FEU's Dexter Chio (10) celebrates after scoring against La Salle. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA – University of the Philippines (UP) and Far Eastern University (FEU) came out on top of their respective Final Four assignments Thursday to set up a championship showdown for the UAAP Season 76 men’s football crown.
Relying on its superb attacks, UP eliminated University of Santo Tomas (UST), 5-1, to clinch its fourth straight championship appearance, while FEU relied on Dexter Chio to edge De La Salle University, 2-1.
Game 1 of the best-of-three title series begins on Thursday.
The Fighting Maroons raced to a 3-0 lead against the Tigers and never looked back, with Fe Baya opening the scoring in the ninth minute.
Jinggoy Valmayor drilled a penalty kick off a Darwin Busmion foul inside the box in the 14th minute, and Carlos Monfort converted in the 26th minute.
The Maroons will lose Valmayor in Game 1, however, as the national under-23 team mainstay was sent off for slapping Nicanor Palacio.
Palacio was given a direct red card for retaliating against Valmayor with a closed fist in the 70th minute.
Chio, playing his final season for FEU, scored a beautiful goal in the 75th minute which turned out to be the game-winner.
FEU’s ace striker Jess Melliza sliced the defense to break the ice in the 54th minute, but La Salle’s Carl John Amisola equalized in the 60th minute.
FEU is making its first Finals appearance since 2010, when they defeated the Tigers under then-coach Rodolfo Alicante.