CEBU CITY: The Sacred Heart School (SHS)-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles completed a rare double — the first in four years — after winning both the football and basketball crowns in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) on Sunday.
The last team do to it was the Magis Eagles themselves, when they won both titles in 2012.
It started in unexpected fashion in the morning of Oct. 16, when the undermanned Magis Eagles ended the nearly four-year reign of the Don Bosco Technological Center (DBTC) in high school football with an upset 1-0 win at the Cebu City Sports Center field.
It was DBTC’s first loss this season and first loss in four years in high school football. SHS-Ateneo was the last team that beat DBTC, a Cesafi champion for 13 years, in 2012.
This season, DBTC seemed poised that way, opening with a 10-0 win over the University of San Jose-Recoletos, while SHS-Ateneo struggled against the University of Southern Philippines Foundation, 3-3. In the semis, it was the same story; DBTC upended the University of San Carlos, 3-3, while Ateneo needed a late goal in regulation and extra time to beat USPF anew, 3-2.
In the finals, it was all DBTC but the Greywolves just couldn’t convert on their numerous chances.
“DBTC had more possession and more attacks than us,” said DBTC athletic director Rico Navarro.
But DBTC’s numerous offensive chances either resulted in a hit on the bar or a shot just off target. In the chance that they managed to hit the target, Ateneo keeper Jack Sembrano was there to collect it. Sembrano was eventually named the best keeper of the tournament.
Then in the 53rd, Ateneo found its perfect chance. With DBTC pressing forward, a long pass found Leo Maquiling, and the wily forward evaded two defenders before banging in the lone goal of the tournament.
DBTC didn’t lose hope and kept pressing for an equalizer, while Ateneo was content on back-pedaling for most of the way.
“In fact, in the last five minutes, coach Hayato (Ayabe of Ateneo) just pulled his players back on defense, while DBTC was on all-attack mode,” said Navarro.
The equalizer never came and Ateneo celebrated their first football crown in four years.
Aside from Sembrano, two other Ateneo players won special awards. Maquiling, who scored the equalizer in the semis, was named the MVP, while Paolo Montesclaros won the best defender award. Thomasito Ramos of Don Bosco got the best midfielder award, while Luis Aguilar of USPF got the top scorer title, thanks to his two goals in their 5-1 win over USC in the battle for third.
Ateneo was far from finished last Sunday.
In the afternoon, the Eagles capped their Championship Sunday with a 72-56 win over the University of Cebu in Game 2 in the high school basketball finals series.
Ateneo completed a 2-0 sweep against the only team that beat them this season and also registered a four-peat.
“Every championships is always special for us. We’ve proven once again that our efforts, hard work and sacrifice are all worth it. And I give all credit to my players,” Magis Eagles coach Rommel Rasmo told reporters.
Emilio Nacua and Eroll Pastor led the Eagles’ romp with 14 points, while Christian Manaytay had 12. Jed Colonia also had nine points but won the MVP for a consistent game all-season long.
Colonia and Pastor also made it to the Mythical Five, along with Gilbert Umpad of the University of Cebu, Jancork Cabahug of the University of the Visayas and James Tempra of the Cebu Eastern College.
The match was over as soon as it began when Ateneo opened with a 15-0 lead before cruising to a 21-4 tally at the end of the first quarter.