Photo by: Trinity Matias
The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Booters made their return to the Final Four after winning their crucial match against the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws, 1-0, on Thursday at the FEU Fern Diliman.
The victory gave the Green Booters an 8-1-5 slate and eliminated the UST Growling Tigers in the semis race. This also pushed them to the third seed, setting up a rematch with their Season 80 tormentors, the second-ranked UP Fighting Maroons.
It has been indeed a season filled with unpredictable and nerve-wrecking happenings. Now that we have reached the end of eliminations, the Taft-based squad finished strong with a win-draw-loss record of 8-1-5, placing third overall.
The Taft-based squad and the Morayta-based squad were aggressive to start the match. Although starting a bit slow offensively, La Salle made sure to keep their defense tight in order for FEU not to draw first blood. The Green Booters had a couple of chances in scoring, however, they just could not finish. Both teams engaged in a 0-0 first half scoring.
It was until the 90+1′ minute that the Green Booters were finally able to put themselves up on the scoreboard. Rookie Xavier Zubiri emerged as La Salle’s hero after scoring the go-ahead goal to sink FEU.
Head coach Alvin Ocampo believed that his squad did not back down until the final whistle has been blown. “They did not stop playing until the last minute, until they had fulfilled the instructions, which was to put the ball inside the net.”
Ocampo reminded the boys that “we have to make our destiny, we cannot rely to the result of other teams.”
Team captain Jed Diamante believed that everyone in the team really put their hearts during the crucial match. “Everyone in the team has an important role, even those who are part of the second stringers, they are always ready to play. I think everyone just wanted it that much to win para ma-hit namin ang first goal namin which is to enter the Final Four.”
Being part of the La Salle squad who were eliminated by UP, the reigning Best Midfielder vows that they “will enter with more passion and grit no matter who they are facing against.”
He added that they will prepare for UP but he wants to instill a certain mindset to his teammates. “Kahit sino yung opponent na itatapat, dapat same intensity ng play and same yung grit. That’s what I want to instill in their minds and their hearts para when it matters most so that when we (the seniors) graduate, yun ang maiwan namin na legacy sa younger generation ng La Salle Football.”
Support the Green Booters in the semifinals on Thursday, May 9, 2 PM at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.