De La Salle University witnessed its campaign in the UAAP Season 85 Women’s Football Tournament end in heartbreak.
The Taft school was dethroned in painful circumstances amidst its goal of securing a fourth consecutive championship. Coach Hans-Peter Smit’s side conceded a 118th-minute goal last Sunday, resulting in a 2-1 defeat, which allowed Far Eastern University to end an eight-year drought and secure another treble.
“Of course, we’re expecting that four-peat sana because we wanted to continue that legacy with La Salle but bilog ang bola so we really can’t disagree na towards the end yun yung result,” said La Salle forward Shai Del Campo.
“Big clap sa FEU for that win but for us I think we needed that more.”
La Salle actually looked like it could turn things around late in regulation. Del Campo’s 90+10 minute header forced extra time, but she and her teammates failed to carry the momentum into the next two periods.
FEU proved to be the more dangerous team, and Regine Rebosura’s late goal broke La Salle’s hearts.
“The word sayang (comes to mind) kasi knowing na naka-goal pa,” said Del Campo.
“That was a symbol of hope pa sana to score one more pero in the end, naka-goal sila so I’ll give that to them. Yun nga, sayang pero kudos sa team ko that worked hard till the end and throughout the season.”
In the grander scheme of things, La Salle has reached five straight finals since Season 78. This run has yielded championships from Seasons 79 to 81.
While the disappointment of not winning a fourth consecutive championship won’t fade away anytime soon, it is also an opportunity to reset, refocus, and regroup for the coming years.
“This season was a roller coaster ride,” said captain Bea Delos Reyes. “I think every match was a lesson learned for us. It made us stronger until the end. There may be lapses but we tried to work on our errors and everything.
“Yun din reason kung bakit kami rin siguro nakaabot sa finals pero yun nga despite that, may next year pa so I guess this season is getting to know each other. Wala namang mag-ga-graduate.”
Together with defender Maye Mendaño, Del Campo, and Delos Reyes have promised to return in Season 86. Losing is always tough, especially when it is for the championship, so the trio will definitely have a chip on their shoulders next year.
From being the hunted, La Salle will be the hunter once again. Next season may still be far away, but the Taft school is already seeking redemption.
“For me and yung mga natira from last time — ako, Maye (Mendaño), and Shai — of course we won’t stop being hungry. We want that feeling of winning it again,” said Delos Reyes.
“So for the rookies who’ve experienced this, at least they know the feeling of getting this loss. We’ll use it to power up for the next season and work hard as a team.”