MANILA, Philippines – For the second time in three seasons, University of the Philippines (UP) has ruled the UAAP men's football tournament.
The Maroons reclaimed the throne with a 1-0 win over University of Santo Tomas (UST) in the one-game final of the UAAP Season 80 tournament on Thursday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Skipper Ian Clariño delivered the marginal goal in the 21st minute, converting off a free kick by JB Borlongan.
It was UP's 18th men's football title, and it came in dominant fashion as the Maroons finished the season with 12 wins and four draws.
Clariño earned MVP and Best Defender honors, while teammate Fidel Tacardon was named Rookie of the Year.
"Nagpapasalamat ako kay Rogie," said Clariño, referring to teammate Rogie Maglinas who passed away two years ago, and has since served as the UP side's motivation. "Sobrang happy namin. Win or lose, ginawa namin ang best namin. No regrets."
UP simply dominated UST in the final, even before Clariño's goal put them ahead.
The Maroons were the more aggressive side and had several more opportunities to add to their goal total, but just could not convert.
"Ang UST malakas sila. Hindi sila sumuko until the final whistle," said Clariño, whose elder brother Gino has also played his final season for the Tigers.
Other individual winners were Ateneo de Manila University's Jarvey Gayoso (Best Striker) and De La Salle University's Darius Diamante (Best Midfielder). The Green Archers bagged the Fair Play award.
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