DEFENDING champion University of the Philippines drew strength from its national U22 standouts to beat National University, 2-1, for a winning start yesterday in the UAAP men’s football tournament at the FEU-Diliman pitch.
After a slow start, the Fighting Maroons displayed their championship form as JB Borlongan’s fabulous free kick went in to grab the upperhand in the 53rd minute.
The valiant Bulldogs, who missed first-choice keeper Chris Perocho due to injury, then squandered several chances to equalize late in the match.
Joshua Broce scored from a distance in the 19th minute to open NU’s account, before Kyle Magdato found the back of the net from a King Miyagi assist 13 minutes later for UP to level.
Earlier, AJ Pasion produced a late equalizer as University of Santo Tomas salvaged a 2-2 draw with Far Eastern University, while Mark Lerion scored a second-half strike that was enough for University of the East to fashion out a 1-0 victory over La Salle.
The Growling Tigers and the Red Warriors are tied at six points, but the España-based side remained on top of the table by virtue of goal difference, while the Tamaraws are in third spot with five points.
FEU was poised to grab the solo lead after rookie Gio Pabualan broke the 1-1 stalemate with an 82nd minute strike before Pasion delivered the stoppage time goal.