THE squad representing the Bukidnon Football Association beat One La Salle, 2-0, to become the overall champion of the first Luzon Cup Under 12 Football Tournament spearheaded by the Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) with the Central Luzon Football Association, and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Department of Education Tarlac, and the provincial and city governments of Tarlac.
Held from November 22 to 24 at the Jose V. Yap Sports and Recreational Complex in San Jose, Tarlac, the Luzon Cup is the third of a series of football tournaments spearheaded by NOFA for Under-12 / Under-13 boys.
The first two, the NOFA Cup (in its fourth edition) was held last summer and the second, the Mindanao Cup was held last October. It was also Bukidnon FA that topped that Mindanao Cup and their feat qualified them for a berth at the Luzon Cup.
Top winners of Luzon Cup’s First Division (Cup) were: One La Salle Salle, first runner-up; Rizal Football Association Quezon City, second runner-up; and Masbate Football Association, third runner-up.
Meanwhile, Cordillera Football Association – Baguio secured the the Division 1 Plate Championship, with Central Bicol Regional Football Association as first runner-up; Laguna Football Association as second runner-up and Youth Football Academy Muntinlupa as third runner-up.
In the Second Division, the top winners were Pangasinan United Football Club, champion; Tuguegarao City Football Club, first runner-up; Camarines Norte United, second runner-up; and Central Luzon Football Association – Tarlac, third runner-up.
Players of Bukidnon FA obtained most of the individual awards: Jun Dominique Melig was awarded Best Goalkeeper; Jimm Leowell Fabela, Best Defender and Most Valuable Player. One La Salle’s Fritz Kenzo Chua was chosen as the Best Midfielder. RIFA QC’s Filbert Martin Tacardon got the Best Striker Award with 27 goals.
CLFA President Mr. Alvin Yalung and General Secretary Mr. Ed Flaminiano thanked NOFA President Mr. Ricardo “Ricky” Yanson, Jr., for his efforts in spearheading the Luzon Cup especially since the said age-group tournament is the first in the region in the last three years.
“I know in his heart, he wants to develop the young players so they can one day play for the national team,” Mr. Yalung said of Mr. Yanson.
A number of teams, such as those from Camarines Sur, Pangasinan, and Tuguegarao traveled by land for many hours in order to be part of the tournament.
“Because the Luzon Cup is a very good platform… it is a true platform for true grassroots development,” said Tuguegarao City Football Club head coach Ricky Enolva to explain their participation.
Pangasinan United FC head coach Floyd Jefferson agreed. “The Luzon Cup is very good for local teams, especially for those of us coming from North Luzon. The level of competition is very high which is kailangan ng mga bata.”