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Tigresses edge Lady Archers for UAAP women’s football title

UST bested DLSU 1-0 thank to a Jowe-anne Barruga header

BRIDESMAIDS NO MORE. UST defeated DLSU for the UAAP women's football title Sunday, March 4, 2012. Josiah Albelda.

MANILA, Philippines – There was only one thing that University of Santo Tomas coach Rozano Estrabon wanted to avoid this season: to avoid getting a “three-peat” of losses in the finals of the UAAP women’s football tournament.
Pushed against the wall, Estrabon found a hero in Jowe-anne Barruga, who drilled in the marginal goal as the Tigresses trumped De La Salle University, 1-0, for the Season 74 crown Sunday morning at the Ateneo High School Field.
UST went to their trademark play – a header off a cross, perfectly executed this time by Barruga and Christine Fuertes – to foil the Lady Archers and bring home their second championship in four years.
Pinaghandaan namin talaga yun (We really practiced that),” a jubilant Estrabon said after the match. “Ilang beses na kaming naka-goal ng ganun. Twice na sa La Salle (We’ve scored twice that way in the past against La Salle).”
Late rally
With the Tigresses on attack, Fuertes sent the ball spiraling to Barruga, who headed it into the goal past keeper Haya Ibarra as the Espana-based squad celebrated all over the oven-hot grounds.
Fuertes and Barruga, the duo who missed penalty shots in the Game 1 loss, more than made up for those this time in setting up the game-winning play.
Not contented, UST opted to attack further, trying to build an insurmountable 2-nil advantage but just couldn’t pull through.
In fact the Tigresses almost paid dearly for the move as it plugged gaping holes into their defense that La Salle almost capitalized on.
Natakot ako (I was scared),” Estrabon shared on the rallies launched by the Lady Archers late in the game. “Pero may tiwala pa rin ako sa players ko na kaya nila (But I still had faith in my players).”
Estrabon credited his players for running, running and running, saying that it kept the La Salle booters on their toes all game while creating scoring opportunities for them.
Yung mga players, kelangan talaga tumakbo sila (My players needed to keep running),” he added. “Kase kung di sila gagawa ng paraan, di kami makaka-score (Had they not, we wouldn’t have scored).”
Lessons learned
The victory erased bitter memories of finals meltdowns in 2010 and 2011, first when they squandered a twice-to-beat advantage against the Lady Archers and second, when they lost in three games in a controversial series against seven-time champion Far Eastern University.
Against La Salle this year, UST was in danger of wasting a twice-to-beat advantage anew, dropping Game 1 in a penalty shootout before pulling through today.
Despite getting the better of the Lady Archers, Estrabon commended their foes, who had to overcome a rash of injuries this season to get to the finals.
Magaling sila (They’re good),” the multi-titled mentor said. “Hindi sila nag-give up kahit alam nilang kulang sila (They didn’t give up even when they knew they were incomplete).” –

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