In the fabled history of the UAAP, there have been instances when family members were divided by their collegiate allegiances in their pursuit of athletic excellence.
In the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Football Tournament, there is another championship game that features two relatives. La Salle football coach Alvin Ocampo will face his nephew Jarvey Gayoso, who is the Ateneo de Manila University’s star forward
The two scions of legendary Olympian Ed Ocampo will be the protagonists in this year’s Men’s Football Tournament Finals, This is also the first time La Salle and Ateneo face each other in the promised land since Season 68, when the Blue Eagles won.
Ocampo called the shots from the sidelines and steered the Green Archers towards a 2-1 win over defending champions UP Fighting Maroons in the first semifinals clash. Meanwhile, Gayoso scored the winning goal against the FEU Tamaraws later in the evening.
“We just needed to enter the Final Four. Anything can happen in the semifinals. It is about who wants it more and who’s prepared for the semis. Now we’re one step closer to our goal,” said Ocampo.
When the game ended, he sat in the grandstands to watch the Ateneo-FEU game, and was fully complimentary about his nephew’s performance. “(I am) happy for Jarvey for lifting his team and scoring a wonderful goal.”
“Like I said, it’s a blessing that I was given another opportunity and I was given that goal.
“It feels good that we remained composed. We remained focused on playing this game just like any other game. But in our hearts and in our minds, we knew that is a redemption and statement game today,” commented the Season 79 MVP.
Ocampo was like a proud father seeing his children grow right in front of his eyes after they found a way to dethrone UP in the Final Four. “Like what (former La Salle goalkeeper) Patrick Deyto said, ‘They have to shut up coach Alvin because every time we talk about championships, it’s always the 1998 batch that we talk about.’
“I think it’s high time we talk about the new batch, the new generation.”
Meanwhile, Gayoso felt that the win over FEU exorcised demons from their elimination at the hands of the UST Golden Booters in Season 80.
“It was our first opportunity to play in Rizal after that loss in the semis last season. We wanted to make everything worth it. We wanted to give everything,” he pointed out.
“We’ve worked so hard and it’s just a blessing that we’re given the win.”
This is the biggest game between both schools since the Season 78 Final Four contest, which Ateneo won via penalties after the score remained 1-1 in regulation. Despite the higher stakes this time around, both individuals casually hung out together after the Ateneo-FEU fixture and showed no signs of friction.
Ultimately, though, both of them only wish the best for each other in life. They maintain a championship game will not put a roadblock in their relationship.
“We all wanted the Ateneo-La Salle game. We were all cheering for each other,” said the fourth-year student-athlete.
“I really wanted to go against La Salle in the Finals, and I’m pretty sure Tito Alvin wanted me to flourish in this game. It’s a nice game.”
“I just want him to have what I never got to achieve, and that is playing professional football within ASEAN countries – or better yet, a European team. He needs to go further,” said Ocampo.
“A talent like him can rarely be seen locally.”
The UAAP can be an intense battleground for athletes and coaches who want to emerge victorious after all the hard work they put in every single day. Still, blood is always thicker than school colors. And so, when the final whistle arrives, expect the familial bond between both gentlemen to be stronger after a unique occasion like this.