by Edison Ubaldo
The University of the Philippines leaned on its effective second half play to sneak in a 1-0 win against De La Salle University Green Archers in the UAAP Season 75 Men’s Football Tournament at the Ateneo De Manila University pitch, December 16.
Maroon striker Gerardo Valmayor broke away from his defenders and tucked a pass to Michael Simms in the 76th minute which the latter converted into the game-winning goal.
“We badly needed this result,” said UP Coach Anto Gonzales, whose team now touts a 2-1-1 win-draw-loss card. “We badly needed a win kasi nga medyo down ‘yung team.”
The Fighting Maroons came out sloppy and looked sluggish in the early goings after the Green Archers dominated ball possession in the first half. DLSU intercepted a lot passes and launched a lot of attacks toward UP’s goalpost.
Rookie David Diamante penetrated UP’s defense and had a good look at the post in the 37th minute but his header was off. He brought scare once again in the 40th minute but his shot came out wide.
But the tides turned as Coach Anto decided to do some key changes after the break.
“We instructed our wingers na pag naagaw namin yung bola to really spread themselves out para pwedeng marelease agad ang bola sa kanila,” said Coach Anto of their second half strategy.
The Maroons created a couple of good looks on the goalpost after the adjustments, but rookie Vincent Aguilar and Nathaniel de Guzman’s shots in the 47th and 50th minute went straight to Lasalle’s goalkeeper.
Veteran Valmayor lead the charge in the 73rd minute but La Salle was able to defend the attacks until he finally found Simms for the sneaky winning goal moments later.
UP will face last year’s runner-up University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers on Tuesday, December 18.