The De La Salle University Lady Archers have taken the full 39 points to reign as the PFF Women’s League’s inaugural champions. The Taft-based squad have now won their second title of the year — together with the UAAP Season 79 championship — and are currently enjoying a 22-match unbeaten streak.
With 27 points, the University of Santo Tomas take second, while the Far Eastern University are a point behind in third. Fuego Espanya were given special citation with the Fair Play Award.
DLSU’s Sara Castañeda was chosen as the league’s Most Valuable Player. Two more of her teammates took home citations, with Kyra Dimaandal bagging the Golden Boot with a total of 21 goals and Inna Palacios named as Best Goalkeeper. UST’s Charisa Lemoran took the Best Midfielder honors, while Ivy Lopez was declared Best Defender.
La Salle smashes shorthanded TYFA 16 times to secure title and perfect record, 16-0
Already assured of the trophy, the De La Salle University headed into the game in Carmona last Saturday relaxed, only slightly pressured to keep a spotless record. DLSU boss Hans-Peter Smit also started his strongest eleven when he gave a special nod to his exiting players.
The ladies in green took full advantage of the Younghusband FA’s severe lack in manpower, netting seven in the first half and nine in the second.
Irish Navaja kicked things off with a left-footed strike from the wings to put the Lady Archers up in the 10th minute. Four minutes later Kyra Dimaandal doubled La Salle’s output, and she would go on to score three more in the 33rd, 42nd and 61st minutes.
Kyla Inquig added a pair in the 27th and 34th minutes, while Nicole Andaya registered a hat-trick, scoring in the 37th, 46th, and the last goal in the 89th.
Chelo Hodges chipped in with a 60th minute cleanup goal, while eventual MVP Sara Castañeda added another seven minutes later. A further four minutes and her sister Anicka joined the goal spree, completing a brace in a span of eight minutes.
The Lady Archers did not relent even in the dying minutes with transferee Bea Delos Reyes netting her first goals for her new team, a pair in the 81st and 85th minutes, the latter one a stunning turnaround shot inside the box.
Despite blowing out the game and in essence, the league, Smit remains modest about his team’s achievements including the 22-game winning streak, even saying it was all coincidental.
“It’s not like we started to look for a record of sorts! It just happened, I didn’t even know that we were on a roll. We weren’t really after it because we always go one game at a time. So we made it our mission besides winning the championship of both the UAAP and the PFF-WL,” he said, sharing that it is a good preparation for the coming UAAP season — which is what he is really after.
“I said, if we’ll do well in the women’s league then let’s go for it since we’re there na,” Smit added.
One player who has benefited from Smit’s tutelage is the elder Castañeda, who revealed what had taken to where they are now. “We just follow what he says. He gives us a main play to follow then we just mix it up during the game,” she shared.
The MVP recipient is also grateful that the arrival of league has helped her team grow since their heartbreaking loss in UAAP Season 79 final, the last time they lost.
“Because of this league we are able to play more games so yes it is good for our team’s chemistry,” she added.
Castañeda is also grateful to have given the team’s many graduating veterans a triumphant sendoff.
“Thank you to the seniors for helping the younger players on the team and good luck with your future!”
Hiraya FC dig deep to stage comeback victory over OutKast FC, 3-1
The weekend’s club team derby saw two teams that not only sought to end their season with a bang — but also with a place in the top half of the table.
Though outnumbered, it was OutKast FC who came flying off the blocks and immediately put the pressure on Hiraya. Hiraya’s defense was nearly successful in stamping out OutKast’s aggression until Barbie Sobredo’s close-range strike in stoppage outpaced keeper Haya Ibarra to grab a lead at halftime.
Hiraya regrouped and with patience found their equalizer in Aiza Mondero twenty minutes after restart. Three minutes later, Vanessa Anne Fabon’s one-touch delivery fired in the go-ahead.
OutKast attempted to counter but were falling prey to cramps in the early afternoon sun. Hiraya capitalized on this, and in the 88th minute went off on another run that saw Cecilia Dayrit gunning for Mondero’s through-ball from the middle. Keeper Hazel Arce was also scrambling for it but Dayrit won the race, slotting the ball in for the game’s final goal.
Ibarra later gave credit to Alice Dela Peña for firing the team up during halftime.
“I remember Alice saying before start of the half in the huddle that she feels we’ll end the game as winners and the team agreed. And we did win,” the team captain shared.
Ibarra is also contented with her team’s performance in the league and to finish in fifth with 19 points, while also hinting that the team has not actually reached their full potential, thus remaining hopeful for the next season.
“I’m happy because we were able to get this far as a new club team. We look forward to playing more games and growing women’s football together,” she added.
On the other hand, OutKast did not share Hiraya’s enthusiasm. Manager Keuts Smith wished to air her grievances that may have led her team to spiral down to the bottom half, in eighth place, after starting with so much promise. Smith joins many other club representatives who have lamented the execution of the league by the Philippine Football Federation.
“When the league started last year, there was a real excitement about it, fast forward ten months later it became a chore for all involved,” said Smith, who also blamed the tight schedule for getting one of her players seriously injured.
“I’m happy that OutKast FC was able to participate in the inaugural PFFWL but I’m disappointed that the PFF didn’t maximize the opportunity to promote women’s football. I’m dismayed at the overall lack of respect for the participants of the league by the PFF, putting their best interests first which is to complete the league regardless of the quality of it, and everything else second. On the positive side, it is the first PFFWL and hopefully improvements can be made.”
Ateneo ends on a high leaving Fuego Espanya empty with four unanswered goals, 4-0
The Lady Eagles of Ateneo de Manila University found themselves with 18 points and in sixth place at the finish line, while their victory also means that opponents Fuego Espanya end their season winless.
Jill Panganiban scored her first goal for Ateneo when she netted a tap-in in the 13th minute. 11 minutes later, the former Green Archers United FC winger jumped on a rebound for a long-range strike.
Five minutes before the half, it was Tessa Bernardo’s turn to score from a further distance, firing in a sensational golazo that rainbowed over the keeper and into the back of the net.
After halftime, Ateneo’s keeper Mariane Caparros switched to striker and two minutes later added a fourth goal off a flying header.
The win puts the Katipunan-based squad squarely on top of the bottom half, in fourth, among the UAAP teams, and mentor John Paul Merida could not hide his disappointment.
“I’m not really happy with the team’s performance because it has been inconsistent. When the PFF women’s league started, our objective was to perform well and to get the number one spot, but we ended up with a middle standing,” said Merida.
He added that while the team did not meet their objective, he is still thankful for such a tournament.
“I’m glad this tournament organized by the PFF is here, it was a good experience for the team.”
Three-star FEU shuts out UP to close season, 3-0
The Far Eastern University were already a handful of points clear of Green Archers United FC to finish the season in third before they started the last league game. Meanwhile, the University of the Philippines were hoping to end the season on a positive note, only to be denied thrice, with FEU taking 26 points and leaving the Lady Maroons with only 13.
Portia Acibar led the way for the Lady Tamaraws last Monday in FERN Diliman, with a free kick goal in the 30th minute. Kate Dacanay doubled the lead in the 72nd minute with a left-footed half-volley near the top of the box. Suet Simoy then tripled the Morayta-based squad’s lead when her free-kick shot was too strong for the keeper.
FEU coach Let Dimzon had previously aimed to finish higher than third but said the end result was good enough.
“It was a good finish for us. Out of the four games in the second round, three wins and a loss is better than our performance in the first round. Finishing [with bronze is better] than nothing. Nagawa pa rin namin makabalik sa top three coming from 7th or 8th [nung the first round],” Dimzon said.
“Kahit di nasunod yung original plan sa PFFWL because of some reasons, we were expecting kasi to have more games. But we are still lucky to be in the top group of UAAP teams,” she added.
DLSU – 39 (pts)
UST – 27
FEU – 26
GAU FC – 19
Hiraya FC – 19
ADMU – 18
TYFA – 15
OutKast FC – 14
UP – 13
Fuego Espanya – 0