De La Salle University ended the first round of eliminations of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) football tournament on top of the standings.
Despite being tied with University of Santo Tomas (UST) with five wins and two draws, the Green Archers claimed a five-point advantage on goal difference to take the No.1 seed.
In their last outing, the Green Archers settled for a 1-1 draw against National University (NU) at the Moro Lorenzo Field on Thursday.
After several early attempts, Gerald Layumas scored the opener for La Salle with a header deep inside the box off a corner kick in the 11th minute of the contest.
However, the lead of the Green Archers vanished fast as the Bulldogs immediately found an answer on the other end with a header courtesy of veteran Paolo Salenga in the 15th minute.
The match continued with NU pushing forward to test the defense of their foes but La Salle shot-stopper Paeng De Guzman foiled all attacks.
Action resumed in the second half with La Salle relying on small attacks while the Bulldogs sustained their assaults in hopes of finding the game-winning shot.
NU’s Lawrence Colina had the chance to score after being left unguarded but De Guzman stood his ground to ensure the draw for the two clubs.
With the draw, the Bulldogs fell to the fifth spot of the standings with two wins, three draws and two losses.
Meanwhile, UST escaped University of the Philippines (UP) via a 1-0 decision.
The Growling Tigers relied on the early-game penalty conversion of Ronald Bastisla-Ong to secure the win.
UST’s patience on the attacking end paid off in the 16th minute when newbie forward AJ Pasion was fouled inside the box to force the officials to award a penalty to their side.
UP absorbed its second loss in seven games to fall to the fourth position in the standings.
Ateneo De Manila University also ended the first round of games with a victory after surviving University of the East (UE), 2-1.
Mikko Mabanag notched the opening goal for the Blue Eagles in the 41st minute after sending the ball straight to the net off a corner kick to give his crew a 1-0 advantage.
The Red Warriors scored their own just two minutes later as unmarked Khyndale Manzo converted off a rebound to level the score at 1-1 going into the midgame intermission.
Ateneo struck the final goal when Jarvey Gayoso found Julian Roxas inside the opponents’ box to tap the ball in to assure his club’s triumph.
The Blue Eagles grabbed their third win in seven games to take the sixth spot while UE sits on the last place with six losses and a draw.
JAELLE NEVIN REYES