YU Murayama nailed the late equalizer then knocked home the clincher in the shootout as Ateneo won 4-3 on penalties over defending champion University of the Philippines in Game One of the UAAP men’s football finals at the Moro Lorenzo field in Ateneo.
The skipper came on as a substitute in the second half and delivered the match-tying goal in the 83th minute, heading in a cross from Christopher Sumulong to make it 1-1.
Vincent Karl Aguilar opened scoring in the 34th minute for the Maroons.
Murayama hit the ball past UP goalkeeper Tyrone Caballes and into the back of the net after Evanjames Mendoza failed in his attempt just moments before.
“Tyrone knew kung paano ako sumipa. I tried to put it in the middle talaga,” Murayama said in describing the winner.
“Super saya ko ngayon. I’m the happiest man alive right now,” said Murayama. “I did my best for the team. I wanted to win because it’s only my second time to appear in the finals.”
Ateneo head coach JP Merida had planned to send in his skipper in the second half to provide the needed energy in the endgame, although he had a long agonizing wait as Murayama didn’t get a clear path to the goal until very late.
Blue Eagles will try to sweep the best-of-three series on Sunday at the Moro Lorenzo field.
“Plano ko talaga sa second half siya palaruin dahil threat siya sa taas at aerial,” Merida said. “Kahit captain siya, kailagan ko muna gamitin ’yung ibang players para mapagod ’yung back four nila.
“Pinush ko talaga na kapag naglaro siya sa second half, kailangan niya maglaro ng maayos.”
In the women’s side, Far Eastern University downed La Salle, 5-0, to draw first blood in their own best-of-three series.