Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) completed their impressive run in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) football tournament after clinching a spot in the championship round with a 2-1 victory over University of Santo Tomas (UST) at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Thursday.
The Blue Eagles, who topped the elims, will meet Far Eastern University (FEU) in the final round on May 7.
Ateneo relied on the prowess of striker Javier Gayoso, who scored a brace against the Growling Tigers.
Now on his second-year as a striker for the Blue Eagles, Gayoso executed consecutive strikes in the 22nd and 44th minutes to give ADMU a 2-0 advantage going into the halftime break.
However, the Tigers reduced the deficit to just a solitary goal as substitute Marvin Jake Bricenio found the back of the net in the 56th minute.
The men from España dug deep into their arsenal but the Blue Eagles stood firm in foiling their attacks until the final whistle.
“First of all we are really happy because we are back in the finals. It was our No.1 objective before the season,” ADMU head coach JP Merida told reporters after the game.
He added that he is glad that his team was able to nullify the attacks of UST in the remaining half and protect their lead until fulltime.
“I told the team during the halftime talk that we need to be ready in the second half and we really needed to defend to protect our lead. UST played with high-intensity in the second half,” he said.
Meanwhile, the FEU Tamaraws earned their finals berth after defeating defending champions University of the Philippines (UP), 2-1, in the other semis pairing.
Rico Andes scored twice in the 23rd and 56th minutes for the Morayta-based brigade, while Kintaro Miyagi notched the only goal for the Fighting Maroons before the midgame intermission.
In the women’s division, the UST Tigresses defeated the Ateneo Lady Eagles, 5-4, to take the last available slot in the final round.
The Tigresses will be meeting the unbeaten the De La Salle University for the crown on May 7.