UAAP Men's Senior's Final Game 1: Ateneo 1, UP 1 AET. Ateneo wins 4-3 via PSO.
A gritty Ateneo team took a giant step closer to ending UP's reign in UAAP Men's Senior Football with a gutsy Game 1 shootout win at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field.
The Blue Booters' Fil-Canadian goalkeeper, Nick O'Donnell, blanked two poorly-taken penalty kicks from Michael Sims and Gabe Mendoza, as Ateneo won the shootout, their second in less than a week.
In the Final Four they defeated DLSU in a shootout by the same score.
Ateneo has now defeated the two-time defending champs three times this season. The Ateneans swept the Battle of Katipunan series with their neighbors during the regular season.
UP bossed the first half, with their midfield, led by Michael Sims, seemingly bringing the ball down the center of the park at will.
The Maroon Booters' enterprise was rewarded when Vince Aguilar collected a center from Daniel Gadia, fended off two Ateneo defenders, then angled the ball past O'Donnell for the opening goal in the 34th minute.
Aguilar was starting in place of regular striker Jinggoy Valmayor, who was suspended because of accumulated yellow cards.
Ateneo coach JP Merida introduced reserve keeper Yu Murayama as a field player at the half and Chris Sumulong with twenty minutes remaining.
The two substitutes connected on the Blue Booter's 83rd minute equalizer, a cross from Sumulong that Murayama nodded past UP keeper Ace Villanueva.
The goal was fitting considering Ateneo had played much brighter in the second half.
Minutes later Jico Noel, Ateneo's centerback, was handed his second yellow by Michael Barajas and was thus ejected.
But UP could not make their advantage pay in extra time, and in preparation for the shootout, Maroons coach Anto Gonzales replaced Villanueva with the more experienced Tyrone Caballes in goal.
Leading 3-2 in the shootout with Ateneo kicking in the bottom of the fourth round, UP thought they had the advantage when Carlo Liay hooked his attempt wide of the post.
But the refs noticed that Caballes had gone off his line early, so a retake was ordered, and Liay buried it for 3-3.
In the fifth round Mendoza sent his kick into O'Donnell and when it was Ateneo's turn to kick, Murayama made Caballes guess wrong as he drilled his shot into the lower left corner for the win.
Murayama was the only Atenean not to connect in the shootout with DLSU.
Game two is slated for Sunday, 2 pm also in Ateneo. Should UP prevail, the decider will be next Thursday.
UAAP Women's Final Game 1: FEU 5, DLSU 0
It's only fitting that the country's best purveyors of pretty Football are the plucky ladies of FEU.
The Lady Tamaraws put up a clinic of unselfish, short-passing Football to demolish DLSU 5-0 to stand just one game away from the UAAP title.
They didn't take long to stamp their class.
In the second minute Loreta Ladero collected a cross from Jessa Sumagpao and guided it into the top corner past DLSU's national team keeper, Inna Palacios.
Just five minutes later Barbie Ann Sobredo nutmegged the ball through the legs of La Salle captain Miel Ampil, re-gathered the ball, and beat Palacios again for 2-0.
The shell-shocked Lady Archers spent the rest of the half fending off attacks from FEU.
In the second half Hans Smit's charges gained some momentum when the team's leading scorer, Chermaine Guancia, nearly scored in the 67th minute during a goalmouth scramble.
Two minutes later La Salle had a legitimate penalty shout when FEU keeper Mae Sullano collided clumsily with the onrushing Monica Henson, but the referee did not blow his whistle.
But in the 83rd Sumagpao got on the scoreboard, converting some neat interplay with Sobredo to calmly ease the ball off the far post with a composed left-footed finish.
Seven minutes later Ladero got her double with a sensational left-footed volley from the edge of the penalty area that rocketed into the top right corner, where Palacios had no chance to stop it.
It was the kind of goal that would be considered spectacular in any Men's league around the world.
A minute later Sobredo completed the scoring with another cool finish into the lower corner off a perfectly-weighted throughball.
Let Dimzon's girls served up breathtaking passing sequences with neat one-touch passes that would put most male teams to shame.
Game two of the best-of-three series is on Sunday morning in Ateneo.
UFL League: Loyola Meralco Sparks 4, Philippine Air Force 0.
Finally, Loyola gets the better of their kontrapelo team.
The Sparks have had a tortured history against Air Force, losing the 2011 UFL Cup final to the Airmen 2-0, then in the 2012 league, blowing a 3-1 lead to draw 3-3 in the first round, then in the second round lose late to a Reymark Palmes winner.
But this time the favorites were not to be denied, as they ran out comfortable winners in a rainy Emperador Stadium.
Mark Hartmann struck in the second minute, powering past Air Force keeper Kenneth Dolloso off a perfect long pass from Freddy Gonzalez.
Just before the half Spark central defender Chad Gould picked up his second yellow card to give a man advantage to the Airmen.
But just minutes after the restart Phil Younghusband pounced on a weak clearance by Air Force and hoofed the ball home from the right flank for 2-0.
Minutes later Air Force's Vince Braga was tossed after picking up his second yellow when he bizarrely threw-in the ball into the face of a Spark from close range.
With 20 minutes to play Freddy Gonzalez got his third goal of the season off a Phil-led breakaway and in stoppage time substitute Alexandro Elnar found Hartmann unmarked in the box and the big striker banged it in for 4-0.
Meralco are a perfect three-for-three and lead the league on goal difference, while Air Force, with a host of new players, have yet to score in two losses.
The Airmen did have several chances throughout the match, the best a second half header from Ian Araneta that Sparks goalie Ref Cuaresma brilliantly saved.
Dolloso also prevented an even bigger rout with stops on Jeong Byeong Yeol and Younghusband.
James Younghusband, still battling a groin strain, did not start but made a late appearance as a substitute.
In the other UFL game of the evening, Stallion-Sta. Lucia defeated Philippine Army 2-1 with first-half goals from Joaco Sanchez and Lee Joo Young. Army cut the deficit to one when Luisito Brilliantes followed up an attempt off the crossbar with a strike past Stallion custodian Wilson Munoz in the fiftieth minute.
Stallion are also on nine points from three games while Army has now lost both of its assignments.
Follow Bob on Twitter @bhobg333.