Collegiate Football

Dominant performance from the Pirates keep their semifinals hopes alive

Looking to hold on to the fourth spot in the NCAA Season 95 Seniors Football Tournament, Lyceum of the Philippines University imposed their dominance over Colegio de San Juan de Letran via 12 goal route.

Knowing that they have Emilio Aguinaldo College breathing down their necks, the Pirates started off early as they got a goal in the third minute.

Ryuji Rebaya took advantage of the scramble and put the goal away and get them going.

It took quite some time but the Pirates got their second of the match in the 37th minute as Gerald Hembra converted from the spot after a penalty called against Jas Sese who punched the ball out despite not being the keeper.

A stroke of brilliance with two minutes before the end of the first half came from Winces Balbino who scored a curling ball through a free-kick.

Heading into the second half, the Pirates continued to display a beautiful brand of football as Algie Almodial capped off a lovely sequence of play in the 51st minute with a goal of his own.

Seven minutes after, Almodial got his brace as he ran past the goalkeeper who committed earlier than expected.

Not resting on their laurels, Lyceum went on for their sixth goal of the match in the 64th minute. Gad Diamante took a crack on goal and placed it well past the goalkeeper’s reach.

Balbino, who scored a gorgeous free-kick in the first half got his brace and continued the scoring party for the Pirates.

As if the scoreline was not yet enough to show how strong they are, they got their eighth goal after just five minutes from their seventh thanks to James Mansueto.

After an error in defence, Mansueto was in the right place at the right time to score his goal.

In the 75th minute, it was Diamante who continued the goalscoring feat for the Pirates as he, too, became a recipient of poor defensive organization from the Knights.

It wouldn’t be a goal-fest if the Pirates wouldn’t break through the 10-goal mark and they did it in style in the 79th minute.

Clyde Casili broke free from the defence and found the back of the net and dumbfounded the keeper at the same time as he made the ball go through his legs.

Mansueto grabbed his brace in the 86th minute after flat-footing the keeper and sucking the life out of the Knights if they still have something left.

The Diamante show was a fitting finale to a 12-goal scoring feat for the Pirates as he grabbed his hat-trick to solidify their hold on their semifinals ticket.

“The scoreline doesn’t really define the game. It’s more of the performance,” said coach Popoy Clarino of the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates.

Heading into the semis, coach Popoy said “Because of the minimal rest, it’s really hard to prepare the boys mentally and physically but at the end of the day, that’s football.”

They face Mapua University in their final group stage match on Thursday, February 6.

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