LEO PLAYS THE HERO FOR ATE­NEO

Leo Maquil­ing scores on an­other free kick to seal SHS-Ate­neo de Cebu’s tri­umph in Cesafi fi­nal

Sun.Star Cebu - - PRIME SPORTS - ML

Af­ter res­cu­ing Sa­cred Heart School-Ate­neo de Cebu all sea­son long, mid­fielder ex­traor­di­naire Leo Maquil­ing de­liv­ered again, lift­ing the Magis Ea­gles past a de­ter­mined Uni­ver­sity of San Jose-Reco­le­tos to win the Cebu Schools Ath­letic Foun­da­tion Inc. high school ti­tle last Nov. 10 at the Cebu City Sports Cen­ter.

The Jaguars, play­ing in their first Cesafi fi­nal, showed they weren’t in­tim­i­dated and nearly broke the deadlock af­ter a great feed from the mid­field found Dustin Ramirez up front but his shot wasn’t on tar­get. In the sec­ond half, Maquil­ing had his first chance but a shot off a re­bound was just high, while Churchill John Jubac broke the de­fense at right but there was no one to re­ceive his bril­liant cross.

Maquil­ing again came close a few min­utes later, off a pass by Chris­tian Luma­pas while on the other end, Chris­tian Vierh Agot’s shot was blocked by Aaron Golosino.

Then just 11 min­utes from time, USJ-R com­mit­ted a foul some five yards off the penalty box.

Maquil­ing stepped up, both hands on his waist as he sur­veyed his op­tions.

“I just trusted my in­stinct,” said the na­tional youth team main­stay who was named both the top scorer and Most Valu­able Player.

On the other end, goal keeper Franco dela Torre made the sign of the cross. He did it again, twice.

Maquil­ing stepped back and de­liv­ered the sweet­est of all free kicks. The ball seemed too high as it got past the USJ-R wall but it be­gan to dip down. Franco took a few steps to palm it up but the ball was pick­ing up speed on the way down and hit the net, spark­ing a wild cel­e­bra­tion by the un­de­feated team and its fans.

“I jumped a lit­tle af­ter the kick be­cause I thought it was a bit too high,” he said.

Coach Oliver Col­ina, who took over the team just this year, cred­ited the boys’ hard work for the suc­cess.

“I have a lot of in­jured play­ers but they just worked hard and ev­ery prac­tice ses­sion, we set aside 30 min­utes for set pieces,” said Col­ina, “Maybe we got a bit lucky with the goal also.”

There was no luck in­volved as it was Maquil­ing’s third goal via free kick this sea­son and all came at cru­cial times.

“You have to con­sider the wind, the speed and a lot of fac­tors,” said SHS-Ate­neo ath­letic di­rec­tor Rico Navarro.

Aside from Maquil­ing, team­mates Pomeroy John Veloso won the best mid­fielder award, while John Fran­cis Zam­brano got the best goal­keeper award af­ter con­ced­ing only two goals all sea­son long. USJ-R’s Jan­uar James Vil­larin was named the best de­fender.

Mean­while, for­mer cham­pion Don Bosco Tech­no­log­i­cal Cen­ter sal­vaged third place af­ter beat­ing the Uni­ver­sity of San Car­los 4-1 via a shootout af­ter a 1-1 draw in reg­u­la­tion. /

SUN­STAR FOTO / ALAN TANGCAWAN

MIGHTY MAGIS. Mem­bers and coach­ing staff of the SHSAte­neo de Cebu ded­i­cate their vic­tory to the Almighty af­ter win­ning the Cesafi high school foot­ball fi­nals.

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