In the battle of two of the league’s top flight teams, the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons emerged victorious with a 1-0 win against the then-undefeated Far Eastern University Tamaraws.
Substitute winger Raphael Resuma (65′) provided the game’s only goal in a grueling contest, tonight at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
“I thought compared to our last game against [FEU] we kept the ball better this time because that was the objective. Overall performance we’re quite happy except the first half when our backline was quite unstable,” commented UP coach Anto Gonzales.
Both teams fired blanks in the opening period, although it was UP who should have broken the deadlock. Daniel Gadia eluded the Tamaraws defense to lay the ball towards an onrushing Lou Rafanan, who then skied his shot with the goal at his mercy.
After the goalless first half, it was State U who drew first blood. While Rafanan’s miss was painful for the Fighting Maroons, the defending champions’ mindset forbade them from letting their heads drop.
Gonzales shared, “This bunch their mental toughness is really fantastic. No problems with the motivation. When things are down they can easily pick themselves up.”
Halfway through the second half, JB Borlongan intercepted the ball deep in the Tamaraws half and provided a wonderful pass towards Arvin Resuma, who calmly directed the ball at the back of the net in the 65th minute.
The move was a wonderful sequence of play from State U, and was a fitting reward for their attacking intent throughout the game. For FEU, however, it was a recurring theme, as the Tamaraws struggled to cope with the Fighting Maroons’ incisive passing.
The Fighting Maroons then drew a free kick at the edge of the FEU box which was taken by Borlongan. Controversy rose as to how far the Tamaraws’ wall should be, and Gonzales was livid at the touchline. Borlongan, though, maintained focus and should have had a goal if not for the crossbar.
UP eventually prevailed 1-0 against FEU in what was the Tamaraws’ first defeat in the UAAP Season 79 Men’s Football Tournament.
Up next for UP (18 points) are the University of the East on March 23, 4:00 PM, at the Moro Lorenzo Field in Katipunan. On the other hand, FEU (18 points) shall face the De La Salle University on March 25, 5:00 PM, at Rizal Memorial.
UP XI: Bonoan, Borlongan, Clarino, Gadia, Lapas, Magdato, Miyagi, Patangan, Rafanan, Sanciangco, Villanueva
FEU XI: Andes, Bugas, Cubon, Joyel, Jurao, Mendoza, Menzi M, Menzi A, Monterona, Rayos, Saldivar