UAAP 81: Green Archers face Blue Eagles for football title

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Matches Thursday: (Rizal Memorial Stadium)
2 p.m. – DLSU vs FEU (Women Finals)
4:30 p.m. – DLSU vs Ateneo (Men Finals)

De La Salle ended University of the Philippines’ reign with a 2-1 victory to make a return trip to the championship match Thursday in the UAAP Season 81 men’s football tournament at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The newbies are delivering the goods all season long for the Green Archers.

A week after Xavi Zubiri carried them to the Final Four, it was Shannen Vergara’s turn, producing the 77th-minute winner for De La Salle.

“They contributed a lot,” said coach Alvin Ocampo of La Salle’s talented rookie batch.

The Archers are back after a four-year absence and are seeking to end a 21-year title drought in the one-game final at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday next week at the same Malate venue.

De La Salle became the fourth straight No. 3 team to make it to the Finals, duplicating the feat by University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University and Ateneo.

The Blue Eagles, behind Jarvey Gayoso’s second-half goal, eliminated the Tamaraws, 1-0, in the other Final Four pairing. This paved the way for the first De La Salle-Ateneo Finals since 2006 when the Katipunan-based side completed a three-peat.

“In the Final Four, anything can happen. It is more on who wants it more and who is prepared for the semis. Now we are one step closer on our goal right now,” said Ocampo, who was a member of the last Archers side that won their fourth and last championship in 1998.

De La Salle is actually on course for a golden double, as its women’s team also made it to the Finals and is eyeing a third straight crown on Thursday next week.

Another rookie Jovan Marfiga opened the scoring for the Archers in the 20th minute before the Fighting Maroons equalized 18 minutes later courtesy of King Miyagi.