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Valmayor plays villain against FEU anew as UP escapes with draw

By Dugout Philippines

Jinggoy Valmayor bailed UP out with a late goal to savage a 3-3 draw against defending champion FEU and seize the lead in the UAAP Season 77 men's football tournament at the FEU-Diliman pitch.         
The Tamaraws were seconds away from forcing a three-way tie on top of the table until Valmayor, on a free kick from long range, found the back of the net on stoppage time to give the Fighting Maroons a point.                  

"That's what can you expect from him," said UP coach Anto Gonzales on Valmayor, who now had 11 goals this season. "I think, we put a lot of pressure sa kanila (FEU) lalo na when they went down to 10 players." 

The Maroons now have 21 points, a point clear of second-running La Salle.   

"Yung result is just secondary to me. I'm not really happy right now, especially in the second half. I was happy the way we played in the first half. I'll take the draw, but more than anything else, we need to improve," said Gonzales.         

The Tamaraws, who remained at fourth with 18 points, took a 3-2 lead after Noli Chavez, with his great presence of mind, struck on the 55th minute.        

Earlier, Lawrence Colina scored two penalty kicks as NU kept within reach of FEU with 17 points as it bucked the absence of suspended ace Paolo Salenga with a 3-1 victory over last place Adamson.     

In a perfect position, Nicolas Ferrer scored a diving header from a Jess Melliza cross in the 13th minute to open the scoring for the Tamaraws.         

UP then scored the equalizer after Valmayor headed home on the 25th minute, soaring over Audie Menzie, Justin Calamba and FEU keeper Patrick Rallos.         

Off a Daniel Gadia corner, Feb Baya converted a header from Carlos Monfort assist to give the Maroons a 2-1 lead on the 29th minute before the Tamaraws restored parity seven minutes later after Melliza scored the penalty kick.       

Finding Falcons keeper Carl Viray an easy target, the Cebu-born Colina converted the spot kick using the right side on the 19th minute and hit another penalty using the left side in the 88th minute to gain the maximum three points for the Bulldogs.        

The other goal by the Earnshaw-based booters came from a long-range shot by Nico Macapal in the 27th minute.        

NU mentor Wilhelm Laranas, was not satisfied, as his wards could have done better, especially in the second half.    

"Obvious naman na nado-dominate namin kaya lang noong second half, nawala yung midfield kaya nakagalaw yung Adamson kasi hindi na bumababa si (Alberto) Frias and Patrick (Valenzuela) so talagang butas. Talagang nahihirapan kami," said Laranas.        

Down by two goals, the Falcons pulled one back after Bless Brian Jumo II struck in the 50th minute from an assist by Bless Brian Jumo I, where goalie Hayeson Pepito was caught off guard.         

"Yung goal ng Adamson, it was a wake up call for us. Yung finishing touches, hirap pa," said Laranas.        

Up next for the Bulldogs is the much-awaited match against the Tamaraws on Sunday which could be the turning point for both teams in their respective Final Four bids.

"We are hoping to repeat our (3-1 first round) win against FEU on Sunday. I'm happy that everyone can play," said Laranas.   

The Falcons remain without a point in 10 matches.