Time Travel to a golden year in Cebu football

/ 08:35 AM November 19, 2013

Twenty-five years ago on November 11, 1988, an underdog football squad from Cebu made history by winning being the first, and to date the only, Cebuano squad to win the elite Philippine Football Federation National Championship.

The M. Lhuillier Jewellers, then the youngest team in the championship tournament with players as young as 17 years old, managed to beat the more experienced Navy squad and Negros Occidental-Bacolod. To this date, no other Cebuano football squad has ever won a national championship, a feat which earned the Jewellers a prestigious spot in the Cebu Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.


Last Monday, upon the invitation of the Jewellers playing-coach — Australian national (but Cebuano-at-heart) Graeme Mackinnon, I joined the Jewellers in a commemoration of the squad’s golden feat.

I was 11 years old and too young to remember the Jewellers’ Cinderella run at the national football championships in 1988, but a mini exhibit of Jewellers sports memorabilia and news articles took me back to that bygone era. Also on display were telegrams (yes, telegrams which were paid by the letter because everything was analog back then and we did’t have text nor social media) which brought back home the news, in the briefest of words, that wet-behind-the-ears Cebuano squad had managed to accomplish the impossible in Barotac Nuevo on November 11, 1988.


It would take another two days before the rest of Cebu would learn the blow by blow account of the nil-nil match against Bacolod and the edge-of-your-seat penalty shootout that decided the championship match. Imagine that! Today, I can’t imagine a major Philippine Azkals game without a live telecast or at least a live tweetcast from Inquirer’s Cedelf Tupas when the TV broadcast is delayed.

The Jewellers – Graeme Mackinnon, Gemini Sitoy, Felix Navarro, Mike Ahmad, Dante Orejudos, Mario Ceniza, Rene Maambong, Randy Estremos, Eddie Catarinen, Genard Aller, Wilfredo Juezan, Rene Inoc, James Paradillo, Alan Arcabal, Edwin Arganza, Albert Regencia, Peter Bordador and James Janea (who joined the silver jubilee via Skype) were honored with commemorative silver jubillee medals by their eponymous patron – Señorito Michel Lhuillier. One of the team’s former defenders, Bert Eco, who died of a heart attack, was honored posthumously.

December 2013 Race Schedule

Find a race to cap a year of running by joining any (or all) of the following races. Registration details and forms are available at Runnr in Ayala Center Cebu and ARC (A Runner’s Circle) Store at Raintree Mall in Uptown Cebu.

Dec. 1 – 1st Mayor Rama Midnight Marathon (SRP) 42K (P1,200.00), 21K (P700.00), 5K (P350.00)

Dec. 1 – Silver Run (Ayala Terraces) 25K (P500.00), 10K (P400.00), 5K (P300.00)

Dec. 7 – CIM-Velez Run, 10K (P450.00) 5K (P350.00)


Dec. 7- CUC City Trail Run, 50K

Dec. 8 – Lahutay Fun Run, 12K (P450.00), 6K (P350.00) 3K (P250.00)

Dec. 8 – Energen Run, 10K (P400.00), 5K (P300.00), 3K (P200.00)

Dec. 15 – Danao City Road Run, 12K (P360.00), 6K (P330.00), 3K (P300.00)

Dec. 29 – Sinulog Fun Run 5K/3K

Sieze the road!

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TAGS: football, M. Lhuillier Jewellers, Sports
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