Lovely Fernandez kept her composure to propel University of Santo Tomas to a 1-0 win over De La Salle University in the UAAP Season 85 Women’s Football Tournament, Saturday at UP Diliman Field.
Fernandez’s goal managed to offset the absence of UST head coach Prescila Rubio, who is currently with the Filipinas U20 team that will compete in the AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup qualifiers in Laos next week.
“Hindi ko ine-expect pero pinagtrabahuan namin for a long period of time,” said UST assistant Geraldine Cabrera, who filled in for Rubio. “Marami kaming sakripisyo na ginawa tapos with the guidance of coach Aging, lagi nakikinig yung mga bata sa mga instructions.”
The Clark, Pampanga native eluded De La Salle goalie Alexandrea Gumilao and put the ball at the back of the net in the 61st minute to break the deadlock and set UST on its way to victory.
“It was orchestrated. Meron talaga kaming play with that position kay lovely. Siya yung una naming na-target na tao and then ginawa talaga niya is nag pursue talaga siya makabawi doon sa may goal and then shinoot niya,” explained Cabrera.
Down by a goal, the defending champions tried to raise their intensity but UST kept them at bay. La Salle’s Marie Isulat had a couple of free kicks but they failed to provide the leveler.
La Salle’s Stephanie Goñe then had a late opportunity to steal an equalizer but she dribbled too much after initially getting past UST goalkeeper Regine Rasonable.
Ultimately, UST managed to hold on for its first win of the season while La Salle lamented some opening-day jitters.
“Sobrang mahalaga (ang resulta),” concluded Cabrera. “In fact, they were the champions and we beat them. Nakaka-boost ng feeling as a coach and for these young girls na medyo umangat naman yung kumpyansa nila na magaling pala sila.”
Both teams will return to action next Saturday at the same venue. La Salle (0 points) will go up against University of the Philippines at 4:00 PM while UST (4 points) shall face Far Eastern University at 6:00 PM.
UST XI: Rasonable (GK), Ramos, Santerva, Prado, Danao (C), Asilo, Sy, Piano, Abo-Abo, Absalon, Fernandez.
DLSU XI: Gumilao (GK), Delos Reyes (C), Otom, Toledo, Dañoso, Layacan, Teves, Pañares, Mendaño, Villacin, Almeda.