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Tiebreaker Times


Fighting Maroons reclaim Men’s Football crown

The UAAP Men’s Football Championship is back in Diliman!

Unbeaten throughout all of Season 80, the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons showed that they were head and shoulders above the rest of the league, as they prevailed 1-0 at the expense of the University of Santo Tomas Golden Booters at the historic Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.

This bunch of boys are inspirational. From the first player to the last player, yung motivation, yung drive, yung selflessness, you cannot ask for anything more if you’re the coach,” commented UP mentor Anto Gonzales after his side clinched their second title in three years on Thursday afternoon.

Unsurprisingly, it was State U that bossed possession of the match. The Fighting Maroons relentlessly penetrated the Golden Booters box — ironic, given that Gonzales’ wards broke the deadlock thanks to a set piece.

Ian Clarino was fouled outside the UST box and JB Borlongan took the free kick. The Golden Booters failed to spot Clarino, who then eluded their offside trap to shoot past goalkeeper Zaldy Abraham, Jr. in the 21st minute to hand the Fighting Maroons the lead.

UST were struggling. The Golden Booters’ back three were susceptible to the Fighting Maroons’ attack. Abraham had to deny JB Borlongan twice, while Kintaro Miyagi skied his attempt in a scramble in the Morayta school’s box.

It was more of the same in the second period. UP maintained control of the game, although UST were more aggressive in the half. The Fighting Maroons resumed their bombardment of the Golden Booters’ box, as Borlongan shot straight at Abraham while Miyagi and Daniel Saavedra shot over from close range.

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UP goalkeeper Anton Yared was a virtual spectator, as most of the action was at the opposite half of the pitch. The one moment when Yared was forced to make a routine stop was against Dexter Benecio’s header in the last few minutes of the match.

Ultimately, it was the Fighting Maroons’ afternoon to savour, as they clinched their 18th UAAP Men’s Football title.

I think the players are just so devoted, so passionate to play for the school. Speaking from experience, I’ve been coaching UP for nine years,” Gonzales pointed out. “Mainly my motivation is that UP has done so much for me also. UP has helped me so much and I think these boys feel the same way and those who have come before us feel the same way. UP has done so much for us. This is our way to give back.”

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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