Words by Craig Fernandez
The UA&P Men’s Futsal team won their first game in the prestigious MNCAA tournament this year. They beat the University of Makati (UMAK) 3-1 at the Enderun College gym last Sunday, January 22, 2018.
The game was lead by the returning new captain of the squad Luigio Miranda and speedy striker Coby Daez. The game quickly became physical as both teams wanted to take an early momentum into the season. Although UMAK has an the advantage in terms of bench power, they had more players that showed up for the first game since the offensive player and co-captain Paolo Garciano did not play, and ball-handler Rafa Ortiz still proved that even with a 9 man team, they can still win.
The game started with high intensity and physicality as both teams showed their defensive prowess. Despite how defensive he could get, Dominic Ganas tried to prevent a fast break from UMAK, but to no avail. He immediately helped his opponent get up and they both did exchange taps on the head as a sign of sportsmanship. As the match resumed, the intensity and competitiveness aroused when UMAK surprised the Dragons with a first goal, grabbing the first lead at the 10th minute mark. Coby Daez, again, immediately ties the game at the 9th minute with his signature powerful and accurate striking ability making the score 1-1. After a few moments the captain takes the lead proving once again that he is still a great offensive player making it 2-1. The halftime buzzer sounded as both teams switched bench positions and huddled. Coach Chris Dominguez reminded the boys that they have to pass the ball more, telling them that “When we have more passing, we have more chances of scoring.” The second half starts as the Dragons looked to have spaced the floor more and started to execute Coach Chris’ signature ball rotation. Unfortunately at the 16th minute mark, the starting goalkeeper Austin Avila suffered a knee to his left eye during a scrambled near UA&P’s goal. The backup goalkeeper and team manager Nikko Alquiros immediately warmed up and prepared to get subbed in as Austin was taken to the medical area for further treatment. The game continued and Nikko immediately proved that he was ready for the match as he had prevented UMAK from scoring in the second half. He also had amazing saves including the back-to-back attempts from UMAK. Dominic Ganas later then received a yellow card after Nikko’s substitution as he grabbed a player while fighting for the ball. At the 4:41 mark, rookie Lance Marcelo secured the lead as the ball bounced off UMAK’s goalkeeper after his teammate’s attempt therefore securing the lead for the Dragons.
The game ended with good spirits and excellent sportsmanship as both teams shook hands. During the post game interview with Head Coach Chris Dominguez, he was asked about the game he was frank in saying that “The team’s really unfit… we’re struggling to run with the opponent.” He still remains positive that the team will progress through the season and that they would would improve their fitness. Later on Dominic and Coby were interviewed, Dominic stated that “The new team is good, but Coby can agree that we just lack more training to have more chemistry and understand out tacticals and rotations.”
The UA&P Dragons seemed to be focused and is willing to get better as the season progresses.