NORTHERN Mindanao Region Athletic Association (NMRAA) has sent a very formidable secondary football team to the Palarong Pambansa in Antique but unluckily the Northern Mindanao booters have picked the “Group of Death” in the elimination round.
Team consultant Greg Ramos said they have a very strong line-up which has really been selected as the best secondary players from the region but their first challenge is how to advance to the next round.
“We have National Capital Region, Negros Island Region and Central Luzon in our group,” he added.
Ramos, who is one of the pillars of football development in Bukidnon, is confident that the team is well prepared and it can defeat any of their three opponents in the elimination round.
The National Capital Region (NCR) is always a strong team despite of missing Far Eastern University this year. Negros Island Regional (NIR) will be bannered by the San Carlos City boys of national coach Juan Carmona while Central Luzon is reportedly coached and prepared by coaches of the Younghusband Football Academy.
The Younghusband Football Academy is owned by the most famous brothers in Philippine football Phil and James.
The Northern Mindanao on the other hand is made up mostly of the Regional Palaro champion team from Valencia City, Bukidnon. They also have players from Manolo Fortich also Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental and Cagayan de Oro City.
One advantage of the Northern Mindanao boys is that they have the scoring duo of Robert Lawrence Wilson form Holy Cross High School Manolo Fortich and Rocky James Grant from Rosevale School.
Wilson was a member of the National U16 that saw action abroad last year. He was recruited by San Beda High School varsity team. He, however, got injured during his national team stint forcing him to postpone his move to San Beda.
Grant is a strong striker and has been the heart and soul of the Rosevale offense for many years now.
The Valencia Boys come from Bukidnon Faith Christian School (BFCS), Valencia National High School, and First Fruit Christian Academy.
The boys from BFCS are Melquisedec Akut, Juan Paolo Arcadio, Rico Niño Braga, Mark Allen Daig, Tarsish Garciano, Geranie Matillano, Andrew Ramos IV, Kenneth Visitacion, Howle Luke Yap and Bryle Rosal.
Picked from Valencia National High School is Jurud Jhon Latap, while Anton Maurice Sistoso is a lone player from First Fruit Academy.
Aside from Wilson, players from Holy Cross High School who made the team are Neil John Borja, and Keith Marcel Pacanza.
Marben Acierto is a lone representative from Corpus High School of Cagayan de Oro city while Ronald Rosario is representing Looc National High School of Misamis Occidental.
Head coach is Bob Suclatan of BFCS while assisting him is Jordan Subalon of Lurungan Elementary School.
The first match of NMRAA is on April 22 against Central Luzon, then against NCR on April 24 and then against NIR on April 25. The quarterfinals will be on April 27, semis on April 28 and finals on April 29.
All their matches in the elimination will be played at the University of Antique in Sibalom, 15 kilometers away from the Capital city of San Jose de Buenavista.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 17, 2017.