Defending champion San Beda College kept its title bid alive with a resounding 6-0 victory over Lyceum of the Philippines University in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s football tournament at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Thursday.
After two straight losses, San Beda bounced back strong as it immediately took control of the game, nailing a goal courtesy of winger Sean Epili in the early minutes.
Veteran striker Stephen Abriol doubled the score of San Beda swiftly after the opener with a conversion off a penalty kick following a foul by the Lyceum defense inside the box.
San Beda’s frontline continued to pound the defense of Lyceum throughout the first half, resulting in two more goals tallied into their squad from Nimrod Balabat and another one by Abriol.
Lyceum assumed a more defensive stance as play resumed in the second half.
But the fortified back line of the Pirates was ravaged by the Red Lions as Benjie Guido and James Pangasian posted additional two goals into the score line before the end of regulation.
San Beda head coach Christo¬pher Pedimonte said that their two losses became the team’s motivation in their final push to force a finals playoff game against league leader Arellano University.
He added that driving hard to their opponents’ goal in the first few minutes of the match was really part of their game plan.
“That was really our goal. We really wanted to get as much goals in the first 15 minutes of play,” he said.
In the other match, Arellano defeated College of Saint Benilde, 3-2, in added extra time to remain unbeaten in eight games.
Benilde took the upper hand in the 10th minute of the contest with a goal courtesy of Gaudin Maasin but was swiftly negated by Arellano’s James Ayuban two minutes after.
The Green-and-Black platoon retook the lead before the halftime as John Michael Barot’s shot found the back of the net to give the Blazers a 2-1 advantage at the break.
To the delight of the Arellano fans, Jumbeng Guinabang leveled the score at 2-2 by scoring a crucial goal in the 54th minute mark of the second half.
Arellano and Benilde went all out in their attacks in the final minutes of regulation but both went back empty handed prompting the match officials to send the game into added extra time.
Ronald Espinosa sealed Arellano’s hard-fought win with a goal in the final minute of the extra time.