THE UST Lady Booters clinched the last finals berth with a 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles at the Rizal Memorial Stadium Thursday.
With UST down 2-3 after the first half, Charisa Lemoran scored two of her team’s three second half goals to help bring the Lady Booters back to the finals for the first time since 2013.
Lemoran tied the game at 3-all in the 54th minute from a free kick before teammate Hazel Lustan drilled a goal in the 67th minute for a 4-3 UST lead.
Lemoran found the back of the net anew in the 79th mark to give the Lady Booters a comfortable two-point cushion. Camille Rodriguez tried to bring Ateneo back with six minutes left in the game but to no avail.
It was a major turnaround for the Lady Booters who were stuck at the bottom in the past two years, winning only three of their 16 games combined.
“Masaya dahil lahat ng hirap namin nag-payoff. Nakita ko talaga na ang laki ng improvement ng team (kasi) regardless kung aabot kami ng finals, kailangan namin mag-improve ‘yung team so bonus na talaga na umabot kami ng finals,” UST coach Prescila “Aging” Rubio said.
UST took a 2-0 lead early behind Mary Joy Indac and Christelle Cleofe but Ateneo scored three straight goals due to the absence of UST goalie Nicole Reyes.
The Lady Booters will face the undefeated De La Salle University for the title on May 7, Sunday, 6 p.m., at the same venue.
“Malakas ang La Salle so kailangan naming maghanda. Advantage sa part namin since meron pa kaming trial and error sa game na ito pero magiging disadvantage namin ay kung magre-relax kami,” Rubio added.