MANILA, Philippines – Jarvey Gayoso produced some late magic to force extra time as Ateneo scored a thrilling 2-1 win over fierce rival La Salle to reclaim the crown in the UAAP Season 81 men's football tournament Thursday, May 16, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The Green Archers had looked to end a 21-year title drought after rookie Mohammad Almohjili opened the account in the 78th minute.
But Gayoso, who bagged the season MVP on top of winning his fourth straight Best Striker award, scored in what could be one of the best games of his young, decorated career.
From a Luke Alleje assist, Gayoso netted the wonderful goal – his 12th this season – early in stoppage time for the Blue Eagles to level at 1-1, sending the match to extra 30 minutes.
Skipper Julian Roxas, one of 3 graduating Ateneo players, then hit a 100th minute header off an Alleje cross to give Ateneo a 2-1 lead that it protected until the final whistle.
The Blue Eagles won their second crown in 3 years and eighth overall.
Ateneo now also leads its finals head-to-head tally versus La Salle, 3-2, with the Katipunan side taking the last two meetings.
AJ Arcilla, who produced key saves for the Eagles in extra time, was named Best Goalkeeper, while the Rookie of the Year honors went to Shanden Vergara of the Archers.
La Salle's Yoshi Koizumi and Jed Diamante bagged the Best Defender and Best Midfielder awards, respectively, while University of Santo Tomas won the Fair Play award.
Aside from Roxas, Rupert Baña and Jeremiah Rocha ended their UAAP careers as champions. – Rappler.com