17-year-olds run amok in GAU FC’s stunning upset of FEU
Since losing a few games at the start of the season, Green Archers United FC have been slowly gaining momentum, with their latest victory coming last Saturday over ten-time collegiate champions Far Eastern University surely adding to that.
The Lady Tamaraws started the game brightly, until a 23rd minute effort from outside the box by Jill Panganiban turned the tide against them.
They tried to answer with good build-ups from the halfway line but lacked the finish, until Alisha Del Campo punished her more senior counterparts with a header from a corner in the 40th minute.
Rattled, the Morayta ladies could not hold out until the halftime whistle, when they conceded yet another goal after a breakaway shot from Anicka Castañeda rooted FEU keeper Joy Chavez to the spot.
Recognizing Chavez to be a liability, FEU coach Let Dimzon inserted Kimberly Pariña for the second half. FEU responded quickly on offense when Bia Requerme’s flying header zeroed in on Jovelle Sudaria’s corner kick, but these chances were few and far between.
GAU’s veteran defense frustrated the collegians, particularly team captain Sudaria, who was handed a red card in the 81st minute. Down to ten players, FEU could do very little until full time.
GAU coach Elvin Marcellana was delighted with his squad’s performance, noting the importance of his team’s youngest players on attack.
“Yung gameplan namin is depensa lang talaga. Hindi kami pwede sumabay sa kanila, well-conditioned yung kalaban mo, organized so we go for counters. Ginamit speed ng mga bata kasi yun talaga ang chance namin na maka-score sa kanila,” Marcellana explained.
Castañeda also credited her senior teammates manning the defense, thankful that the team is meshing. “Most of us are attackers but then it all started with the defense [of] the older ones. We’re starting to understand how we play together.”
For her part, Dimzon hopes this will serve as a wake-up call for her squad with UAAP looming on the horizon.
“Lesson learned for the players, kasi [the] 100 percent is not there. Sabihin nalang natin na sobrang relaxed at kampante. Yung concentration, sobrang baba. Siguro hindi pa rin [ramdam] ng players na malapit na ang UAAP,” worried Dimzon.
GAU almost defaulted their game because of problems with their uniform but Dimzon later revealed that she allowed them to play anyway.
“Pinayagan ko lang maglaro kasi—una, ang hinahabol naman namin talaga is experience; then second nalang talaga yung manalo, although importante pa rin manalo just to stay pa rin dun sa top ng league although ngayon, wala, mababa [na] yung chance,” she related.
Dimzon hopes she can turn the team around in time for the UAAP season set to start next month, particularly for captain Sudaria, who will be suspended for the next game due to the red card.
“Yung personality ni Jovelle is strong pero nawawala ngayon yung discipline. The way she plays, hindi ko makita yung eagerness to stand as a leader. Kailangan ko pa rin ng guidance on the responsibility of bringing the team, mag-work as a team, kasi minsan, nagiging problem is nagi-individual. So that’s why kinausap ko sila na ito yung problem natin. We need to [work out] paano namin iha-handle,” Dimzon added.
UP bludgeon Kaya FC behind Obra and Dungca braces
Kaya FC offered little resistance to the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons, who are now second in the standings behind the De La Salle University, as Sofia Dungca and Blessie Perez joined captains Cristina De Los Reyes and Mary Rose Obra on the scoresheet.
The young UFL-based squad seemed to hold out well against their older counterparts for a third of an hour, but eventually succumbed when Mary Rose Obra put away UP’s opening goal. She followed this up eight minutes later when her run went unopposed.
Perez put herself on the board in the 40th minute when she pounced on a ball that the Kaya goalie had spilled. A similar mistake led to substitute Sofia Dungca’s first goal midway into the second half.
De Los Reyes added UP’s fifth from more than 18 yards out with four minutes to go, and Dungca took advantage of another defensive lapse to chip in the last goal at nearly full time.
Obra looked glad that she wasn’t the only offensive power for UP this time, but maintains that the team needs to keep the level up.
“Yung team kasi mayroong tendency na pag low nag-start, matagal umakyat hanggang mapagalitan kami. Kailangan namin i-practice na pag-start palang, sharp na kami kaagad para maunahan na namin yung [other] team. Kung sila kamapante, kami dapat sharp na,” she expounded.
Obra reassured that it will be a total team effort to raise their game even more, especially when they begin to defend their title in a month.
“Kailangan madala namin yung buong team. Yung pinakamahina sa team namin, yun yung weakness namin. So dapat kung malakas kami, lahat kami malakas dapat, hindi pwedeng may isang maiiwan. Kailangan i-angat din namin sila.”
UP tactician Andres Gonzales was concerned that his wards had backed off a little bit because of the more inexperienced opposition. “Effort-wise, I thought we were very passive in the first half. They need to be able to set a really high standard even if they are playing with younger girls,” he shared.
Gonzales hopes this will be remedied by the time they meet their UAAP Season 78 rivals La Salle for their next fixture.
“It’s going to be a really good test next week. Confidence-wise, it will be a big boost to the players because I think everyone knows how strong La Salle is. I think getting a result against them will be a huge boost going into the UAAP,” Gonzales admitted.
Meanwhile, Kaya FC mentor Steve Nicholls remained in high spirits despite his team’s loss.
“For me it’s not always about the result. What’s more important is the girls and their development. I told the girls, just go and give your best. That’s all you can do, and that’s what they did. To be fair, they’re a very good bunch of girls and they did the best they could. So, we’re happy with them,” the cheerful Englishman said.
He also praised midfielder Anna Hegenscheidt, calling her his ‘Man of the Match’ for playing the full 90 minutes after playing another full match earlier in the day. “Her commitment’s been fantastic,” Nicholls concluded.
Dimaandal brace helps La Salle squeeze past tricky encounter with UST
There doesn’t seem to be anything stopping the De La Salle University Lady Booters at the moment, and there doesn’t seem to be anything stopping Kyra Dimaandal from scoring for the fifth straight time.
Dimaandal struck first within nine minutes of Sunday’s first match, stabbing a shot to the bottom left after a quick pass from Kyla Inquig.
The University of Santo Tomas Lady Tigresses did not seem bothered by this, but instead intensified their attack, culminating in a Charisa Lemoran equalizer in the 23rd minute shortly after a corner situation.
It took sixteen more minutes for the tie to be broken, and it was none other than Dimaandal again, with another through ball from Inquig.
The Lady Archers had several more chances afterwards which they failed to convert. The Lady Tigresses also had decent opportunities of their own, but the match ended 2-1 in La Salle’s favor.
Dimaandal acknowledged that her side could have scored more. “Specifically me, I’m still trying to work on my composure in front of the goal lalo na one-on-one sa keeper, and the drop ball from Irish [Navaja] that I missed,” she confessed.
Despite the win, DLSU coach Hans-Peter Smit was disappointed, pointing out that the team’s mentality was still lacking.
“It’s attitude, number one. The first half, the game should have already been over. They’re too relaxed. Not everyone, but they’re too relaxed. They should come in every game, respecting. You got to be scared of our opponent, regardless of who you’re playing against. [Once] you don’t respect them and you take your sweet time then something might just happen–boom,” Smit warned.
He also believes that staying at the top of the league table will be a bigger challenge. “It’s actually in a worst situation because we have to maintain. As of now we’re still the unbeaten team. And that doesn’t mean anything to me,” Smit continued before reiterating the importance of the right attitude whether for the PFF Women’s League or the UAAP.
“Whoever will have the right mental attitude, mental preparation, that’s the team that’s going to be on top. I always take one game at a time. I never look to the future. The future is what you make of it. You don’t wait for it to happen, you make it. So, one game at a time, our steps of making that future.”
In contrast, his UST counterpart Aging Rubio was a little happier with her squad’s performance.
“Nung sa first half kaya kami na-goal-an nung second kasi nag-stop mag-fight yung mga bata. I don’t know, siguro napagod, or attitude lang talaga na nagre-relax kapag naka-equalize sila. So yun ang attitude na kailangan maayos pa. Pero the good thing is sa second half, bumawi naman kami. Kaya lang hindi na kami nakahabol pero masaya naman ako sa performance ng mga bata,” Rubio commented.
Rodriguez’s inspired football overpowers TYFA for Ateneo’s second win
Lady Eagle captain Camille Rodriguez broke out of a scoring slump with a four-goal explosion that was answered only once by a shorthanded Younghusband FA side to help move the Ateneo de Manila University up the table.
Within five minutes of the opening whistle, Rodriguez headed in a loose ball in the box. However an April Reyes free kick pulled it back for TYFA seventeen minutes later.
Rodriguez put Ateneo ahead once again at the 40-minute mark, after dancing through defenders and letting loose a curling beauty that dipped just inside the far post.
Rodriguez consolidated this close to halftime when she drilled a shot in from a tight angle near the baseline.
Not content with a hat trick, Rodriguez broke away again six minutes after restart for a one-on-one situation with TYFA’s Sheramae Ramos, which she neatly tucked away.
The Ateneo skipper also helped her teammates get into the scoring act when a deft pass to Pam Diaz led to a long-range zinger in the 68th minute.
The blue ladies of TYFA valiantly tried to close the floodgates, surrendering only an own goal in the last 15 minutes.
TYFA assistant coach Rodney Leyble was happy that the players did not give up despite the odds, which had been compounded by having a small line-up to work with.
“Yung player namin na iba nasa province pa, vacation pa. So nag-adjust kami. May ginawa kaming strategy sa positioning, nag-click naman sa game. Kaso lang yun nga, hindi lang na-sustain yung stamina nila,” Leyble conceded.
Meanwhile, Ateneo coach John Paul Merida was in full praise of Rodriguez’s efforts for the day.
“Nakita ko before palang mag-start parang ready talaga siya, magpe-perform siya. Of course, siya yung [tipo na] binuhat niya talaga. Very dangerous player talaga si Cam. Kahit sinong team nagke-create siya ng mismatches especially sa final third,” Merida remarked.
When asked why it took her this long to score, Merida acknowledged that it was probably because they only worked on the players’ shooting recently.
“Of course mga past games namin, dami naming mga chances. Maganda [rin na] nag-start kami ng camp last week, talagang nakapag-focus kami sa finishing [at] attacking. So ito siguro yung nag-benefit ngayon, nakukuha na namin. Hopefully sana magsunod-sunod sa next game,” Merida added.
Rodriguez echoed her coach’s sentiments about the training camp. “We really prepared and we’re really kind of fit so I think that helped na, everyone is like in one camp and we’re all working on our mistakes from the previous games,” she shared.
The Lady Eagle striker is also glad to be able to score again, and is happy her teammates had been able to contribute.
“I think it’s all about just persistently doing it again and again. Nothing changed from what I did in the start. It’s just that, I guess I pushed pa. I didn’t let the first games just stop me. Definitely, mas masarap yung panalo pag yung buong team, na hindi lang from one person bringing all the balls. Mas masarap na combination, na tulong tulong lahat,” Rodriguez maintained.
Hiraya FC find target late to wrench full three points from Fuego Espanya
It was raining by the time the last game of the day went into full swing. For a long while it seemed like the weather factor would keep the game in a scoreless draw, but Hiraya FC had other plans.
While Fuego Espanya had some fair build-ups of their own which disintegrated in the final third, Hiraya had plenty of opportunities that were thwarted either by the goalposts or keeper Diana Redondo’s heroics.
The ladies in white finally broke through in the last four minutes of the game when Vanessa Anne Fabon slotted in a drop pass from Frankie Abraham into the six-yard box. Richelle Placencia later added an assurance goal in the dying minutes of injury time.
Fabon expressed relief at being able to score for her team and getting the win. “Composure lang sa game, and then focus. Sa una wala kaming finishing and then second half, coach is mad at us kasi nga wala kaming goals. Tapos ayun, buti naman nagka-goal kami ng last minute,” she shared.
Teammate Natasha Alquiros later added that giving in to frustration was not an option. “The important thing is that we didn’t give up and the patience paid off because again nothing is over until the final whistle,” she asserted.
Hiraya mentor Philip Dinglasan hopes to address the problems with finishing soon.
“What we really wanted to achieve today was to give confidence to the backline to be able to have possession, switch the ball from one side to the other. We were focused on attacking the spaces. We really weren’t able to discuss on how we will score. So I think yun yung kulang namin. The next time, yun naman ang iwo-work on namin sa training,” Dinglasan revealed.
For her part, Redondo wasn’t too down on capitulating late in the game. “I think everyone did a good job. Lalo na yung fielders—wala kaming sub, thirteen players, dalawang sub, newbies. I think we did a very, very good job. Hindi naman bad feeling or di naman bad vibes. I mean, two goals, yes. I think last seven minutes talagang malakas din naman yung Hiraya, compliment to them,” Redondo commented.
The Fuego Espanya captain was attended to multiple times by the medics but refused to leave the pitch.
“Hindi ako pwedeng bumigay, unang-una. Kung mawawala pa ako, or mawawalan sila ng goalkeeper, wala rin kaming goalkeeper sub. Gusto ko lang din tumulong pa sa game hanggang sa huli hanggang kaya ko pa. And kaya ko naman eh, I mean, masakit pero kaya naman,” Redondo declared.
On January 28, Kaya FC will square off with OutKast FC at 2:00 P.M. followed by Fuego Espanya versus Far Eastern University at 4:30 P.M.
On January 29, the first game will be a virtual battle for league leadership when La Salle face UP at 2:00 P.M. This will be followed by Ateneo and Hiraya FC at 4:30 P.M. TYFA and UST get the last match of the day at 7:00 P.M.