Scoring 12 goals in fives matches after joining the Ceres-Negros team, Filipino-American striker Joshua Beloya is getting attention from local football pundits who are following the progress of the teams that have qualified in the Group A quarterfinals of the PFF-Suzuki Under-23 National Cup at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.
Beloya’s strike rate of 2.4 goals per match impresses national football team assistant coach Edwin Cabalida who watches the game at the Panaad Stadium to scout players who could try out for the U23 team that will represent the country in the Southeast Asian Games this November in Indonesia.
Aside from Beloya, Cabalida is also taking a look at Negrense midfielder Aldrin Dolino, who along with teammate Lemuel Unabia, played for the national team in the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers held in Iloilo.
Both Beloya and Dolino are instrumental to the Ceres-Negros Selection team’s early advance to the semifinals of the U23 tournament which will be played in Barotac Nuevo next week.
Beloya’s mother is a Bacoleña and he honed his football skills in Sweden where his family stayed. He moved to Bacolod City recently and was tapped by Negros coach Norman Fegidero Jr. to join the team.
“He has a great feel for the game and is very dangerous in and around the box. I think his mental toughness is his biggest asset,” Fegidero said of Beloya.
With another striker Jovin Bedic, who tallied five goals in five matches in the U23 tournament, Negros is leading the pack of title contenders for the national crown.
The team was also the first to qualify for the quarterfinals after it swept the Visayas Regionals that included a 1-0 win over archrival, Iloilo.
In today’s game at the Panaad, NCT Team B will face Dipolog while Negros will clash against Masbate. Both NCR and Masbate are tied in points but Masbate is ahead on goal differential.*NAB
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