Blazers eliminate Red Booters
College of St. Benilde rode on the heroics of substitute Wilmer Paolo Lopez as it unseated San Beda with a thrilling 1-0 victory to clinch the last ticket to the finals bus in the 93rd NCAA seniors football tournament at the Rizal Memorial pitch Wednesday night.
Lopez, who checked in for Peter John Quilo on the 30th minute, struck with what could be the biggest goal of his life on the 85th minute to shatter a scoreless deadlock and send the Blazers straight to the best-of-three finals against the Arellano U Chiefs, who made it through by downing the Lyceum of the Phl U Pirates, 3-1, Monday.
There, CSB will be eyeing its first championship since reigning supreme nine seasons ago and third overall.
“I told them we can win this if we keep it close up to the last minute and I’m happy that we did,” said CSB coach Marlon Maro.
Game One is at 6 p.m. with Game Two scheduled on Monday.
A deciding Game Three, if necessary, is on Wednesday.
The win was a stark contrast to the first Final Four game when CSB’s defense collapsed and fell to San Beda, 0-2, that forced the knockout match.
The Blazers came in resolved in shutting down the Red Booters.
It was a heartbreaking end for a San Beda side eyeing to become the most titled team in league history as it is currently tied with former member La Salle with 21 crowns each.
It made it more painful knowing it could have avoided CSB in the Final Four had it known midfielder Dane Penaflor was ineligible due to academics and barred him from playing.
It ended with San Beda voluntarily forfeiting the three games wherein Penaflor suited up that sent it falling from the top seed to No. 4, thus setting them up against CSB.