TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- After eight years, Tuguegarao City finally wins the championship in Football Secondary level, sweeping Nueva Vizcaya, 4-0, in the final day of the 2018 Cagayan Valley Regional Athletic Association (CAVRAA) meet on Thursday, March 01.
In their first time to qualify for the finals as a team, “Wow” city’s Peter Paul Natividad showed off an amazing performance, scoring two consecutive goals in between a minute at 9:42 AM and 9:43 AM.
Natividad’s effort gave Tuguegarao its needed momentum, despite the former Palaro qualifier nearly being carted away with a stretcher following a nasty fall earlier in the second half’s early going. Natividad was visibly limping but he eventually got up, and continued playing the game.
“Una po nagpapasalamat po ako kay Jesus kasi kanina po may injury na po ako pinilit ko pong maglaro para sa team, para kay God. Yun po nagbunga po agad. Kaya nagpapasalamat po ako kay God at sa mga team mates ko po,” Natividad said.
Nueva Vizcaya, last year’s first runner- up, tried to secure a goal in the first half; Yet Tuguegarao’s tight defense overcame the young Vizcayanos.
Meanwhile, Cezar Calucag, also a previous Palaro qualifier, earned Tuguegarao its first goal in the game. Aldrin Robleza followed it up with a goal of his own just merely two minute after Calucag’s.
Calucag credited their win from hard work and intense training and, most of all, their faith in God.
“Number one po pinagkakatiwalaan ko po si God. Nasa heart ko po siya at sa mind ko. Yun lang po yung pinakpowerful ko na dasal ko sa kanya yung makagoal po ako at mabigyan ko yung opportunity yung team ko na pumunta sa Palarong Pambansa. Yun po talaga na pangarap namin sa buhay na madala yung team namin mismo. Kaya ayun po natupad po dahil kay God,” he said.
As a graduating student, Calucag expressed his support for the team despite being in the end of his journey in the games.
“Lahat po ng ginawa namin ngayon, ibibuhos po namin next year. Kahit wala na po ako, kahit wala na po yung ibang mga ka-teammate, pagsisikapan po namin, andun pa rin po yung suporta. Iga-guide po namin sila,” he added.
Jessie Tuliao and Nobleza, also thanked God, the crowd cheerers, and their trainor Ronnie Aguisanda.
Journey to the championship
Coach Leonardo Batang said Tuguegarao’s victory marked a culmination of his team’s three-year pursuit for the championship, after settling only for bronze medal last year.
The last time the city division won the title was in 2009, after having a four-year undefeated streak, trainor Ricky Enolva told Forum.
For Tuguegarao, the years of training has finally paid off, he added.
“Yun talaga ang pangarap nila yan na dalhin sa Palaro ang mga kasamahan nila,” Batang said post-game.
“Actually itong grupo na ito, three years naming inintak yan. Two years kami sa Ilagan sila’t sila ‘yan. Sabi ko sa kanila sa third year, pag hindi pa natin makuha ito, bahala na. Ayan pinagsikapan nila. Ngayong taon, ayan todo training sila,” Batang earlier said.
Tuguegarao’s road to the finals also took a turn a day before, nearly bowing down to Cagayan in the semi-finals wherein Cagayan had the advantage for earning the first goal. Yet, Tuguegarao’s team was able to bounce back with a goal of its own in the second half, tying the game.
In the ensuing penalty shootout or “extra time in the semis,” Tuguegarao eventually nabbed the win, 4-1, against Cagayan, to the roar of their hometown crowd in attendance.
Road to Palaro
Following the championship victory, the team has set its sight to Palarong Pambansa. “Yan yung pinakamahirap. Dati nang nag-usap-usap ang mga bata. Right after this game, mag-iistart kaagad sila yan. Intact pa rin sila,” coach Batang said.
Batang recalled their tumultuous and rigid training which, he said, started at June last year. He said the team had been training every day at 5:00 PM after schooldays.
On the other hand, last year’s champion Isabela lands at second runner-up after beating Cagayan.The previous gold medalist team saw a bitter end after Nueva Vizcaya beat the majestic province in yesterday’s game.
In the overall rankings, Cagayan retains its spot, garnering 114 medals, followed by Nueva Vizcaya at 67, and Isabela at 57. Tuguegarao City is fourth with 50 gold medals. Northernforum.net