UP, Ateneo booters arrange title clash
A TEAM that has been drawing strength from the loss of one of its players moved one step closer to its cherished goal yesterday.
University of the Philippines, who began the season mourning the loss of midfielder, Rogie Maglinas, clinched the first finals berth with a 3-0 thumping of University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP Season 78 men’s football tournament at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Rookies Kyle Magdato and King Miyagi found the back of the net in the first half, before Raphael Resuma wrapped up the win with a stoppage-time goal as UP sealed its sixth finals stint in the last eight seasons.
UP will face Ateneo in the finals on Thursday after the Blue Eagles survived rival La Salle, 5-4, in a penalty shootout after regulation and extra time ended in a 1-1 draw.
Ateneo substitute keeper JP Oracion foiled Jose Montelibano in the fifth round of the shootout to preserve the victory for the Eagles, who are seeking their first crown since 2013.
Carlo Liay, who also rifled home what turned out to be the match-winning penalty, gave Ateneo the lead in the 36th minute with a cool finish past Paeng de Guzman after a cutback from captain Mikko Mabanag.
But La Salle skipper Gelo Diamante sent the game to extra time after firing a rocket of a shot, seven minutes from the end of regulation.
Winning it for Maglinas, who lost his battle to cancer last February, has been the battlecry of coach Anto Gonzales’ wards, who also secured their seventh straight clean sheet at the expense of the Tigers.
“We want to win it for Rogie,” said Gonzales. “We don’t think about that streak. We are trying to improve in every passing game and that’s we are going to work on.”
With skipper Daniel Gadia pulling the strings at midfield, the Maroons looked threatening on attack as the Tigers struggled to cope defensively.
Magdato’s cool left-footed finish off a through ball from Gadia opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, before the UP skipper teed up Miyagi for UP’s second eight minutes before the break.