Ateneo de Manila University men’s football coach JP Merida hopes the team has generated enough confidence to face De La Salle University on Thursday in Season 79 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).
Winner of their first three games, the Blue Eagles face their archrivals on their home turf at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field, hoping to sustain their unbeaten start in the tournament.
“It’s a game that we will be playing the same formation but one of the things that we will be having some problems with is our transition defending because they are really quick in recovering in their defense,” Merida said.
“I believe that the game will be tough. The pride of the two teams is there. I think that both teams will be performing well in that game,” Merida added. “We really need to work on that if we really want to win against them.”
The Loyola-based booters, who finished runner-up last season to University of the Philippines, swept their first three games including a 5-1 triumph over University of Santo Tomas (UST) last Sunday.
Substitute Paolo Alilam shone for Ateneo with a brace in the second half against the Growling Tigers. High-scoring Javier Gayoso, Ryan Haosen and Rupert Bana also scored for the Eagles.
Merida said their persistent counter-attacks hounded UST’s defense throughout the game.
“In our game against UST, we really had great counterattacks. I saw that they did not get tired and did not stop with the counter-attacks especially in the second half, they really played well,” he said.