It will be a close contest in collegiate football when the NOPSSCEA 32nd season opens next month as defending champion University of St. La Salle gears up for its title retention bid.
La Salle head coach Freddie “Nene” Lazarito said the exposure of the Stingers’ key players to the PFF-Suzuki Cup Under 22 tournament gives the team an edge over University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos and West Negros University.
“These tournament gave my players enough exposure, resulting to much higher self-confidence,” Lazarito said.
“We played against United Football League’s Pachanga FC and Green Archers as well as the Teen Azkals. We are also scheduled to face the All-Korean Team of Central Philippine University and University of San Agustin in Iloilo as part of our preparation,” he added.
Of his starters, only three are rookies, Lazarito said, adding that most members of team have been playing together for four to five years now.
Though, USLS prioritizes studies, sports had not been disregarded as 10 to 12 players in Lazarito’s squad will be graduating this school year.
Meanwhile, despite the absence of striker Joshua Beloya and ace goalkeeper Robert Mendoza, Lazarito considers his present team to be stronger than last year.
He said eloya will skip this year’s NOPSSCEA due to academic problems but will return in the second semester, while Mendoza is suffering from anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Suiting up for the Stingers are Florence Ian Agraviador, Jerico and Joevic Albino; J Baguioro, Angelo Bahoyan, Joel and Jo Warren Bedia; Marson dela Torre, Jose Emmanuel Thomas Diel, Aldrin Dolino, Joshua Dutosme, Ryu Nell Fegidero, Ralph Christian Layumas, and Jimmy Malalo-an.
Also included in the lineup are: Yaw Mang, John Jennen Margarse, Lope Mayagma III, Jesus Antonio Paolo Mendoza, John Zedric Ramirez, Paolo Angelo Sanchez, Norman Seloterio Jr., Anthony Tongson and Ronel Yosores. Meanwhile, second keeper Jurex Replentes will be taking charge of the goal in absence of the injured-Mendoza.
Working with Lazarito in the coaching staff are assistant coaches Ali Rojas Go, Ramon Janeo, Hemerson Campo, Lemuel Unabia and goalkeeper coach Michael Casas.*
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