FAR EASTERN University secured its 10th UAAP Men’s Football championship by overwhelming defending champion Ateneo de Manila University, 4-1, in the Season 85 Final on Thursday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
The Tamaraws last won the men’s football crown back in UAAP Season 77 (2014-15).
“It feels great, especially since we’ve missed football for the last few years,” said Vince Santos, who celebrated his first title as head coach of the Morayta school. “It’s such a rewarding feeling to rebuild the program almost from scratch and achieve victories this year for both the juniors and the men’s team.”
Karl Absalon opened the scoring with a fine finish 12 minutes into the match, giving FEU an early lead. Gerald Estores doubled their advantage in the 30th minute with a goal from close range.
In the 86th minute, Gio Pabualan extended FEU’s lead, and Geri Martini Rey sealed the victory with a goal in the 90+4th minute, ending the Tamaraws’ eight-year title drought.
FEU’s win was even more satisfying as they had suffered a 1-0 defeat against Ateneo on March 16 and April 13.
Galen Fernandez gave the Blue Eagles hope in the 66th minute with a stunning volley, but that was the best Ateneo could do to stage a comeback.
On the other hand, Ateneo’s Artuz Cezar and Ildefonso Escobin were honored with the Best Goalkeeper and Best Defender awards, respectively, for their contribution to helping the Blue Eagles keep seven clean sheets this season.
University of the East earned the Fair Play Award for having no direct red cards and the fewest suspensions in the league.
FEU will aim to complete another treble on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. at Rizal Memorial. The Lady Tamaraws will face four-peat-seeking De La Salle University, hoping to secure their first championship since 2015.
The Morayta school last achieved a clean sweep of all three UAAP football divisions in Season 77.