MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo de Manila High School leaned on the steady hands of goalkeeper Artuz Cezar to deny Far Eastern University (FEU)-Diliman a first round sweep in the UAAP Season 82 boys' football tournament, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The Blue Eaglets and the Baby Tamaraws settled for a goalless draw.
Ateneo stayed in second place with seven points, but closed the gap against the league-leading Baby Tamaraws who had 10 points off three wins and a draw.
After Eric Laurel missed a wide-open shot off an Ace Amita pass, the defending nine-time champions tried to notch a winner but Cezar stopped two shots in additional time to keep the score at 0-0 up to the final whistle.
"Artuz is a very experienced goalkeeper," Ateneo head coach Dodjie Locsin said. "In fact, that is one of our strengths. I have never seen a goalkeeper who played like that for the past three years."
The Blue Eaglets had their first share of chances in the second half with Luard Abaa and Austin Basconcillo. FEU keeper Lance Bencio had to make crucial stops as well to force the draw.
"I guess the team is really motivated. They have beaten [FEU] last year, so we used it as a fuel for them. We always believe that training is just 20 percent, 80 percent is all mental," Locsin added.
University of Santo Tomas leapfrogged De La Salle-Zobel in the standings after a tight 2-1 victory to close the first round.
Nam Gwi Beon made sure to follow up on their first point of the season after scoring the winner at the 48th-minute. The striker scored on a follow up after La Salle keeper Enrico Mangaoang spilled the initial save.
Adrian Merina knotted the scoreline at 1-all for the Junior Archers before the halftime break, negating a defensive lapse that led to the Junior Golden Booters' early advantage off Paul Tuazon at the 17th-minute.
La Salle slid to last place with three points off a lone win against three defeats.
The second round will start on Wednesday at the same venue.
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