The Christmas break is going to be a little merrier for the University of the Philippines men’s football team. The booters from Diliman closed out their final assignment of 2014 in ruthless fashion, trouncing the still winless Adamson University, 6-0, Thursday afternoon at the FEU-FERN football field.
The first half was all UP from start to finish. Vincent Aguilar had the chance to draw first blood at the sixth minute, breaking through the defense to go one-on-one with Adamson keeper Carl Jupiter Viray, but the ball ended up flying wide over the bar. A mere minute later, the first of UP’s four first half goals came when Michaels Simms managed to squeeze through the Adamson back and receive the inside pass from teammate Jacob Ochoa to score on the point-blank shot. Simms had the chance to double his output only two minutes later at the ninth minute, striking from the right flank after escaping Adamson’s defenders, but the ball was slapped away by Adamson keeper Viray.
The UP flurry only continued, and at the 19th minute, Ochoa, who set up UP’s first goal 12 minutes earlier, found an opening in the Adamson defense after receiving the inside pass from Aguilar to the extend the lead to 2-0. Another UP goal came at the 28th minute, after what initially appeared to be a cross from the left wing by Daniel Gadia ended up sailing past the keeper and into the net. Aguilar, the control tower at the center midfield, who had kept the Adamson defenders on their toes for most of the first half had the chance to bag his first goal just three minutes later, breaking through the Adamson back to go one-on-one with goalie Viray, but had the ball swept from under his feet before he could ease into shooting form.
Aguilar, who wore the captain’s band for the first half, was finally rewarded with his first goal at the 40th minute, escaping the Adamson defenders once more to strike from the right post. At the halftime break, UP led by a staggering 4-0.
The Adamson offense showed some life around the 50th minute after Brian Bless Jumo I was able to get into position for a strike just inside the penalty box, but the ball was caught by UP goalie Ace Villanueva. Another golden opportunity for Adamson to finally score came 10 minutes later, after an erroneous attempt to take control of the ball by the UP front line of defense led to Jumo I escaping the clutter of the midfield to race down the other end of the pitch, with only substitute UP goalie Micah Alampay to stop him. Quick to his feet, Alampay was able to meet Jumo I before the Adamsonian could get into position for the easy shot, swiping the ball from his feet with a clean tackle and denying the Falcons the easy goal.
UP on the other hand proved unsatisfied with their four goals in the first half, and kept biting at the heels of the struggling Adamson defense. Gerardo Valmayor, UP’s leading scorer who was substituted into the game just shortly after the start of the second half, had the chance to bag his fifth goal at the 67th minute, connecting with a volley from teammate Francisco Santos, but the shot from the front of the goal was blocked. Though Valmayor would later finish the game without a single goal, his presence of mind on the attack and skillful passing kept the UP offense going, and at the 74th minute, it was his pass to teammate Joseph Ryan Fermin that produced the Maroons’ fifth goal. Fermin, after corralling the pass from Valmayor just outside the penalty box, sent a powerful strike from long range that left Viray stunned in place.
Another UP goal later came at the 76th minute, following a cross from just around the left post to keep the ball in play by Lou Rafanan that was received by Rogie Maglinas, who was able to head in the ball and bag UP’s sixth goal.
UP’s continued dominance of the midfield prevented the Falcons from mounting the late resurgence. A couple more Adamson attacks approaching the 90th minute only yielded shots that went wide or were stopped by the UP defense, and at the end of injury time, UP escaped with the clean sheet.
“Maganda yung adjustment nila. Yun yung pinag-planuhan namin at pinakita naman nila. Maganda yung response nila from the bad performance against Ateneo,” said UP head coach Anto Gonzales regarding his team’s performance. “Na-establish namin ang aming midfield na talaga namang nag-demand ng bola at willing to distribute.”
Following the victory, UP now sits at the top of the standings with 10 points, beating Ateneo, who also has 10 points in the season thus far, via goal differential. Adamson, yet to record any wins or draws this season, sits at the bottom of the standings with zero points.