University of Santo Tomas maintained its place on top of the UAAP Season 86 High School Boys’ Football Tournament standings in dramatic fashion last Sunday with a 1-1 draw against Ateneo de Manila University.
This time it was Dwight Pancho who was the hero for the Junior Golden Booters. The 17-year-old midfielder headed the ball home in the 90+7 minute to save UST a point after Ateneo broke the deadlock earlier through Xian Renzo Tumang’s 68th minute goal.
“Thank you po kay Lord na na-goal,” said the former Mariano Marcos High School student.
“Masaya po kasi hindi sumuko mga kasama ko sa game kahit last minute. Patuloy pa rin ang hard work.”
Heading into the game, the Junior Golden Booters were heavy favorites considering that they took down the 11-time defending champions FEU-D Baby Tamaraws. However, they were impotent in the final third for most of the game.
When Tumang struck for the Blue Eagles, it looked like Ateneo would get its first win since it defeated National University-Nazareth School 1-0 back in Season 82 last January 8, 2020 but Pancho’s late intervention protected UST’s undefeated run.
It was the perfect contribution from the player who hails from Santa Ana, Manila, as he came off the bench in the 72nd minute for defender Vincenzo Solidum.
“Swerte po sila kasi naka unang goal sila pero bumawi kami,” said Pancho. “Kasi po, sub po ako and ginawa ko po lahat para ma-goal po yung header na yun.
“Importante po yun kasi panalo na dapat sila. One-zero na po kami. Ginawan na lang namin mag-draw na lang po para hindi sila makapanalo po.”
UST will enter the second round of the tournament this Sunday in uncharted territory. The Junior Golden Booters are looking to enter the finals for the first time.
Pancho and his teammates are not yet there, though, and the game against the Blue Eagles is one they can learn a lot from.
“First of all, credit to Ateneo because they were very good at defending,” said coach Marjo Allado. “Sa side naman namin, I think we lacked the finishing touches today.
“We dominated the game for the 90 minutes pero kung titignan mo yung percentage ng attempts dahil nga closed down lagi UST. I think we need more creativity against teams who play a low block like them.”