Tan Holdings rules Challenge Cup


Tan Holdings FC U18’s Sean Perez, right, and Matansa U18’s Joshua De Leon ward off each other as they battle for possession during the second half of their title match in the 2015 FA Youth Challenge Cup last Saturday at the Oleai Sports Complex Field.
(Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The 2015 FA Youth Challenge Cup has a new champion in the Tan Holdings U18 squad.

The Jershwin Angeles-coached team ruled this year’s competition after shutting down Matansa Football Club U18 in the finale, 4-0, last Saturday at the Oleai Sports Complex Field.

Cosmos Kim led the title victory, as he made a hat-trick. Sean Perez scored the other goal. Kim gave Tan Holdings an early goal, as he found the back of the net in the third minute of the one-hour match. He nailed his first goal off a rebound inside the penalty area, as Matansa’s defense had yet to settle in.

Kim’s second goal came off a feed from Sean Perez in the 13th minute, while the latter recorded the team’s third goal five minutes later after getting a pass from Joel Fruit from left field and kicking the ball in against the defense of Matansa goalie John Joseph Bucayo and Joshua De Leon. Kim then completed the hat-trick just one minute after Perez lit up the board, as the former also challenged Bucayo and hit the running header.

After the securing a 4-0 lead in the first half, Tan Holdings focused on defense and used the clock to foil Matansa’s bid for another upset.

Earlier in the semifinals, Matansa stunned dethroned champion MP United, 3-1. Matansa got goals from three different players to end MP United’s reign in the annual tournament. MP United topped the first four editions of the FA Challenge Cup before that fateful loss to Matansa, which has never won against the former’s U18 squad in the NMIFA youth league.

Evan Belcher knocked in Matansa’s first goal, finding his target in the 26th minute, while Ryu Tanzawa made it a 2-0 advantage with his conversion in the 43rd. A goal from Jamesbonie Valdez four minutes later sealed it for Matansa, while MP United avoided a shutout after Alex Park scored in the 52nd.

MP United made an outright entry into the semifinals as it was seeded in the six-team field along with Tan Holdings U18, while Matansa had to beat first Tan Holdings U15, 6-0, to march into the Final Four. Matansa clobbered Tan Holdings U15 after drawing goals from Nolan Gatharngeg, Kenneth and David Mafnas, Carlson Cruzat, Chad Shankweiler, and Belcher.

Matansa’s upset against MP United served as a lesson for Tan Holdings.

“We’re much aware of Matansa’s ability to win against top-ranked squads like MP United. So, going into the finals, I kept reminding our players not to be complacent. They were told to stick to the game plan, which was to be aggressive on offense early and keep pressuring Matansa’s attackers,” Angeles said.

“When we scored early and got three more goals in the first half, I told them to concentrate on defense in the second half. We have so much respect for Matansa, especially after they beat MP United so we made sure we challenged them for every possession in the finals,” the Tan Holdings mentor added.

Angeles and his wards arranged a title showdown against Matansa after eliminating Paire U18 in the other semis pairing, 1-0. Joel Fruit registered the lone goal in the match off a penalty kick in the 54th minute. Paire U18, on the other hand, booted out Kanoa U15, 1-0, to book a semis berth. Carl Allison posted the winning goal for Paire in the 22nd minute.

Meanwhile, Kim was awarded the Golden Boot trophy at the end of the one-day tournament, while Tan Holdings keeper Joshua Galarion received the Golden Glove plum. Tan Holdings took the perpetual FA Challenge Cup, which was handed by NMIFA general secretary Ross Zapanta.

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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