MANILA, Philippines – University of Santo Tomas (UST) booked its first trip to the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s football finals with a 3-0 shutout of Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU).
Rookie wonder Christian de Juan continued his stellar play, breaking the ice with a goal just 8 minutes into the game at the Erenchun Field in Ateneo last Sunday. It was the 5th goal in the tournament for the league’s scoring leader.
UST veterans Mario Clarino and Mandie Lunag came up with a goal each in the 2nd half to put the game away. Clarino scored on the 68th minute then Lunag followed in the 72nd minute as the Growling Booters clinched their first finals appearance since winning the crown in 2007.
UST, which is now sporting a 6-2-0 (win-draw-loss) record for 20 points, can clinch a twice-to-beat edge in the finals with a win on Thursday against Far Eastern University (FEU).
Ateneo, meanwhile, dropped in the standings with its 5th loss against 2 wins and 1 draw for just 7 points.
In the other games, FEU recovered from a 0-1 deficit to beat University of the Philippines (UP), 2-1, while De La Salle University (DLSU) beat University of the East (UE), 1-0.
Jason Cordova and Ronnie Aguisanda scored 2 goals in the 69th minute and 83rd minute, respectively, as FEU moved closer to a date with UST in the finals.
FEU, which improved to 5-1-2 for 16 points, would have to beat UST on Thursday to advance.
DLSU, meanwhile, leaned on Nico Laudes’ goal in the 63rd minute to pull off the 1-point victory over UE.
In the distaff side, DLSU drew with FEU, 1-1, to keep its unbeaten slate and more importantly, move closer to a 3rd straight finals appearance.
Maria Monica Henson’s goal in the 29th minute pushed the Lady Archers on the threshold of another victory. FEU, however, equalized with Loreta Ladero’s goal in the 43rd minute.
Both teams traded missed attempts in the 2nd half to end up with a stalemate.
Despite the draw, DLSU still leads the tournament with 15 points on the strength of a 4-3-0 record while FEU dropped to 2-4-0 for 10 points.
UST, meanwhile, remained in the title hunt with a 6-0 crushing of Ateneo. Marianne Narciso exploded for 4 goals to pace the second-leading UST.
DLSU and UST are on a big collision course on Thursday. DLSU can book its third consecutive finals trip with a win while UST, which holds a 4-1-2 (13 points) record, can catch them with a victory. – by Alder T. Almo
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