Twice when the crowd roared as Davao FA players threatened, in desperation, to equalize the score in the last three minutes of yesterday's championship match in the Smart-PFF Under 22 Amateur Cup, Charles Ivan Barberan lifted his head in apparent concern while lying on the ground as team therapists attended to his leg cramp.
He was sent out by head coach John Carmona when he was hurt with about four minutes left in the game.
When Charles Ivan, still supine, heard the final whistle, he immediately sat then bowed his head and bent his body, his face on the grass and sobbed as he wiped real tears of joy. “This is unexpected,” he said, “I am so happy. Thank God.”
A schoolmate at St. La Salle, where he is a Marketing sophomore, rushed to him, flashing a handmade poster with the words written,”Go #11 LOVE!”
“Really, it's hard to believe this,” he told the DAILY STAR.
For many of his followers, they were convinced he would deliver after seeing him earlier make several attempts to score.
Finally, on the 74th minute, he dueled with a Davao player for ball possession after a cross pass from teammate Ilimona Usman, and scored the winning marker, sending the crowd of about 1,200 roaring, relieved after persistent attacks from a determined Davao squad.
Charles Ivan was also the winning factor in Friday's semifinal match against Cavite FA when he connected his penalty kick in the 11th minute.
He could be right that the victory and the eventual MVP trophy he earned in the U22 championship yesterday was unbelievable.
No one in the family, except a distant relative, played soccer. But when his father, a basketball player, brought him to a football match in his home city, Malaybalay in Bukidnon when he was in the second grade, he immediately like the sport that he dreamed to become an outstanding player someday.
He eventually learned the game and played for his school until USLS coach Freddie Lazarito scouted him and Joshua Dotusme, also an U22 NOFA player, in the Palaro in 2013.
Coach Lazarito said he is optimistic that the hardworking player will further shine especially if he develop more guts and better finishing skills.
The MVP, who stands 5'3”, said he draws football inspiration from his idol, Messi, and expresses hopes that he can have a brighter future in football, too.*AVDC