DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/30 April) — The Davao and Dipolog football teams will represent Mindanao in the quarterfinals of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) – Suzuki Under 23 (U23) National Cup in Bacolod and Laguna next month.
The Dipolog squad crushed the North Cotabato booters at 7 to nothing during the final round of the first game of the Mindanao finals at Tionko Football here on Saturday.
Sparke Espanola scored the opening goal on the 37th minute and another goal just three minutes later by Jerry Barbaso, a former Azkals splayer.
Then just two minutes before the first half ended, Michael Tulang scored for Dipolog making it three to nothing.
In the early minutes of the second half, North Cotabato squad played aggressively but was outplayed by the more robust Dipolog squad after Michael Chua scored the 4th goal at the 72nd minute.
Just two minutes later, Tulang made his second goal.
The Ilonggo squad made a goal attempts after a corner kick but it was easily driven away by the Dipolog booters.
North Cotabato replaced four players in the hope it could defend and score but Chua made his second goal in the 76th minute.
But Clifford Daypuyat beat the defense of perturbed North Cotabato squad and scored the 7th goal for Dipolog on the 85th minute.
Meanwhile, at the second game, John Pelingon scored the opening goal for Cagayan de Oro squad just six minutes after the whistle.
On the 39th minute, Davao’s Juven Benitez scored for the equalizer but scored another goal two minutes later for the lead.
But as the game was about to wrap up, Cagayan de Oro booters stuns Davao squad with an 86th-minute goal by Kirby Relova.
Even with the draw, Davao squad is still ahead of the standings with six points followed by Dipolog while North Cotabato and Cagayan de Oro are tied at one point each.
In a pre-game interview, Davao coach Ramonito “Lalas” Carreon told MindaNews that he told the players not to force themselves to score since they are already ahead of the standings.
At the quarterfinals, the teams will be divided into two brackets and the games will be held in Laguna and Bacolod on May 6 to 10. Teams from Laguna and Masbate will represent Luzon while Iloilo and Bacolod will represent Visayas.
The top two teams will slug it out in the semifinals on May 15 and 16 at Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo, the football capital of the Philippines.(Keith Bacongco / MindaNews)