WITH Surigao del Norte booters a no show, host CMOFA's convincing 3-1 shellacking of Butuan-Agusan del Norte on Wednesday was enough to send the home squad to the Mindanao Finals of the Suzuki-PFF U23 Football Qualifying Tournament.
This, as Iligan-LDN and Butuan-ADN will still be back Thursday morning at Xavier University's soccer field for the remaining game of NorMin's qualifier.
"Actually, nag-commit ang Surigao nga modula mao nga gi-apil sila sa linya. We have to discuss it yet with the PFF people kon naa bay possible sanction ang ilang wala pagtunga," PFF match coordinator Conson Manresa told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
Monte Carlo-groomed striker Emiliano "Ayat" Mabalos Jr. again did an Azkal stunt by Filipino-Spanish new enforcer Angel Guirado, scoring the first two CMOFA goals in the 31st and 60th minutes before Bon Miller Ellecion made it three in the 64th minute.
"Ayat's our Azkal Guirado here," female football fans watching the morning match-up proudly stirred Mabalos while the CMOFA bets changed their upper clothes in a bench shaded by one of the big trees circling the XU field.
Mabalos also scored two goals, including the winner, in CMOFA's heart-stopping 5-4 conquest of Iligan-LDN Club.
Butuan-ADN, which neutralized CMOFA's offense almost in the entire first half, got its lone goal from Djon Scottie Amoc in the 92nd minute.
"Dugay kaayo ta naka score, but still a win is a win," said coach Allan Medalla.
Match Commissioner Percy Guarin said the Philippine Football Federation is considering Davao as their tentative venue for the National Finals.
The PFF-Suzuki Cup Mindanao Cluster Eliminations are also ongoing in Central Mindanao, South Mindanao and West Mindanao.
Cotabato City and North Cotabato locked horns at M'lang Football Plaza for the Central Mindanao slot.
South Mindanao has Compostella Valley, Davao City and Davao del Norte competing at Tionko Football Field in Davao City.
While Misamis Occidental, Ozamis, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Norte, Dipolog, Zamboanga del Sur and Pagadian are comprising the biggest field for the West Mindanao elimination right at the Ozamis National High School football field.
Top team finisher will join the Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental Football Association (CMOFA) in the Mindanao Finals before the home-and-away games of which the top-team survivor will be crowned as the PFF-Suzuki U-23 Champion. (Lynde Salgados)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 31, 2011.