UST boys secure finals slot in UAAP football

Posted by watchmen
February 19, 2024
Posted in SPORTS


Photo shows the action between University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle-Zobel in the UAAP Season 86 boys' football tournament on Saturday, February 17, 2024. (UAAP Media photo)
Photo shows the action between University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle-Zobel in the UAAP Season 86 boys’ football tournament on Saturday, February 17, 2024. (UAAP Media photo)

For the first time in its history, University of Santo Tomas (UST) is headed to the finals of the UAAP boys’ football tournament.

This, after their thrilling 2-2 draw against De La Salle-Zobel at the University of the Philippines-Diliman Football Stadium on Saturday, February 17.

After the draw, the Junior Golden Booters now have 11 points from three wins and two draws in Season 86.

With just one more round of matches left in the eliminations, the lowest that UST can drop to is second place.

“We survived,” UST coach Marjo Allado said.

“Qualified na kami sa finals. Waiting na kami, and first time ng UST juniors [na] makalaro sa finals, so deserve nila ‘yan.”

Midfielder Yuan Angelo Maniscan opened the scoring in the 25th minute for the Junior Golden Booters by putting the ball into an open net amid the Junior Archers’ miscommunication in defense.

Julio Antonio Yoldi scored La Salle’s first leveler of the contest in 45+2 minutes with a header after a fine passage of play.

Come the second half, UST defender Kent Laurenz dela Peña managed to steal the ball from a La Salle defender inside the penalty box and finish coolly in the 47th minute to give the Junior Golden Booters the lead.

The Junior Archers, though, pushed for another equalizer and got one in 90+3 minutes courtesy of Bacchus Ekberg’s free kick.

This marked the third time that Ekberg has scored off a free kick this season.

With the big dance penciled two weeks from now, Allado wanted UST to maintain its undefeated run in the elimination round next week against Far Eastern University-Diliman (FEU-D) while making sure none of his players get suspended for the finals.

“Pasok na kami [sa finals]. So it’s a non-bearing game, but we have to take it seriously … I think now, it’s about recovery for the players, and the mental aspect is the most important thing now, kasi ‘yung finals naman, matagal pa,” Allado said.

The evening match saw striker Theo Jico Libarnes steal the show, scoring all the goals to power 11-time defending champion FEU-D to a 4-1 rout of Ateneo de Manila University.

Libarnes, who hails from Cebu City, scored a hat trick in just six minutes of play.

The 19-year-old forward opened the scoring in the 35th minute with a penalty quick, and he scored a quickfire double in the 39th and 40th minutes. He then completed his tally with a cool finish in the 75th minute.

Ateneo captain Andres Gabriel Dumlao scored a consolation goal for the Blue Eagles in the 85th minute.

Ateneo is now out of contention for the postseason, and it will finish in last place for the third season running.

The Blue Eagles only have one point after five matches.

FEU-D, who currently has nine points, can enter the finals and finish on top of the elimination round against UST this Friday, February 23. (ABS-CBN News)


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