Kicked out: DLSU Green Booters bid Final Four hopes goodbye after loss to rivals ADMU!
Published on April 10th, 2017 | by Karl Niccolo Dela Cruz
After making it to the Final Four in the UAAP Men’s Football tournament for 8 years straight, the De La Salle University Green Booters find themselves in unfamiliar territory as they get eliminated of the playoffs contention in their loss against top-seeded ADMU Blue Booters, April 9 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The Green Booters opened the do-or-die match with a defensive surge against the aggressive offense of Ateneo. Attempts from the wings were opened up by Nathan Alcantara and Jose Montelibano but the Taft Strikers couldn’t convert with Ateneo goalkeeper Alex Arcilla blocking goal attempts from DLSU. The Taft-based squad also broke their own momentum chances after spewing error after error on their goal attempts.
A late first-half burst by the Blue Eagles met La Salle’s defense with Ateneo getting the game lead after a Julian Roxas goal in the 38th minute to end the first half, 0-1.
The Green Booters entered the second half with more assertion on ball possession. More goal attempts came in for the Taft-based squad but Arcilla put up a wall to deflect the attacks coming in from the Green shirts. On the other hand, the defenders from La Salle got to frustrate the Ateneo strikers to keep the game 1-nil until a late goal by Samuel Lim came in at 90+3’ to seal the match for the Katipunan-based squad.
With UST winning earlier in the day, the loss ejected DLSU out of the last few spots for a chance to get a Final 4 slot. The Green Booters currently stand a place behind NU with 15 points.
It has been a tough journey for Coach Hans Peter Smit this year after failing to steer his wards into the semifinals. He was more than disappointed with how the Taft-based squad performed in the match. “In my almost 40 years of coaching in any tournament, this is the worst outing I’ve ever had,” the veteran coach expressed. He pointed out how the Green Booters were not a weak team, but a strong one and that they just didn’t have the right mindset in the match.
It’s back to the drawing board for Coach Smit and the rest of the team as they try to salvage at least a fifth spot in the tournament. Asked on what his adjustments would be for the next game, he pointed out how the team composition will spell differences for La Salle. “Players make the team. If I [need] the attitude of a Lasallian with the Animo,” he added.
With the team still having a match left in the season, Coach Smit is already looking forward to the next year as he tries to get his team back on the winning track. “Next season. It’s not gonna be like this. No way. There will be changes,” he closed.
The Green Booters are set to play against UST for a chance to heighten their points for a better rank, April 20, 2PM at the Moro Lorenzo Field.