LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Third time’s the charm for National Capital Region after they finally captured the secondary boys football title by edging the Central Visayas, 2-1, in a heated finals clash in the 2016 Palarong Pambansa on Saturday, April 16 at the BU-Albay Sports and Tourism Complex football field here.
NCR, made up of booters from 6-time UAAP champions Far Eastern University, rebounded from back-to-back years of losing to Mimaropa and Western Visayas since 2014.
The intense match was mired by a fracas in the second half that resulted in the ejection of two NCR players, Ealhwine Jehoiakim Dalam and Darryl Aban, as well as Central Visayas goalkeeper Joseph Kei Ceniza.
It did not help that the referees missed several calls that served to further fuel the intensity between the teams.
A few minutes after the start of the second half, the game was interrupted for about 5 minutes when NCR coach Kim Chul Su vehemently demanded the referee call a foul on a Central Visayas player.
The referee decided to eject the coach from the match but he refused to leave the pitch even when the police were called in to interfere. The referee eventually decided to overturn his decision and the game restarted.
The match was once again interrupted for more than 10 minutes when another commotion took place, this time involving the players.
While trying to save a goal, Central Visayas goalkeeper Ceniza got entangled with NCR’s Aban, who had held on to Ceniza’s foot while falling to the ground.
Ceniza retaliated by kicking the fallen NCR player as teammate, Dalam, immediately reacted by punching Ceniza.
“I didn’t feel good. I need that important player [Aban]. He is a good striker,” said Kim Chul Su.
Ceniza was then pulled to the side by John Clyde Vitualla in an effort to stop the situation from escalating but NCR players pursued Central Visayas team members and a chase ensued. Police eventually had to intervene.
The spectators also got into an altercation of their own and things would have also escalated if the police had not gone up to intervene.
The game eventually went underway but it was halted again after tournament officials decided to eject 3 players leaving NCR with a 9-man lineup on the pitch as Ceniza was replaced by Jessie Semblante.
Both teams started hot with NCR immediately going for the attack with current UAAP Best Striker and Best Midfielder Chester Gio Pabualan coming close to scoring twice in the early minutes.
However goal attempts were repeatedly foiled by the tight defense employed by Central Visayas, whose team is made up of players from Don Bosco Technology Center, Paref Springdale, Don Bosco Boys Home and the University of Southern Philippines Foundation).
Ryan James Haosen led Central Visayas’ attack until team captain Glen Thomas Ramos eventually found the back of the net when he converted a penalty in the 12th minute as a result of a foul committed on Ivan Marcel Ouano, who was tackled hard from the back.
NCR tried to level the match via Aban but failed when he figured in a head-on collision against Ceniza, who momentarily laid on the ground holding on to his head.
NCR scored the equalizer in the 25th minute via Dalam, capitalizing on the lapse of Central Visayas defender Erich Rafael Orale who tried to clear out a cross from Aban from the left flank.
Instead, Orale headed the ball straight to Dalam, who was at the center and wasted no time to knock in a goal Ceniza failed to save.
NCR scored their winning goal courtesy of Christian Bacara after he found an opening in the Central Visayas defense with 3 minutes remaining in the first half.
The first half ended 2-1 in favor of NCR and neither side scored another goal in the second half.
NCR’s Keith Absalon was named the Most Valuable Player as well as Best Midfielder.
Central Visayas’ Orale was named as Best Defender, while Bicol Region’s own Jovan Marfiga was named as Best Striker.
The Best Goalkeeper was copped by Western Visayas’ Ashley Bernales while Caraga was given the Best Fair Play award.
Special awardees received P2,000 worth of Coca Cola products aside from the cash incentives handed by the Department of Education. – with reports from Caleb Joshua Pacleta/Rappler
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