MPU, TanHoldings in tight title race


MP United’s Dylan Kim, right, dribbles in front of the defense of Matansa’s Akira Kadokura during the second half of their boys U14 division game in the NMIFA youth league last Saturday at the Koblerville Elementary School Field. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

MP United Football Club and TanHoldings are still in a close battle for the boys U17 division championship in the 2017 NMIFA Youth Spring League.

MP United kept the top spot in the five-team field as it improved to a 5-0-0 win-draw-loss record following a 7-0 victory over Kanoa FC last Saturday at the Hopwood Junior High School Field. Breathing down MP United’s neck is TanHoldings, which holds a 4-0-1 slate after a similar easy victory over Matansa last weekend, 4-0.

Mark Esalan canned a pair of goals for TanHoldings to keep the team in contention for the division title this spring season. He made his first goal in the 36th minute and the second in the 73rd. Thaiphi Austria and Anthony Fruit scored the two other goals for TanHoldings with the former lighting up the board in the 46th minute and the latter in the 65th.

In the MP United-Kanoa game, Sunjoon Tenorio recorded a hat trick to power the division leader to its fifth victory in as many games. Tenorio registered his three goals in succession, hitting his first in the 24th minute and the last two in the 37th and 52nd.

Oliver Lee added a brace, which also served as MPU’ last two goals as he found the back of the net in the 73rd and 76th minute. James Kim chipped in one goal in the 54th minute, while Edwin Kim did the same two minutes later.

MP United and TanHoldings have three games apiece left in the double-round robin regular season and results of these remaining matches will decide the winner of the spring championship. TanHoldings, which is the season’s defending champion, will play Kanoa this Saturday and will have its last two matches against Paire (April 1) and MP United (April 10). MP United’s two other games are against Paire this Saturday and Matansa on April 8. MPU, which won last year’s fall season, handed TanHoldings its lone loss in the on-going competition.

Meanwhile, MP United is also in contention for the championship in the boys U14 division.

It now has a 4-2-0 record for the lead in the six-team after forcing a draw against Matansa, 2-2. The division leader foiled Matansa’s upset bid, thanks to Rintaro Miyawaki’s game-tying goal that came five minutes before the match wrapped up.

Before the standoff, Matansa seemed ready to hand MP United its first loss as the former built a 2-0 lead at halftime. Lolobeyong Benito gave Matansa its first goal in the 15th minute, while Razeff Altamirano registered the second one in the 29th minute.

Matansa went on to keep the driver’s seat in the early goings of the second half, as MP United was still silent until Rohan Basnet broke the spell in the 56th minute, while Miyawaki nailed the equalizer nine minutes later.

MP United has four more games left in the double-round robin regular season and ahead of one win against TanHoldings (3-2-1) and Shirley’s FC (3-0-3). Matansa is in fourth place with its 2-2-2 slate.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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