The No. 3 seed The Old B Bank stunned No. 2 Paire Football Club, 4-1, in their semis game in the Division A of the 2019 Spring Men’s M-League last Sunday at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.
Hwapyong Kim powered The Old B Bank to the upset after scoring a hat rick, while Michiteru Mita delivered the other goal for the first finalist. Mita drew first blood with his shot in the sixth minute and The Old B Bank went on to take a 2-0 halftime lead after Kim hit the board two minutes before the opening frame wrapped up.
While it took awhile before Kim hit his target in the first half, the Old B Bank striker found the back of the net early in the second with his conversion in the 47th minute or just two at the resumption of the match. Kim went on to make it three in a row in the 78th minute, while Paire avoided a shutout loss after Patrick McCallion scored a few seconds later.
With the victory, The Old B Bank will challenge the undefeated CNMI Boys U18 National Team for the division crown on May 19 at 4pm.
The CNMI U18 bagged the second finals ticket and stretched its winning run this season to seven following a 4-2 triumph over TanHoldings FC in the other semis game last weekend.
Sunjoon Tenorio fired three straight goals before leaving the pitch due to a minor injury early in the second half to give the Teen Ayuyus enough cushion. Tenorio first scored in the 10th minute and had his second goal four minutes later before completing the hat trick in the 24th for a promising 3-0 advantage.
TanHoldings then ended its long silence in the 44th minute, thanks to Louie Calayag’s shot. However, Calayag’s goal could not spark a TanHoldings comeback in the second half, as the team failed to cash in on several scoring opportunities and was held to one goal in the final 45 minutes of play. Martin Jambor handed TanHoldings its second goal off a penalty kick in the 69th minute, two minutes after John Michael Rojas gave the CNMI U18 a 4-1 advantage.
PIC 4, Sun Palace 2
There was also an upset in the second semis game in Division B, as No. 3 Pacific Islands Club outgunned No. 2 Sun Palace in a shootout last Thursday.
Floyd Muna, Brandon Tenorio, Logan Mister, and John Guiller Canape delivered in the shootout for PIC, while only Jun Liu and Ri Cheng Xian hit the mark for Sun Palace.
Muna also played a key role in sending the game into a shootout after drilling the equalizer in the 82nd minute. Tenorio and Bailey Spaeth recorded the two other goals for PIC in regulation with the former lighting up the board in the 15th minute and the latter in the 44th.
After Tenorio’s first goal, PIC clung to the shaky lead for a while, as Sun Palace did not score until the 59th minute off Won Jong Seo’s shot. Max Yu then knotted the count in the 60th minute and managed to put Sun Palace on top and give PIC quite a scare with another goal in the 75th.
Fortunately for PIC, Muña came out to save the day for the team with the game-tying goal seven minutes later. PIC soldiered on, as its players were on target in the shootout.
With the victory, PIC will dispute the division championship against Shirley’s FC, which earlier got the first finals ticket after dominating the CNMI Women’s National Team, 6-2.
The CNMI WNT ended up finishing third in Division B after an easy win (via default) over Sun Palace last Sunday.
The PIC-Shirley’s FC title showdown is also set for May 19 at 6pm.