Current leader San Beda College (SBC) overpowered the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) 2-1 in the Final Four opener of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Football tournament at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Tuesday.
The Red Lions shook off a slow start to pull off a come-from-behind triumph over the Pirates, which were their championship round rivals in 2014.
Lyceum grabbed the early lead with an opening goal off a corner by Riel Mark Subebe in the 15th minute.
San Beda, before the midgame intermission even the score to 1-1 with a goal in the 41st minute courtesy of Connor Tacagni.
It was a head-to-head battle in the remaining minutes of regulation until the Red Lions notched the game-winning goal in the 82nd minute again by Tacagni.
“I told my players after the first half that our concentration level was really low that is why we conceded. I also reminded them that we can still get away with a win against Lyceum if we are really focused,” SBC head coach Christopher Pedimonte told reporters after the match.
He commended the display of skill of the Pirates but added that their side’s drive for victory prevailed.
“One factor that really affected the match is the way that Lyceum played in the game. They really played well but I am really proud that the desire to win of my players stood out,” he said.
Meanwhile, College of Saint Benilde beat Arellano University 2-0 in the second game.
In the high school division, San Beda and Arellano defeated their respective foes earlier in the day.
Top seed San Beda routed Colegio de San Juan de Letran 5-0 in the first game while the Arellano Braves escaped defending champions La Salle Greenhills, 1-0, in the other match.