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San Beda relied on late goal by Mike Daniel Riconalla as it turned back last year’s title-holder Arellano U, 1-0, yesterday to inch closer to capturing the seniors title in the 92nd NCAA football tournament at the Rizal Football field.
Riconalla, a graduating Marketing student, headed home the match-sealing goal off a beautifully-placed corner kick of Adolfo Abada in the 81st minute and then practically parked the best the rest of the way to escape with the victory.
The Red Booters could seal a leaue-best 22nd championship if they could beat the St. Benilde Blazers on Tuesday.
“That’s the match we’ve be really preparing hard,” said San Beda coach Michael Pediamonte in Filipino.
It was the second win by San Beda, which took the first round pennant via a sweep of the elimination round, in the Final Four after it also went through the proverbial eye of the needle by turning back Lyceum of the Phl U, 2-1.
It was Fil-Brit Connor Tacagni who starred in that dramatic win as he finished with a brace he highlighted with an out-of-the-box rocket on the 81st minute.
On this one, it was Riconalla’s star that shone the brightest.
San Beda also dashed Arellano’s hopes of retaining the title it snared by shocking the former a season ago as the latter fell to their second straight defeat in the Final Four.
Earlier, San Beda also moved a win away from claiming the juniors crown by trouncing Arellano U, 4-1, that was powered by a hat-trick by Mariano Suba, Jr.
Letran bashed La Salle-Greenhills, last year’s winner, with a 3-0 result.