UAAP 81 Football: Finals rematch 'just another game' for UP and head coach Anto Gonzales
Santino Honasan on Mar 13, 2019 09:56 PM
"We will prepare the same way we’ve prepared against the other teams, and the main thing that we want to focus on right now is to get slowly back on track and enable our players to play their best, that’s the more important thing right now." - Anto Gonzales
Thursday afternoon at the FEU Diliman Football Field, University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas face off for the first time in the UAAP Season 81 Men's Football tournament.
More than just a battle of two top contenders, this will be a rematch of the Season 80 Men's Football Finals, wherein UP defeated UST, 1-0 to capture their second title in three years.
Last season's runner-up finish was their first Finals appearance since UAAP Season 74, which made the narrow loss even more painful for the España-based squad.
UST has not been shy in saying that they're hungry for a chance are retribution against their Finals tormentors.
For UP however, the finals rematch is nothing more than just another game in the new tournament.
"I think UST is one of the favorites for this year. They have a solid squad, they have mature players, individually they’re very good also," UP head coach Anto Gonzales told ABS-CBN Sports. "It’s going to be a competitive match and we won’t be thinking about ‘Ah, we cannot let them avenge their lost from last season.’ It’s just another game for us."
Heading into the match, UST was able to snap a four-game winless streak with a tough win over University of the East.
UP, meanwhile, is coming in off back-to-back losses for the first time since UAAP Season 76.
With the Fighting Maroons currently in an unusual predicament, Gonzales maintains that their focus is on righting the ship.
"We will prepare the same way we’ve prepared against the other teams, and the main thing that we want to focus on right now is to get slowly back on track and enable our players to play their best, that’s the more important thing right now."
Currently, UST sits third in the standings with nine points off two wins, three draws, and a loss.
UP meanwhile is currently at 6th place with two wins and two losses for six points.