by David Tristan Yumol
The University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons won their first UAAP championship via an upset of top-seeded De La Salle University, 2-1, Thursday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Cristina delos Reyes provided the much-needed lift for the Diliman-based booters by scoring a penalty kick during the 50th minute.
However, a penalty was also awarded to La Salle’s Sara Castaneda in the 61st minute after UP’s Aira Agustin was called for a yellow card in their collision inside the box.
She comfortably scored the kick to tie the game at one apiece.
Six minutes after that goal from the Taft-based booters, Angeliza Sta. Clara scored a fantastic header from a corner kick to bring back the lead to the Lady Maroons, 2-1.
From there, UP did not let La Salle score as they sealed their first ever championship in the women’s football event of the 78 year-old league.
In a post-game interview, Sta. Clara admitted she did not expect to score her winning goal which was not a perfect hit though.
“I didn’t saw where the ball was going after I made that header. I felt surprised that luckily, the ball went inside the goal box,” she said.
Coach Anto Gonzales was proud of what his girls achieved after going through a challenging season.
“It was a tough game at the first half. Fortunately, we pulled away in the second half with those lucky breaks,” he mentioned.
Molly Manalansan was named Most Valuable Player at the awarding rites graced by UP President Alfredo Pascual and UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan.