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Taguig completes 'curse reversal', beats Iloilo to finally rule Kampeon Cup

Tyler John lifts the Kampeon Cup while being drenched in champagne and soda. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

TALISAY, Cebu—For the first time after three editions, the AIA Vitality 7s Kampeon Cup championship is coming home.

Taguig finally won the national seven-a-side football tournament after ending up short in the final twice by beating Iloilo, 4-2, in the championship match on Sunday at the Dynamic Herb Borromeo Sports Complex here.

Taguig, coached by 7's Football League founder Anton Del Rosario, put on a dominant stand in the first 20 minutes, but it took an MJ Libre goal in the comeback period to finally hold off Iloilo.

Iloilo actually struck first in the eighth minute when James Tuazon found an opening off Taguig's defensive lapse.

However, Tyler John answered quickly to force a 1-all tie.

James Pachejo put Taguig in the lead in the 13th minute, while John completed his brace just before halftime.

Iloilo intensified its defense in the second period, and it bore fruit in the 34th minute as Kenneth Lecoto scored the lone goal of the frame to cut Taguig's lead down to one, 3-2.

Needing to score twice in succession in the comeback period to steal the win, Iloilo had a lot of chances to score in the extra session, especially when the players got taken out gradually.

However, in the 18th minute of the comeback period, when the match was down to a 3-on-3, Libre picked an Iloilo backpass at their own end and slotted the needed goal to ice Taguig's win.

"Sobrang saya dahil pinagkatiwalaan kami ng coach namin na ipasok ako uli noong time na 3v3 na, and nakuha yung goal na yun dahil nagtulung-tulong yung team," Libre told Dugout Philippines after the win.

It was some sort of a "curse reversal" for Taguig as it lost both the first two finals against Cebu, including the inaugural staging at its home, the McKinley Hill Stadium, prior to finally ruling the event right at its rival's home turf.

Taguig ousted Cebu in the semifinals on Saturday night.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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