Ateneo de Manila University will work on the fitness of its players as well as its defensive strategy as it prepares for University of Santo Tomas (UST) in their knockout match in Season 79 University Athletic Association of the Philippines women’s football tournament.
The Lady Eagles and the Tigresses will clash on May 4 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium with the winner advancing to the finals against top seed De La Salle University, which went straight to the championship round after sweeping the elimination round.
“We really need to improve the fitness of our players in our next training sessions before we play against UST,” Ateneo head coach JP Merida said in Filipino.
“One of the things that we also really need to address in our training is how we can improve our marking and our defending on crosses and cutbacks,” he added.
The Lady Eagles finished third after the elimination round with 2-2-4 (win-draw-loss) for eight points. The Tigresses finished second with 13 points on a 4-1-3 record.
Ateneo failed to beat UST in their two meetings in the elimination round. The España-based squad took the first game, 3-2, and then was forced to a 2-2 draw by the Loyola-based booters.
Merida expects another tough encounter with the Tigresses in their do-or-die match and hopes their defense can neutralize UST’s top scorer Charissa Lemoran.
“Looking at UST, we can see that their fitness level is really high. Their front line is really a threat with Lemoran. They have a really good combination in the central attacking area and in the flanks,” said Merida.
JAELLE NEVIN REYES