USC Warriors clinch 5th CESAFI collegiate football title

CEBU CITY, Philippines - The University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors clinched their 5th title in the CESAFI collegiate football after once again edging bitter rival University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Kicking Panthers, 2-1, on Saturday, November 25.

This is the 4th time that the Warriors denied the Panthers the CESAFI title in as many meetings, but there was a slight change in the history as it was the first time that they won it in regulation. Their first 3 finals meeting all ended in a shootout.

The latest face-off, held at the Cebu City Sports Center, was heated, and almost ended in a melee several times.

USPF’s consolation was having goalkeeper Bennydick Saligan named as the Best Goalkeeper of the season, having been a huge factor in USPF Kicking Panthers’ slow climb to the championship round.

CONSOLATION. The Kicking Panther Bennydick Saligan earns the best goalkeeper honors in the league. Photo by Mars G. Alison/Rappler

CONSOLATION. The Kicking Panther Bennydick Saligan earns the best goalkeeper honors in the league. Photo by Mars G.


Aside from the title, the USC Warriors also took home 3 of the special awards, including the most coveted MVP plum for Yves Caballero. His teammate Vinson Nery was named as the Best Midfielder while Marcus Congmon was adjudged as the Best Defender.

The honor of the Top Goalscorer went to John Vargas of the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Booters, after he scored the most number of goals this season at 6.

From the beginning of the match, the Warriors was the more composed team, and it resulted to a goal by Steven Patalinghug who picked up a cross from Aldrich Pelenio in the 17th minute of the match.

The game became heated early on that both teams were brought down to a 10-man squad before the halftime. Cloyd Kevin Abare of the Kicking Panthers was the first to be sent out while Paolo Saguin of the Warriors followed a few minutes later. Both picked up two yellow cards.

The first half ended at 1-0.

The Kicking Panthers picked up their game in the second half as they were able to finally execute their attacks. They were able to score the equalizer via team captain Janry Acaso, who converted a 68th minute penalty which resulted from a dangerous tackle on Jeralph Tura.

However, the Warriors answered with their second – and winning – goal just two minutes later on a volley by Joshua Miguel Kwan that went over the head of Saligan and found the back of the net.

The Kicking Panthers tried to force an extension; however, the Warriors tightened their defense until the final buzzer.

The USC Warriors will represent Cebu in the Private Schools Athletic Association regional finals which will be held in Bohol next year.

Placing third in the tournament was the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR) Jaguars with a 2-4-2 win-draw-loss card good enough for 10 points.

UV, with its 9 points, settled for fourth place following a 2-3-3 card.

The University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters ended the season at fifth place after being the first team to get eliminated. They finished with 7 points following a 1-4-3 slate. –