Playing their first game of the season to make it back to the finals, the Arellano University Chiefs gave the Mapua Cardinals a feeling of disappointment after a 7-1 performance, similar to Germany’s feat against Brazil to kick off their NCAA Season 95 quest.
Kervin Papilota opened the scoring for Arellano University after luring Roland Avila out of his box before hitting the goal in the 10th minute.
An error from the goalkeeper gave the chiefs their second goal of the match in the 22nd minute. Everyone thought it would be an easy ball for him to collect as Al Jun Baclason’s shot hit the crossbar but as Avila prepared to gather the ball, it hit his back and went into the back of the net.
In less than a minute, Papilota scored his side’s third goal of the match after a great through ball from Suplito down the right flank. His first shot was saved by the keeper but the follow-up found it’s way into the back of the net.
A rash tackle from Niño Dave Sangcap resulted in a yellow card in the 26th minute however, Arellano University wasn’t able to capitalize from the free-kick.
Avila made amends to his mistake earlier with a couple of saves in the 31st minute when Suplito broke loose inside the box. The keeper went out of his box to get the first ball and made sure that when Suplito went for the rebound, he came out on top of the ball.
Avila was called into action again in the 36th minute as a long-range strike from Spencer Galasa went straight to his palms.
Into the second half of the match, Arellano University continued their dominance as Suplito scored their fourth goal of the match in the 53rd minute.
A strike from Baclason gave last season’s runners-up their fifth goal of the 10 minutes after Suplito’s strike on goal.
A blistering run from Galasa forced the cardinals’ defence to take him down just a few yards from the penalty box. Baclason’s shot from distance was saved magnificently by the flying Avila while the rebound was cleared by his last defender right on time.
An impending sixth goal was piled home by Baclason, who also got his hat-trick through a thunderous shot that any keeper would not be able to hold in the 69th minute.
“Play hard lang, para naman kasi para sa team yun eh,” a shy Baclason talking to the press after the match regarding his momentous hat-trick. This is his first year in the collegiate and he’s already proven his worth for the team.
“Masaya din siya kasi naabot na niya din yung kanyang pangarap,” continued by coach Ravelo Saluria.
Mapua came close to pulling one back just moments after the chief’s sixth goal but their efforts were easily squandered by the defence.
We thought that the seventh goal from Arellano’s number seven, Galasa, was about to happen but Avila had other plans and saved it cleanly. Avila would then come off to a great reception from the spectators as he’s replaced by Gio Red Dela Cruz in the 80th minute.
Seventh heaven was finally unlocked by Baclason through his brace in the 77th minute as he brought home a well-waited spillage from the keeper.
Mapua Cardinals were able to pull a rabbit out of the hat thanks to Mark Chan in the 79th minute which left Charles Scott Ledesma scratching his head as he let a clean sheet fly.
“Masaya kasi nasunod nila yung gameplan namin. Alam mo yung team ko maraming rookie. Kahit rookie, nakita namin yung maturity,” said coach Saluria about his thoughts on the match.
That goal from Chan gave the Cardinals something to be happy about despite a drubbing that they received from the chiefs. They will play San Beda University on the 21st of January while Arellano University faces title contenders Lyceum of the Philippines University.