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UNIVERSITY of the East sports has been taking a rollercoaster ride on several fronts as of late, climbing agonizingly to dizzying heights and then rocketing down with blinding speed and roaring through curves before slowing down and beginning its gradual ascent once again.
It has been the story of UE sports this season, and it’s a tale worth telling.
Celebration was in order when the UE football team, also known as the Red Booters, won its first game in the UAAP earlier this month, edging the Adamson Soaring Falcons, 2-1.
Coach Fitch Florence Peter Arboleda was naturally elated.
“We are very much happy and proud,” he said. “First win kasi yon ng team and at the same time first win din namin as new coaches.”
Arboleda paid tribute to their teamwork and effort, qualities that overcame a critical handicap.
“Kahit na may kulang kaming tao because na-red card yung isang player, we still fought,” he said.
An early goal in the 7th minute, courtesy of midfielder Mark Anthony Lerion – a free kick outside the box – broke the ice for UE.
The defense held on until the 41st minute when Adamson rookie Ejike Ugwoke saw through a small opening and sneaked one in from a distance to tie the contest.
Here Arboleda pulled out his ace card.
“I think one of the reasons we won was because I told them that if we lost to Adamson, magpapakalbo silang lahat,” he said, maybe just partly in jest.
A trip to the local barber must have put the fear of losing in the hearts and minds of the Red Booters that with the game winding down in the second half, after goalie Frank Rieza had valiantly turned back every Falcons attack and UE had lost Stephane Dagaraga following a scuffle, Alberto Echin Jr. saw an opportunity and broke through for the game-winning goal.
Women’ volleyball, meantime, also claimed a share of the spotlight when the the Lady Warriors finally ended a 58-game losing streak in the UAAP by sweeping, of all teams, the Adamson Lady Falcons, 25-17, 25-22, 29-27, at the FilOil Arena in San Juan.
The Lady Warriors played well offensively, led by Best Player of the Game Shaya Adorador, with 14 points, and Roselle Balton with 13.
UE was also quick on its feet, stepping up on defense with six blocks and 45 digs, 17 of which came from setter Dana Alyssa Disquitado.
The excruciating climb from below appears to be over. Now it will be known whether the Lady Warriors can gather enough momentum for the ultimate charge for the rest of the tournament.
And then there’s lawn tennis.
Last Friday, UE beat University of Santo Tomas, 3-1 in the series opener of the UAAP men’s lawn tennis finals. The second tie is today, with UE looking to wrap up the historic championship.
With hard work paying off, things, indeed, are looking up for UE sports and with one big push, it wouldn’t be too farfetched to believe that the long days of scraping and clawing to get to the top are finally over.
(By ELAINE NUESTRO/Sports Editor The Dawn, University of the East)