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Sun 23 June 2024

ZERO TO HERO: Magical Adamson U bags Ang Liga crown

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Rebuilding is the logical path for perennial doormats. Rome was not built in a day. Democracy was not generously given by the rules; it was fought hard by those in the lower strata.

Yet there are occasional blips in history where decades happen in just one day.

The Adamson University Men’s Football Team, zero wins in last summer’s UAAP Season 85 football tourney and in the recent Copa Paulino Alcantara, are champions overnight, slaying eight-time collegiate champion Ateneo de Manila, 2-0, in the final of Ang Liga Season 19 Saturday in UP Diliman.

Striker wizard Lorent Jayaon scored a second straight brace, ending both halves with a goal each, to lift his team to their first major tournament crown while team captain Arjay Buenaobra and reserve goalkeeper Gabriel Cadisal made crucial stops against Ateneo’s relentless second half attacks.

“Sa lahat ng mga supporters ng Adamson, eto na, nag-uumpisa kami,” Jayaon remarked, foreshadowing an Adamson resurgence in next year’s UAAP tournament.

Three minutes after rookie head coach Darlton Digha got booked with a red card into the first half stoppage time, Jayaon caught a left cross from Devon Coquilla inside the six-yard box and in two touches scored the opening goal past Jethro Flores and Cezar Artuz.

Despite numerous attacking chances by the Blue Eagles, Cadisal kept his clean sheet, retrieving several inswings to Ateneo’s final third while the Falcons’ back third led by Buenaobra forced numerous off-target shots to the Blue Eagles.

Ateneo had a final chance to score in the second half injury time but Leo Maquiling’s left corner inswing was ably cleared by Buenaobra.

In the final seconds of the game, Jayaon scored the insurance goal, rebounding off a deflected shot from King Barra.

“First time namin as Adamsonian na makakuha ng ganitong trophy. Sana maulit namin, sana makuha namin ang championship sa UAAP,” a relieved Buenaobra, named as tournament Best Defender, said after the game.

“I’ve played five years for Adamson, so this means a lot. From the first day, it’s all about the players. I’m just proud of them. I’m short of words how to describe this,” tournament Best Coach Digha, last summer’s team captain-turned-head coach at the start of the Copa, commented.

In the first game, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde snagged the bronze medal, winning on penalties against neighboring De Lasalle University, 2-2 (4-2).

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