UP Fighting Maroons cap dominant season with UAAP crown

Beatrice Go
UP Fighting Maroons cap dominant season with UAAP crown
(UPDATED) The State University turns back UST to bag its 18th UAAP men's football title

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The crown returned to the University of the Philippines (UP) as the Fighting Maroons turned back the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Booters, 1-0, on Thursday, May 3, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. 

UP bagged its 18th UAAP men’s football championship, which they relinquished last year after failing to get past the semis. 

The Maroons opened the scoreline in the 21st minute as Jeremiah Borlongan sent a free kick from the left flank that found captain Ian Clarino, who connected it into the back of the net. 

The Fighting Maroons went unbeaten this season, only drawing thrice to UST and Far Eastern University in the first round and to Ateneo in the second round. 

UP also dominated the individual awards with Ian Clarino winning the Most Valuable Player and Best Defender honors and Fidel Tacardon copping Rookie of the Year.

Ateneo’s Jarvey Gayoso was named Best Striker, UST’s Zaldy Abraham as Best Goalkeeper, and La Salle’s Jed Diamante as Best Midfielder. La Salle also won the Fair Play award.

The UAAP Season 80 men’s football final featured the Clarino Clasico where siblings Ian and Miggy of the Fighting Maroons went up against their brother and Golden Booter Gino. 

Twelve players played their last UAAP match including Clarino brothers Ian and Gino. Fighting Maroons Javi Bonoan, Darwin Basconcillo, Emmanuel Cordero and Micah Alampay, and Golden Booters Marvin Bricenio, Darwin Busmion, Onyok Busmion, Joldem Feril, Jopridale Molino and Ken Tuazon also joined the UAAP exodus. 

The match turned more aggressive after the first goal with the Fighting Maroons winning more of the possession in their attacking 3rd, but failed to convert their chances. 

UP conceded two free kicks that paved the way for UST’s chances. Onyok Dioniso took both free kicks in the 36th minute and the 44th minute, but the UP defense continued to lock down the Golden Booters. 

The Fighting Maroons had a good chance of doubling the score during the first half stoppage time as they threatened UST in their box only to end the mayhem with Miyagi’s shot that sailed over the bar. 

Frustrations loomed in for both teams in the goalless second half. UST failed to find a good chance to counter while the Fighting Maroons failed to find rhythm in their offense. 

In the 81st minute, the Golden Booters had their first shot on target thanks to a header by Dexter Melecio off Conrado Dimacali’s cross which was eventually deflected by UP keeper Anton Yared. –


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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.