Since conceding once on their opening day victory, the University of Santo Tomas Lady Booters have locked their goal tight, resulting in last weekend’s fourth straight clean sheet and them remaining unbeaten for five matches in a row.
Meanwhile their closest rivals De La Salle University Lady Booters are keeping pace after mastering fellow collegiate team Far Eastern University. Tuloy FC have also shown that they are a cut above the league’s only other high school team in Zobel. The Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles then bagged their first three points after a sensational seesaw match against top club OutKast FC.
The match-up between Tuloy FC and De La Salle Zobel was an interesting one if just for the fact that they are the only teams that heavily featured players still in high school. Both are based in Alabang, but it was the squad organized by the Tuloy Sa Don Bosco Foundation that dominated the youngster’s derby, 6-2.
Tuloy’s most promising player,Isabella Bandoja, netted four goals in the contest, starting in the 19th minute and doubling it five minutes later. The captain completed her hat-trick in the 51st minute, before earning a double-brace in the 81st.
Teammates Jenny Perez and Marian Vista added a goal each, scoring in the 22nd and 65th minutes respectively.
The league’s dark horses were in cruise control for most of the match as if confident they could handle their city rivals. A too-relaxed Tuloy gave way to Zobel tarnishing the would-have-been perfect scoreline after the latter pulled two goals back via Marinelle Cristobal in the 58th minute and Stacey Arthur in the 88th.
“Actually hindi ako masaya sa performance ng bata,” said coach Rey Cuenco. “Kilala namin Zobel, nakakalaro namin sila, same age, kaya palagay ko walang gaanong pressure kaya minsan masyadong relaxed sila.”
Cuenco added that his side had even fared better against the veterans of Hiraya FC in their last fixture, which ended in a draw.
“Sa akin hindi about winning, gusto ko yung learning nila. Mas maganda yung pinakita nila last week kasi they gave a hundred percent kahit alam nilang mas experienced yung kalaban nila ‘tsaka mas matanda sa kanila. Dito same age pero hindi hundred percent eh, yun ang problema. Yun yung aayusin ko.”
The De La Salle University appear to be finally getting over their slow start after a thorough 3-1 victory over UAAP adversary Far Eastern University.
The first half-hour of the contest saw both teams exchanging runs that either failed to capitalize on until Sara Castañeda’s 30th minute strike gave the Lady Archers the advantage.
FEU tightened their defenses again as a result, and it took until late into the second half in the 70th minute before the La Sallians found their second goal via Alisha Del Campo.
Five minutes later, Kyra Dimaandal broke the Lady Tamaraw’s resolve, which rendered even Joyce Onrubia’s late consolation virtually meaningless.
“I’m satisfied but not a hundred perfect satisfied, we need to perform a little bit better,” said Hans-Peter Smit.
“They’re getting there slowly, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Last few games they weren’t playing my game at all. They just need to continue playing the way I want them to play, the way I trained them. We’ll see what happens, consistency now is what I’m after,” said the man in charge of DLSU, who promised that the best from his team is yet to come.
“Everybody has a chance to step up and prove their worth because I cannot play with eleven players only. The others off the bench need to play more. As long as the girls know their roles, regardless of what formation you use as long as the players are all continuously moving and know where to go, it’ll make the game easier.”
The Ateneo de Manila University had barely any success before the weekend and had a mountain to climb against one of the top teams in the league in OutKast FC. It looked like the Lady Eagles were on the verge of forfeiting yet another game, but the seesaw match at the last minute swayed to their favor, 3-2.
Much like some of their previous games, Ateneo led first after Cathy Cabrera’s 18-yard shot was too powerful for Yasmin Elauria to handle in the 29th minute. Also like their previous games, the Lady Eagles would easily surrender their lead as Dai Dolino’s free-kick belter leveled proceedings in the 41st minute.
Martie Bautista – who had been creating opportunities in the first half with her pace – had been coming up empty until twenty three minutes into the second half, when she banished all the frustration away to give Ateneo back the lead.
But Dolino responded again when left unchecked as she barrelled towards Ateneo keeper Mariane Caparros for the second equalizer. With two minutes left until full time, the same dreaded feeling of disappointment crept up on the ladies of Katipunan, while a tired OutKast were only too happy to settle for a draw.
But a reinvigorated Bautista had other plans, as she made a mad dash down the flanks for a last push in injury time. As her marker almost caught on to her, she crossed a pass which astonishingly found a wide open Tessa Bernardo on the weak side. Bernardo only had to slot the ball in before Elauria could get to it in time and with the ball flicking the back of the net, Ateneo finally notched their first league win.
“I’m so pleased yung performance nila middle of the game nandun nagtrabaho talaga especially the veterans. Yung hardwork and determination ng girls talagang, they’re here to get the first three points so I’m happy,” John Paul Merida enthused proudly.
The Ateneo coach went on to reveal a therapeutic session that went down after their last frustrating match against FEU.
“Good thing din siguro yung open forum na ginawa nila, naglabasan ng frustrations, ng ‘Why are you here?’ It’s a good start to know ano yung mga role nila sa team na ‘to. Tapos ginawa ko nag-extra sessions din last week like separate special training in the afternoon for the different positions to correct mistakes. Siguro ito rin yung naging answer sa ginawa naming mga extra. So for me it’s a good win, yung hard work nandun.”
With De La Salle University hot on their heels, the University of Santo Tomas needed to keep performing in order to stay on top. The Golden Tigresses met little resistance against Hiraya FC last Sunday, and thus continue to be top of the table after the 3-0 win.
It was actually Hiraya who started on the right foot, disrupting the UST offense from getting a comfortable rhythm. Barely creating any chances themselves, the match was scoreless at the half.
Livid at how things were going, UST coach Aging Rubio proceeded with giving her squad a stern halftime pep talk. It appeared to be the spark that her players needed, as Shelah Mae Cadag quickly struck seven minutes into the second half.
In the 72nd minute, captain Hazel Lustan was able to double their lead. A further four minutes after that, Cadag’s brace goal gave Rubio’s side a comfortable three-goal lead. Nicole Reyes’ formidable wall in front of goal made sure the ladies of España kept the scoreline as it was until the final whistle.
Even with the perfect scoreline and having not conceded a goal for the fourth game running, Rubio chose to be critical especially of her core veterans, who are now training with the national team.
“Alarming kasi ayoko namang hayaan na maging inconsistent kami. Sobrang laking realization yung nangyari nung first half kasi sobrang kitang-kita talaga yung paggulo ng utak ng core players ko na naghahatak ng buong team,” a worried Rubio said. ”
Since sila yung unang nalito, kaya hindi kami nakapag-deliver. Nakikita ko talaga na medyo nalilito sila dahil iba ang system ng national team at ng UST. Pero hindi naman yun in a bad way, gusto ko lang maintdindihan ng mga players kung paano nila i-adjust. Kailangan nilang maging flexible kasi hindi puwedeng nag-commit sila ng dalawang team tapos may ma-compromise na isa. Kailangan ma-manage nila yung dalawang system na nilalaro nila.”
The UST mentor also revealed the pressure to perform that the team was facing, hence the austerity.
“Somehow pressure sa school kasi ang totoong situation talaga sinasabihan kami lagi na, ‘Know your priorities, alamin niyo kung ano yung mas mahalaga, doon or dito’. Kailangan din talaga naming mag-perform, kailangan din naming mag-deliver para sa school,” Rubio added.
UST – 15 pts (+35 GD)
DLSU – 13 pts (+24 GD)
OutKast FC – 10 pts (+12 GD)
FEU – 7 pts (-1 GD)
Tuloy FC – 7 pts (-7 GD)
Hiraya FC – 5 pts (-6 GD)
ADMU – 4 pt (-5 GD)
DLS Zobel – 3 pts (-40 GD)
UP – 2 pts (-4 GD)
GAU FC – 1 pt (-8 GD)
The PFF Women’s League continues on Saturday, October 13 at the PFF National Training Centre in Carmona, Cavite with clashes from teams on opposite ends starting with clubs Green Archers United FC and OutKast FC at 8:00 A.M. followed by collegiate teams University of Santo Tomas and University of the Philippines at 10:30 A.M.
On Sunday, October 14, Hiraya FC will be looking to bounce back against De La Salle Zobel at 8:00 A.M. then it will be a classic showdown between De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University at 10:30 A.M.
The games are available on livestream at http://pff.org.ph/pff-tv.