Western Visayas escapes NCR in finals shootout thriller
TAGUM CITY, Philippines – It all boiled down to an epic showdown.
With just a few more minutes left in the game, the Western Visayas held tightly to their 1-0 lead with high hopes of walking away as the gold medalists in the Palarong Pambansa 2015.
The crowd was cheering in celebration as they already predicted the outcome of the secondary boys football championship match – after 7 long years of waiting, Region 6 would once again be the best in the country.
But rivals National Capital Region hesitated.
Arriving just in time, Javier Gayoso scored a goal to make it even with Western Visayas and breathed life to NCR that sent both squads to a penalty shootout.
During the first two attempts of the best-of-five shootout, NCR and Western Visayas failed to score goals for their respective teams.
Western Visayas striker Joshua Broce ended the drought and scored for the boys of coach Aileen Iselleza.
NCR bet Mark Arranguez answered back with a major blow that gave the Palaro 2014 silver medalists a chance to win the crown.
On the fourth attempt, both strikers namely Mark Arranguez and Ashli Pamiliar of NCR and Western Visayas, respectively.
Even with NCR player Cherster Pabulayan scoring another goal, Western Visayas striker Jed Delariate connected a strong hit to seal a 3-2 win for the Negros Occidental-based squad.
Before the match kicked off, Western Visayas assistant coaches predicted confidently that the boys will take home the championship this year despite being an all-rookie team.
“We are one hundred percent sure that they can do it,” said coach Virgilo Sugbrado, who said that their last Palaro crown dated back in 2008. “They trained really hard for this and we’ve selected
the best in our region.”
True enough, they waited for long for another championship stint. At least this time around, lady luck had her smile written all over their team.
“Masaya kami na nanalo kami,” said most valuable player Deliarte. “Worth it lahat ng pagod at hirap namin.”
(We are happy that we won. All the hard work was worth it).