Eleven-year-old honor student Jimm Fabela played the match of his life in leading Bukidnon Football Association (BUFA) past the strong One La Salle boys 2-0, to capture the Luzon Cup 2019 title at the Jose V. Yap Tarlac Recreational Park in San Jose, Tarlac, on Sunday.
The son, of soccer-mom Jayreth Labunog Sambalog of Libona, Bukidnon, and businessman Lowell Fabela, was all over the pitch the entire match tirelessly defending the backline and also pushing forward to score goals.
His efforts did not go to waste as he led the Bukidnon boys scoring the two goals to bring home their second major title this year after they also won the Mindanao Cup in Davao last month.
The Grade 5 honor student from Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School (OLLES) in Camp Philips, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, found the back of the net from 10 meters outside the penalty box in the first half.
He scored in the 12th minute after a One La Salle defender cleared the ball from a corner. He calmly stopped the ball and whipped a ground shot that went through between the legs of a One La Salle defender and caught the goalie flatfooted.
Fabela then capped his sterling performance with another long ball from the right plank in the second half. He booted a cross that went in the goal in the 40th minute that saw One La Salle goalie Jacob Salavante colliding with his defender in midair but failing to touch the ball.
“I am a proud mom to Jimm. He is an honor student and also a sports enthusiast. He plays all sports but he is dedicated to football after he started in the third grade. He is always busy training but still manage to balance his education and football,’’ said beaming mother Jayreth after the match.
Fabela’s all-around performance earned him the Best Defender and the Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards overshadowing his teammate and BUFA top scorer, Kurbe Dairo, who was once again handcuffed by the One La Salle defenders.
Dairo, despite the defense put up by One La Salle against him, was still effective controlling the match in the midfield and pushing hard to score and defending from the rare onslaught by their opponents.
His failure to score a goal did not matter, however, as Fabela stepped up when needed to lift coach Guillier Sumampong’s boys to win the championship.
“Everyone was surprised by his performance. Jim is a workhorse. I am so happy for him,’’ coach Guillier Sumampong said.
Sumampong avenged his elimination 2-4, loss to the One La Salle boys of coach Eric Sardou Yosse, as he outwitted the Cameroonian coach.
“The Bukidnon boys were very good today. They dominated us they were hungry and they just really want to win,’’ said Yosse.
Sumampong changed tactics this time compared to their last match. He put One La Salle under pressure from the start of the match and they dominated until the end as the boys from De La Salle Zobel, De La Salle Greenhills and De La Salle Canlubang could not find any answer.
La Salle top scorer Duke Punzalan was completely cut off and never had any chance to score a goal. As a consolation to the De La Salle boys, Kenzo Chua was brilliant at the midfield as he manned BUFA top gun Kurbe Dairo, earning him the Best Midfield award.
Bukidnon’s goalkeeper Jun Dominique Melig, just like in the Mindanao Cup, won the Best Goalkeeper award for keeping a clean slate. RIFA Quezon City tiny striker Filbert Tacandong got the Best Striker award for topping the scoring contest with 29 goals in the entire tournament.
He was brilliant all throughout the tournament and led the boys from Claret School to third place by scoring three goals in their 5-0 win over Masbate in the battle for third. He scored in the 7th, 14th and 37th minutes while Johnson Abinguna Talisog added two goals in the 15th and 49th minutes.
Eight players of the BUFA 14 players lineup will have no rest when they go home Monday morning as they will have to prepare for the Northern Mindanao Regional Athletic Association (NMRAA) Regional meet in the first week of December in Tubod, Lanao del Norte. They are Dairo, Fabela, Melig, Prince Ryu Aseniero, Ricrolly Ortiz, Adriel Algodon, Zacari Verdeflor, and Kirsten Pelvera.
Organizer and sponsor of the three-day competition Ricky Yanson Jr. thanked all the participants for making the tournament a great success. He particularly thanked the Central Luzon Football Association led by its president Alvin Yalung.
He also vowed to continue his support for the grassroots development of football in the country. “Do not forget, football is for everyone. My support for football is un-ending. Thank you also for your support,’’ said the Negros Occidental Association (NOFA) president during the awarding ceremony.
Yalung also thanked Yanson for bringing the Luzon Cup in Tarlac.
“I hope you enjoyed your stay in Tarlac. We thank the NOFA president Ricky Yanson Jr. for his trust in us. Let us continue supporting his projects and may this Luzon Cup spur the development of the sport not only in Tarlac but the entire island of Luzon,’’ he said.
Inspired by the presence of Cordillera Regional Football Association-Baguio (CRFA) General Secretary and former University of San Carlos striker Atty. Homer Alinsug, the boys from Baguio whipped Camarines Sur, 5-1, to capture the Division 1 Plate title.
The boys of coach Rykart Neri Jr. got goals from Jasper Malecdan, Eurie Palamgeo, Iann Siulva, Euan Ramos, and Gideon Tarchayen. Jayden Sayat scored the lone goal for the boys from Bicol.
Laguna edged YFA Muntinlupa 3-2 to take home the second runner-up trophy. Fredrich Colderia scored two goals for the Laguna boys including the winning goal in the 46th minute while Christian Brian Lastimado added the other goal.
Pangasinan United PC beat Tuguegarao 3-2, to win the 2nd Division Plate.
Camarines United whipped Central Luzon Tarlac to claim the second runner-up. John Gaza scored three goals, while Armarc Male and John Custodio added one goal each. (PNA)
Photo credit: facebook.com/BukidnonFA/