by Luisa Morales
The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons inched closer to defending their crown as they outlasted the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors, 3-1 at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field, Thursday.
The Diliman team emerged victorious despite playing without captain Daniel Gadia, Ace Villanueva, and Ian Clarino, who are preparing with the national Men’s U22 team, set to compete in the upcoming Southeast Asian games.
UP started the match hot, with Maroon JB Borlongan hitting a goal only four minutes after the opening whistle blew.
But the Warriors answered back just as quick.
Right after the restart, UE booter Regil Galaura raced past the Maroon defense to get the ball to teammate Mar Diano to even it up 1-1 at the fifth minute mark.
It was the Maroons who dominated the rest of the first half, Borlongan scoring another goal 13 minutes before half time to take the lead back, 2-1.
By the second half, UP did not seem to be content with a one goal lead.
At the 77th minute mark, Maroon Miggy Clarino’s shot bounced off the UE keeper, allowing Sean Patangan to guide the ball to the back of the net.
The goal further cushioned UP’s lead, 3-1.
The Diliman squad’s defense held their ground to keep UE goal less in the second half.
With the victory, the defending champions improve to 21 points as UP trails behind league leaders Ateneo de Manila University only by two points.
Still without their leaders, UP will take on Adamson University, Sunday at the Far Eastern University (FEU) field.