Playoff for U17 crown looming


TanHoldings Football Club’s Alan Hinson, left, uses his body to prevent Jun Sik Kim from chasing the ball during their second half of their boys U17 game in the NMIFA fall league last Saturday at the Oleai Sports Complex Field. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The battle for the boys U17 championship in the 2016 NMIFA Youth Fall League is down to two teams and a playoff match may take place to decide the division winner.

TanHoldings Football Club shut down Matansa, 2-0, in a crucial game last Saturday at the Oleai Sports Complex Field, eliminating the latter in the race for the fall title. TanHoldings now has a 5-1-1 win-draw-loss record with one match left in the double-round robin regular season and joined idle MP United on top of the team standings. Matansa, with its 54-2-2 card, dropped to second place.

TanHoldings and MP United will play in the last two regular season matches this Saturday with the former squaring off against Paire FC at 10:40am and latter facing Kanoa at 9am. If both TanHoldings and MP United win, there will still be a standoff for the top spot and the tie will be broken by a playoff game to be set on a later date. In their first two meetings this season, TanHoldings won their Sept. 10 duel, 2-1, while the spring season champion MP United prevailed in their second showdown (Oct. 15) in similar scores.

Against Matansa, which forced TanHoldings to a scoreless draw in their first collision, Thaiphi Austria knocked down both goals to break the former’s title hopes. Austria made all those goals in the opening half with the first one coming in the 10th minute and the second in the 39th. TanHoldings hung on to the lead in the second half by playing a more defensive game.

In the other U17 division match, Kanoa and Paire had a draw, 2-2.

Angelo Ada put Kanoa on the board with his shot in the 23rd minute, while a goal from Harry Huh 10 minutes later allowed Paire to tie the match. Paire then grabbed the upper hand in the opening minute of the 40-minute second half, thanks to Saixian Bagsic’s conversion. However, Paire failed to keep the shaky lead as Brent Azarcon hit the equalizer for Kanoa in the 65th minute.

With the draw, Paire stayed in fourth place in the team standings with its 1-1-5 record, while Kanoa is still at the bottom with its 0-1-6 card.

TanHoldings 7, Paire 4

Unofficial fall champion TanHoldings moved a win away from sweeping the season after beating Paire in the first game at the Koblerville Elementary School Field.

TanHoldings earned its ninth victory in as many games after drawing three goals from Kirro Batino and one each from Ichiro Borja, Richard Waldo, Joshua Mendez, and Reginal Pascual. TanHoldings will need to down Shirley’s this Saturday to keep its perfect mark.

Paire, which now has a 4-0-5 card for a share of third place with MP United, got all its three goals from Kaden Church.

Kanoa 7, Shirley’s 0
Kanoa is still at the No. 2 spot in the six-team field after blanking Shirley’s in the second game in the division.

Thomas Benavente and Sebastien Manabat logged three goals apiece for Kanoa, which now has a 7-0-2 record. Kirt Andon scored the other goal for Kanoa. Manabat made his hat trick in the first half as he hit the board in the third, 12th, and 22nd minute. Benavente, on the other hand, posted his goals in the ninth, 14th, and 46th minute, while Andon closed out for Kanoa in the 48th.

Matansa 2, MP United 1
In the final division game last weekend, Matansa edged MP United.

Benito Lolobeyong and Razeff Altamirano gave Matansa its two goals, while MP United got one from Rintaro Miyawaki. Lolobeyong found his target early as he scored in the fourth minute and Matansa went on to take a 2-0 halftime lead when Altamirano also registered his goal in the first half (19th minute). MP United avoided a shutout loss with Miyawaki’s shot in the 37th minute.

Matansa (3-0-6) will try to finish the season with back-to-back wins when it takes on Paire this Saturday at 3pm. MP United will also have its last game this weekend as it clashes with Kanoa at 4:30pm.

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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