I have been covering daily the recent 3 day Smart PFF Under 22 Championships and as I took photos, watch the boys played and look at the stats, I can't help but noticed that there are gems that needs to be polished among them. You see, tournaments like this is part of grassroots development and it is very encouraging. While football may not have gain foothold in majority of the youth's today, the present generation of young players holds promise for the future of Philippine football.
And with this, I try to share my thoughts in the hopes our officials in football can recognize the talents that are waiting to be tapped in this part of the country. Mindanao, after all, is the source of football talents in the national arena, perhaps second only to the Western Visayas region.
And so here is my list of the outstanding performances in the recent tournament. Check it out, make some reactions, comments, additional informations, and suggestions, if you like, to make the list more comprehensive and true. I have 8 on the list and I will start from the Number 8.
8. The entire Butuan squad
I can't figure an individual among them who stands out. Maybe because of their dismal showing in this tournament. But I see how they play, how they defend and how they attack. These boys play cohesive football as a unit. They maybe down, but they are always threatening in their attacks. Oh how lovely to look at them when they run together, so fluid and so coordinated. The only one thats missing is a great finishing. Give these boys some more time to play together and they will make waves.
7. Reneil Tare, Surigao goalkeeper
Sure, he conceded five goals but most of them were indefensible. However, he was able to save a penalty against Butuan in the last game. The opposition could have scored more but his generalship in the goal keep the scoreline respectable for the host team. That's why he earned my nod.
6. Ariel Saren, Iligan striker
The burly and barreling striker scored 4 goals in the games I witnessed. His control of the passes is exceptional and his positioning almost deliberate. He can mow down weak defenses with his strong physique. He is terror when he is inside the box blasting shots.
5. Clint Agustine Timones, Bukidnon left wing
This Bukidnon left wing scored two goals in his three starts. In the winning performance against Iligan, Timones, set a screamer from outside the box that furiously swing at the back of the net. Though not a physically endowed as a left winger, he is a very reliable workhorse at the front who can score anytime as well.
4. Alberto Echin Jr., One Surigao left wing
This Surigao No. 14 remains true to his billing. A member of the University of the East men's football varsity, the Association went out of its way to make him play and available in this tournament. He never disappoints. He score two goals as in many games he played. Watch this guy play in the UAAP Football tournament come February next year.
3. Juarlito Daga-ang, Bukidnon midfielder
If there is a description of a workhorse, then this guy squarely fits. He is everywhere. Defenders sometimes are reduced crawling on all fours just to keep up with him. His work rate is amazing. He scored a goal against One Surigao in this tournament.
2. Clayton Bhai, Bukidnon striker
I refer him as the "Emmanuel Adebayor" of this tournament. He score the lone goal in its game against Butuan and a hat trick against Iligan. He terrorized opposing teams goals with his strength, stamina and hustle play. Perhaps his great asset is his long and quick strides. He can circle goalkeepers or side step defenders in clock work fashion. No wonder he is prolific in this tournament.
And my number 1.
Eliezer Dominic de la Torre, Iligan Left wing
Now, if you put all the 22 players on the pitch and they will start to move, you already know who is the best. This boy really stands out of the crowd. His moves are so different that you will really notice him, even if your not a football buff. His dribbling ability is superior and the way he shifts his body is outstanding. This guy is a dribbler par excellence. He never scored but that doesn't take away the talent dish out by this diminutive winger.
Guys, you are looking at a future Azkal here.
So there you go again folks, I am no football expert. I was just trying to make football interesting and well at the same time help these guys to be noticed whoever wants to notice.
Be free to react and disagree. It's welcome.