Ateneo, UST triumph at UAFL opener

Photos by XC Santos
Photos by XC Santos

The country’s most gifted alumni booters put up a dazzling show on the first day of action of the 2018 University Alumni Football League last Sunday, October 21.

A total of 11 matches were played in the two immaculate full-size grass fields within the Manila Jockey Club racetrack at the San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite. There were some unforgettable highlights in almost every game.

Every game in this play date was either a contest between UST and DLSU or between Ateneo and San Beda. UP, the fifth team in the competition, drew a bye and will begin their campaign on November 4.

Tating Pasilan, representing De La Salle, produced a performance for the ages in the 31-39 year old category with a 4-goal barrage in the Archers’ 4-2 win over UST.

The former Azkal struck in the 10th and 34th minute to give the Archers what looked like a solid lead. But Thomasian Yok Becite, another ex-Azkal, pulled one back in the 41st only for Pasilan to restore the two-goal cushion a minute later. In the 51st Rodney Leyble brought the Tigers back to within one with a fine goal.

But Pasilan killed off the game with another quality score in the 70th.

Another booter in form last Saturday was Ateneo striker Gerard Cancio, who hung up a hat trick in the Blue Eagles’ 9-1 demolition of San Beda, also in the 31-39 division. Cancio got help from Gino Tongson, who picked up a brace of goals and an assist, and Dexter Versario, who also scored twice.

Remarkably, Cancio added a fourth goal while playing for Ateneo in the 21-30 age group against San Beda shortly after. (Overage players are allowed in the UAFL and players can join more than one age group.)

But unluckily for Cancio the Bedistas prevailed in this encounter 4-2 thanks in no small part to Raffy Cabug’s quick two goals in the 69th and 71st minutes.

The 21 to 30 age group saw perhaps the most eventful and controversial match of the day between UST and DLSU.

The Tigers should have gone ahead early when UST’s Marvin Bricenio was presented with a penalty. But La Salle’s Cedric Hodreal brilliantly parried the attempt from the Japan-bred Pinoy to safety.

La Salle’s Matteo Yuhico then put the Archers in the lead in the 27th.

Just before halftime Tomasino goalie Ramon Borigas drove his cleats into the torso of La Sallian Wam Cruz while contesting a 50-50 in the box. While DLSU was given a penalty, spectators were stunned when the referee failed to show even a yellow card to Borigas, much less the red that the challenge seemed to deserve.

Cruz converted the penalty for 2-0 but then shocked the crowd by flashing an obscene gesture at an opponent. That led the referee to present him with a red card.

UST exploited the man advantage with a Rommel Lagrimas goal in the 49th followed by one from Kahlil Austria moments later to knot the game at 2-2.

The Tigers laid seige to the La Salle goal now manned by Kevin Gepaya, but could not break the La Sallian resistance. The teams ended up sharing the points.

It was a proud moment for Gepaya, the former Benilde keeper, who has recovered from a horrific double broken leg sustained in a corporate league to play for his alma mater once again.

There were plenty of fireworks in the 48 and over category as well. UST hacked out a 2-1 win over DLSU with goals from William Cheng and Luis Gerardo. Archer Enrico Marasigan disturbed the nets for his side but in the last minute of action, too late to make a difference.

Archer keeper Chuck Severino had a magnificent outing with several top-drawer saves against a De La Salle outfit that had the lion’s share of chances.

In the other match of that age group Ateneo trumped San Beda 5-2, with Carlo Rodriguez delivering a pair of goals. Bedan Eph Delizo did, however, also struck twice but in a losing effort.

There was only one match played in the women’s division, and it featured Ateneo’s alumnae outclassing a game but inexperienced team of San Beda ladies 15-0. Julia Sucgang’s 7 goals led the way for the Lady Eagles.

UST’s women beat DLSU 3-0 via default when the Lady Archers were unable to produce a squad on Sunday. The Tigresses did, however, play a friendly against selected UST male players.

The final round of matches in the 40 to 47 age group took place at 6pm under the floodlights, and they did not disappoint.

UST edged DLSU 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller thanks to a hat trick from Edcel Bracamonte, the former Azkal assistant coach. The first 6 goals all happened in a madcap 21-minute spell between the 27th and 48th minute. Bracamonte sealed the deal with a score in the 73rd.

Ateneo defeated San Beda 5-2 in their 41-47 match with 51-year old Job Adriano scoring for the Ateneans in the first minute. He also played earlier in the day in the 48 and above match.

Ateneo is now in the drivers seat after winning four of five matches. UST picked up three wins and a draw from their five games.

The UAFL takes a break next weekend then returns on November 4 when UST collides with UP and De La Salle renews its storied rivalry with Ateneo. San Beda gets the weekend off.

The inaugural UAFL is proud to have the Manila Jockey Club as its venue sponsor. The league thanks MJC CEO King Reyno and VP for Marketing Eduardo Ramirez de Arellano for their support.

UAFL also thanks Adidas for supplying the official match ball, Gatorade the official hydration partner, CNN Philippines the media partner, Bagwings, Animo Magazine, AIA Vitality, Philamlife, Bootcamp, and Belle and Dragon.