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Menares, Anotado rekindle title hopes, lift UST over Adamson

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A brace each from Efren Menares and Steven Anotado steered UST to a comfortable 4-1 win against Adamson, Sunday afternoon at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field. The duo’s goals have brought life to UST’s ailing campaign thus far.

The game produced promising but unsuccessful opportunities in the first 15 minutes. Both squads had decent openings but were unable to create a shot with enough quality to breach defenses. It took 18 minutes for the game’s scorecard to be altered. Menares found himself a good amount of space to fire his shot past Carl Viray to give UST the advantage.

On their part, Adamson attempted to threaten UST but their shots never alarmed UST goalkeeper John Rey Catalino. The Thomasians were eager to take maximum points against the young Falcons. Menares cushioned their lead 35 minutes into the contest by pouncing on the loose ball caused by poor clearance on a cross.

Three minutes after having their lead doubled, UST moved towards putting the match out of reach for Adamson. After Menares scored the first two goals, it was Anotado who netted for UST. He took control in a swift counterattack that had the Adamson defense scrambling before he skilfully slid in the ball into the goal. Ahead by three, UST seemed to cruise their way safely up to the final whistle.

Adamson, however, had other ideas. Marc de Guzman’s cross from the right flank picked out Bless Jumo to pull one back for Adamson four minutes before the break. At halftime, UST’s lead was reduced to two.

Most of the chances came UST’s way in the second half. The Tigers aimed to restore their three-goal lead and perhaps even add more to their tally at the end of the 90. They punched a fourth goal courtesy of Anotado whose presence in the box only needed the ball to trouble the Adamson defense. There were countless opportunities spurned by both teams that would have brought momentary joy to each side. The game ended with the Tigers dispatching the Falcons, 4-1.

It was a great result for UST as it not only sent them back to winning ways but it also allowed them to gain ground in chasing the top five, all of whom have drawn this weekend. UST coach Marjo Allado hopes that UST will peak at the right time. “Iyong desire ng players manalo nandito pa rin. Kung ‘yung first round sa ibang teams, as sa second round bumawi. Pwede pa naman humabol. Hindi pa tapos ang lahat,” he said.

As for Adamson coach Nolan Manito, this goes down as another learning opportunity for his young wards. Only in their first year, he is proud that his boys are doing their best in competing against the experienced squads. “Binigay nila yung 100%.” However, not having a field of their own to train is still something the team is frowning upon. Hopefully they will have it soon; Manito also pointed out the team’s determination to battle against the rest of the league. “Ipakita lang na hindi kami basta-basta matatalo.”

The results this weekend favored the Tigers the most as it opens up room for them to clinch a Final Four slot. They are now just five points behind FEU and NU, both of whom have 14 points in fourth and fifth places respectively. Adamson remains at the bottom, still winless after suffering eight consecutive defeats.

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