Ateneo de Manila University won’t take University of Santo Tomas (UST) lightly in their Final Four match in Season 79 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s football tournament.
JP Merida, head coach of the top seed Blue Eagles, said that they need to prepare harder for their semifinals game, as the Growling Tigers are capable of pulling off an upset in their knockout game.
“We really need to prepare. We can’t underestimate our opponent. We really need all our players to perform well in the semifinals,” Merida said in Filipino as Ateneo shoots for a second straight finals appearance.
“Of course, it would be hard to underestimate UST. During our pre-season games against them, they really performed. We can’t really underestimate UST because they can really play,” he added.
Ateneo and UST will clash on May 4 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium with the winner advancing to the finals against the survivor of the Far Eastern University-University of the Philippines semis duel.
The Blue Eagles ended their elimination round campaign with a 3-1 victory over the Tamaraws to finish with 11 wins, two draws and a loss for 35 points.
“One thing that I really want the team to continue is our good attacking plays. Hopefully, this will continue even in the semis,” Merida said.
Last year, Ateneo beat La Salle in the semis via penalty shootout, 5-4, but lost to the Fighting Maroons in the finals, 1-4.