The University of Santo Tomas Lady Booters’ resurgence continues!
Behind Charise Lemoran’s hattrick (2′, 35′ & 55′), the Lady Booters from España rebuffed a late comeback attempt by the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles, taking a 3-2 win, Saturday evening at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Lemoran’s outing raises her tally to seven goals and, more importantly, helped propel the Lady Booters to second in the standings. On the other hand, Teresa Bernardo (26′) and captain Cam Rodriguez (70′) provided the goals for Ateneo.
“Masaya dahil nanalo pero nakakalungkot kasi nakikita ko kung kung gaano pa ang kulang kasi halos bumibigay kami nung malapit na matapos yung game at malapit pa kami ma-draw,” commented UST mentor Prescila Rubio.
As both teams played attacking football, goals inevitably came in the first half. In fact, the deadlock was broken as early as the 2nd minute of the match. Lemoran is arguably the best striker in the UAAP right now, and she dribbled past Ateneo goalie Marie Caparros to draw first blood.
It was the best possible start for UST, and the Lady Booters could’ve had another one if not for Caparros’ quick reaction against Jan Cleofe.
Ateneo took a while to impose themselves on the game. The Lady Eagles won a free kick outside the Lady Booters’ box. Up stepped Antonette Amoncio, and she should have gotten the leveler if it hadn’t been for the UST crossbar.
Caparros was instrumental in rousing the Lady Eagles from their sluggish start. She produced fine saves against the Lady Booters and her importance grew when the Lady Eagles leveled the scores afterwards. Amoncio unleashed a cross from the right flank which Bernardo directed home in the 26th minute.
That was supposed to be the momentum-changer for the Lady Eagles. Unfortunately for the Blue and White, Lemoran is a class of her own. The sophomore forward received the ball from the right flank and looped it well above Caparros to give the Lady Booters the lead back in the 35th minute.
Halftime beckoned, and UST deservedly clinched a 2-1 lead over Ateneo at the break. Come the restart, it was still the Lady Booters who dominated the proceedings. Lemoran once again had the spotlight, as she eluded the Lady Eagles backline and shot past Caparros in the 55th minute to complete her hattrick.
UST had numerous chances to kill the game off, most notably from Hazel Lustan, who should have done better when Caparros rushed out as the former shot painfully wide of the Ateneo goal. Come the 70th minute, Rodriguez gave the Lady Eagles a glimmer of hope when she converted her free kick outside of the Lady Booters’ box.
A tense period then ensued, as UST pushed for another goal while Ateneo tried to go for a late leveler. In the end, Lemoran’s hattrick was enough for UST to prevail 3-2 against Ateneo.
There is still no word as to who UST (9 points) and Ateneo (6 points) will face in the second round. Ateneo end the first round at third place.
When asked what the Lady Booters needed to improve on before the second round, Rubio quickly answered “finishing.” “Yun pa rin yung problema namin. Maraming na-miss pero so far kaunti na lang nasa polished kami.”
UST XI: Cadag, Cleofe, Cuaresma, Eusebio, Ilan, Indac, Lemoran, Lopez, Lustan, Reyes, Sumilang.
Ateneo XI: Amoncio, Bernardo, Caparros, Catedrilla N, Catedrilla M, Diaz, Esguerra, Herrera, Rodriguez, Sabio, Velasco.