Gayoso brace powers Ateneo booters to second straight finals berth
Ateneo's Jarvey Gayoso (11) celebrates with teammates after scoring in their semifinal match against UST
Ateneo star striker Jarvey Gayoso scored twice in the second half to power Ateneo de Manila University past University of Santo Tomas, 2-1, to clinch their second straight finals berth, Thursday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Gayoso had been fairly quiet during Ateneo's last few outings, but the second year striker chose the perfect time to make some noise as he struck first for the league-leading Blue Eagles, scoring in the 22nd minute for an early edge.
Just before halftime, Gayoso, the league's leading scorer got on the board once again, blowing by the UST defense before flicking the ball past Tigers keeper Zaldy Abraham for the 2-0 lead in the 44th minute.
Just like they did all season, UST fought back and they pushed the pace in the second half, leading to a 54th minute conversion from Marvin Bricenio to close in on Ateneo.
While UST managed to get off better shots during the final 45 minutes of the match, they could only manage one conversion and Ateneo came away with the victory and a return-trip to the tournament finale.
"I'm so happy talaga kasi we're back in the finals, yun yung isa sa mga objectives namin, to qualify for the finals," Ateneo head coach JP Merida said during the post-match presser. "Of course, we have one more game, and we need to finish that game with a win."
Ateneo, who finished on top of the standings with 35 points on 11 wins, two draws, and one loss, make it two straight finals appearances. Last season, the Blue Eagles beat rivals De La Salle, 5-4, in a penalty shootout in the semis before falling to defending champions University of the Philippines in the final.
The Blue Eagles await the winner of the UP-FEU semifinal match.
The UAAP Season 79 men's football final match happens on Sunday, May 7th, 3:00 PM at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Catch the LIVE telecast on S+A channel 23, S+A HD channel 166, and livestreaming on sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/uaap