CESAFI 2015 update

Rico S. Navarro (The Freeman) - August 29, 2015 - 10:00am

Ever since the CESAFI 2015 season opened at the start of the month, it has been a busy and hectic schedule for all member schools. And it hasn’t been all about basketball. So far, so good.

The CESAFI collegiate division basketball tournament is moving along smoothly with pre-tourney favorites USC (6-0), UV (5-1) and SWU (3-2) leading the pack as expected as the first round of games comes to a close (Records are as of Friday and excludes yesterday’s games). The battle for the fourth and last spot in the semifinal round is up for grabs among UC (2-3), CIT-U (2-4) and USJR (1-4), with the come-backing USPF (0-5) at the bottom of the pile. As predicted, games among USC, UV and SWU are well-attended and filled with action, drama and excitement. USC is 2-0 in this bunch after outscoring SWU and grinding it out against UV. USC is looking good under new coach Britt Reroma, but had its share of scares when they found themselves having to rally to win over CIT-U and USPF. They also had to sweat it out against an upset-seeking UC side. The other thing fans look forward to now are all games of SWU for the simple reason that the other teams now feel they have a shot at beating the defending champions. But the Cobras with their “Lucky 9” line-up have done a great job of fending off the other teams through sheer grit, coaching leadership, experience and patience. In the high school division, the only things working out according to pre-season forecasts are the undefeated runs of defending champion SHS-Ateneo de Cebu (5-0) and USC (4-0); they face each other tomorrow for first place in the standings. The surprise of the high school division has been UV’s (2-3) bowing to the likes of USJ-R and UC. UC (4-2), USPF (3-2), and USJ-R (3-2) are now in a better position to grab third and fourth places. CIT-U (1-4), CEC (1-4) and Don Bosco (0-6) bring up the rear. Note that the high school division implements a single round robin classification phase with the top two getting automatic spots in the semifinals. The other two semis spots will be settled by #3 versus #6 and #4 versus #5 playoffs match-ups. The latest development of the CESAFI 2015 basketball games has been the TV coverage of Viva Sports. College and some high school basketball games are aired over IBC 13 on a next-day basis every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Yes, the CESAFI is now up there beside the NCAA, and later the UAAP on TV. The same telecasts are also uploaded on YouTube courtesy of the Viva Entertainment link. The livestreaming of all the games has also been there for the third year in a row.

But that’s not it. The CESAFI football season has also started with surprises right at the first weekend. Defending college champion USC lost their first two games against USJ-R and UV. This has suddenly thrown all pre-season football predictions out the window as the title is now up for grabs. USJ-R is at solo first with a 2-0-0 win-draw-loss record (6 points), followed by UV (1-0-1), UC (1-0-0), USPF (0-0-1) and USC (0-0-2).  Although it’s too early to tab a favorite, USJ-R looked like the most fluid team on the pitch along with UC on opening weekend. UV became the instant surprise of the lot after stunning USC, 3-1, a day after receiving a 0-4 beating from UC. The good news for the teams at the bottom is that the collegiate football tournament applies a double round robin elimination format, with the top two teams squaring off in the finals. Every game is crucial as teams won’t have the luxury of targeting a top four finish as they did in the past. The high school division looks like another rematch-in-the-making for the championship between Don Bosco (2 wins-0 draws-1 loss, 6 points) and SHS-Ateneo de Cebu (2-0-0, 6 points). The Magis Eagles nipped Don Bosco, 1-0, yesterday in a game that had a finals atmosphere with a full band from Don Bosco, a lean-and-mean drums team from SHS-Ateneo, and a throng of supporters for both sides. Someone even asked this bleacher talk bum, “Bai, unsa mi? Championship game?” USC also has six points (2-0-1) while USPF (0-2) and USJ-R (0-2) will be fighting for the #4 spot in the semifinals.

CESAFI volleyball is also up and running already with high school division games played at the Recoletos Coliseum at the USJ-R Basak campus last weekend. Volleyball is unique as the ladies take center stage. It’s girl power here with the men taking a back seat. As expected, SWU lords over the High School Girls division at 3-0, followed by USJ-R (1-0), USC (1-1), USPF (1-1), SHS-Ateneo (1-2), CEC (0-3) and UC (0-0). In the High School Boys division USC (3-0) leads the pack, trailed by USPF (2-1), USJ-R (1-2) and DBTC (0-3). The semifinals of the boys was played yesterday. Games of the College division start this weekend.

CESAFI Athletics was off and running last weekend with USC taking the team titles for High School Boys and College Women’s divisions. UC collared the College Men’s division title while SHS-Ateneo de Cebu won the High School Girls division team gold. The over-all team championships are based on the medal tally system; the team with the most number of gold medals is declared as team champion.

It has indeed been a busy and action-packed CESAFI season with more to be played in the coming weekends of September through early October.

Enjoy the fun, festivities and friendly competition.

* * *

Time-out: Happy birthday to SHS-Ateneo de Cebu and CESAFI President Fr. Manny Uy, S.J.

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