Kanoa FC dropped its opener in the Guam friendly games held over the weekend at the Guam Football Association National Training Center, losing to an all-star selection, 3-4, last Friday. The visiting team then battled back and went 3-0 after prevailing against Tumon, 5-0; Crushers, 3-2; and Wings Black , 3-2.
“After the loss, we just told our players to keep playing their game and remain focus. They were still confident despite losing in the first game because they were beaten by just one goal, so in the last three matches, their energy was still high—they were motivated to bounce back,” Kanoa FC general secretary Cristy Villaflor said.
In Kanoa’s first game and only loss in the Guam friendlies, three different players made it to the board for one of the newest member of the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association family. Ian Karl Maniago scored the first goal for Kanoa, while Sebastian Matthew Manabat and Merrick Vicente Toves hit the second and third.
Manabat also scored in their second game, but the star of Kanoa’s shutout win over Tumon was Jhoel Daniel Noble, who nailed a pair of goals. Kirt Andon and Lester Bata were the two other players who contributed to Kanoa’s offense.
Manabat earned his third goal in the event when he drew first blood for Kanoa in their close victory over Crushers, while the two other goals came from John Mark Anastacio and Toves. Manabat went on to complete his scoring run in the weekend event, nailing one more in their triumph over Wings Black. Jaydee Jose logged the other goal, while Kanoa got one more off an own goal.
“I really enjoyed the experience in Guam, it’s been so much fun,” Manabat was quoted as saying in an interview with organizer Guam Football Association. “It’s my first time out of Saipan, so I was really excited to see what kind of competition we’d face. I was thinking the matches we had would be very, very hard, but many of the teams we faced were at a similar level.
“I’d like to compete in more matches outside of Saipan like the friendlies in Guam for the challenge and also to make new friends,” the William S. Reyes Elementary School sixth grader added.
Joining Manabat, Toves, Jose, Anastacio, Maniago, Noble, Andon, and Bata on the Kanoa crew are Angelo Magarett Ada, Princess Alcantara, Joe Emil Antonio, Benster Benjamin, Paulyn Grace Joyce, Ronian Laxamana, Brian and Ian Lubao, Daniel Pablo, and Ericka Santiago. Jeralyn Castillo, Mikky Vargas, Andreau Galvez, and Irish Pagarao are the team’s coaches.
After their notable debut in the Guam friendlies, Kanoa is looking for more improvement from its players next season.
“Although it is a U12 team, many of the players are just 9 and 10 years old. They all worked really hard to make this trip to Guam happen. The kids just love to play soccer and we wanted to give them the opportunity to gain experience from matches outside of Saipan. We hope that with the experience in Guam, they will continue to improve and work to play at higher levels,” Villaflor was quoted as saying in an interview with GFA.