MANILA, Philippines – Rizal and Laguna scored contrasting wins over separate foes on Tuesday to remain unbeaten in the Smart Club Championship Luzon regionals at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) football field in Los Baños, Laguna.
Led by striker Christopher Pedimonte’s 4 goals, the Rizal booters crushed Baguio-Benguet, 7-0, while Laguna subdued stubborn Tarlac, 7-5, as both sides picked up their 3rd straight wins in the North-Central-South Luzon cluster eliminations.
The two squads joined early qualifiers Masbate and Naga City-Camarines Sur in the all-Luzon tournament, which will take place also at the UPLB pitch from May 11 to 13.
The event is sponsored by Smart and organized by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF).
Rizal and Laguna were set to dispute cluster honors on Wednesday following the match between winless Tarlac and Quezon, which both sport 0-3 win-loss slates in the 5-team tourney.
Rizal vs Baguio-Benguet
Pedimonte went on a 4-goal rampage, straddling the first and second periods starting from the 13th minute and ending in the 65th to settle the issue for powerhouse Rizal.
V. Melendrez had two goals (75th and 81st ) while J. Dimaculangan was credited for the last goal (85th) in the lopsided match.
Laguna vs Tarlac
Nigerian forward Glen Malu scored a hat trick in the first period (3rd, 23rd and 29th) as Laguna surged to a 5-1 halftime lead.
But Tarlac countered with 3 straight goals in the second half. The strike was spearheaded by L. Ramos, who sandwiched teammate B. Manuel’s goal in the 53rd with markers in the 51st and 60th minutes, to narrow the gap at 4-5.
After Laguna and Tarlac traded goals through Mersan Romedja (74th) and G. Alvarez (83rd), respectively, L. Malbuyug ensured the win for the hosts with the final goal in the 91st minute.