Both the DLSU Green and Lady Booters experienced struggles in each team’s respective quests for the coveted UAAP football championship.
Down, up, repeat.
This is the story of the Green Booters in the five games. The IPPCA champion started the season disappointingly with a, 0-3, drubbing by FEU. The Tamaraw Booters gave the team’s La Salle counterpart a tough time defending as last season’s Morayta-based third placer asserted dominance for most of the game.
In the following game, the Green Booters knew that another loss would put the team miles away from the title race; the Taft-based players redeemed themselves, thrashing NU, 4-0. Goals from Nathan Alquiros, Gelo Diamante, Chuck Uy and Don Rabaya contributed to the Green-and-White’s comeback.
With overwhelming confidence, the team entered the second week of the tournament with a clash against archrival, Ateneo. Despite dominating the match, the Green Booters fell down after Valentino Calvo’s dagger in the 77th minute.
After hitting the deck with another loss, the La Salle XI bounced back with a 3-1, and come-from-behind triumph over last season’s finalist UST. A couple of Gelo Diamante goals alongside another goal from Rabaya saved the day for La Salle. However, another swing of results in their subsequent 0-1 defeat against UP followed by the team’s dominating 2-0 win over UE punctuated the team’s lingering inconsistency.
Coach Hans Smit has been indifferent with the way things are going in the early stages of the season since many things could happen in the second round. The alternate defeats and victories, on the other hand, show that this season would not be easy for the Taft-based squad. Moreover, Smit is heeding for consistency from the boys.
Starting Goalkeeper and Captain Patrick Deyto agrees with his mentor. He explained, “If we play the way we played in the second half against UST, we’re going to get good results and confidence. We have to play that way until the last game of the second round.”
Lost grip of momentum
At this point, the Lady Booters may regret winning the WSL tournament because the team’s stellar performance in the pre-season could have simply showed opponents the way to stop the talented ladies from Taft Avenue.
Things started badly for the Lady Booters. The team has drawn its first three matches against FEU, UP, and UST. The first two of which produced no goals. Although it may have benefited the defense, it has raised doubt on La Salle’s capacity to be on the offensive.
In the team’s third stalemate against UST, the team grabbed the early lead via Karla Pacificador’s penalty conversion. The Lady Booters, however, squandered the lead in the first ten minutes of the second half by conceding two avoidable goals. Thankfully for last year’s finalist, Isabel Montelibano scored a last-gasp equalizer to save the game.
Furthermore, the team’s lackluster performance was exposed by league-leading Ateneo, which downed La Salle’s morale with a, 2-0, win that hampered the Lady Booters’ championship bid. Three points in four games is not something new for the team. The team was also in the same situation last year after four games. Emulating last season’s second round revival could just do the trick for a re-entry into the finals.
Notwithstanding a slow start, Captain Miel Ampil stays optimistic on the team’s chances. She explained, “They should remember to play hard every game, respect the other teams as if they were playing in the championship and play their hearts out.”