Powered by fantastic freshmen, La Salle looks poised for a special season after dethroning UP
All signs seem to be pointing to a a special year for De La Salle’s rookie-laden side in UAAP Season 81 football tournament.
Freshmen Jovan Marfiga and Shanden Vergara found the back of the net as De La Salle continued its amazing run by dethroning defending champion University of the Philippines with a thrilling 2-1 victory on Thursday to reach the finals for the first time in four years at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The Masbate-born Marfiga headed home the opener in the 20th minute off a fine delivery from skipper Jed Diamante, but the Fighting Maroons equalized through King Miyagi’s scrappy goal just before halftime.
La Salle, however, stayed resolute defensively, before Vergara’s opportunistic strike against the run of play gave the Green Archers the goal that will send them to the finals next Thursday to face either Ateneo or Far Eastern U.
Vergara, a recruit from La Salle Zobel, who hails from San Carlos City provided a clinical finish from just inside the box after controlling a long ball from near the halfline.
“It’s not just Shanden (Vergara), but the rest of the rookies who made the team this year,” said La Salle coach Alvin Ocampo, a former national team standout.
Last week, another rookie, Xavi Zubiri, fired the winner against FEU that sent the Green Archers to the Final Four.
“They (rookies) have really contributed and are actually playing like veterans,” said Ocampo, a member of the last La Salle team that won a UAAP title in 1998. “Now we are one step closer to our goal.”