Negros Island Region overcame a second-half scare to advance to today's
elementary football semifinals in the Palarong Pambansa in Albay.
The NIR XI are joined in the Final Four by usual football forces Western Vsayas, Davao and National Capital Region.
The Negrense boys will see action against Davao at 7 a.m., after nipping Northern Mindanao, 4-3, in their quarterfinal game with the other match pitting defending champion NCR and last year's silver medalist Western Visayas.
NIR started strong with a 2-0 advantage at halftime from markers by STI-West Negrso University pupil Francis Jude Madamecilla on the 12th minute and Bosconian Juan Carlos Rodriguez, who booted in the first of his two goals on the 18th.
Northern Mindanao bounced back early in the second half and equalized the score within three minutes -- on the 39th and 41st -- and took the lead nine minutes later following an own goal in the struggle for ball possession.
Lasallian Joshua John Limco, however, found a way to equalize the score a minute later with Rodriguez sealing the squeaker win on a penalty kick on the 56th.
Assistant Coach Noriel Revilla said NCR, which finished behind NIR in Group A, kept its title-retention bid hopes with a win over Group D leader, Bicol, while Western Visayas, which finished No. 2 in Group C, gets the change to avenge its elimination-round loss to Davao after warding off Group B topnotcher Soccksargen.
Davao ousted Group B runner-up Zamboanga.
The NIR high school boys' team failed to make it to the quarterfinals from its 2-1-1 win-loss-draw card.
In futsal, a high school girls' demonstratio sport, NIR, powered by players from San Carlos City, also advanced to the semifinals via a 6-1 drubbing of Soccksargen yesterday after edging Davao. 4-3, in their final qualifying match to top their bracket on Wednesday.
They will also face Davao in the semis after the Mindanao players outclassed Central Visayas in their quarterfinal match.
Coach Frances Roy Barcuma said Lyka Teves and Tenelyn Otom led the San Carlos girls with two goals each while Tejanee Isulat and Christine Anares scored one apiece.* AVDC