San Beda College High School rookie coach Ashley Flores is proud of his feat of steering the squad to this year’s National Collegiate Athletic Association juniors football title.
According to the former San Beda striker, he feels accomplished to bring home a championship crown in his debut season as a head coach in the high school circuit.
“I am very fulfilled with this title but I know there will be ups and downs in the future and the good thing is that in my first year, we got the title. We’re really lucky,” he told The Manila Times in Filipino.
The Red Cubs completed San Beda ascent back on top of the NCAA Football Tournament with an impressive rout of last year’s champions La Salle Greenhills, 5-1.
Consequently, Flores added that the trophy is a testament of his players’ dedication and desire to bring back the lost glory of their Alma Matter in the oldest collegiate athletic association in the country.
“It really feels good because this is a statement that the players are really devoted to San Beda and not just there to play. The feeling is really good because they really played to honor our school,” he said.
The young coach, who also plays for local club Stallion Laguna FC while being part of the training pool of the Azkals, reiterated that their plight to the title was not a walk in a park.
“We had a hard time playing each team because they were all strong. One factor is that I’m new as a coach but the good thing is that all of my players worked hard for this title,” he mentioned.
During the first round, San Beda went undefeated in their first four games against Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 2-0, Emilio Aguinaldo College, 7-0, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, 11-0 and Lyceum of the Philippines, 6-1.
However, they were held into a 1-1 stalemate by Arellano University before capping off the elimination round with a 4-1 triumph over the LSGH Greenies.
In the second round, they paraded their notable talent to emerge undefeated in the final four with three straight wins in their card.
Meanwhile, Flores noted the heroics of eventual juniors division Most Valuable Players Christopher Villanueva and fellow high-scoring striker Mariano Suba.
“With those two players, it is already given because they both have national team experience and we already expected them to stand out,” he held.
Besides the two noted standouts, Bedan goalkeeper Jessie Seblante was awarded the Golden Glove trophy while Eric Baito and Edwin Escosora was named as the best midfielder and best defender, respectively.
Looking forward, he revealed that they would be continuing their program in the off-season to build an even better squad in their future endeavors.
“We would still do the same thing next year. We will still build a good team. We will still look at the characteristics and attitude before their playing style,” he concluded.