NMI U16, TanHoldings triumph


The V-Kool-sponsored NMI U16 Boys National Team players pose for a photo before a game in Division B of the M-League last month at the Oleai Sports Complex Field. (Contributed Photo)

The NMI U16 Boys National Team and TanHoldings Football Club got early Christmas presents after bringing home the Plate and Cup championships in the fall season of the M-League.

The V-Kool-sponsored NMI U16 took the Plate after shutting down Kanoa Football Club in last Wednesday’s finale, 5-0, at the Hopwood Junior High School Field.

Rico Reyes delivered two goals in NMI U16’s rout of Kanoa, while Anthony Fruit, John Michael Rojas, and Jonah Pohl added one apiece. Fruit drew first blood for the Plate champion after finding the back of the net in the 35th minute. Rojas then gave the Jersh Angeles-coached NMI U16 its second goal in the 41st, while Reyes earned his first five minutes later. Pohl made it to the board in the 75th, while Reyes handed V-Kool its last goal in the fourth minute of the injury time.

NMI U16’s victory in the Plate foiled Kanoa’s bid for a perfect season, as the former earlier swept all its seven games in Division B of the M-League. NMI U16 placed second in the team standings after the regular season with its 5-1-1 mark.

Kanoa then extended its streak to eight when it defeated the Thundercats, 4-0, in the second round of the Plate tournament last week and advanced to the finals against NMI U16, which eliminated Shirley’s Coffee Shop, 2-0.

“Going up against the unbeaten Kanoa, I told the boys that we really have to step up on defense. We have to keep pressuring them to prevent Kanoa players from making those good passes and dribbling the ball well on their way to attacking our defense,” Angeles said.

“On offense, we tried to spread the floor well so we can have many options. Our defense and offense worked together so we were able to win,” added Angeles, who made special mention of goalie Clayton Izuka for having several saves to shut down Kanoa.

The NMI U16 coach added that they valued more the experience than the championship they got from playing in the M-League.

“Majority of our players haven’t played in the M-League so some of them were intimidated by adult players in our first few games. However, as the tournament progressed, the boys managed to adjust and keep up with these veteran players. They are no longer afraid and they improved every single match before eventually playing their best game against Kanoa last Wednesday,” said Angeles, whose squad will play a visiting high school team from Japan next month for a friendly match.

Meanwhile, in the Cup championship, TanHoldings also blanked Paire, 3-0.

Martin Jambor, Hark Joshua Galarion, and Joshua Deleon scored one goal apiece in TanHoldings’ title victory over fellow Division A team Paire last Sunday at the Hopwood pitch. Jambor put TanHoldings on the board in the 31st minute, while Galarion and De Leon had their goals in the 48th and 66th minute, respectively.

TanHoldings marched into the finals after slipping past Sun Palace, 2-1. De Leon and Mareko Tekopua recorded one goal each in TanHoldings’ semis win, while Cosmos Kim made the lone shot for Sun Palace.

Paire, on the other hand, drew two goals from Chris Nelson and one from Peter Loken to stun fall season Division A champion MP United in the semis. Meng De Ka and Sunjoon Tenorio had goal each for MP United.

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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