THE all Ilonggo Under-15 team, Iloilo United-Green Archers Team-B, showed on Sunday why they are the best team in the 2nd Philippine Football Federation-Youth Football League (PFF-YFL) U15 tournament.
Iloilo United gave no quarter to Green Archers Team-A of La Salle Zobel as they gave the latter a 6-1 drubbing at the Alabang Country Club Football Field in Muntinlupa City.
The Jonathan Alabado-coached Iloilo United remains undefeated in the tournament with an impressive card of seven wins and two draws.
Team manager Joseph Celis told The Daily Guardian the young booters were “prolific in talents, skills, and stamina.”
Charlie”Mokong” Carisma of Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo broke the ice in the 12th minute after converting a header just a meter away from the goal off a beautiful right cross kick by Jhon Laurence “Chokoy” Calmada.
Three minutes later, La Salle Zobel slipped past Iloilo United’s defense to score the equalizer and lone goal in the game at eight meters away from the goal.
Francis Botavara, a lefty from St. Paul’s Barotac Nuevo, gave the Ilonggos the front seat once more when he converted an assist from13-year-old Ryan Cudal of Sta. Barbara, Iloilo in the 34th minute.
Iloilo United’s confidence grew stronger in the 40th minute when another lefty in the person of Karlo Lustan also of Barotac Nuevo took a strong left foot shot in a deadball situation after he was fouled.
The halftime ended with Iloilo enjoying a 3-1 cushion.
During the break, head coach Jonathan Alabado and assistant coach Vincent Pulmones prodded the young booters to continue their offensive. They did so relish as Lustan again scored off a deadball situation due to a foul in the 69th minute.
Lustan launched a fireball shot just six meters away from the centerline of the pitch, hitting the right corner of the net, which caught the La Salle keeper by surprise.
In the 72nd minute, JapJap Baito of Barotac Nuevo executed a groundball pass to James Tuazon, a prolific forward of CPU High School and also a native of Barotac Nuevo. The pass was so accurate that the ball slipped through the tightly guarded defense line of the taller and bigger La Salle players.
Tuazon dribbled the ball for around six meters and took a powerful shot with his right foot, with the ball hitting the lower portion of the net to the dismay and disgust of the goalie.
Like a well-oiled machine, Iloilo United continued to make more attempts courtesy of Tuazon. In the 75th minute, a set play pass from the right portion of the pitch by Dave Garcia of Sta. Barbara connected to Botavara who took a strong left foot shot that sealed the win for the Ilonggo booters.
Celis said the win slowly redeems Ilonggo pride and glory.
“Football in this country started from us, when the Brits, Scots and Dutch were trading in Iloilo River then. We need to play it with hearts and prove other nations that we really excel in this field,” he added.
To recall, Ilonggo Iloilo United drew its first game against defending champion National Capital Region (NCR), 2-2. They dominated the game with many scoring attempts and with a 75-25 percent ball possession in favor of the Ilonggo players.