The PFF Women’s League resumed last Saturday after bad weather forced an entire weekend’s worth of matches to be cancelled the previous week. The University of Santo Tomas continued to be in imperious form with a blowout win that brought them to the very top of the ladder.
Meanwhile, De La Salle University and OutKast FC’s pursuit of the league leaders has been sidetracked when their clash ended in a tie. Similarly, the UP-Ateneo rivalry sizzled but also ended in a draw. Then the club rivalry between Hiraya FC and Green Archers United FC was settled with the former getting the advantage this season.
Those who followed the league wondered what the season’s dark horse so far in Tuloy FC could do against the might of the University of Santo Tomas. But last season’s runners-up stood their ground and humbled the club team from Alabang, 11-0.
Charisa Lemoran was first on the scoreboard after scoring inside five minutes. The early goal did not deter Tuloy FC who defiantly attacked the Growling Tigresses’ half until a flurry of goals twelve minutes later seemed to have broken their spirit including Lemoran’s second goal in the 21st minute.
Shelah Mae Cadag continued to be in perfect form completing a hat-trick in 16 minutes with goals in the 17th, 23rd and 33rd minutes while adding another at the stroke of half-time. She scored two further times in the second half (59th and 70th minutes).
Captain Hazel Lustan joined the offensive party adding two goals in first half added time and in the 57th minute, while Ronalyn Lagata turned super-sub again after contributing the final goal in the 83rd minute.
For coach Aging Rubio, it was the barrage of goals early in the match that mattered the most.
“Kinabahan ako dahil malakas naman yung Tuloy. Unang pagpasok nila, inaatake kami. Nadadaan kasi kami minsan sa gulatan eh, so yun yung worry ko nung una. Kailangan namin ma-overcome yung feeling na nagulat dahil na-score-an kami so good thing, hindi naman kami bumigay,” she said.
Cadag already has a wide lead in number of goals scored at 18 in just four matches played. She needs only three more to match the record of DLSU’s Kyra Dimaandal established from last season.
Siaotong stoppage time equalizer stuns defending champions La Salle to draw
Hoping to keep pace with the league leaders are De La Salle University and club team OutKast FC yet both relinquished pursuit after cancelling each other out 1-1. The club team has also snapped La Salle’s winning streak that extended from last season and left it at 15 games.
While the Lady Archers controlled much of the game early on, OutKast were determined to match their intensity. The ladies from Taft had plenty of scoring opportunities which were foiled by the staunch defense of OutKast’s backline.
In the second half, national team and La Sallian taliswoman Sara Castañeda made the breakthrough after picking the ball off an OutKast midfielder then combined with Rocelle Mendaño for a 66th minute strike.
The advantage to La Salle diffused OutKast for a while. Yet the Lady Archers kept missing opportunities to double their lead and this gave the club team all the hope they needed.
It was Sharmine Siaotong who punished La Salle’s wastefulness after a timely flick pass by Loreta Ladero led to a last-minute equalizer in stoppage time.
OutKast FC Manager Keuts Smith was clearly delighted at what her club team had pulled off against the defending champions.
“I’m very pleased, obviously a win would have been better. But for us a draw against La Salle in the way that it happened was for us, it’s amazing. It’s like everyone was giving up and maybe the other team was [tuning out] but you know that’s the game, you have to play until the very end and never assume anything until the final whistle,” she said.
Coach Alvin Ocampo meanwhile looked the opposite albeit consoled by the fact that it happened at a preseason tournament for La Salle and not the UAAP.
“Actually it’s breaks of the game, it’s football. You play, ball is round, OutKast gave us a good run sa last few minutes. Yun ang football eh, you cannot win every game,” he said before revealing that the team is still in experimental mode.
“We’re a work in progress until we can see what system will work for us, anong combination will work for us, kung sino yung tama sa position na to,” Ocampo added.
As the only two club teams to end last season in the top half, Hiraya FC and Green Archers United FC share a kind of rivalry on determining which is the better non-UAAP team. After their only meeting this season, it was advantage Hiraya after prevailing 2-1.
Hiraya led early when a corner taken by Natasha Alquiros after ten minutes of play left the ball bouncing off players in the box before Cecilia Dayrit slammed it home.
Two minutes after halftime, Aiza Mondero played a through pass to the front where Camille Rodriguez was waiting and the national team striker casually slid it past national teammate Inna Palacios.
GAU did not sit idly by and managed to pull a goal back in the last six minutes. Maria Layacan took advantage of the slight confusion on the field after the ball smacked a teammate on the face left a high ball for the taking. Hiraya goalkeeper Gely Tiu may have stopped a penalty earlier in the match but she was helpless against Layacan’s left-footed strike.
The 84th minute goal made Hiraya nervous for a while but eventually they held on.
Coach Philip Dinglasan was relieved that his side was able to escape with the win.
“Siyempre it’s a big win because it’s our first win. Today our objective was really to get the three points, minimum was one point. We’re lucky we had enough substitutes so we were able to finish the game with a win. Towards the end kabado pa nga kami baka mag-draw kasi their striker was really fantastic,” he said.
Dinglasan also made it clear what Hiraya were after this season.
“I hope we continue to get more points. Basta sa amin one of our goals is to be top of the club teams, to get ahead of the others. Of course we’re in a competition we want to place well,” he added.
Both the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University were seeking their first win and first points going into this match. At the Katipunan derby’s conclusion, however, victory remains elusive with the 2-2 draw yet each have finally gained at least a point.
Five minutes into the game, Ateneo already led. A poor clearance led the ball into Daniella Gonzales’ waiting feet and the forward let loose a belter of a goal from the top of the box.
Cassandra Alleje responded in kind via free kick from thirty yards out to level both teams in the 48th minute.
After 55 minutes, Mary Rose Obra’s inspired curling shot from long range gave the Lady Maroons the advantage.
With UP having the momentum it seemed like they were on their way to their first win in ten or so matches including the UAAP, until a half-volley strike inside the box by Katya Pe with seven minutes left on the clock spoiled the dream and led this season’s Battle of Katipunan to end in a truce.
UP coach Andres Gonzales was at a loss at foregoing the full three points.
“After we scored our second goal in the second half, we just shut down. I don’t know if it’s mental, if it’s fitness, kasi momentum na yun eh. Dapat after that second goal, all the more that they have to get that full momentum. But they did the opposite thing which is they sat back, and that gave Ateneo a chance,” he said.
Gonzales found some silver lining with how his side performed in the first half as well as reaching some objectives, but he reiterated what his team needed to fix.
“They have to realize that they need to be consistent. And how they become consistent: preparation. Mental and physical preparation, both are equally important,” he added.
It seemed that his Atenean counterpart is fretting over the same issues with his squad as well.
“We score first pero hindi namin [ma-sustain] yung consistency, nawawala siya. Kapag nawala na sila dun sa comfort zone nila, talagang bumibigay. Like yung aggressiveness nawawala. Sa game na ‘to, nakaka-cope naman yung ibang players pero may mga moment lang talaga na wala, so yung pagiging consistent talaga yung importante sa game. Minsan mas gusto ko nga na mas late kami mag-goal para easy to handle na,” said John Paul Merida who also brought up some positives.
“In the end, I’m happy because from nag-lead yung UP talagang pinilit nila mag-draw. Hindi magpatalo. Hindi lang nakuha yung target namin, of course which is to get the three points, to get the first win sana,” he added.
UST – 12 pts (+32 GD)
OutKast FC – 10 pts (+13 GD)
DLSU – 7 pts (+5 GD)
FEU – 4 pts (-1 GD)
Hiraya FC – 4 pts (-3 GD)
Tuloy FC – 3 pts (-11 GD)
DLS Zobel – 3 pts (-19 GD)
UP – 1 pt (-4 GD)
ADMU – 1 pt (-4 GD)
GAU FC – 0 pt (-8 GD)
The PFF Women’s League continues on Saturday, September 29 at the PFF National Training Centre in Carmona, Cavite with University of the Philippines facing Green Archers United FC at 8:00 A.M. followed by sister teams De La Salle University and De La Salle Zobel at 10:30 A.M.
On Sunday, September 30, Far Eastern University return to action against Ateneo de Manila University at 8:00 A.M. with Hiraya FC and Tuloy FC next at 10:30 A.M.