|Juan Sanz FC started out the AFL Season 2 like a house on fire. But in their last four matches they are 1-3.|
Ateneo Football League Week Four: For the upset-minded
by rick olivares
Week Four of the Ateneo Football League was marked by upsets and muscle-flexing.
Blue Guards finally showed up with a complete lineup with Eric Ingles and Bert Honasan in uniform. Up against a hopelessly overmatched Puzakals, Blue Guards, with its bevy of former national players, went on to win by a lopsided score that the final tally has been lost to memory (sorry, I forgot the score).
Team Redemption, er, Freedom, has finally found its form when it came back from an early one goal deficit to pip previously undefeated Oscariz, 2-1. After James Bernas opened the scoring for Oscariz to take a 1-nil lead at the half, Team Freedom seized control of the midfield to take the fight to the division leaders.
Ron Poblete equalized for Freedom with the goal of the tournament thus far as he scored on a fabulous bicycle kick from inside the box. In an attempt to retake the lead, Oscariz committed more players to the attack and found themselves a victim of a quick counter where Raffy Roa found himself with one defender to beat. One nifty sidestep later, Roa, one-time UAAP Golden Boot winner, blasted a shot of which Oscariz’ keeper had no chance of stopping. With Manny Concio anchoring Freedom’s defense, Oscariz was repeatedly turned back until full time.
In the ultra-competitive 31-and-above Division, Team Cojones dealt also erstwhile undefeated Loyola Agila a beguiling 4-3 win. Agila began the game by testing Cojones keeper Chito Ines with brothers Blue and Red Avelino taking shots from either side of the goal. Cojones’ Paolo Aquino and John Diego traded goals with Agila’s Pilo Torres and Dominic Samson before Dan Geiger booted in the winning goal. Agila, tested for the first time all season, fell apart in the second half when Cojones controlled the midfield.
Things didn’t look too well once more for Agila in their second match of the day as upset-minded Psykicks, bolstered by the addition of Ateneo and Pasargad coach Joel Villarino, kept them on their heels.
Early in the first half, Villarino beat Samson in the middle to send Loyola scurrying back. With a defender closing him on the right wing, Villarino sent a well-placed cross inside the box to a waiting Celine Lopez who volleyed it past keeper Paul Arcenas.
After Loyola equalized early in the second half, Psykicks committed a mistake by using Villarino as a forward. Lacking the playmaker in the middle, Psykicks fell apart as Loyola quickly took over the match. Villarino had two magnificent opportunities to score two goals but a little indecision here and there allowed the defense of Loyola to take shape. Agila split their games with a 6-1 win with goals coming from Joey Prats, Samson, Blue Avelino, Pilo Torres, and Angelo Gonzales.