Two diminutive strikers—both barely 5 feet in height—shined on the last playdate of the UAAP Women’s Football Tournament.
University of Santo Tomas’ (UST) Nathalie Absalon scored a brace against Ateneo de Manila in the first minute of both halves while De La Salle University’s Maria Layacan scored the very first goal conceded by powerhouse Far Eastern University (FEU) their teams their second win in Season 85.
Absalon, sister of FEU midfielder Karl Absalon and the late Tamaraw Kieth Absalon, was a tenacious pest in Ateneo’s defensive half, running circles past taller defenders despite standing at least 4’10”.
Despite her feisty play in the field, for Absalon, winning is a matter of humility.
“Yung pagkatalo namin sa FEU, inisip namin na wag magkompyansa. One game at a time so, ayun, nagawa namin ngayon,” Absalon said after the game.
“Kailangan pa naming mag-doble effort para umangat pa kami at umabot sa top,” she added.
On the green side, Layacan had the first shot on goal of the match against FEU—a nifty on-side leakout, leaving her alone against goalkeeper Khryss Dacanay.
Dacanay, the only goalkeeper with a clean sheet in both women’s and men’s tournament this season, was true to form with a well-timed kick out of Layacan’s strike in the 28th minute.
Unfazed, in the 51st Layacan showed her mastery on the open field, using her superior speed against FEU’s bigger defenders, beating three of them and Layacan to slow roll the first goal conceded by the Lady Tamaraws this season.
“Yung puso talaga, yung puso ang nanaig sa larong ito,” Layacan said after the game. “Nag-umpisa kami strong and we finished strongest.”
“For me kasi, my strength is speed. Mas na-dominate ko sila sa speed. I know I’m not a big player but I fight them with speed,” she added.
It was the first goal of Layacan for the season while Absalon joins FEU star Regine Rebosura as co-leading scorers with three goals.
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