UAAP 81 Football: Julian Roxas leaves Ateneo as a winner
Santino Honasan on May 17, 2019 03:27 PM
"I knew it was going to be my last game, it’s going to be something bittersweet, so whether win or lose, I knew I just wanted to give it my all and hopefully win the championship for it, and we did that." - Julian Roxas
A hundred minutes into the UAAP Season 81 Men's Football finale between collegiate rivals Ateneo de Manila UnivRersity and De La Salle University, things were knotted up at 1-1, thanks to the efforts of Green Archers rookie Mohamamad Almohjili and Ateneo's star striker Jarvey Gayoso.
With the match already in extra time and fatigue beginning to set in on both sides, graduating captain Julian Roxas came up with what would be the title-clinching conversion for the Blue Eagles.
Roxas leapt over his defenders and received a well-timed cross from super-sub Luca Alleje from the left side of the box to head in the game-winning goal.
It was a fitting send-off for the fifth-year man who had played his last match for the Ateneo.
"It’s amazing, I’ve been studying in this school for 17 years, and I just wanted to give this school one more championship, and I got it," said Roxas after the match. "I pushed myself so hard, it’s an amazing feeling."
Roxas admitted that during the 12 or so minutes that De La Salle was ahead, they felt the pressure. He then praised his teammates on soldiering on and eventually forcing extra time, courtesy of a last-minute equalizer from Gayoso.
"Of course, there was that tension, there was that pressure that time was running out, but this team, this team has heart, man," Roxas expressed. "No one was rattled, everyone just kept going, we knew that we needed just one chance and we’ll get that goal, and Jarvey got it."
Taking to the pitch one last time for the Blue and White, Roxas wanted to make his final match memorable one, and he did indeed, delivering the title-clinching goal for Ateneo.
"It’s amazing, I’m still at a loss for words, I don’t know how to describe it. Coming into this game, I knew it was going to be my last game, it’s going to be something bittersweet, so whether win or lose, I knew I just wanted to give it my all and hopefully win the championship for it, and we did that."
The 22-year old takes pride in the fact that in his five-year career in the UAAP, he was able to be a part of an Ateneo Men's Football program that preached a winning culture and that was able to consistently be a contending team. In his five-year run, Roxas has helped the Blue Eagles make the Final Four all five years, make the finals in three of those five years, and win the title twice.
Roxas remains confident that the team he will be leaving behind will continue to compete and continue to carry that same winning culture.
"The Ateneo Football Program, ever since I was in Grade School and High School, it was always about playing a good type of football and winning culture, and I think in my five years, we did just that, getting to the Final Four and always competing for a championship every year, that’s what it was all about for Ateneo Football and now, as I graduate, I know these guys that are still gonna be here next year, they’re going to continue that and continue on with the legacy and that Ateneo winning culture," he concluded.