Engr. Rodney Orale and the rest of the board members of the Central Visayas Football Association (CVFA) didn’t expect much when they met with fellow engineer Abraham Lee to talk about a proposed football tournament. After all, Lee, the president of J.E. Abraham C. Lee Construction and & Development Corp., has already spent a lot in supporting CVFA’s Palarong Pambansa Football Bubble tournament earlier this year.
But Orale and the rest of the board left the meeting smiling and in disbelief. They found a new partner as Lee, a Bosconian, didn’t need much convincing to organize a tournament in honor of his late father, the late Justice German G. Lee.
“He was elated that we thought of holding a tournament in honor of the legacy of his father,” said Orale.
The Justice German G. Lee Jr. Memorial Cup is no ordinary football festival. It will run for four weekends at the Dynamic Herb Sports Complex in Talisay City and will have 17 categories and league-type competition for the men’s open. Aside from that, unlike in other festivals, slots are limited to 10 in most age groups and to 20 in the men’s open. That’s almost half the usual number of entries in other festivals, which means the waiting period between games for teams is short.
Limiting the entries also shows CVFA isn’t after the income raised from registration fees, which is the usual conduct in other tournaments. The event will kick off with the Mix U7, U9, and U11 and Boys 13 and Girls 15 on Nov. 12 and 19 and will close with a league-type and six-team Men’s Open on Dec. 11.
The other divisions are Boys 15, 17, 19, Girls 17 and 19, men’s and women’s BPO, ladies open and the men’s open, 40-above, 50-above and professionals division.
The tournament is also timely because, since 2013, the SunStar Cup served as the closing festival of the football calendar. However, the event, held annually until 2019, was one of the casualties of the pandemic.
This year’s tournament, Lee promises, will be the first of many and that’s fitting because it fills a hole in the CVFA football calendar. And with a limited number of entries, future Lee Memorial Cups could serve as a champions’ league of sorts for the CVFA, with the winners of football festivals held earlier in the calendar getting the priority for one of the 10 slots for the age groups (some age groups only have six entries.)
“Sir Aham (Abraham) said he owes his success to his time as a football player in Don Bosco and this is his way of giving back and of honoring his father’s legacy. He will never truly forget the value he learned as a Bosconian,” said Orale.
And the Cebu football community is lucky to have someone like Abraham Lee on board.