The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles are once again kings in the UAAP Men’s Football Tournament.
Goals from Jarvey Gayoso and Julian Roxas powered the Blue Eagles past archrivals De La Salle University Green Archers with a 2-1 victory in extra time to clinch the Season 81 crown, Thursday afternoon at the historic Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
This is the Katipunan-based school’s eighth championship in the division. It is also the third title they have accrued under the mentorship of head coach Jay Pee Merida.
“Of course, it’s Ateneo-La Salle. Of course, there’s no room for complacency against La Salle kasi talagang magper-perform (sila). Even when we scored sa extra time, the last 15 minutes, they dominated the possession,” explained Merida.
After a goalless first half, rookie Mohammad Almohjili found space to shoot in the Ateneo box and finished calmly to hand La Salle the lead in the 77th minute.
However, just when the Green Archers looked set to win the match, the Blue Eagles managed to find a lifeline in stoppage time. Substitute forward Luka Alleje sent Ateneo star striker Gayoso through, and the four-time Best Striker eluded his markers to score past goalie Franz Brosoto and force extra time.
“Unbelievable yung goal,” added Merida. “Sa movement na yun, talagang binigyan pa kami ng chance. Binigyan kami ni Jarvey ng chance to get this championship. Yan yung mangandang nangyari.”
Gayoso’s goal was a precursor to more heartbreak for the Green Archers. Ten minutes into overtime, skipper Roxas headed Alleje’s cross past Brosoto seal the championship for the Blue & White.
“I think yung emotion there, yung situation… (Julian) was hungry talaga to score (the winning goal) because this is his last game,” concluded the now three-time champion mentor.
ADMU XI: Arcilla (GK), Baña, Gayoso, Grierson, Herrera, Maniquis, Mercado, Nacional, Poe, Rocha, Roxas ©.
DLSU XI: Almohjili, Brosoto (GK), Cruel, Diamante ©, Eduave, Koizumi, Lagura, Marfiga, Siggaoat, Umilin, Vergara.