ON THIS DAY: Gayoso, Roxas power Ateneo past DLSU to capture UAAP Season 81 Men's Football Championship

Santino Honasan on May 16, 2020 07:21 PM
ON THIS DAY: ADMU tops DLSU for UAAP 81 Men's Football title
On May 16th, 2019, Jarvey Gayoso played his final UAAP game and helped lead the Ateneo Blue Eagles to their second UAAP Men's Football Championship in three seasons.

MAY 16, 2019

A year ago today, rival universities Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University battled in the Finals of the UAAP Season 81 Men's Football Tournament. 

The final match of the season featured the Katipunan-based Blue Eagles who were looking for their second championship in three seasons. Ateneo was led by a cast of experienced veterans including former MVP and multiple-time Best Striker Jarvey Gayoso. 

The Green Archers from Taft, on the other end of the pitch, reached the finals thanks to the spectacular play of their cast of talented rookies, among them highly-touted recruit Shanden Vergara. 

The UAAP Season 81 Men's Football Finals will be remembered for a great many things.

For one, it would be Gayoso, and surprisingly enough, Vergara's final UAAP game. Gayoso decided to put a bow on his UAAP career after four fantastic seasons, moving onto the Philippine Azkals' Development Team. Vergara, meanwhile, decided to accept a scholarship in the United States after just one season with DLSU. 

The Season 81 Men's Football Finals will also likely go down as one of the most exciting finals matches in recent history. 

Before we relive that exciting finale however, let's see how these two squads got there: 

Ateneo got off to a rocky start, going winless in their first three matchups. They would rally back and win seven of their next eight matches, ultimately finishing at the top of the standings with an 8W-2D-4L record. In the semifinals, Ateneo took down fourth-seeded Far Eastern University to book their second finals appearance in the last three seasons. 

The young DLSU squad had a similar tough start, losing twice in their first three matches. Strong stretches in the middle and late in the season helped the Green Archers to a third-seeded finish with 8W-1D-5L. In the semis, DLSU stunned defending champions University of the Philippines to book a return trip to the Finals after a three-season absence.

Looking to win their first UAAP Men's Football Championship since they went back to back in UAAP Seasons 59 and 60 ('96-'97, '97-'98), the Green Archers held their own against the Blue Eagles, and took control of the match in the 78th minute thanks to a goal from then-rookie Mohammad Almohjili. 

With regulation time nearing expiration, it looked as if DLSU were on their way to ending the two-decade long title drought. 

That was, until Ateneo's main gunner Gayoso stepped up late and evened things up at 1-1 in the first minute of injury time. 

In the 30-minute extension period, Ateneo's experience kicked in and senior skipper Julian Roxas gave the Blue Eagles the lead with a well-timed header. 

DLSU would not be able to stage a comeback of their own and Ateneo went on to capture their eighth men's football title. 

Gayoso, in his final tour of duty for the Blue and White, would earn his second MVP nod and his fourth Best Striker honors. 

Read the complete recap of that fantastic Finals match HERE

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