NCAA 93 Football: CSB dethrones San Beda, sets up finals date with Arellano
Santino Honasan on Jan 10, 2018 08:14 PM
CSB dethrones defending champions San Beda off a late goal from Wilmer Lopez
Top seeded College of Saint Benilde found the back of the net late in the second half to dethrone defending champions San Beda College in their NCAA Season 93 Men's Football do-or-die semifinals encounter, Wednesday evening at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
After defeating the Blazers, who had a twice-to-beat advantage, 2-1 in their first semifinal meeting last Monday, the Red Lions looked to finish the job and book their ticket back to the season Finale.
In the early moments of the match, San Beda was the more aggressive side, getting chance after chance at a conversion.
Season 92 runners-up CSB turned up the aggression in the latter part of the first half, getting their own chances but not getting any conversions, leading to a 0-0 scoreline at the intermission.
Early in the second half, the defending champs found the back of the net off an Aljo Zabala header, but was ruled off side.
Moments later, San Beda got another golden chance at a goal when Nimrod Balabat managed to find an open lane to the goal, but couldn't handle the ball, which sailed straight into the left post and away from the goal.
With less than ten minutes left to play, it looked as if an extra 30-minutes was on the horizon for CSB and San Beda.
Substitute Wilmer Lopez had other ideas however, as he converted off a corner kick to give the top-seeded Blazers a 1-0 edge in the 85th minute of action.
The defending champs tried desperately to pull even, but could not come up with an equalizer as time expired, both in the match and in San Beda's season.
"Everyone's so happy, everyone's ecstatic. We're going to the finals." said Lopez following the match. "Beda's been one of the strongest opponents we've had in the league. We're just so happy that we got into the finals."
Subbed in by coach Marlon Maro to bolster the Blazers' defense, Lopez turned out to be the offensive spark that CSB needed to come away with a win.
"Coach gave me a different task, it wasn't to go for the goal, it was mainly to defend," Lopez said. "But the opportunity was out there and I took it, and I'm glad that it went in."
CSB now meets Arellano University in the finals, which begins on Friday, January 12th at 6:00 PM, also at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
It will only be the third time since the 2001-2002 NCAA season that San Beda won't be hoisting the men's football title.
The last two other schools to win the NCAA men's football crown? CSB in 2009-2010 and Arellano in 2015-2016.