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Negros Occidental sweeps Iloilo, bags PFF Suzuki U-23 title

May 22, 2011 11:56pm

Negros Occidental completed its dominance in the PFF Suzki Under-23 event by sweeping Iloilo, 9-0, and capturing the national crown on Sunday at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.

Regaining their 3-1 lead entering the second game of their home-and-away series was a big investment for Negros Occidental. But instead of playing loose, the host team was all fired up behind the efforts of Fil-American Joshua Beloya and Aldrin Dolino

Beloya, adjudged as the tournament's Best Striker, fired two goals in the 6th and 75th minutes while Gino Palomo completed a hat trick with scores in the 38th, 45th and 50th minutes.

Dolino, named as the Most Valuable Player, scored a volley in the 21st minute then set up Beloya's second goal during a free kick to the delight of an animated Bacolod crowd.

Negros won 12-1 on aggregate, but not after a controversy that started in the tournament's first leg at the Central Philippines University in Iloilo City.

In the first leg, both teams were tied at 1-1 after regulation time, but to the surprise of many, tournament officials called for two extra periods.

Negros managed to score two goals in the extension to hack out a 3-1 victory, but Iloilo filed a protest insisting that the extra periods be nullified. The PFF upheld the protest on Saturday, thus making the aggregate score at 1-1.

However, the PFF, through president Nonong Araneta, reversed the ruling hours later citing that "in the spirit of fair play, it was ultimately and decided by both parties (Negros and Iloilo) that the final score of 3-1 will stand."

"The late ruling somehow energized our players. We really wanted to win," said coach Norman Fegidero, a former member of the national team as a player and coach.

While Negros dominated the match, Iloilo, which played sans goalkeeper Wilson Muñoz for committing a red card in Thursday's first leg, appeared to have surrendered earlier than expected.

After Beloya's first goal, Negros added three more goals in the first half, including one from Palomo.

Beloya's second goal pushed the score to 6-0 for Negros, then Iloilo easily allowed Ralph Lamuyas to score two goals in the 79th and 80th minutes for a commanding 8-0 lead.

Iloilo team manager Atty. Eduardo Robles, Jr. rued the organizers' quick reversal, but vowed his squad will bounce back strong in future tournaments. - RCJ, GMA News
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