Courtesy of Sun Star Newspaper (http://www.sunstar.com.ph/)
Friday, December 19, 2003 issue
by Patrick C. Costelo
CEBU Football Association (CFA)-Hapee pulled snatched sweet victory right in front of the Barotac Nuevo home crowd when it beat host team and powerhouse Iloilo, 2-1, Wednesday in the 2003 Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Men’s Football Championship – Visayas Regional Finals.
In the opening game, defending champion Negros Occidental handed Negros Oriental a 4-3 rout as it drew first blood in the tough four-team field, which pools the best from all over the Visayas.
“We had our eyes set on Iloilo the fact that it’s a traditional football power and they had the home crowd,” said Jonathan Maximo, CFA president.
“But with Wednesday’s result, I can just imagine how tough our team is with its never say die attitude. We had to come from behind and we pulled it off right in front of their faces.”
Host Iloilo slammed in the first goal with a stunner in the eighth minute when Jorge Adventura scored on Cebu goalkeeper Ace Mangohid with a high looper from 40 yards.
However, CFA-Hapee turned on the heat defensively to control the rest of the first half, despite remaining scoreless.
The Glen Ramos-coached CFA-Hapee got its break six minutes after the second half kick off as Ronald Loayon of the University of San Jose-Recoletos clinched an equalizer at the 51st.
The almost spotless defense of CFA-Hapee stalled the potent home team offense and eventually broke away with a goal in the 75th courtesy of Exas’ Elimar Baunsit.
No games were played yesterday, which was rest day. Games resume today with Cebu facing Negros Occidental at 3 p.m. while Negros Oriental takes on Iloilo in the opening match up at 1 p.m.
Meantime, Negros Occidental similarly held on from a 2-0 deficit at halftime to score a come-from-behind win over Negros Oreintal.
As Negros Oriental ran out of gas in the final 45 minutes, Occidental inched closer scoring two goals in the half to level the game.
Things got worse for Oriental in the homestretch when it committed a foul inside the penalty box giving Occidental the chance to win the game via penalty.
The top two teams in the Visayas finals will get slots to the National Championship next year against the rulers of the North/South Luzon Finals, Southeast Luzon Finals, West, North and Central Mindanao Finals.