De Guzman vows to help La Salle get UAAP football title

Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

TAGUIG--Paeng De Guzman provided the biggest highlight of La Salle's UAAP men's football opener on Sunday night against Ateneo when he saved Emilio Acosta's penalty.

The stoppage proved to be the energizer the Green Booters needed when they would score two goals in the dying moments to take the 3-1 win.

Asked by Dugout Philippines on the huge save, De Guzman said his team was on his mind during that moment.

"I was not thinking about the ball. I was thinking of the team. I want the team to win the championship, so I'm just doing my best," the sophomore net-minder particularly said.

He, on the other hand, also said that he is not the type who predicts a penalty taker's direction.

"It was just pure reflexes. [The ball] was too close to me, so I can react to it," De Guzman said on how he was able to go Acosta's way.

When asked on how he was able to withstand the pressure of being a regular starter from his freshman year last season, De Guzman replied, "In my high school days, I was trained to be composed. Coach Hans [Smit] is a tough coach, so I need to prove more."

Meanwhile, Smit, in a separate interview, considers De Guzman as a pivotal player but reiterated everyone in his lineup can contribute.

"[Everyone has] been telling me about who are my key players. [For me,] everyone's a key player, but one vital cog is Paeng," the feisty manager said.

He even added that De Guzman, the reigning best goalkeeper, is a gem that he got from the recruitment class of 2013.

Smit continued, "Last year, he was the best keeper. He was a rookie. I waited for him for so long. He is a year late with me, but I still finally got him."

De Guzman had to serve a one-year redshirt period for the 2014 season and only suited up for the 2015 season, where he would win the Golden Glove honors.

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