While the rivalry between both DLSU and ADMU has its roots in the NCAA and in the sport of basketball, it has certainly carried over to the UAAP and into sports like volleyball and football as well. For the second consecutive year, both schools are set to face off in the semifinals of the UAAP Season 78 Men’s Football Tournament. La Salle is looking to bounce back from last year’s runner-up finish and bring home the title for the first time since Season 60. Meanwhile, Ateneo is seeking its second title in four years, with the last one coming in Season 75.
DLSU will be entering the semifinals as the second seed with 29 points, while ADMU will come in at third with 25. As of last season, the UAAP has abolished the twice-to-beat-advantage for higher seeded teams. Because of this, the outright winner will head straight to the finals.
During last year’s semifinal encounter, the Green-and-White virtually dictated the entire game, as they defeated the team from Katipunan, 1-0. Striker Gelo Diamante, who replaced older brother Gio late in the game, came away as the hero for La Salle. The younger Diamante brother gave DLSU a seat in the finals with a composed top corner finish in the 88th minute from 18 yards.
Split season series
Both teams faced off at the McKinley Hill Stadium during the opening weekend of this season’s tournament. La Salle came away as the victors in what was an evenly contested match.
With both teams tied at 1-all late in the second half, ADMU was set to come away with a victory after being awarded a penalty. Season 77’s Best Goalkeeper Paeng De Guzman came to the rescue for the Green-and-White, as he denied Emilio Acosta’s spot kick, a save that shifted the momentum to La Salle.
Substitute Jiggs Cruz and team captain Gelo Diamante came away with goals of their own in the closing stages of the game to give La Salle a 3-1 victory.
Playing in its home field in their second-round encounter, the ADMU Blue Eagles defeated a tentative La Salle squad, 1-0, behind an early goal from rookie Jarvey Gayoso. The team from Taft, which is used to playing on artificial turf, struggled with the natural grass surface at the Moro Lorenzo Field. Despite playing without team captain Miko Mabanag due to suspension, the home team held on to repel the Green-and-White.
La Salle’s defense, anchored by the athletic Noel Brago, will have to deal with ADMU’s rookie sensations in Gayoso and Mashu Yoshioka, who have scored 11 and eight goals, respectively, this season.
Veteran Greggy Yang and Gelo Diamante have emerged as the leading scorers for the Green-and-White. Yang has a tally of eight goals to his name, while Diamante has come up with five of his own.
Yang, Jed Diamante, and Jojo Borromeo will be the vital cogs for La Salle in the crucial midfield battle. For the opposing side, Mabanag and co-captain Carlo Liay will look to get things going for the team from Katipunan.
Catch the semifinals between the DLSU Men’s Football Team and the ADMU Blue Eagles on Thursday, April 28, at 5 pm in the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.