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(C) Mia Montayre/UAAP Season 86 Media Team


Keith Hermoso offers UE stunner vs DLSU to those who did not give up on them

Just when also-ran University of the East appeared ready to conclude its campaign in the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Football Tournament quietly, it decided to pull off the biggest upset of the year yet.

Grit and determination earned them a 2-1 victory over Final Four contender De La Salle University last Sunday.

The Red Warriors were sharper compared to the Green Booters, continuously pressing and attempting to find an end product in the final third of the pitch.

In contrast, the Green Booters played as if their two-week break had dulled their edge, despite coming off a two-game winning streak.

“Ang masasabi ko lang po ay nagpapasalamat ako sa coaching staff namin, tsaka sa mga kaibigan ko at mga kasama ko dito sa team na hindi sumuko,” said Keith Nayr Hermoso, who scored the game’s winning goal in the 81st minute.

“Kahit hindi masyado napapansin ang football, sa ngayong araw na ito, mapapansin na.

“Bali yung symbol po namin Red Warriors, kaya nagpakita kami ng isang mandirigma na ayaw sumuko kahit anong laban,” he added.

After captain Nikko Palacio gave UE the lead just 11 minutes into the game, the Recto school faced its first setback.

Starting goalkeeper Chrisjan Niño Tambilawan was sent off in the 32nd minute for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity foul.

La Salle then sensed an opening, and Christian Peñalosa equalized for the Green Booters in the 73rd minute.

Despite being a man down and conceding what could have been a heartbreaking equalizer, the Red Warriors persisted in seeking the win.

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They got their reward by the end of the match, as Hermoso’s strike – coupled with substitute goalie Joniel James Pamati-an’s saves in stoppage time – brought home all three points.

UAAP-86-MFB-Joniel-Pamati-an-2 Keith Hermoso offers UE stunner vs DLSU to those who did not give up on them Football News UAAP UE  - philippine sports news

(C) Mia Montayre/UAAP Season 86 Media Team

“Nung una, kinakabahan talaga ako kasi ang ganda na ng pinakita ng isang keeper namin tapos nawala,” said Pamati-an. “Ako yung pumalit, dapat ibigay ko din ang best ko para makatulong din sa team.

“Kinabahan ako kasi akala ko wala na pero, sinabihan ko yung team ko na heads up pa rin kasi may time pa. Pag may time pa, dapat laban pa rin, laban pa rin. Ayun, naka-goal kami,” he added.

Pamati-an went on, “Happy ako kasi natulungan ko yung team ko manalo. Na-save ko yung mga crucial na shots nila and yun – sobrang happy ko kasi natulungan ko yung team ko.

“I’m so happy po dahil hindi biro kalabanin ang La Salle. Madami silang malalakas na players and maganda quality nila.”

This season has been a difficult one for UE. The Red Warriors are sixth in the standings in this seven-team tournament with only seven points and a minus-18 goal difference on the back of two wins, one draw, and eight losses.

UAAP-86-MFB-Frank-Muescan Keith Hermoso offers UE stunner vs DLSU to those who did not give up on them Football News UAAP UE  - philippine sports news

(C) Mia Montayre/UAAP Season 86 Media Team

For coach Frank Muescan, who is in his first year as the Red Warriors’ mentor, this campaign is all about instilling a winning culture in a program that tended to falter during the second round of the competition – just when it looked like it could finally break through that Final Four barrier.

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Muescan – a champion coach at the UAAP and Philippines Football League levels – has ambitious targets for UE in the seasons to come.

While this victory over La Salle technically amounted only to three points this season, he wants to make it a turning point for his players as they compete in the following years.

“Lahat sila parang dumating sa point na na-realize nila na it’s time really to step up,” said Muescan.

“Kasi kultura nga puro talo, puro talo – this time ito na yung umpisa siguro. Gutom sila. Gutom sila sa championship. Gutom sila sa panalo. Siguro nag-sink in sa kanila na they need to win.”

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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