quite possibly it is the difficulty of scoring goals that is the appeal worldwide, and the scarcity of goals (as compared to high-scoring basketball) that makes us Filipinos prefer basketball to the beautiful game.
I’m certainly no expert in football. As for live football matches, I have only seen a pair of Spanish league games and also the two times the Azkals played in Cebu. But none of them were as thrilling and delightful as the matches I saw the Giuseppe Under-11 team play at the recently concluded Ceres Cup seven-a-side invitational.
Call time was 7:00 am and the Giuseppe boys played all day until the final, which ended at 9:30 in the evening. Neither the scorching sun and the dust it conjured from the ground nor the intense afternoon shower that drenched them could wipe the determination from their little faces. They started cold in the first few games but hit their stride in the successive afternoon matches, winning one after another and making it to the semi-finals.
They beguiled all opposition with their disciplined spacing on the field, deft triangle passing patterns, sudden bursts of speed and brilliant final flourishes from prolific Yoji Selman, who scored a staggering 21 goals for the day and earned a unanimous MVP award.
It would be difficult to find a team more endearing than this one. Five of nine on the lineup in Bacolod are the Banilad Boys, so called because they study in Banilad Elementary School, next door to the Sandtrap football pitch where Giuseppe trains. These boys are as scrappy and hardy as they come. They may not have the latest in cleats or apparel, but they can outrun and outlast anyone their age or even slightly older. If they had a motto, or if I could make one up for them, it would probably be along the lines of: play hard, complain none, and things will take care of themselves.
Rounding out the team are four boys from various schools that either don’t have a football team or who would rather come to Giuseppe to learn a more European style of playing. The glue of the team is Rachel Genco and her true passion for the game, keeping the various Giuseppe teams going through her sheer strength of character (and coffers) as well. Coach Bing Bing Colina keeps the boys in check with a studied combination of encouragement and hard work at practice.
The semi-final match was set for 7:30 pm at the well-lit North Point Ceres pitches. Standing in Giuseppe’s way was Marist School from Manila and, on average, the opposition taller than our boys. Hardly two minutes past when Yoji broke through on a pass from Enrico Yap and stroked a beauty with his left foot into the corner of the net. This match ended at 4-1, with the only opposing goal coming from a penalty kick.
By 8:15 pm, it was time for the final against a tough Corinthians team, also from Manila. Once more, our boys were dwarfed by the counterparts from Manila. Then the barrage began. Another four goals from Yoji and one from Stephen Soria and the final tally was 5-1.
So high was the quality of this display for the age of the team that a number of non-Filipino looking Ceres La Salle semi-professional players stopped our boys and sought them for pictures. Our boys being asked by the semi-pros. Yoji, for his part, had more than a few female admirers maybe twice his age all making a beeline for selfies with the young star.
After the game, an exhausted and famished Rachel could only comment that she saw an Italian-style football that day from her boys. And she liked what she saw.