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​The Hottest is Blue: Ateneo edges out La Salle to remain unscathed

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Last year’s finalists Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles are proving their stock as legitimate title contenders.

Although the win was not a dominant one, the Blue Eagles added archrivals De La Salle University Green Archers to their list of victims, thanks to an impressive marginal goal off sophomore Jarvey Gayoso. The Katipunan-based side took their fourth straight win of the season, 1-0, Thursday afternoon at their home turf, Moro Lorenzo Field.

The reigning co-Best Striker awardee collected a pass from the center in the 36th minute, before fooling his defender with neat one-touch ball control. Gayoso then blasted the ball past Kerbi Almonte for the goal.

Ateneo head coach JP Merida was visibly pleased with his wards performance. He shared, “First of all, I’m so happy talaga sa result.”

Nonetheless, Merida apologized to the crowd in attendance that they did not put up a better performance.

“Nag-sosorry ako sa Ateneo community na hindi ganun kaganda yung game. Siguro naging reason lang is naging smart [kami] especially sa middle third,” he added.

With much of the game being played in the opponent’s half, Ateneo tried to settle for long passes to their forwards, which proved ineffective against the La Salle backline. This gave the latter some room to move the ball to the other side and gave their forwards some glimmer of chances.

La Salle were able to contain the onslaught of the Ateneans the rest of the way, and even registered great chances in their attacking third. The best opportunity for an equalizer came late in the match as rookie Mauro Acot just fell short in front of the goal.

Merida also gave credit to this La Salle defense that needed to pull off a moment of brilliance to get the win.

“Mahirap talaga kalabanin ang La Salle,” Merida admitted.

The Blue Eagles (4-0-0) will put their unbeaten record at stake when they face the University of the East Red Warriors (0-1-2) on Sunday, February 19 at 1pm at the Far Eastern University-Diliman Field. For their part, the Green Archers (1-1-1) will battle winless Adamson University Soaring Falcons (0-0-3) earlier that day at 9am.

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