It was the battle of the finest, as the Final Four of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Football tournament began today, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, Manila.
In the first game of the final four round, the Arellano University Chiefs outlasted the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates, 3-0.
Led by Team Captain Simon Sanquilos, the Chiefs engaged in an early attack, giving them ample opportunities to score a goal.
The Legarda-based kickers took advantage of the collapsing defense of Lyceum, leading to an early goal for Patrick Bornarte at the 17-minute mark.
In the dying minutes of the first half, Arellano’s Roberto Crosame continued to pressure his Lycean foes, giving him a chance to hit the goal and hand his alma mater a 2-0 lead by halftime.
Entering the second half, the Chiefs continued to be the aggressors of the game, but the well-fortified defense of Lyceum denied Ravelo Saluria’s squad another goal for as long as they could manage.
As the game approached its end, the shrugging Charles Gamutan sealed the game at the 88-minute mark with a goal to give Arellano a 3-0 win.
With the win against Lyceum, the Arellano Chiefs are just two wins away from clinching their first NCAA trophy.
In the second game, it was an epic Clasico battle, as the College of St. Benilde Blazers defeated their archrivals, the San Beda College Red Booters, 1-0.
It was a tight battle, as both teams duked it out to nail the first goal of the game.
With their first round encounter ending level, the grueling defense of both squads made the game scoreless by halftime.
Opening the second half, the Blazers took advantage of the defensive lapses of SBC, that led to a Valentino Calvo goal in the 48th minute.
With a 1-0 advantage, the Benilde squad slowed the pace in order to shut down the offensive press of the Red Booters.
Led by veteran striker Miguel Caindec, the defending NCAA champions made one final push, but time wasn’t on their side, as the Blazers escaped with a single point lead.
Having ended their five-year losing streak against San Beda, CSB Head Coach Marlon Maro gave his players all the credit on this glorious victory.
“Well it’s a long drought for CSB, and I think the boys deserve to win the game, and it’s always a privilege to beat San Beda.”
Arellano University will next face CSB on Thursday while San Beda will face Lyceum.
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