Cebu standouts

Football in Cebu may have taken a standstill, but that doesn’t mean the Central Visayas Football Association has also stopped doing what it’s supposed to do.

Aside from a series of online seminars on coaching and refereeing it has participated, the CVFA also managed to have a few members included in the national training pool. I was elated when I read the news, especially when I learned the daughters of a few friends made the list, but it also made me think, “Has it been that long?”

It seemed only last year when I handed a medal to Trizza Musni, the daughter of my friend Dino, for winning the SunStar Cup Under 15 division and just recently, Trizza, along with Ma. Andrea Evangelista and Rae Mikella Tolentino–also both regular winners of the SunStar Cup–made the National U19/U20 pool.

Let me digress a bit. Dino and I share a lot of funny stories, but none funnier than Rae’s dad, Atty. Mark. I was in the Capitol covering a sports event that involved the former governor when he spotted me and dragged me to his office. I went along, thinking he must have had a scoop for me. But after listening to him for a couple of minutes and having no idea what he was talking about, I had to remind him that I was not my brother. Oooh, the look on his face was, to quote the old Visa commercial, “priceless.”

But we’re good. The last time we talked, we were planning to schedule an interview with Rae for a feature, but then of course, all plans were shot to hell because of the pandemic.

ALL SMILES. Trizza Musni poses with dad Dino , who is joined by the author (left) and coach Jinggoy Roa during the 2017 SunStar Cup.

By the way, you may wonder why it’s the national U19/20 team and not just the U19 or U20 team? Well, it’s a step-ladder competition. It starts at the Asean level this year, and should they be successful, they’ll be in the Asian level next year.

And I’m hopeful with this team, pandemic notwithstanding. This was the age group that five years ago won the first medal for a Philippine age group team, and they didn’t rely on players based abroad.

The next announcement by the CVFA also had me smiling. Jelena Loren Soon, the daughter of my friend John, made the U16/U17 national pool along with Mish Castanares, Celina Salazar, Maegan Alforque, Jodi Banzon, Joshoer Halili and Gwen Estrada and Bohol’s Maio Lubiano.

ANOTHER MVP. Jelena Solon receives the MVP award for Sheba FC in the Girls 15 division of the 2019 SunStar Cup.

Jelena is a wonderful player to watch and her brief stint in Barcelona as part of Milo’s Road to Barcelona changed her. I can just imagine the reaction of her dad when he read the news. And mind you, eight players from the CVFA in the U16/U17 team? That has never happened before. I think the most we had were three or four, never eight.

To the girls, I wish you luck. Make CVFA proud in your stint with the national team. And to the dads? Well, one bucket!

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