University of the Philippines eyeing double crowns in UAAP Football
Santino Honasan on May 05, 2016 09:44 AM
The battle of Katipunan heads onto the pitch for the UAAP Men's Football Finals!
MATCHES on THURSDAY, MAY 5
3:00 - DLSU vs. UP (Women’s Finals)
5:30 – UP vs. Ateneo (Men’s Finals)
Two University of the Philippines football teams will be fighting for UAAP football supremacy as the UP men’s football team takes on Ateneo De Manila in the Men’s Finals, while the UP women’s will try to challenge De La Salle University in the Women’s Finals, Thursday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Finishing as the best team after the eliminations, the UP Maroons bounced back from a slow first round and never looked back. Struggling to find an offensive identity after losing star striker Jinggoy Valmayor, the Maroons relied on what they do best, and that’s suffocate their opponents on defense, and eventually, the wins started coming. After starting the second round with a 3-3 draw against UST, the Maroons went on a six game tear, enough to land them the top seed heading into the Final Four.
In the semis, more of the same domination from UP, as they blasted UST, 3-0 to find themselves back in the Men’s Finals, their fifth appearance in six years. The Maroons will be gunning for their sixth Men’s Football crown.
One of the most intriguing storylines this season, the Ateneo Blue Eagles looked like they were in for a rough season after a pretty slow start in the first round. Slowly though, the Blue Eagle booters started scoring enough points and found themselves in the running for a second straight Final Four appearance. After pulling out an important draw against NU in their last eliminations match, all that the Eagles could do was watch as their fate was decided by another team. Lo and behold, luck fell on their side as FEU fell to a rampaging UP team, securing the Final Four spot for the Ateneans.
More drama in the semifinals, as extra time couldn’t determine a winner after Ateneo and rivals DLSU were knotted at one goal apiece after a hundred and twenty minutes, sending the semis match into a penalty shootout. And, as how their season has gone so far, it was decided at the last kick for DLSU, JP Oracion coming up with a big save on Jose Montelibano’s attempt, sending the Katipuneros back into the Finals. Ateneo will also be aiming for their sixth football crown.
In their past two meetings this season, the Maroons have had the Eagles’ number, with UP coming out on top over Ateneo on both occasions.
Lady Archers, Lady Maroons battle for Women’s Football crown
The De La Salle Lady Archer booters have been nothing short of dominant in women’s football this season. In eight matches played, the Taft-based team recorded six wins and two draws, securing themselves a spot in the Finals even before the elimination round was over, after scoring enough tournament points.
With Best Striker Shannon Arthur and Rookie of the Year Sara Castaneda running the show, have been a tough out for any team this season, and that likely won’t change, especially on the biggest stage of them all. The Lady Archers will be gunning for their ninth Women’s Football crown.
If there’s any team in the Women’s division that can take down the DLSU juggernaut, it would probably be the UP Lady Maroons.
After challenging for the title last season against three-time champs FEU, the Lady Maroons earned a second straight Finals appearance after finishing second in the eliminations.
With veterans like Cristina de los Reyes and sophomores Kali Navea-Huff and Angeliza Sta. Clara leading the charge, their Finals experience could play an important factor in the final ninety minutes of the season.
Catch the UAAP Finals LIVE starting at 3:00 PM, LIVE on ABS-CBN Sports+Action 23, ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD 166, and livestreaming on sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/uaap