FEU channels clutch performance to secure finals return in comeback win vs AdMU

FEU Advocate
May 09, 2024 13:44

Far Eastern University (FEU) Booters delivered clutch plays to book a finals ticket as they defeated the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) Blue Eagles in overtime, 2-1, in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 86 men’s football tourney held earlier today, May 9, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila City.

The Booters showcased an assertive start by quickly closing in on the Blue Eagles' goal with a close Sherwin Basindanan strike, only to be narrowly snuffed out by Ateneo.

Another early opportunity opened up for Basindanan at the 5th minute as he was left with an open goal, but was unable to finish the play.

The green-and-gold squad continued executing on offense with steady passing to find openings.

AdMU's positioning on the defensive end constantly bothered said execution, as evidenced by FEU already tallying five corner kicks at the 24-minute mark.

Unfortunately, the Katipunan-based squad would be the first one to translate their play into a point with midfielder Galen Fernandez's strike at the 28th minute.

The Blue Eagles pressured the Tamaraw Booters' goal with another close hit in just the next minute, to be timely prevented by goalie Jet Fabrigas.

Despite having taken eight direct strikes at Ateneo's goal, the Morayta-based squad ended the first half scoreless, 0-1.

Entering the second half, FEU remained suffocated by AdMU's defense, including Viejay Frigillano's direct header being deflected at the 48th minute.

The green-and-gold squad went on to have 13 more close strikes throughout the half, each barely prevented by the blue-and-white squad.

However, with all hope seemingly lost in the extension, Morayta forward Martini Rey scored a clutch goal off an FEU corner kick to force overtime, 1-1.

In a post-game interview with FEU Advocate, Rey credited his goal to the team's unrelenting hope to score.

"We don't lose hope lang naman kasi alam namin, every minute, every second, magkakaro'n ng chances, magkakaroon ng breakthrough. We just need to do a solid last pass then finish. 'Yun lang siguro 'yung nangyari so 'yung faith lang, 'yung hope namin na maka-score [andu'n] (We just don't lose hope because we know that every minute and every second, there would be chances, there would be a breakthrough. We just need to do a solid last pass then finish. That's probably what just happened so the faith and hope to score are there)," he said.

The momentum-fueled FEU remained persistent on both ends of the turf in overtime, but Ateneo managed to keep up to extend the game to another 15 minutes.

In the second overtime, another clutch performance snatched the lead for the side of Morayta, courtesy of a strike by Man of the Match Basindanan off a Jermi Darapan assist.

From then on, the Tamaraw Booters displayed elite defense despite the Blue Eagles' physicality to finally secure their finals return and keep their championship hopes alive.

In another interview, Head Coach Alberto Besa mentioned how the team's heart and desire to protect their championship title propelled their comeback.

"Second half, we realized that our championship might be taken away from us so our boys came back with heart as well. So this game wasn't really a victory of skill, of technique, or tacticals, it was heart. It was all a game of heart. Ateneo showed it. FEU showed it as well," he shared.

FEU will be facing the winner of the match between University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas in the finals on Thursday, May 16, at the same venue. 

-Vince Matthew Jaramilla

(Photo courtesy of Daniel Jacob/FEU Athletics)