SPEED KILLS: FEU's Rico Andes has put the league on notice
Santino Honasan on Mar 14, 2016 01:46 AM
RICO SUAVE: Rookie striker Rico Andes has been the main gun for the defending champions this season
Rico Andes has been the main man for the defending champion FEU Tamaraws this season.
The speedy striker has emerged as the Tamaraws’ top-goal scorer this season, and has stepped up big time in the absence of key player Arnel Amita due to injury, which makes it hard for us to determine which is more impressive about Rico’s game: the fact that he’s doing this while playing alongside stars such as Paolo Bugas and Eric Giganto, or the fact that he’s just a rookie.
Oh, and this rookie’s the league’s leading scorer, so far.
What’s more interesting though, is that Rico actually didn’t start out on the pitch. Instead, he began as a track runner, before being discovered by Tamaraws mentor Master Kim, as detailed by Bugas in one interview.
“Si Andes talaga, track and field siya before, nag-switch lang siya sa football, mga late-fourth year high school na siya kinuha ni Master Kim.”
If you’ve seen Rico play, then his track background would pretty much explain the speed.
The kid has blitz opponents on the pitch this season to the tune of seven conversions, which includes two games with a brace each, and a couple of crucial goals.
When asked about switching from track to football, Rico said that he enjoys the team aspect of football.
“Mas maganda talaga sa football eh, kasi enjoy. Sa track and field kasi, masyadong pressure. Sa football, team kayong maglalaro.”
Now, with the success he’s enjoying and with the environment that he’s in, Rico has found himself falling in love with “the beautiful game.”
“Nasa puso ko na talaga yung football, parang ayaw ko na talaga iwan.”
Of course, the former track runner-turned super striker is fully aware of his advantages and knows exactly how to use them.
“Advantage ko po talaga na before, track runner ako, once na kumuha ako ng bola, once na makita ko na medyo nahihirapan sa balance yung kalaban, i-pupush ko sa likod niya tapos tatakbuhin ko na lang.”
As mentioned earlier, Rico leads the league in scoring, but that really isn’t his main concern (he just happens to be already good at it). What Rico really cares about is for the team to be able to keep this streak of theirs going.
“Kahit naman hindi ako maging leading scorer, basta mapatuloy lang namin yung laro namin na maganda hanggang sa katapusan.”
The Tamaraws have won their last three games and are in position for another run at the title. Should they manage to claim their third straight title this year, Rico Andes will no doubt be a huge part of their success. In fact, at this point, Rico’s impact is already undeniable.
You know what the scary part is, for the rest of the league at least?
This is only the kid’s first year, and he’s bound to get a lot better in the future.