Third place playoff games can be some of the most uninspiring and dull football matches a fan can ever watch. Players from both teams are heartbroken knowing and feeling that the last game they play in the tournament should be the cup final and not a game which determines who finishes third. It’s not everyday that a third place playoff can be so easily enjoyed in football.
However, there are exceptions to this rule.
The PFF Women’s Cup third place playoff between the women’s football teams of UST and ADMU was a thrilling encounter with the Ateneans scoring three goals in the last ten minutes to win the game 4-3 and end their campaign in a high note.
It’s safe to say Camille Rodriguez was one of the most decisive players on the pitch in that game. Not that the fourth year midfielder gave much meaning into it since she puts an emphasis on team spirit. “Our goal from the very start is that whatever we do, whatever result is going to come, we do it together. So that was the aim from the start of the game, to work as a team and this game we proved that we can win and do so much more.”
Moreover for Rodriguez, it was the heart she and her teammates displayed in the game which was the most impressive aspect for her. “I think tactically and technically we can play better but in terms of the heart we’ve put into the game, it’s the best we’ve done and the best we’ve proven to each other and I guess that’s the most important thing coming out of this win.”
Barring another PFF competition, the PFF Women’s Cup may very well be ADMU’s last tournament before the UAAP with the shift in academic calendar potentially hindering their participation in the UNIGAMES. While it may not be the ideal situation going into the UAAP, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any positives that can be carried over from this tournament come February. Rodriguez believes that team chemistry is one such positive. “Looking at the team roster, we have a lot of new players. We have around eight rookies and I guess that the aim of this tournament is to work with the team chemistry, especially merging with the new ones and I can say that our team has become so much closer on and off the field.”
Collegiate athletics has the endless cycle of student-athletes entering a school and team as rookies and then graduating after a few years with others waiting in the wings to replace them. Student-athletes will normally be entrusted with leadership roles in a team once they reach their third playing year.
With her fourth playing year in the UAAP six months away, Rodriguez is expected to be one of the leaders of the Lady Eagles. She emphasized that she won’t be the type of leader who’ll command her teammates but the one who wants to guide and learn from them. “I guess it’s not a case of me leading them or them learning from me but it’s me learning from them and working what I’ve learned and really without them, I wouldn’t be here. So, always be just supportive in the team and working on it together. I’m just the one that guides them” said Rodriguez. These are great words from one of the key members of this ADMU side who are determined to bring a UAAP Women’s Football Championship to Loyola Heights.
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