Mel Ann Shane Lauron, Region VII student journalist
Undersized but not underestimated.
Region VII’s Don Bosco booters filled the crowd with amazement as they demolished the gigantic kickers of CALABARZON to a destructive 7-0 victory, and snatched the first spot in bracket A in the elementary level during the Palarong Pambansa 2018 held at Quirino Grandstand, Bantay, Ilocos Sur, April 16.
Powered with their undying spirit and perseverance, the determined players from Region VII proved to everyone their world-class performance after putting up their unbeatable teamwork and tactical ploys to overthrow their opponents from CALABARZON.
“We thank you, Snr. Sto. Niño, for guiding us in this game and for protecting us every day. We thank you, Snr. Sto. Niño, for always keeping us safe and healthy,” Don Bosco Technology Center team offered their prayer after the game.
Twelve-year-old Joseph Kyne Garces from Cebu City, who won the best midfielder award in last year’s Palarong Pambansa in Antique, starred in the match after scoring two goals including his sensational head kick towards the net. Carsteen Pumareja, 12, also topped the match with two consecutive goals in the penultimate minutes of the game.
“Looking back, we really feared CALABARZON because they’re mostly composed of tall players, but it all changed when we started to play in the field so I’m really happy with the result. I’m glad that I have contributed for my team in this game. I know we all had done our best so we really deserved to win,” the fifth grader Garces, who was one of the 13 trainees of the 2017 FC Barcelona at Camp Nuo, Barcelona, expressed enthusiastically.
The CALABARZON team, made up of players from the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon, displayed poor performance that the Region VII athletes took advantage of during the match.
The small but fearless Garces first took control of the sphere in the first minutes with the help of winger Mariano Cesar Javier Sian’s overhead passes to pounce a goal at 5:21 of the clock. CALABARZON tried to steal the possession of the ball with head passes, but Don Bosco’s well-oiled offense and defense immediately hindered their rival’s goal to score.
Despite being cubed with tall players of CALABARZON, Sian still found a way out of his nemesis’ tall barriers and managed to score for a goal at the 12th minute after Garces’ long pass.
“It wasn’t easy to beat them but it wasn’t hard either. They had so much lapses in their defense so I just took any chances I got,” said Sian, who participated in the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Festival of Football (FOF).
On the other hand, mighty Garces tried to add another goal but CALABARZON’s flashy blockers, Mervin Jeric Sarno and John Ivan Sanchez, hampered his two attempts to score just two meters away from the goal line. However, the men in blue of Central Visayas never stopped attacking CALABARZON with their strategic formations at the remaining minutes of the first half that was led by the formidable duo Garces and Ethan Jacob Roxas, who were both participants of the Milo FCB Road last September 2017.
“A 2-0 lead isn’t enough. Let’s not get too confident with our score right now. Keep your guards up and be very careful where you pass,” coach Ramos Tomasito Glenn said to his team during the time out. “Do your best and let’s win this!”
As the whistle blew for the second half, the ravaging blue booters swiftly continued their impressive formations and tactics which served as the key for Garces to kick for a goal-worthy shot at the fourth minute.
Sian and the 12-year-old Nathan Khail Lingatong combined their double combo passes for Cherk Andrew Ignacio to strike a blistering shot from the left wing which resulted to another goal at 13:14, leaving the confused CALABARZON down to five. But even with the Central Visayas’ massive advantage, the Don Bosco team never slowed down in charging towards the goal line to make a shot.
The 15th minute of the match seemed to be a showdown of David and Goliath as the small yet ferocious Alexander David Villarosa razzled-dazzled the sphere under CALABARZON’s tall booters, who never figured out Villarosa’s passes at the end. Pumareja then took a clear shot from the right wing with his squad’s firm guard at 21:30. With CALABARZON’s lumpy performance and faulty defense, Pumareja then again blasted his accurate kick towards the net at the last minute, 7-0.
“The CVRAA team were really good and we obviously lacked teamwork during the game. At some points of the match, some of my teammates got lazy too, so that’s why we lost,” Edito Escario Jr. from CALABARZON said. “We’ll just do better next time,” he added.
Furthermore, the CVRAA footballers are confident that they will grab the championship title in this year’s Palaro after winning with massive leads against the MIMAROPA (5-0) and the NMRAA with 4-0 triumph during the elimination round.