UAAP 81 Football: Rookie Xavier Zubiri's first UAAP goal is DLSU's most important this season
Santino Honasan on May 02, 2019 04:24 PM
DLSU rookie Xavier Zubiri (15) scored his first UAAP goal just when they needed it the most.
De La Salle University and Far Eastern University headed into their UAAP Season 81 Men's Football Tournament elimination round-ending matchup with two very different goals in mind.
FEU, who had already secured a spot in the Final Four, needed a win to finish the elimination round on top of the standings.
DLSU meanwhile, needed at least a draw to keep their post-season hopes alive.
For virtually the whole 90-minute regulation, the two sides were engaged in a tightly-contested battle, with both sides getting a number of opportunites to score.
In the first minute of injury time however, the Green Archers secured their spot in the Final Four, thanks to rookie Xavier Zubiri who managed to flip one in and ultimately get DLSU the win and the post-season berth.
It was the Brent High School product's first UAAP goal, and it turned out to be the most important DLSU goal this season so far.
"I feel amazing right now, I've been trying to score a goal since the beginning of the season, I haven't been so lucky, but I kept persevering, I kept believing in myself, I kept praying, and I finally scored a goal in the 90th minute, at the end when it counted.
With neither side managing to score as the match went into the five-minute injury time, it seemed more and more likely that DLSU's fate would rely on the performance of University of Santo Tomas, who needed at least a draw from the Green Archers to force a playoff.
According to Zubiri however, the focus for him and the rest of the Green Archers was simply on getting the win.
"In our heads, we weren't thinking about a playoff. We were thinking about victory. The only thing we had in our head was a victory, no matter what."
"We didn't want a tie, we didn't want to lose, we knew that with our spirit, with our coaches behind us, and with God, we would be able to push through and go to the semifinals."
Now, Zubiri and the Green Archers have a tough task in front of them in the semifinals in the form of defending champions University of the Philippines, who haven't lost since the start of the second round.
"UP is a really good team, but I believe that this season, everyone is somewhat equal and everyone has a fight, so I believe that we will give UP a really hard fight and they'll give us a hard fight, but hopefully, we can push through."
DLSU and UP clash for a spot in the UAAP Season 81 Men's Football Finals on Thursday, May 9th at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.