AFTER NAT’L PRISAA Champ Ceres-La Salle XI targets to bag U23 crown
By Jerome S. Galunan Jr.
“PFF-Suzuki Cup U23 National Cup title is the next target.”
This was the strong message from veteran tactician Freddie “Nene” Lazarito of the Western Visayas’ Ceres-La Salle Football Team, the newly-crowned National Private Schools Athletic Association men’s football champion as they aim for third straight championship appearance this year.
Lazarito’s squad, representing the Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA), will start its journey to defend the PFF-Suzuki Cup U23 National Cup title when the tournament’s Regional Qualifying kicks off this April in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.
The national crown was won by the Norman Fegidero-led Ceres-Negros team two years ago on a devastating 9-nil victory at home over archrival Iloilo squad at Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.
The Ceres-La Salle earned the right to represent NOFA after prevailing in the provincial qualifying last year, beating teams such as West Negros University headed by Fegidero and Carlo Torbela’s University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos.
Torbela was among the assistant coaches of Fegidero in the Ceres-Negros squad during their title campaign in 2011.
Aside from NOFA, other teams seeing action in the PFF-Suzuki Cup U23 National Cup Regional Qualifying are the football associations of Cebu, Negros Oriental and Leyte.
PRAYERS, SUPPORT MADE IT
Meanwhile, for winning the National PRISAA men’s football crown, Lazarito expressed his gratitude to the prayers and support extended to his team.
“I’m very happy. Imagine the two straight titles this month? We’re just blessed enough. And we are very much thankful to the Yanson brothers, Ricky and Leo Rey, for their good hearts for this team,” he said.
Lazarito also led Ceres FC in winning the PFF-Smart Club Championships after beating United Football League’s Pasargad FC in the finals, 1-nil, last February 2 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila.
The Ceres-La Salle squad regained its football supremacy in the national school-based competition by completing the elimination phase undefeated and crushing last year’s runner-up Davaoeños in the finals, 2-nil.
Striker Jimuel Ariola of WNU opened up the scoring for the WV Ceres-La Salle in the 33rd minute of the match, and eventually the lone goal in the first half. Ariola is among the five players who suited for the Ceres FC that won the recent national club tournament.
In the second half, midfielder Peter Sobredo doubled Ceres-La Salle’s score in the 56th minute. Sobredo is a selection player from the John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University.
Also suiting up for the WV Ceres-La Salle are keeper Negrense Jurex Replentes, J Baguioro, Joel Bedia, Jose Emmanuel Thomas Diel, Anthony Tongson, Florence Ian Agraviador, Angelo Gabriel Bahoyan, Marson de la Torre, Ralph Christian Layumas, Lope Mayagma III, Norman Seloterio and Femar John Suganob.
The Iloilo reinforcements are Tristan Kit Robles, Elmar Nathaniel Boblo from Central Philippine University; and John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University’s Patrick John Berdin and Mark Anthony Sumabong.
Assisting Lazarito in the coaching task are assistant coaches Ramon Janeo, Ali Go, Hemerson Campo, and Michael Casas./WDJ