DEFENDING champion University of the Philippines (UP) became the second semifinalist despite battling University of Santo Tomas (UST) to a goalless draw on Thursday in the UAAP Season 79 men’s football tournament at the Moro Lorenzo Field.
Now with 25 points, the Fighting Maroons will make their fifth straight Final Four appearance. UP is now only a point behind Ateneo, which continues to be on top of the league table with 26.
Later, De La Salle beat National University, 1-0, to close in on its victims in fourth place with 15 points.
Iñigo Gonzales, with a solid one touch, struck on the 12th minute from a Rafael Siggaoat cross for the Green Archers.
“I thought we started the game very well. In the first 15 minutes, we could have scored probably two goals. Unfortunately, we didn’t finish those opportunities,” said coach Anto Gonzales after his Maroons shared points with the Growling Tigers.
UST had dominated much possession in the second half but UP held its ground up to the very end.
The Tigers, still trying to stay on course for a Final Four slot, hiked their total to 14 points in sixth place, two off the Bulldogs’ 16.
The Maroons were full strength with the return of Ian Clariño and reigning MVP Daniel Gadia after missing the last two matches due to national U22 team duties.
Women’s action at the FEU-Diliman pitch on Wednesday saw early finalist De La Salle defeating Ateneo, 5-0, to stay perfect with 18 points.
A brace by Kyra Dimaandal, and goals by Nina Arrieta, Kyla Inquig and Sara Castañeda powered the Lady Archers to their sixth straight victory for a maximum of 18 points.
Titleholder UP kept its Finals hopes alive following a 1-1 draw with FEU. The Lady Maroons improved to five points.
Saturday matches at the Rizal Memorial Stadium:
3 p.m. – FEU vs UE (Men)
5 p.m. – ADMU vs AdU (Men)