CEBU CITY, Philippines - The CESAFI collegiate has its own El Clasico of sorts as the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Kicking Panthers face off with the University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors for the 4th time for the football title Saturday, November 26, at the Cebu City Sports Center.
The Kicking Panthers will be gunning for their first ever CESAFI collegiate football title having finished as the runner-up 7 times while the Warriors are going for a back-to-back titles and a total of 5.
The Kicking Panthers have never won against the Warriors in their previous 3 finals meeting which always ended in a penalty shootout. The last time was last year wherein the Kicking Panthers lost , 6-7, via penalty shootout.
While the team was mostly manned by rookies last year, this year it has more or less the same lineup in the first 11.
Manning the team are Cloyd Kevin Abare, team captain Janry Acaso, James Aron, John Marie Avanceña, Lyndon Christian Colina, Kennedy Cuizon, Jayson Devivar, Ares Duarte, Jan Kenneth Escarda, Jasper Gerarman, Riz Kevin Gozon, Ernil Gumba, Nelvic Manisan, Mark Dave Ordiales, Cynold Brett Retuya, Alex Roi Rondez, bennydick Saligan, Charles Dave Taghap, Jeralph Tura and Erwin Vasquez.
Kicking Panthers head coach Eleazar Toledo said that he has told his team not to let it reach the penalty shootout or there will be a big chance that they will lose again.
He was using the team’s history in penalty shootouts against the Warriors as a motivation for the team to try and win the title during the regulation.
However, despite that, Toledo said their is no pressure on the team.
“Pressured no, cause we never lose any of the games during the finals, only during the shootout. Motivation is we will cut the jinx because it’s been 4 times already, it needs to end,” said Toledo.
As to how, Toledo has this to say “Play the way we wanted, play where people knows that it is the Panthers play, play with discipline and 100% focus.”
In their previous games, the Kicking Panthers usually scored first and can lead to as much as a 3-0 but the Warriors always managed to equalize and force a penalty shootout.
"We change our formation, we will make sure that we will have a strong defense and good numbers in attack. Transition is the key. Again, it will boil down to stamina and determination. I’m pretty sure USC is doing their homework as well but at the end of the day, the winner are the ones who are determined and will come out more aggressive."
The Warriors were the first to secure a championship ticket by topping the double elimination round with 14 points following their 4 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses.
The team is made up of Marvel Baldado, Yves Caballero, Paul David Carizon, Terence Colmenares, Marcus Congmom, John Reevo Jumawan, Joshua Miguel Kwan, Karol Joshua Menesis, Bertram Musni, Mark Niñolas, Vinson Nery, Steven Patalinghug, Aldrich Pelenio, Andres Pelicano, JS Christian Paulo Saguin, Karol Nicklaus Taok and Pomeroy Mark Veloso.
The Kicking Panthers, on the other hand, had a slow start, owing to cancelled games due to unplayable pitch caused by heavy rains. They set up their fourth rematch against the Warriors by climbing to the second spot after amassing 11 points with their 2 wins, 5 draws and one loss.
This season, they suffered their only loss at the hands of the Warriors, 0-1, during the first round of elimination.
With the competition following a league type format, only the top two teams will advance after a double round elimination. – Rappler.com