The 2019 PFFWL season kicked off last weekend at the PFF National Training Centre in Carmona, Cavite, with wins for last season’s top four teams – including a mighty showing from title-holders De La Salle University.
Six DLSU scorers run riot in romp of Maroons FC
The new-look De La Salle University opened their title defense in dominant fashion, pounding Maroons FC for a 7-2 victory.
A rookie goal formally opened proceedings with Angelica Tevez’s nifty turnaround shot in the 18th minute. Anicka Castañeda’s follow-up twelve minutes later was indicative of how La Salle were keen on dominating the match, punctuated by captain Bea Delos Reyes’ goal just a minute afterward.
The Maroons managed to respond when Marianne Ruiz’s long-range strike found the back of the net in the 37th minute, only to be discouraged by Mary Cristine Duran’s set-piece header barely two minutes later.
It was all downhill for the Diliman-based girls from there. Alisha Del Campo bagged a brace in the 75th and 87th minutes, with Sara Castañeda’s 81st-minute contribution in between.
The Maroons did have the last say with Catriona Yeneza’s injury-time goal; however, it was still clear that the reigning UAAP and PFFWL champions outclassed the opposition.
“We have a very good problem with our rotation. We haven’t had this kind of rotation in years. Coaches would want the problem we have, to be able to have the luxury of putting in and out players,” said mentor Hans-Peter Smit, whose first eleven featured mainly rookies and only two veterans.
“The first half we just proved a point that we did pretty well with our rookies.”
UST edges Tigers FC in friendly clash
Last season’s finalists University of Santo Tomas nearly blew a three-goal lead, but hung on to beat familiar foes Tigers FC, 3-2.
Nathalie Absalon’s efforts were a massive boost for the Lady Booters. She first gave her team the lead in the 26th minute, before netting a brace in the 51st minute.
Kristine Joy Abo-abo’s 40th-minute contribution then rounded out UST’s 3-nil cushion, before Lovely Fernandez of Tigers FC decided to take matters into her own hands.
Her gutsy header goal in the 70th minute seemed to turn the tide in their favor, aided by the penalty goal in stoppage time. Ultimately, though, it was too little, too late as UST escaped with full points.
Assistant coach Paula Cervantes is aware of her side’s problems, and hopes to address them as the tournament – which they see as preparation for the UAAP games – progresses.
“Masaya nanalo pero kailangan pa rin talaga mag-improve ng bawat isa. May kulang pa eh. As much as possible, one game at a time lang kami. Just win the game and do our best inside the pitch. Yun lang muna,” she said.
Onrubia brace powers FEU past GAU FC
2018 third-placers Far Eastern University found their groove late to snatch the three points from Green Archers United FC, 3-0.
With fresh graduates from the DLSU program manning the ranks of GAU FC, they proved to be a match for the UAAP Season 81 finalists. FEU struggled with their offense for most of the match until Let Dimzon made key substitutions deep into the second half.
The effect was immediate, as sub Joyce Onrubia broke the scoreless deadlock in the 74th minute. Six minutes later, Onrubia outpaced her markers for a brace. With four minutes remaining, Eojin Koh combined with Hannah Faith Pachejo for a top-of-the-box goal to cap off the Tamaraw victory.
Dimzon later admitted that she was experimenting with her squad since many of her key players are focused on national team training, which she is also handling.
“Nag-start ako ng newbies based sa nakita kong players ng Green Archers. Yung objective namin was to run our play, then I used the other senior players. Maganda yung first half pero nagkukulang kami sa finishing. With this tournament siyempre we will look for the best result, kaya pag-aaralan namin lahat na teams kasi madaming bago,” she said.
Bandoja hat-trick sinks UP
Tuloy FC showed their fourth-place finish last year was no fluke as they routed collegiate opponent University of the Philippines, 4-1.
Fresh off training with the senior women’s national team, last season’s Golden Boot winner Isabella Bandoja proved she was the real deal with goals in the 18th, 34th, and 90th minutes. Constantly prowling in the final third, her hat-trick showed what a dangerous striker she is after poaching defensive errors that fell into her path.
Jonalyn Lucban was the other scorer for Tuloy with a nonchalant free-kick that looped over the wall and keeper Patricia Morilla in the 30th minute.
On the other hand, Sofia Dungca added a consolation goal from first half stoppage.
“It’s a satisfying win because teams in this league are all strong and are more experienced and older than our players,” shared Taketomo Suzuki.
“I’m happy our team played aggressive today. We will try to win all the games and to improve as a team throughout the season, win or lose,” the Tuloy tactician added.
DLSU – 3 pts (+5 GD)
Tuloy FC – 3 pts (+3 GD)
FEU – 3 pts (+3 GD)
UST – 3 pts (+1 GD)
Tigers FC – 0 pt (-1 GD)
GAU FC – 0 pt (-3 GD)
UP – 0 pt (-3 GD)
UP – 0 pt (-5 GD)
Stallion-Hiraya – —
Nomads FC – —
The PFF Women’s League continues on Saturday, August 3 at De La Salle University Laguna with newcomers Nomads FC taking on the defending champions De La Salle University at 8:00 A.M.. followed by Maroons FC versus Stallion-Hiraya FC at 10:00 A.M.
On Sunday, August 4 at the PFF National Training Centre, Tuloy FC will battle the University of Santo Tomas at 8:00 A.M., followed by Tigers FC and Far Eastern University at 10:00 A.M.