Villa Angela FC takes first runner-up honors in DFL Mens Open

Villa Angela FC fell to a 3-0 defeat against Ceres-La Salle FC, taking first runner up honors in the Dynamic Football League last September 4 at the Pana-ad Park and Stadium. The team littered with Negros standouts from different generations played an inspired first half but was blitzed in the second to a more youthful collegiate squad.

(Villa Angela FC with DFL Officals. Top [L-R]: NOFA Gen Sec Cocoy Treyes, Noriel Revilla, Dave Javellana, Team Captain Patrick Martir, Michael Benedicto, Andy Coscolluela, MJ Benedicto, Team Manager Miguel Rivero, John Robert Mendoza, John Vendell Marcellana, Jet Diel, Recoy Campo, Coach Ramon Janeo, NOFA President Ricky Yanson. Bottom [L-R]: FJ Serios, Francis Liza, Van Mapa, Garrete Parcon, Mark Hilay, Nino Aledro, Jaime Poderoso, Carlo Tacusalme, Not in Photo: Reymark Fernandez and Nacho Mendezona)

It was the “Old Stars” that had a first crack on goal when Hemerson “Recoy” Campo took a 40-yard free kick which was saved by USLS keeper Florence Agraviador in the 7th minute. A great combination play from Kent Guevarra and Ilimona Usman in the 11th forced keeper John Robert Mendoza off his line and force a goal kick. Ceres-La Salle would conjure some dangerous forays in the opposing half but had difficulty in breaking the veteran backline’s offside trap.

Villa Angela had another chance when a FJ Serios free kick found Carlo Tacusalme in the box his shot was foiled in the danger area in the 15th minute. They had a golden chance minutes later when John Vendell Marcellana issued a long cross towards Michael Benedicto in the far post. The older Benedicto glanced a header into the near post but his shot was just wide. Tacusalme had another crack from a long distance free kick but the shot was slightly over the bar.

Ceres-La Salle started to take control of the possession which resulted to Usman shooting from the edge of the box which was collected well by Mendoza in the 25th. Moments later, Harunori Aoki struck well from the danger area forcing the eventual Best Goalkeeper awardee to tip the ball over the bar. The USLS team had another try when Aoki crossed well to Usman who shot his header wide. The Varsity squad scored in the opener two minutes from time when a mad scramble in the box allowed Ashli Pamilar to put his squad ahead. VAFC’s Serios had a chance in injury time but his powerful curling free kick from 35 yards was saved by the USLS keeper. Ceres-La Salle would go into the half with the 1-0 advantage.

VAFC didn’t waste time in trying to get an equalizer with Serios setting up another free kick that was saved in the 43rd. Minutes later Villa Angela’s Marcellana split past two defenders and was clipped near the penalty box. The Villa Angela bench screamed for a penalty but a free kick was given instead on the edge of the box. The resulting free kick hit the wall, adding frustration to the veteran side.

Ceres-La Salle would then run a 2-minute blitz to completely seal the result starting at the 50th minute. Usman would beat the offside trap to score the second while Nessi Ramos would head in the third two minutes later making it 3-0 La Salle squad.  Both teams had their fair share of chances in the final half-hour but the result stood giving Ceres-La Salle the Mens Open title.

It was a bittersweet ending for the veteran squad who exceeded expectations after being formed just weeks before the tournament on a chance meeting between Miguel Rivero, Patrick Martir, and Francis Liza. The Villa Angela squad was formed with former players from La Salle, UNO-R, WNU and UP have players from their early 20s up to their late 30s who are working professionals and even coaches from different Bacolod teams.

VAFC started with a 15-1 win in their opening match which was overturned after a DFL committee rule that forfeits games of teams who weren’t complete in the tournament opening ceremonies. They eventually went on to beat younger and faster players from Escalante FC and Silver Dragon FC but only lost by a goal versus Ceres-La Salle in the eliminations. Villa Angela finished third qualifying got the semis where they beat number two seed Escalante FC. In the final, youth and conditioning stood out but the VAFC squad is happy about their performance.

“I am very proud of this team. They did a superb job in the tournament despite the fact that we don’t train due to work schedules and have daddy duties for the other players. We play because we love the sport and its fun to play with teammates you grew up with who share the same passion,” said Team Captain Patrick Martir.  “Most of us finished college and landed decent jobs through football and we want to inspire young players to do the same,” he added.

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