The race for the top continues between defending champion De La Salle University and perfect University of Santo Tomas with both teams notching victories in the PFF Women’s League.
University of Santo Tomas found the right gear just in time in beating a shorthanded Green Archers United FC 2-0 for their fifth straight win.
UST was in for a surprise when they faced GAU FC to kick off last weekend’s fixtures in Carmona, Cavite. National team players suited up for the veteran squad including the likes of goalkeeping stalwart Inna Palacios.
Even though GAU was down a player early, UST had a difficult time penetrating their ranks due in large part to a disciplined backline made more intimidating by the presence of towering national centerback Hali Long.
The task was made trickier with GAU launching attacks via nationals Irish Navaja and Chelo Hodges. Yet UST held their ground as well and did not allow them to finish their chances.
Under the fierce guidance of Aging Rubio and with GAU beginning to tire deep into the second half, UST launched waves of attack that saw the ball hit the woodwork multiple times before Lalaine Durano finally slipped one past Palacios in the 75th minute.
Nine minutes later Shelah Mae Cadag gave the Lady Booters of Espanya the consolidation they needed to secure the victory and keep their record spotless.
“Buti nalang last twenty minutes, natuto silang makinig ulit. Kaya kami nakalusot, kaya kami naka-atake ng planadong atake, so kahit papaano may magandang nangyari,” said a relieved Rubio before giving GAU a lot of credit.
“Maganda yung positioning ng mga tao sa GAU at mas matalino rin naman sila kaya kapag hindi talaga pag-iisipan [ng players ko] yung attack nila, mahirapan talaga kami.”
Stallion-Hiraya FC have notched their first full points after Camille Rodriguez lit it up in the second half to blank Tigers FC 3-0.
Both teams were unhappy being at the bottom of the table thus either side was keen on getting that first win to get out of it. Balanced attacks from each side led to a scoreless first half, but the second half was a different story.
Stallion-Hiraya retooled their line which gave more free reign in attack to Camille Rodriguez. The national midfielder showed off her fine form with a pulsating hat-trick in the 47th, 67th and 87th minutes en route to the Makati-based club’s first three points and a booking to eighth place.
Goalkeeper Haya Ibarra who also registered her second straight cleansheet was ecstatic of her side’s breakthrough.
“At the fifth game finally, thank you Lord I’m so grateful. It’s nice because my teammates stepped up, everyone supported each other,” said the captain who has been rallying her team after a bleak start to the season.
“Last week it felt nice to not leave with a loss. This time we’re even happier, we’re not only leaving heartbroken, but we’re also leaving with three points which is even better than how we left off last week so I hope this continues. Morale is up for everyone.”
Five De La Salle University players and an own goal led to a 6-1 shellacking of the University of the Philippines.
DLSU wasted no time putting up numbers on the board with quick goals from rookies Tejanee Isulat and Michaela Maligalig in the opening four minutes.
Even with their only goalkeeper Patricia Lim succumbing to injury early in the first half where they had to resort to midfielder Rocelle Mendaño in goal, Hans-Peter Smit’s side was unfazed and piled on the offensive.
The La Sallian pressure even made steady veteran defender Cassandra Alleje commit an uncharacteristic error which resulted in an own goal in the 23rd minute. Teammate Abigail Corvera made up for it with a 54th-minute strike, but the ladies in green responded with even more intensity.
Combination plays sent Alisha Del Campo and Sara Castañeda on the scoresheet in the 65th and 77th minutes, with Anicka Castañeda delivering the final blow in the last six minutes.
“We’re getting better even with the injuries,” Smit later said, satisfied at how his team managed without their true shotstopper and coming up with a comfortable win to stay on top.
“Without a second keeper, I was confident enough in Maye (Mendaño) who played keeper when she was younger. She’s a tough girl who can take her role. I took out a few of the other girls and put them in different positions as well. That just gives the girls more confidence so the longer the tournament and the season goes, the more confidence I get from these girls because they can play in multiple positions.”
The Maroons FC wasted a two-goal first-half lead after the Far Eastern University leveled things up in the second for a final 2-2 score.
Hoping to build on their momentum while taking advantage of a slumping FEU, the Maroons got the dream start they wanted when they got on the scoreboard first after Stacey Arthur’s strike in the 27th minute.
Eight minutes later Alyssa Ube outclassed Joy Chavez to double their tally and boost Maroon morale at the break. This excitement started to dissipate after Glory Lado’s header found the back of the net nine minutes after play restarted.
FEU dominated the rest of the match that it only felt natural that Joyce Onrubia would score the equalizer in the 79th minute as the Maroons ran out of ideas.
The last fixture for the weekend eventually ended in a tie that saw both teams keeping their positions but with both coaches at a loss on what happened.
“I don’t know if it’s fatigue or kumpyansa, nag-relax, or pagod na talaga. Maraming factors din na kailangan i-consider. We really want to avoid this incident to happen again, na from 2-0 and then second half, equalized. Hopefully they will realize after this game, magiging tatak or reminder sa kanila ito,” said Steph Permanes of Maroons FC.
“I’m still disappointed with the result kasi same problem from previous games namin na yung lack of finishing,” said FEU’s Let Dimzon whose side has drawn its second straight match.
“Yung striking mentality kailangan pa talagang i-develop kasi ayun yung nagkukulang sa amin. Although we were able to attack in the end, if you can’t score nothing will change. Yes, there was a turnaround but if we were able to do it since the first half much better sana.”
DLSU – 16 pts (+15 GD)
UST – 15 pts (+19 GD)
Tuloy FC – 9 pts (+5 GD)
FEU – 9 pts (+5 GD)
Maroons FC – 8 pts (-8 GD)
GAU FC – 6 pts (-6 GD)
UP – 6 pts (-11 GD)
Stallion-Hiraya – 4 pts (-3 GD)
Nomads FC – 4 pts (-9 GD)
Tigers FC – 0 pt (-7 GD)
The PFF Women’s League continues on Saturday, September 14 at the PFF National Training Center starting with Far Eastern University and the University of Santo Tomas at 8:00 A.M. followed by Nomads FC and Tigers FC at 10:00 A.M.
On Sunday, September 15, Stallion-Hiraya FC will face off against University of the Philippines at 8:00 A.M. with the Green Archers United FC and Tuloy FC afterwards at 10:00 A.M.