Arellano University dethroned San Beda College via an impressive 2-0 win to rule the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 91 men’s football tournament on Tuesday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
After runner-up finishes in the 2013 and 2014 editions, the Chiefs made sure this time that the title won’t slip out of their hands. It was Arellano’s first crown since joining the league in 2009.
Despite San Beda’s aggressive offensive raids in the opening half, Arellano managed to retaliate with a swift counterattack that was rewarded with a breakaway goal by Charles Gamutan in the 34th minute.
The Red Lions attempted to retaliate as play resumed in the second half but their attacks failed to blast through Arellano’s back-line.
To the dismay of San Beda’s faithful fans in the stadium, another attack off a retaliation sequence paid off with a goal in the 82nd minute courtesy of Jumbeng Guinabang.
San Beda sent several more attempts in the dying minutes but their attacks were warded off by Arellano goalie Jericho Desalisa until the end of regulation.
“We are happy with the win because we’ve waited a long time for this. This is a sweet win for us because we really worked hard for this,” Arellano head coach Ravelo Saluria.
He added that they did not take any break during the holiday season to work on their weaknesses and improve their game in their preparation for the championship.
“Many are asking about the reason behind the improvement of our performance and I think its because we now have our own training pitch and we are thankful to the school’s management for that,” he said.
Saluria noted that they even skipped pre-season games just to focus on preparation for the NCAA season.
“We really worked hard because the competition is really tight. We did not join pre-season tournament’s such as the Ang Liga to really prepare for the NCAA,” he ended.
Saluria was awarded with the Coach of the Year plum while Guinabang was named Most Valuable Player and Best Midfielder.
Arellano’s Patrick Bernarte took the Best Defender, and San Beda’s Stephen Abriol and Michael Yuvienco bagged the Golden Boot and Golden Glove trophies, respectively.
Arellano entered the Final Four with a pristine 6-0 win-loss record.