UAAP 78 Football Preview: NU, UST, UE and Adamson look make a statement in Season 78
ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 10, 2016 06:49 PM
NU, UST, UE, and Adamson will all be looking to make a statement this season
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY: Within Reach
Last season, National University was within of what would’ve been their first Men’s Football Final Four berth in school history. With U-23 member Paolo Salenga leading the attack, the Bulldog booters finished with a respectable 7 win- 2 draw- 5 loss slate and was neck-and-neck with Ateneo for the final playoff spot. Unfortunately for Salenga and NU, they came up just a wee bit short.
Now, with one last playing year left, team captain Salenga wants to make the most of his last tour of duty.
“Last year, hindi namin na-grab yung opportunity namin, so ngayon, every game, gagawin namin yung makakaya namin. Sabi nga ni coach, ‘Every game is a championship game this season’, kaya gagawin namin lahat para makapasok sa Final Four.” Salenga told ABS-CBN Sports.
According to Salenga, this year, the team has become a lot more hardworking, they’ve gelled together better as a team.
“Habang tumagal, nag-blend na kami, nag-improve na yung chemistry as a team, so siguro mas maganda yung samahan namin this season.”
Can the Bulldogs finally make their way into the Final Four?
UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS: Full of Promise
While things weren’t as close for the UST Tigers in Season 77, they certainly showed a lot of promise, managing to snag a sixth place finish with four wins and ten losses. While they finished with a losing record, Tiger Marvin Bricenio calls last season somewhat a good learning experience because they saw what they needed to improve on.
“Nagkulang kami sa pagiging buo ng team and yung pagsalita namin sa field nagkulang, so this coming season, makikita niyo yung communication sa field pati yung disiplina.” Bricenio told ABS-CBN sports.
While the Growling Tigers will be missing the services of star striker Steven Anotado due to injury, and Gino Clarino, seniors Ronald Batisla-ong, Fidel Kue, and Darrly Regala will be making their return to the lineup.
According to Bricenio, this year’s team will be a solid mix of rookies and seniors
“Mas maganda po sa mga rookies na madaming seniors, kaya kami po yung magdadala sa mga mas-bata sa amin.”
Can UST get back to the upper-echelon of UAAP Football this season?
UNIVERSITY of the EAST and ADAMSON UNIVERSITY: Young, Hungry, and out to Make a Statement
Way back in Season 65, UE hoisted the UAAP Men’s Football crown. Since then however, the Sampaloc-based squad has floundered within the middle or bottom of the pack, only making the Final Four twice since winning the title 13 years ago.
Last season was no different, as UE finished seventh in the tournament, scoring only a single win in 14 matches. For team captain Jeffrey Lacsamana though, he believes that things will be different this season.
“Yung difference yung team last year sa ngayon, yung discipline tsaka yung hunger sa game ngayong season, kasi lahat fresh, ngayon walang malaking ulo, ngayon nakikinig lahat sa akin tsaka sa coach,”
Plus, the Red Warriors will be banking on the arrival of rookie Mar Vincent Diano, who Lacsamana says has been UE’s leading scorer so far.
Also coming back for the red-and-white is Stephane Dagaraga and Jo Mallen.
Can UE find their way back to the top this season?
“Young and Hungry” is the best way to describe the Adamson Falcons this season.
After completing a maiden UAAP season that saw them finish at the bottom of the standings, they showed heart late in the tournament, pulling out draws against UE and powerhouse UP.
With a full year of experience under their belt and more time to gel as a team, can we expect the young Falcons to perform better in Season 78?
“Although mga rookies kami dati, na-prove namin na kaya namin makipag-compete sa ibang mga team, ngayong season na ‘to, lagi naming pinag-hahandaan na every game is a must-win.” Team captain Bless Brian II Jumo told ABS-CBN Sports.
Both Jumo boys will be back in uniform for the Falcons, and the brothers will be tasked to become leaders for the young Adamson team who’s out to show that they belong in the UAAP.