DLSU keeper Inna Palacios gets to score in final UAAP game
"I told coach I always wanted to score for La Salle before I graduated," - DLSU keeper and team captain Inna Palacios
Call it a parting gift, if you will.
In about the third minute of injury time during the UAAP Season 79 women's football finals between De La Salle University and University of Santo Tomas, the Lady Archers were holding a 2-1 advantage when the Tigresses committed a foul inside the box, rewarding the Taft-based squad with what could very well be a game-sealing penalty kick.
Usually, it's the team's best striker that takes the penalty kick, and De La Salle happened to have the season's Best Striker in Kyra Dimaandal, who already scored earlier in the match.
But this specific penalty wasn't going to be taken by Dimaandal, or Sara Castañeda, or any of DLSU's offensive weapons.
Instead, it was their last line of defense, goalkeeper and team captain Inna Palacios, who was tasked to take the penalty shot.
Now, it wasn't like this was a no-pressure, no-risk penalty attempt. If Palacios were to miss, she would have needed to run back to the opposite side of the pitch and prevent UST from pulling even and forcing injury time.
But on the last matchday of her UAAP career, in front of a hundreds of DLSU faithful in attendance, and with a championship just mere seconds away, there was just no way that Palacios was going to miss.
Palacios' goal sealed the match, and the championship for DLSU, while also getting her name on the list of goal scorers for the first - and last - time in her UAAP career.
"I told coach I always wanted to score for La Salle before I graduated, and penalty lang yung chance," Palacios said after the match.
Palacios' teammate, sophomore midfielder Sara Castañeda, who was also present at the post-match presser, may have spilled the beans a bit.
"And she told me, in practice she was like, 'Sara if there's a penalty, let me take it!'"
The national team goalie detailed just exactly what was going through her head as she was lining up her shot.
"Wala, compose lang, I mean, you're in front of the goal, and there's just really the keeper left, and me as a keeper, accuracy is really, that's it. Once you're accurate, it will go in, so I took my time, took a breath, and made sure that I was gonna go in."
And it did, and It was surely a special moment for Palacios, who's one of very few UAAP athletes who can say that they ended their collegiate career with a perfect championship season.
What a way to call it a career for Inna Palacios.