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UAAP football playoff picture begins to take shape as top four teams win

By Dugout Philippines

Jinggoy Valmayor netted a brace as UP zeroed in on clinching the first Final Four berth in the UAAP Season 77 men's football tournament with a 4-1 rout of UST at the FEU-Diliman pitch.       

Valmayor hiked his league-best goal total to 13 after scoring two goals in a span of four minutes before halftime, while Carlos Monfort (44th) and Vincent Aguilar (45th) also converted first half goals for the Fighting Maroons.         

With 24 points, UP remains on top of the table a point clear of La Salle, which downed UE, 1-0, in the match played at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field in Ateneo.         

Gerald Layumas scored off a Nate Alquiros corner in the 13th minute, which turned out to be the winning moment for the second-ranked Green Booters.       

In the other matches, Ateneo climbed to 22 points in third spot with a 2-1 win over Adamson, while defending champion FEU opened a four-point cushion over NU in the race for the last semis berth with an emphatic 5-1 victory.      

Julian Acosta (28th) and Renko Gaudiel (52th) struck for the Blue Eagles while Bless Brian Jumo II pulled one back for the Falcons in the 82th.      

The Bulldogs opened the scoring in the 17th minute courtesy of Paolo Salenga, but the Tamaraws regrouped as Arnel Amita scored a brace in the 46th and 73rd minute, while Jess Melliza (60th), Audie Menzi (64th) and Michael Menzi (79th) also contributed goals to avenge their 1-3 loss in the first round.       

FEU now has 21 points, while NU stayed at 17 points in fifth place.       

Steven Anotado avoided a shutout for the Growling Tigers, who are already out of the running with 12 points in sixth spot, by scoring in the 71st minute.