Just like last season, the Far Eastern Universit opted to compete with an undermanned squad. The Tamaraws have only 16 players listed in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Football Tournament.
One thing that FEU will not want to repeat from last year, however, is failing to qualify for the Final Four. The Tamaraws started their season on the right track, with a 4-1 drubbing of the University of the East Red Warriors, Sunday afternoon at the FEU-Diliman field in Quezon City.
“Even if not enough our number of players, our team players (are) really focused as one team. Even if we allowed a penalty first, we (stayed) patient and then (countered) as soon as we can score,” said FEU mentor Park Bobae. “That’s one of the good reasons why we won today.”
The Tamaraws earned the lead against the Red Warriors in the most dramatic of ways. UE were awarded a penalty, and Mar Diano stepped up to take the spot-kick. Diano’s attempt bounced off the crossbar, which led to a quick counterattack by the Tamaraws. Jermi Darapan then compounded UE’s woes when he finished the sequence of play and scored FEU’s opener in the 30th minute.
When the game resumed after the break, FEU raised their intensity in the second half. The Morayta school mustered three more goals to emphasize that they are a class above UE.
Blue-chip rookie forward opened Gio Pabualan opened his account at the collegiate level with a header at the 49th minute.
Dominique Canonigo and Alex Rayos then unleashed audacious strikes in the 61st and 67th minutes respectively, to all but seal the victory.
It was a tough afternoon for the Red Warriors as the crossbar denied them again late in the game. Champ Marin’s header in the 52nd minute became nothing more than a consolation goal for UE.
FEU next play the Ateneo de Manila University on February 24, 2019, 9:00 AM in FEU-Diliman. Meanwhile, UE also face Ateneo next, but on February 21, 2019, 1:00 PM at the Moro Lorenzo Field in Katipunan.
FEU XI: Bacara, Canonigo, Darapan, Decena, Forrosuelo, Frigillano, Kim, Mendoza, Parac (GK), Rey, Salilig (C).
UE XI: Arboleda, Bagsic, Carandang, Diano (C), Lerion, Malayo, Marin, Opeña, Rieza (GK), Saldivar, Vergara.