De La Salle University relied on second-half goals to dispatch University of the East (UE), 2-0, in the second round of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Football Tournament at the Mckinley Hill Field in Taguig on Saturday.
La Salle, seated in the third spot of the rankings, has a record of seven wins, two draws and two losses for 23 points while UE is in last place with a draw and 11 defeats.
Despite having an advantage on the attacking end in the first half of their meeting, the Green Archers failed to capitalize on their chances and take an early lead against the Red Warriors.
UE, on the other hand, also had chances of their own against their tough opponents but were unable to convert as both clubs were locked in a goal-less draw at the halftime break.
However, the Taft-based crew came alive in the second half with Gerald Layumas striking the ball to the back of the net from deep inside the territory of UE in the 56th minute.
Eight minutes after, proficient scorer Gelo Diamante doubled La Salle’s lead in the 64th minute off a through pass from teammate Jojo Diamante.
The Green Archers sustained their pounding on the UE defense towards the final minutes of the game, with the latter only relying on small counter-attacks, but the opposing teams sank no shots until the end of regulation.
With the win, La Salle are now a point away from league-leaders Far Eastern University (FEU) and University of the Philippines (UP), who both have 24 points and are tied at first and second places.
Meanwhile, problems continued for the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers as the Adamson University Soaring Falcons held them into a 1-1 draw.
The Growling Tigers opened their trip to the second round with draw against the UP Fighting Maroons before falling into a two-game losing skid following defeats from FEU and UAAP season 78 football hosts Ateneo de Manila University.
The Growling Tigers cling to the fourth spot of the standings with five win, four draws and two losses while the Soaring Falcons are at the seventh spot with a single victory and a draw in 12 games.
During the match, it was Adamson who took the upper hand in the 54th minute courtesy of a goal by striker Jusuel Pilarca off a one-on-one sequence against the UST goalkeeper.
Not long after, UST found the equalizer in the 61st minute as Ronal Batisla-Ong shot a long-distance strike to salvage the draw for the Growling Tigers.
JAELLE NEVIN REYES