University of the East (UE) came through with a fiery first half as it stunned leading University of the Philippines (UP), 3-2, to finish its campaign on a winning note in the top division of the Ang Liga Season 15 collegiate football tournament on Wednesday at the McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig City.
The Red Warriors blasted three goals within the first 45 minutes then withstood the Maroon Booters’ endgame onslaught as they closed out the season with 10 points on an improved 3-1-5 win-draw-loss record.
With the stunner, playing coach Fitch Arboleda and his men, who were already out of playoff contention, also stopped a three-game losing slide.
The State U, on other hand, failed to secure the top spot heading into the semifinals as it suffered its second loss.
The defeat paved the way for College of St. Benilde to catch up as the Blazers, who carry 13 points on a 4-1-2 card, still have three games at hand.
Anto Gonzales’ wards remained atop the ten-team table with 21 points but saw their seven-game winning run snapped.
John Abilong opened up the scoring for UE just six minutes into the game while Krysler Opeña and Mar Vincent Diano added one goal apiece for a commanding 3-0 first half advantage.
UP rode on the momentum with Kintaro Miyagi pulling one back in the 68th and Christian Lapas converting a penalty kick in stoppage time.
The Maroons continued its hunt for the equalizer but time was not on their side as the Red Warriors notched the upset.
Meanwhile, in the second division, University of Perpetual Help System DALTA picked up where it left off as it outlasted Ateneo De Manila University, 2-1, to evade a winless campaign on Tuesday at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field in Quezon City.
Carrying a 1-0 lead from their postponed match, the Junior Altas Booters banked on Arnulfo Villanueva’s strike to escape a late charge from the shorthanded Blue Eaglet Booters and post their breakthrough victory after a four-game skid.
The Las Piñas-based squad was able to net a goal during their first meeting against the boys from Katipunan last September 9 at the rain-soaked San Beda College Football Field in Mendiola, Manila.
Besides avoiding a fruitless season, Perpetual Help also earned a slim chance to enter the playoff picture, with fourth-running Malayan Colleges Laguna only ahead via a higher goal difference.
The Junior Altas now have to wait for the last assignment of the Wizards and hope that they will stumble on a five-goal losing margin in order to advance to the semifinals.
Ateneo Juniors Football Team suffered its third straight loss as it finished dead last in the six-team standings with three points and the lowest goal difference.