UAAP 81 Football Finals: Redemption game leads Gayoso, Ateneo back to title match
Santino Honasan on May 15, 2019 12:31 PM
Jarvey Gayoso (11) made sure that he and the Ateneo Blue Eagles would not suffer another semifinals exit in UAAP Season 81
Prior to their UAAP Season 81 Men's Football semifinals matchup against Far Eastern University last May 9th, the last time that the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles played a match in the historic Rizal Memorial Football Stadium was during the previous season's semifinals against University of Santo Tomas.
The Growling Tigers ended up upsetting the second-seeded Blue Eagles, effectively dethroning the then-defending champions.
This season however, things went very differently for the Blue Eagles, thanks in large part to star striker Jarvey Gayoso.
The league's leading scorer provided the difference-making conversion that powered Ateneo back into their third UAAP Men's Football Finals appearance in the last four seasons.
For the fourth-year striker, last season's Final Four exit served as motivation, especially since they were back in the very same place where their dreams of a back-to-back titles disappeared.
"It’s good to be back, it’s good to see our efforts and our hard work, it’s good to be back to where we were," Gayoso said folllowing the win. "We were very motivated about last season’s opportunity, we understand that the last time that we played here, we lost, and we wanted to make a statement now. It was our first opportunity to play again in Rizal after that loss in the semis last season, and we wanted to make everything worth it, we wanted to give everything. We’ve worked so hard and it’s a blessing that we’ve been given the win."
Being the league's most prolific scorer, the defensive attention was no doubt going to be on Gayoso, as it was last season. The difference is, this time around, Gayoso made sure that he was not going to be silenced.
"Like I said, it’s a blessing that I was given an opportunity and I was given that goal. It feels good that we remained composed and we remained focused on playing this game like any other game, but yun nga, in our hearts and in our minds, we knew that this was a redemption game and a statement game today," he expressed.
[RELATED: Family Feud: Ateneo's Gayoso faces uncle, DLSU's Ocampo in UAAP 81 Football Finals]
With Ateneo capturing the title back in UAAP Season 79, there isn't really much of a drought to talk about, but that does not make the Katipunan-based side any less hungry to bring a title back home to Loyola Heights, especially after the adversity that they had to go through to begin the season.
"We had a slow start and we knew we had to bring ourselves back up, we had to stand up, we had to fight, we had to continue to play. We knew that we were not invincible, so we wanted to play hard. Now that we’re given the opportunity to play in the Final Four, all we wanted to do was be back in the Finals, to give back the trophy to the Ateneo," Gayoso added.
Ateneo de Manila University faces collegiate rivals De La Salle University in the Finals of the UAAP Season 81 Men's Football Tournament! Catch it LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD channel 166, Liga channel 86, Liga HD channel 183, and live streaming via https://sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/uaap2 and iWant Sports