By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
College of St. Benilde ended an eight-year title drought in dramatic fashion Wednesday night after topping Arellano University, 3-2, on penalties after extra time ended at 1-1 in the deciding third game of their NCAA men’s football finals series at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Goalkeeper Jake Vicen sealed the crown for the Blazers in the shootout when he saved an attempt by the Chiefs’ Roberto Corsame Jr. to complete a comeback after suffering a 3-2 defeat in last week’s series opener.
It was the fourth championship overall for the Blazers, who forced a rubber match Monday also via shootout with a 4-3 victory.
Both teams were forced to play a shootout after an opener by St. Benilde’s Miguel Artillera in the 38th was negated by an equalizer by Corsame, a member of the national U-23 team, four minutes into the second half.
Arellano took a 2-1 lead in the shootout, but Renz Joseph Tulayba and Major Dean Ebarle found the mark for St. Benilde even as Evander Alquitela and Angelo Guengon went misfiring for the Chiefs, setting the stage for Vicen to produce the winning save.
Tulayba bagged the Most Valuable Player and Best Midfielder awards, while Vicen brought home the Golden Glove plum.
Other individual winners were Arellano’s Patrick John Bernarte (Best Defender) and San Beda’s Nimrod Balabat (Gold Boot).