This appears in the Monday, February 28, 2011 edition of the Business Mirror. In the picture above, graduating UP midfielder Stephen Permanes rejoices after leading the Fighting Maroons to a second title in three years.
UP wins UAAP Men’s Football Championship
by rick olivares with pics by brosi gonzales
The University of the Philippines reclaimed the summit of UAAP college football with a masterful 2-1 win over the University of Santo Tomas with a 2-1 win in the Season 73 Men’s Football Finals at the Ateneo football field yesterday.
The Fighting Maroons, heavy favorites at the beginning of the tournament, gave the Growling Tigers a different look when they immediately went on the offensive on the very first play. “Rather than play defensively, we wanted to put pressure on them right away,” UP head coach Frank Muescan said afterwards.
However after five minutes of play, the Tigers found their groove and put the Maroons back on their heels. That is until the 30th minute when midfielder Stephen Permanes blew by UST defender Noel Francisco after which he threaded the ball to Jinggoy Valmayor who was outside the box. With David Basa and Ronald Batisla-Ong preventing him from turning and firing away, Valmayor found teammate Ayi Nii Aryee unmarked from 25 yards out. The Ghanaian player, whose specialty is long-range shots, volleyed a wicked shot that darted away from Tigers keeper Ramon Borigas for the opening score.
"That was a play that we talked about," described the African who confessed to quitting after last year's nightmare of a season when he and a teammate were nabbed for playing in the United Football League at the same time as the UAAP football tournament which is in direct violation of league rules. "Those long range shots are my specialty and that was just an elite goal. To do it in the finals and help UP to a championship are justification for all the hardship I've encountered. It's a dream."
At the half, UST head coach Marjo Allado hoped that a few substitutions would fire up his beleaguered squad. He inserted Kenneth Parao for the ineffective Fidel Kue, John Reginald Caballero for Louie Rodriguez, and Joel Bones for Noel Francisco. But it was UP that stepped up the pressure as a Permanes highball went over Bones and Basa that Valmayor was able to control. The rookie striker fired away for UP’s second goal, his ninth of the tournament for the scoring lead, that gave the Fighting Maroons a nearly insurmountable lead.
A handball inside the UP box by left back Juan Miguel Roy was whistled by referee Emil Balidio for a penalty shot. With 60 minutes gone by, UST striker Ojay Clarino pulled one back with his eighth goal of the tournament.
And with an attack born of desperation, the Tigers found themselves with three chances in the match’s dying minutes to draw level or pip the Maroons. But Christian de Juan, Mar Mungcal, and Clarino muffed their shots.
And after five minutes of added time, Balidio blew the final whistle and UP were champions for the second time in three years.
“It feels good to graduate with another title,” said an ebullient Permanes who was adjudged tournament MVP. Valmayor romped away with the Best Striker and Rookie of the Year Awards. The freshman out of La Salle Greenhills nearly duplicated his feat several years ago when he was also Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in NCAA Juniors football. UST’s Shinmar Felongco was named Best Midfielder while UP’s Segunial was named Best Defender. De La Salle, second runner up for the third straight year had one representative in the post-season individual awards when Patrick Deyto picked up Goal Keeper of the Year.
It was a sorry loss for the Tigers who were bridesmaids for the second consecutive year. In Season 73, despite having the twice-to-beat advantage, they fell to the FEU Tamaraws in two straight. “We had a good year but came up short,” rued Allado. “Ganyan ang football. Hopefully, next year, kami naman.”
In Game One of the Women’s Finals, a best-of-three series between FEU and UST, the Lady Tamaraws beat the Tigresses 2-0 in a match that went into penalties. Maria Aristia Sabanal and Emma Omictin scored for FEU which is one game away from winning their second UAAP Women’s crown.
In the picture below, Ayi Nii Aryee consoles a disconsolate Ojay Clarino whose side was stopped in the finals for a second straight year.