FEU downs UP, books return trip to Finals
Santino Honasan on Mar 01, 2015 08:16 PM
The defending champions are returning to the Finals.
Once again, it was Arnel Amita who came up big for the Tamaraws, as his goal in added extra time was enough to send University of the Philippines packing in the UAAP 77 Men’s Semifinals last Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Football Field.
As expected of the Season 76 Finals rematch, both squads refused to give an inch, making for very exciting football. With a 0-0 slate at halftime, the intensity heightened during the next 45 minutes, with tempers beginning to flare and both squads getting good looks but not getting any to fall.
Fittingly enough, 90 minutes would not be enough to determine who advances between these two collegiate football powerhouses.
With just a couple of minutes gone by in the added extra time, Maroon defender Ian Clarino gave up a hand ball inside the penalty box, allowing Amita a chance at a penalty kick.
As the Tamaraw known as “ ‘Nano” fired off his penalty attempt, UP keeper Ace Villanueva managed to block the shot to the delight of the UP crowd. Unfortunately for the Maroons, Villanueva was not able to secure the ball and Amita recovered and made sure that his next attempt would count, giving the defending champions a 1-0 lead after 99 minutes of play.
Still with a lifetime of football to play before the final 120th minute horn to sound, UP frantically tried to salvage their season, looking to at least score an equalizer and force a shootout.
Graduating striker Jinggoy Valmayor had a couple of chances to bail UP out, like he had done so many times before in his UAAP career, but unfortunately could not get one to go in.
As the final whistle sounded, the Tamaraws rushed to the field, while match hero Amita fell back onto the pitch letting out tears of joy.
"Chamba. Swerte, kasi na-save nung una, bumalik lang." Amita told ABS-CBN Sports, downplaying his game-winning conversion. "Masaya po kami, kasi alam namin na gusto nila [UP] kaming makalaban sa semifinals, gusto nila kaming ilaglag agad para sa finals, hindi sila mahirapan. Hindi po kami nag-give up, binigay lang po namin yung best namin." Amita added.
The Tamaraws will be making their second straight trip to the Finals, and standing between them and a championship repeat is an unbeaten De La Salle squad.
The UAAP 77 Men’s Football Finals takes place at the Rizal Memorial Football Field this coming Sunday, March 8 at 4:00 pm.
You can catch the action LIVE on ABS-CBN Sports+Action 23 and BALLS HD 167!