By Luisa Morales
Defending champions University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons failed to return to the finals, losing to the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws, 2-1 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, Thursday night.
The Diliman squad started the game on the offensive, bombarding the FEU defense with powerful strikes.
But it was the Tamaraws who drew first blood.
From a corner kick, FEU took the lead courtesy of a header from Rico Andes, 1-0 at the 22nd minute mark; however, the Morayta-based club had little time to celebrate.
Less than a minute after the goal, Maroon Kintaro Miyagi scored an equalizer off the rebound after teammate JB Borlongan cut through the Tamaraw defense.
With momentum on their side, the Maroons continued on the offensive with multiple attempts to take the lead. At halftime, the game remained at deadlock, 1-all.
Come kick-off for the second half, both squads looked to take the upper hand.
At the 56th minute, FEU broke the stalemate.
Despite efforts from the Maroon defense, Andes was able to put the ball at the back of the net to give the lead back to the Morayta squad, 2-1.
Unfazed by the lead, UP continued to attack coming up with numerous attempts and almost goals, but FEU did just enough to hold the lead until the final whistle.
Despite the loss, it was still a great season for the Maroon booters who will miss the services of graduating players Ace Villanueva, Ryan Fermin, and Season 78 MVP Daniel Gadia.