After a few weeks of delay due to coronavirus scare, the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s and women’s football tournaments officially kickoff.
Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), started their post- Jarvey Gayoso era in a 1-1 draw against the University of the Philippines (UP) in the opening day of the men’s football tournament at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium last March 5th.
Fidel Tacardon put UP on the scoreboard with a goal in the 56th minute before Nino Herrera’s penalty kick in the 83rd minute, got ADMU into a 1-1 scoreboard, with both teams failed to score into succeeding minutes.
‘’I’m happy, even if na UP dictated the first half and even the second half, in the early 15 minutes, pero nakikita ko yung boys na talagang they pushed themselves to give their best nung game,” said Ateneo head coach Jaypee Merida via ABS-CBN Sports. “When we conceded a goal, I think yun yung nag-wake up talaga sa team ko. After we conceded a goal, for me, I think we controlled the last, until the 90th minute.”
The Blue Eagles registered their first win of the season in the second day of the tournament last March 8th via 6-1, trashing of University of Santo Tomas (UST), propelling the defending champion to hold the leadership of the table with four points, due to higher goal difference.
Last season’s finalist De La Salle University also had a similar fate in starting their campaign in a 1-1 draw against Far Eastern University (FEU) on opening day and winning their second match of the season against Adamson University (AdU), 2-1.
Franck Anoh and Mikio Umilin scored for the Green Archers in the 52nd and 64th minute respectively, after being down at 1-0, thanks to Adamson’s Bryce Rabino goal in the 31st minute.
“We had to make the adjustments, it’s two same first halves, it doesn’t work, so we have to change the system of play,” said DLSU head coach Hans-Peter Smit via ABS-CBN Sports. “Find out, put people in there that you think can be a game-changer.”
FEU also earned their first victory of the season against University of the East (UE), 5-0 after a 1-1 draw against DLSU during the opening day.
John Rhenz Salvidar had brace after scoring goals in the 49th and 55th minute with Kim Kimsu, Gio Pabualan and Ryan Decena found the back of the net for the Tamaraws in the 35th, 38th and 87th minute respectively.
“Actually, our first game against La Salle was very frustrating. We fixed our problems and our players followed well,” said FEU head coach Park Boo Bae via Tiebreaker Times on their first two games of the season. “The key is how fast we wake up and memorize our system.”
UP also entered the winners’ circles via 1-0 victory over National University (NU) after a 1-1 draw against ADMU.
DLSU, FEU, UP got four points each but thanks to higher goal difference, FEU will take the second spot.
UST and UE also registered their first three points in the tournament in beating NU, 1-0 and AdU, 3-2 respectively on opening day.
AdU and NU have not yet earned a point this season after suffering losses in their first two matches.
Meanwhile, in the women’s football tournament, last season’s finalist FEU began their campaign in a 7-0 rout against ADMU last March 7th at Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Joyce Onrubia scored in the 15th and 55th minute for a brace while Dionesa Tolentino also achieved the same after a pair of goals in the 57th minute and 1st minute of the stoppage time.
Samantha Green, Carmela Altiche and Jonela Albino contributed a goal each for the Lady Tamaraws in 8th, 21st and 52nd minutes respectively.
“Good result for the start of the season, pero siyempre we know already na hindi na ito ‘yung core ng Ateneo. But still, ang titignan pa rin natin ang mga strong teams like La Salle, UST, and UP,” said FEU head coach Let Dimzon via Tiebreaker Times.
UP also won their opening day assignment in beating UST, 1-0, thanks to a penalty kick from Stacey Arthur in the 35th minute.
The men’s football tournament continues on March 12th with a four-game offering while the women’s football tournament next game day is March 14th with a double-header, the venue is Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.