It only took one goal for the Blazers to enter this NCAA season’s football finals.
The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Men’s football team dethroned defending champions San Beda College (SBC) Red Lions (1-0) earlier today at the Rizal Memorial football Stadium, and will now head to the football finals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 93.
Early in the first half, the Lions dictated the pace of the game by creating chances on turnovers on the left hand side of the field. The pressure of the Lions almost resulted in a goal during a scramble inside the penalty area as the ball almost went in hitting the side post of the net.
Entering the second half, SBC kept the pressure on the Blazers’ backline, out hustling the Taft squad on 50-50 possessions.
However, the momentum of the game shifted to the Blazers when Head Coach Marlon Maro substituted fresh legs in the second half.
“I just rotated new faces to start the game then I [brought] in the best players around the stretch,” Maro said in an interview with The Benildean.
The tandem of Henry Omar Hamdan and Carmelo Vincent Gueco created chances on the right flank, creating shots and set pieces.
After 85 minutes of football, Wilmer Paolo Lopez converted on the right handside of the penalty area during a scramble coming from a left corner delivery (1-0), snatching the title away from the defending champions.
“It was scary because if I don’t score it’s a [loss] for us, but if I score we have a good chance to win,” Lopez said.
“I think maturity is the key and [that is what’s] important, that is why we’re back again in the finals,” Maro added.
Maro is hopeful the Blazers will finally nab the elusive men’s football title as the Taft squad will face the Arellano University (AU) Chiefs next Friday, January 19, for game one of the football finals.
Photos by Sace Natividad and Patricia Oliveros