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Sun 23 June 2024

Tolentin shines in elite turf war vs Filipinas mates

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The elite of grassroots women’s football in the Philippines gathered in the rematch of last year’s UAAP final between Far Eastern University (FEU) and De La Salle University, which featured three national team standouts in the person of Morayta-based Inday Tolentin and Taft-based Anicka Castañeda and Shai del Campo.

In the end, Tolentin stood the mightiest among these alpha women, towing her team to a 3-2 victory on Saturday night against their fiercest pitch rival.

“Yun yung puso ng FEU,” said team captain Inday Tolentin, who scored the first goal, assisted the second one, and helped in building up the winning goal.

“Yan ang way naming maglaro. Kahit alam namin na kulang kami, ipinakita namin na kaya naming manalo. Nilabas namin kung ano ang brand ng FEU talaga, which is yung sipag ipakita sa loob ng field,” said the 2019 AFF and 2024 Pinatar Cup veteran.

Disaster hit the Lady Tamaraws in the 36th minute, when defender Janly Fontamillas got booked with a red card with an illegal tackle on Del Campo’s scoring ability, but that sparked the fire in Tolentin to show her game-long mettle.

Even with ten women on her team, Tolentin’s first flash of brilliance in the derby was when she outmuscled La Sallian wing back Stephanie Goñe for the equalizer in the 40th minute, negating the early goal by last year’s Golden Boot Lyka Teves.

Castañeda, the Filipinas’ homegrown poster girl in last year’s FIFA World Cup, showed she could do better, outrunning FEU’s improvised back four en route to a goal in the 61st minute.

In response, Tolentin played the role of facilitator to give her teammates better scoring opportunities.

To equalize, she targeted an on-side reigning Most Valuable Player Katrina Magbitang with a long ball assist in the 69th minute.

She then issued a nifty cross to her rookie teammate Tiffany Trinidad, who skillfully extricated the go-ahead.

“Yun talaga yung play namin. Alam nila na if nasa akin ang bola, kailangan ko talaga ng support in front of the goal para maka-win kami ng chance at maka-goal kami,” Tolentin remarked in praise of her teammates.

As for winning her pitch duel with the more prominent Castañeda, Tolentin remained magnanimous in victory.

“Masaya na nakalaban ko si Anicka kasi sobrang galing ni Anicka individually at sobrang niyang smart. It’s a privilege na nakalaban siya,” she ended, while looking forward for a repeat performance against the University of the Philippine in the first round closer next week.

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