It turns out you can’t mess with destiny.
League-leaders Arellano University Chiefs proved their mettle as they shut out the deposed San Beda College Red Booters, 2-0, in their one-off championship match, Tuesday, at the historic Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Picking up from where they left off in their final eliminations match, San Beda started to dominate the possession. Nimrod Balabat jump-started the attack, but the defense of the Chiefs held. On the other hand, Arellano had some chances of their own and their aggression paid off with several free kick opportunities, but they could not convert.
With the Red Booters on the offensive, the Chiefs attempted to snatch a chance on the counter attack. A defensive lapse from San Beda was all the Chiefs needed to mount a scoring chance. In the 34th minute, Charles Gamutan broke free from the defense, swiftly ran into the box, and slotted the ball past Michael Yuvienco for the go-ahead goal. San Beda, however, were not devoid of opportunities for an equalizer in the dying minutes of the half. Nonetheless, Jerome Marzan’s corner kicks would not find their intended target. The Chiefs went into the break with the slim 1-0 lead.
In the second half, San Beda continued to pressure their opponents. In the 53rd minute, Marzan once again sent the ball into the box, but the defense denied Stephen Abriol a clear shot. In the end, Arellano held and denied the Golden Boot awardee another strike.
Arellano again took advantage of another misplaced pass in the Red Booters’ final third. The goal-scorer Gamutan faced Yuvienco one-on-one, but the speedy forward’s attempt was weak and easily gathered by the Golden Glove awardee. Yuvienco stood his ground in the ensuing play and once again denied the Chiefs a goal.
The Chiefs seemed to find a second wind from those missed opportunities and did not falter in their next big chance at goal. Jumbel Guinabang stole the ball from the defense and blasted the ball into the net to make it 2-0 with five minutes left in the match.
San Beda tried to get a goal back, but Arellano were able to delay and ultimately deny the Red Booters their last gasp at scoring. The referee blew the final whistle and the Chiefs celebrated their 2-0 victory and their maiden NCAA men’s football crown after two runner-up finishes.
Arellano Head Coach Ravelo Saluria was proud of what his team has achieved. The mentor shared that he expected they would snare the crown this year. “Malaki talaga yung expectation ko ngayon, kasi medyo nakakuha ako ng players na OK naman, plus yung suporta po ng school namin,” he said.