UAAP 81 Football: Gayoso hopes win over UST sparks Ateneo winning streak
Santino Honasan on Mar 07, 2019 07:37 PM
"We just needed to stop the bleeding, that’s all we needed to think about, we needed to stop the bleeding and we needed to find a way that we can give ourselves that step up again and push ourselves to get back up there." - Jarvey Gayoso (FILE PHOTO)
Ateneo de Manila University got off to quite a rocky start in the UAAP Season 81 Men's Football Tournament.
Coming off another post-season appearance, the Blue Eagles were expected to be one of the top contenders this season, but instead saw themselves losing to University of the East in their opening match of the year.
That was followed by a draw over Far Eastern University, and then another loss to defending champions University of the Philippines.
Granted, all three of those teams are currently doing really well in the season, it didn't change the fact that after three games, Ateneo only had one point to show for it.
Against Season 80 runners-up University of Santo Tomas, Ateneo was once again faced with a top contender, and was at the risk of dropping three of their first four matches.
Instead, the Blue Eagles put on the best offensive output of any team this season, scoring a blistering five goals to demolish UST, 5-0.
Spearheading the attack was none other than the Blue Eagles' star striker Jarvey Gayoso, who converted on a penalty kick just before halftime, and launched a free kick into the back of the net in the second half.
The Gayoso brace was only the beginning, as three more Blue Eagles chipped in for the dominant win.
Now, at four points in the season, Ateneo is very much back in the hunt, and Gayoso hopes that they can build off the massive shift in momentum.
The fourth-year star had nothing but praise for their Season 80 semifinals ousters, but Gayoso said that he and his Blue Eagle team needed to halt their season-openig skid.
"UST is one of the best teams, I take nothing out of UST’s football, and Coach Marjo was amazing also, he’s an amazing coach and I look up to him, it’s just, we just needed to stop the bleeding, that’s all we needed to think about, we needed to stop the bleeding and we needed to find a way that we can give ourselves that step up again and push ourselves to get back up there."
Gayoso elaborated that Ateneo came into the season with a lot on their minds, and their season opening loss to UE was the manifestation of all those things that were bothering them.
"I think the jitters from the very start, the expectations and the frustrations came in the very beginning, and when we lost to UE, we took it as a slap in the face. It wasn’t even a wake-up call because we weren’t even awakened yet. It was just disappointing."
The draw against, FEU, while a better result, and one that earned them their first points of the year, still wasn't their brand of football.
"That draw against FEU was still not a display of what we wanted, we still had a lot of problems and a lot of mistakes," Gayoso explained.
Against the defending champions, Gayoso admitted that Ateneo's weakness on finishing was exposed, which prompted a shift in focus during their training sessions.
"The UP game highlighted our inefficient scoring ability, we had a lot of chances on goal and we weren’t able to score. Throughout that period after the UP game until to this game, that’s all we focused on, that’s all we practiced because possesion-wise and getting to the final third, it was good, we knew that we were able to do it, it was just that finishing was a problem, so this entire week, we focused on finishing."
Obviously, the hightened focus on scoring paid dividends, as Ateneo won by the biggest margin this season.
Gayoso admitted that the rough start had started to take its toll on the Blue Eagles, but it was that sense of urgency that helped them approach their match against UST with a certain sense of fearlessness and confidence.
"We’ve been losing, and we know that we’re in the bottom of the group, so at the moment, we have nothing else to lose. We just knew that if we took it step by step, one game at a time, we’ll be able to find our rhythm again."
"It’s a long season and we know that, and we only need to be in the top four, we don’t really need to be at the top, so we’re getting ourselves back there, we’re keeping ourselves positive, and this is just a beautiful test of character by my teammates," Gayoso continued.
While one good match is hardly a good indicator of turning a corner, it's a start, and all streaks begin with one win.
"Like I said, we had nothing to lose so all we did was we really wanted to start something we really didn’t want to lose, that’s basically it," Gayoso said.