UAAP Season 78 Football kicks off with Final Four rematches
ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 07, 2016 11:02 AM
High-scoring Eric Giganto and the defending champion FEU Tamaraws begin their campaign for a three-peat against the UP Maroons
Sunday, February 7 Matches (Emperador Stadium)
1:30 PM – FEU vs. UP (Men’s)
4:00 PM – Ateneo vs. DLSU (Women’s)
6:30 PM – DLSU vs. Ateneo (Men’s)
UAAP Season 78 Football is here, and it begins with a bang as last season’s top four teams immediately face off in a rematch of last year’s semifinals fixtures with defending champions Far Eastern University taking University of the Philippines and runners-up De La Salle University squaring off against rivals Ateneo de Manila, Sunday afternoon at the Emperador Stadium in McKinley Hill.
The last time that FEU and UP squared off, Arnel Amita led the charge as his late game heroics propelled the Tamaraws past the Maroons and into the Season 77 Finals.
Things will be a lot different however this season, as FEU will be heading into their quest for a three-peat without a couple of key pieces from last season’s magnificent title run, namely MVP Jhan-Jhan Melliza who played his final year last season, and Amita who suffered a season-ending knee injury just this month.
On the other end, Season 78 marks the post-Jinggoy Valmayor era for UP, as the star striker also bid goodbye to the team last year. The Maroons also head into the season with a heavy heart after the loss of their teammate and brother Rogie Maglinas, who passed away due to cancer in last February 2.
Leading the charge for the defending kings of UAAP football will be national team veteran and former MVP Paolo Bugas along with scoring machine Eric Giganto, while senior captain Daniel Gadia and Season 77 Best Defender Ian Clarino will be running the show for the Maroons.
Season 77 saw DLSU and Ateneo go to a draw on both of their eliminations matches, but in the semifinals, when it mattered the most, Gelo Diamante came up big for the boys from Taft to send them past their rivals from Katipunan and into the Finals.
The Green Booters come into Season 78 with a younger lineup led by Diamante, Sabin Bustamante, and Gerald Layumas, and a handful of rookies who are ready to step up in the place of the teams key graduates Nathan Alquiros and Gio Diamante.
On his final playing year, Mikko Mabanag leads a sophomore-laden Ateneo squad, along with Rookie of the Year winners Carlo Liay and Julian Roxas.
In the Women’s Division, the rivalry is also very much alive, as Ateneo takes on DLSU to begin the tournament.