Striker Lawrence Colina completed a hat trick to propel National University (NU) to a come-from-behind 3-1 victory over De La Salle University in the first round of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s football tournament at the Moro Lorenzo Field on Thursday.
The Bulldogs leaned on Colina’s offensive prowess to recover after trailing early in the game to notch their second straight win and push the Green Archers higher in the team standings.
The third year utility player ignited a late rally for NU in the 76th minute after scoring off a rebound deep inside the box to level the score at 1-1.
Colina broke the tie with his second goal in the 84th minute, 2-1.
La Salle conceded a penalty kick following a hard tackle on NU skipper Patrick Valenzuela. Colina’s free kick found the back of the net in the second minute of stoppage time to seal the win for the Bulldogs.
Rigoberto Joseph opened the scoring for the Green Archers in the 53rd minute but La Salle failed to capitalize on that lead.
“We still used the same plan as our game in Adamson. The players became very patient. We told them that even if we are down in the game, we just have to be patient and continue our game plan,” said NU head coach Mari Aberasturi, who was not surprised with the performance of Colina in the match.
“In our practices, we really give him the role of the top player. His role is really to score for us because if he doesn’t, we will have a problem,” Aberasturi added.
“I told them that the game would not be given to us. We have to fight for the game especially with the quality of La Salle. If we don’t play hard, then we will lose the game. We should not stop playing until the final whistle.”
With the win, NU improved its record to two wins, a draw and three losses for sixth place while La Salle absorbed its fourth loss with two draws and a win.
Meanwhile, University of the East barged into the winners’ column with a 2-1 triumph over Adamson University in the first game.
The Red Warriors now have a 1-1-4 (win-draw-loss) record while the Soaring Falcons absorbed their fifth loss in six matches.