Empleo’s late screamer lifts Falcon booters to force draw vs UE

Date Posted: April 8, 2024 at 03:06 PM

Photo: The UAAP

Roque Empleo Jr. showcased nerves of steel with a late strike that secured the Soaring Falcons a 1-1 draw against University of the East in the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Football Tournament held April 7 at the UP Diliman Football Field in Quezon City. 

With Adamson down by a goal in the 88th minute, Empleo unleashed a powerful free kick from an improbable distance outside the UE box. The ball sailed past the outstretched arms of Red Warriors goalkeeper Joniel James Pamati-an, finding the back of the net and sending the Adamson faithful into a frenzy.  

Empleo's goal not only earned the San Marcelino-based squad a crucial point but also put an end to their four-game losing streak. 

Jhon Devon Coquilla and Nikko Arañas tried to steal the game for Adamson but their attempts failed to yield further goals for Adamson. 

The match began with both teams going toe-to-toe, until UE broke the deadlock in the 67th minute when Edmar Adonis capitalized on Nikko Palacio’s free kick, putting the Red Warriors ahead. 

Reflecting on his decisive strike, Empleo admitted he simply trusted in himself to make the crucial save.,  

“If I didn't take the risk to aim straight for the goal, I might regret it. It was probably just instinct. I trusted in my skills that I could make it, and fortunately, I did,” he said in Filipino. 

The Soaring Falcons, who played without their head coach Darlton Digha due to external commitments, now focus on their upcoming clash against defending champions FEU Tamaraws this April 11, at the same venue.