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San Beda keeps six-peat dream alive, defeats Arellano

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Things were decided as the final four of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Football tournament continued today, at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

What should have been a perfect end to the Arellano Chiefs’ perfect season, the San Beda Red Lions spoiled, after defeating the Chiefs in a nail-bitting affair, 2-1.

As the officials whistled the start of the game, the defending NCAA champions went to an offensive barrage that pressured the Arellano defense. The Chiefs made their own version of an offensive attack, but the Red Lions wasted their valiant efforts.

With a neck-to-neck battle between both teams, none were able to draw a goal resulting to a nil-nil deadlock by halftime.

Opening the second half, the Red Lions, once again, tormented the defense of Arellano, but none of their attempts were able to meet the back of the net to break the deadlock.

Going through the deep waters of the game, both teams tried to take the driver’s seat, however, both team’s efforts weren’t enough, and the game ended at a draw. It was during the Extra time wherein the complexion of the game changed. It only took two minutes after the start of extra time for the Red shirts to record the game’s first goal. Nimrod Balabat nailed the first goal to give the Mendiola XI a 1-0 advantage.

However, before the referee whistled for halftime break of extra time, the Chiefs was awarded a penalty kick that led to a goal courtesy of Patrick Bernarte to level the game at 1.

As time winded down, San Beda’s urgency showed another offensive assault that finally resulted in a free kick. Practice paid off for Aljo Zabala, as he nailed the kick from the top of the box giving SBC a 2-1 advantage that resulted in their victory over the Legarda-based kickers.

Celebration would have be shortened, as San Beda prepares once again to face Arellano on Tuesday (January 19) in a do-or-die rubber match.

In the first game, the College of St. Benilde Blazers fell out of contention despite winning their game against the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates, 4-0

In the early goings, the Blazers were the aggressors of the game as the swift-running Edienzel Velizano dismantled LPU’s defense that led to an early goal at the eight minute mark.

After being down by a single goal, the Pirates tried to orchestrate their own offensive run but the pesky defense of CSB made it impossible for LPU to score a goal.

In the dying minutes of the first half, Velizano picked up where he left off 22 minutes ago, scoring another goal for the Green-and-White kickers giving them a 2-0 advantage at halftime.

Opening the second half scoring for the Blazers, Henry Hamdan took advantage of a collapsing Lyceum defense that led to another goal at the 54th minute mark of the game. Putting away the fight for the Intramuros-based squad, Martin Maro hit an open look at the goal to give Blazers a 4-0 advantage at the 75 minute mark.

Chasing their finals hopes, the Blazers rallied and tried for more goals but the hard fought defense of LPU crushed their dreams with two goals short for a finals appearance.

Playing his final year for LPU, Paolo Babelonia said that his alma mater will be a championship caliber team next year despite settling for fourth place this year.

“Naniniwala ako na yung team ay contender na last year pa lang. Kasi pinapakita namin na lumalaban ka sa every game,” he said.

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