Capping off Thursday’s triple-header to open the festivities of the NCAA Season 95 Football Competition, tournament hosts College of Saint Benilde mounted a second-half barrage to win against Emilio Aguinaldo College via four-nil route.
Playing without their team captain and senior player Vincent Lovitos due to an ACL injury, assistant coach Marlon Pinero said, “Kahit wala yung kapitan na’tin, kaya nating maglaro. We dedicate the game para sa kanya.“
It wasn’t an easy start for Season 93 champions as they were caught by surprise of the Generals’ 4-2-1-3 counter-attacking system during the first 20 minutes of the match.
However, EAC wasn’t able to continue their momentum and was then caught by the continuous attack from the Blazers. In the 24th minute, Agustin Roa came close to scoring for the hosts but his point-blank effort hits over the bar.
Tensions flared up in the 26th as a scuffle between EAC’s John Datuin and the Blazers’ Earl Laguerta erupted but referee Michael Barajas just gave warning to both players.
It was in the 28th minute when a real threat on goal occurred for College of St. Benilde as Carl Facturanan’s effort towards the far post was cleared by the General’s defence.
Nine minutes after that sequence, the Blazers would force the Generals’ goalkeeper Djohn Pusing to a double save.
The long wait ended in the 43rd minute when Vitualla fires one towards the top left corner where Pusing cannot reach and gave the Blazers their opening goal.
Not wanting to lose their momentum, the Taft-Based booters went for their second goal of the match just five minutes from the second half whistle. The sophomore Vitualla got his brace through his left-footed strike that went past Pusing.
Pushing the pedal to the metal, Carl Facturanan gave the tournament hosts their third goal of the match with his effort from inside the box. The blazers capped off a fine performance with a fourth goal in the 66th minute.
Neil John Borja was taken down inside the box and Daniel Liozo converted with comfort to seal the win for the blazers.
“Masaya kami. At least nag-enjoy yung mga bata. Marami pa kami ayusin kasi nandyan pa yung kaba,” said assistant coach Pinero.
“‘Di talaga namin makukuha ‘to kung walang teamwork. Thanks to the guidance from God, our coaches and our supporters especially our families,” said Vitualla during the post-match presser.
At the end of matchday one, San Beda University Red Lions came out on top with 13 goals under their belt and a clean sheet while Arellano University finished second with seven goals scored and one conceded.
The Season 93 champions settled for third place with a clean sheet and four goals scored. They will face Colegio de San Juan de Letran on the 20th of January while Emilio Aguinaldo College gets a rest and will face Lyceum of the Philippines University on the 23rd of January.