The Philippine National U14 Girl’s football team which includes four Cebuana mainstays have swept its group assignments to enter the semifinals as the top seed of their group. The team that is coached by Let Dimzon started their tournament with an amazing 6-0 trashing of Singapore at Thong Nhat Stadium last tuesday. Cebuana Itsuko Maree Bacatan lead the team with 2 goals (23rd and 72nd minute). Fellow Cebuana recruit Arantxa Mari Trebol also scored as the duo accounted for half of the scoring of the Pinays. Joyce Semacio and Francesca Suerte were the other scorers plus an own goal by Singapore.
The girls followed up their victory with improbable 1-0 win against hosts and defending champion Vietnam to send shockwaves throughout the tourney. The young Malditas were led by Olangapo’s Lindsay Whaley who scored in the 28th minute. The win was reminiscent of the Azkal‘s victory over Vietnam in 2010 Suzuki Cup that made football a solid No.2 team sport in the country behind basketball. The rise of the popularity of the Azkals contributed to the creation of a national grassroots program that is starting bear fruit. The U14 team is composed of girls from all over the country. Seven are from Luzon, Eight from the Visayas, two from Mindanao, and one booter is from Hong Kong. The other Cebuana members are defender Jan Jumawan and Goalkeeper Alexandria Gumilao.
The U14 team completed the sweep of Group 1 by routing Cambodia 5-0. Bacatan, Semacio and Whaley once again scored along with Chloe Hails and own goal by Cambodia’s Meth Mariyan.
The team will face Myanmar in the semis after the Myanmar edged Malaysia 1-0 in their battle for 2nd place in Group 2. Group leader Thailand will face Vietnam in the other semifinal match-up.