Cedelf P. Tupas
MANILA—University of the Philippines banked on timely counterattacks to subdue University of Santo Tomas, 2-1, and regain the UAAP men’s football title before a huge crowd yesterday at Ateneo’s Erenchun Field.
Rookie Gerardo Valmayor struck what turned out to be the game-winner eight minutes into the second half, after assisting on Ayi Aryee’s opener in the 31st minute as UP finished the season unbeaten.
“We were not the most talented team, but we were simply the most hardworking and we got rewarded with this victory,” said Anto Gonzales, a former national player who coaches the Maroons with Frank Muescam.
“It was just a total team effort. Our defense was solid.”
Earlier, FEU grabbed a 1-0 lead in the women’s best-of-three finals, after downing UST, 2-0, on penalties.
With Stephen Permanes pulling the strings at midfield, the Maroons proved dangerous on the counter and a flowing move led to the first goal from just outside the box.
Permanes evaded one challenge then directed the ball to Valmayor who laid it off for Ayi, whose thunderous effort went straight into the bottom corner.
Permanes was later named Most Valuable Player.