UAAP 81 Football Final Four: DLSU dethrones UP to return to Finals

Santino Honasan on May 09, 2019 04:47 PM
UAAP 81 Football Final 4: DLSU beats UP to return to Finals
Shanden Vergara comes up big as he helps DLSU defeat UP with a late second half goal in the UAAP Season 81 Men's Football Final Four

De La Salle University secured their spot in the Finals by dethroning defending champions University of the Philippines with a 2-1 win in their do-or-die UAAP Season 81 Men's Football Final Four match-up, Thursday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. 

Rookie Jovan Marfiga struck early for the Green Archers, converting off a free kick in the 20th minute. 

It didn't take long for the defending champions to respond, as Fighting Maroons striker King Miyagi scored off a scramble near the goal to even things up at one goal apiece to keep their bid for back-to-back championships alive. 

In the 77th minute, rookie Shanden Vergara came up big for the Green Archers once again, as he made good on a pass from mid-field and beat the defenders for what would be the deciding goal. 

With their season on the line, UP pushed to pull even once more, but ultimately could not convert on their chances as DLSU escaped with the win. 

"Anything can happen in the semifinals, it's more on who wants it more, who's prepared for the semis," said a jubilant DLSU head coach Alvin Ocampo. "Now we're one step closer to our goal, now we're going to prepare, we have one week to prepare and be healthy for the [Finals]." 

Ocampo had nothing but praise for the Fighting Maroons, who were looking to capture their third title in the last four years. 

"We all know that UP is a strong team, but La Salle, we managed to match up. Yun yung important eh, yung maka-match up kami. Kudos to the coaches of UP, they brought in a strong team to the UAAP, they showed character also because they started slow and they ended up as the second seed in the league," said Ocampo.   

For the second time in as many matches, it was the rookies who came up big for the Green Archers, with Xavi Zubiri scoring the semifinal-clinching goal against FEU a week earlier. In the semifinals, it was Marfiga and Vergara's turn to shine. 

For Ocampo however, this year's batch of rookies have no doubt stepped up in a big way. 

"It's not only Shanden, it's more of the whole rookie class that entered the team this year. They contributed a lot and they played like they aren't rookies." 

"Remember, pag rookies, wala pang sungay, mas madali pa i-control," Ocampo added, jokingly. "Mas madali pa i-control, mas nakikinig pa sila." 

DLSU heads back to the season finale for the first time since 2015. They await the winner of the other semifinal pairing between Ateneo and Far Eastern University. 

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