University of Cebu claims 2015 CESAFI men's football title

CEBU CITY, Philippines - A sudden-death shootout had the University of Cebu (UC) Kicking Webmasters ending a 5-year title drought as they bagged the senior division's title of the 2015 CESAFI men's football tournament with a win over University of San Jose - Recoletos (USJR) on Saturday, October 4 at the Cebu City Sports Center.

The regulation and 30-minute extension ended scoreless while the penalty shootout still had both teams at a stalemate at 5-all, prompting the sudden-death.

UC goalkeeper Arvin Perez sealed the win for the Kicking Webmasters by stopping the attempt of USJR's Jason Calunsag when he decided to stay put instead of diving to the right as head coach Glen Ramos had advised him at the start of the shootout.

“Dako kaayo akong kulba, wa nako kasabot sa akong gibati atong last. Basta ingon si coach nga focus lang jud ko in catching the ball (I was very nervous, I couldn't understand anymore what I felt then. Coach told me that I should just focus in catching the ball),” said Perez.

Ironically, Perez, who is on his third year in playing for the CESAFI football competition, finds it difficult to catch lob balls because he said he is more used to stopping balls rolling on the ground towards him.

Calunsag dropped to the ground in despair while Webmasters stormed the pitch to celebrate their second title in the league. The last time they won the title was in 2010, also against the Jaguars.

Sudden-death kicker for UC was Ralph Eben Plaza. The rest of his teammates who all successfully found the back of the net during the penalty shootout were Amiel Perez, the twin brother of goalkeeper Arvin Perez, Mark Joseph Felicilda, Famous Ene, Aquilio Enopia and Mon Ferdinand Osorio.

Scorers for USJR were Harold Daga, Anthony Bryan Tabuelog, Jestone Pialago, Christian Nacion and Glen Frey Rigor.

No other two teams were more evenly matched than UC and USJR as they are both defensive teams.

"I was confident (of my team) if it would go to a penalty shootout because we have been rehearsing situations like that during our practices. Our practice yesterday was all penalty shootout,” said UC head coach Glen Ramos.

UC started the game on an aggressive note, managing 3 close attempts to score including one from Richell Villarba inside the box in the dying minutes of the first half.

The Webmasters continued their counter-attacking aggression in the second half, including a cross from Ene to Villarba at the 73rd minute but it was still no good.

Days to the championship, Ramos was presented with a problem after two of his players in the starting lineup got injured during practice and Ene unsure of seeing action.

Despite having problems with their passing, the Jaguars were still able to hold off the Webmasters and also made several attempts to score themselves.

During the extension, Ramos said that he told his boys to continue counter-attacking and then hold of for the shootout.

Meanwhile, the University of San Carlos (USC) ended their 15th CESAFI campaign with a third place finish after a 1-0 edging of the University of the Visayas (UV) courtesy of John Rey Melgo. –