The University of St. La Salle football team survived a nerve- wracking penalty shootout against the National University, 4-2, yesterday and will play against San Beda College today for the gold medal in the 19th Philippine University Games at the Central Philippine University Football Field in Iloilo City.
After beating NU 1-0 in Sunday’s quarterfinals, the La Salle-Ceres team topped their bracket but were pitted against NU in the semifinals after the latter posted the second best record among in the quarterfinals.
With USLS getting away with the win Sunday, NU came out fully prepared for the battle for the final seat yesterday and held the defending champion in a scoreless deadlock after the regulation and the extra time to force a penalty shootout.
NU managed to get the ball into the net twice but USLS prevailed as Aldrian Dolino, Regie Bren Cisneros, Tristan Kit Robles and Joel Bedia kept their composure to beat NU’s goalkeeper to secure the win and advance into the final.
Earlier, USLS head coach and veteran football mentor Freddie “Nene” Lazarito said competing teams can score one goal or more and it will still be irrelevant if they lost the match.
A win is a win, that’s all that really matters, Lazarito said, adding that he is proud of his rookie-laden La Salle-Ceres team who managed to keep all their opponents scoreless from the elimination round up to the quarterfinals.
With almost half of his first eleven being college freshmen, Lazarito said he put emphasis on each player’s role in the team and the skills that allowed them to be a member of the varsity squad.
Meanwhile, San Beda College is expected to give the defending champions a good fight today after taming St. Benilde, 3-0, in the other semifinal match-up yesterday.
The Manila-based team is the reigning National Collegiate Athletic Association football champion.
In volleyball, defending champion NU men’s volleyball team returns to defend its title today after beating Adamson University in straight sets, 25-16, 25-21, 25-21, in the semifinals yesterday.
The NU women spikers will also be playing for the gold medal against De La Salle University after both teams turned back their respective opponents in the semis. NU beat Adamson, 25-14, 25-23, 25-20, while DLSU prevailed over St. Benilde, 25-9, 25-13, 25-20.*NAB
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