Oracion's golden save flies Ateneo back in the Finals
Mark Escarlote on Apr 28, 2016 09:18 PM
Ateneo de Manila advanced in the Finals after outlasting De La Salle in a thrilling penalty shootout.
Ateneo de Manila University waited for this for a year.
The boys in blue finally got to return the favor on bitter rival De La Salle University.
And Blue Eagles needed one masterful save from goal keeper JP Oracion in the penalty shootout to advance in the championship round for the first time in three years, winning a 5-4 (1-1 end of regulation) decision Thursday in the 78th UAAP men’s football semifinals at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Oracion made a good read on Jose Montelibano’s shot to the middle to steer Ateneo to a title showdown with University of the Philippines on May 5, another winner-take-all game.
“Hindi ko naman sinasabi na mananalo kami sa penalties. Pero ang gusto ko sa mga players ko ay na-handle nila ang pressure ng penalty (shootout),” said Ateneo coach JP Merida.
Ateneo’s Carlo Liay slotted the opening goal in the 37th minute before Gelo Diamante made a gem of an equalizer that he let fly to the upper left corner of the goal in the 75th minute.
Diamante, whose lone goal in the semis last year booted out Ateneo, had a chance to win the game in the 86th minute but flubbed in his open left-footer that went wide left.
The Blue Eagles won the title in Season 75 before crashing down in the next two seasons including missing a chance to return to the Finals last year in a 1-0 loss to DLSU in the Final Four.
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