UAAP Season 80 Men's Football: Maroons off to a hot start in the post-Daniel Gadia era
“Ganoon talaga, players can't stay, we have to adjust talaga.” - UP striker King Miyagi.
With their 3-0 win over University of the East last Thursday, the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons have won their first two matches in the men’s football tournament of UAAP Season 80.
Judging from their performance against a young and hungry UE team that was coming in with momentum after an opening day win over National University, it looks like the Maroons haven’t lost a step, even if they’ve lost a couple of major pieces, including skipper Daniel Gadia, starting keeper Ace Villanueva, and defender Patxi Santos.
Against the Red Warriors, UP dictated the pace and the tempo of the match and imposed their will on the UE defenses and limiting UE's touches.
“Ganoon talaga, players can't stay, we have to adjust talaga.” said third-year striker King Miyagi, who managed a brace in Thursday’s encounter with UE. With the departures of Gadia and company, Miyagi, along with new team captain Ian Clarino and junior JB Borlongan will likely take on the leadership role left behind by last season’s seniors.
“We've been working on it during the preseason, naging okay naman. We've been rotating players, kung saan talaga sila dapat ilagay, and nakuha naman namin to.” Miyagi added.
Gadia, Villanueva, and Santos were instrumental to keeping the Maroons a perennial contender in the men’s football tournament, especially back in Season 79, where they took home the title.
And while Miyagi admits that the Season 79 MVP had some pretty big shoes to fill, the Maroons’ pre-season preparations helped bring this new-look squad up to speed.
“Honestly, he's a big loss. Nawala ang main keeper namin and main fields pero I think maganda naman ang ginawa nina coach sa pre-season games sa Ang Liga, Unigames, nakukuha namin ang adjustments sa team."
Soon, it will be Miyagi’s turn to bid the team goodbye, and right now, he says’ there’s a bit of pressure in stepping into a leader role, but it’s all part of the journey.
“Minsan naman, naprpressure ako but I think it's part of life na mag-lead sa team, aalis kami, yung next batch naman, sina Ian ang magdadala.”
If their opening day win over defending champions Ateneo is any indication of what lies ahead for UP, they could be in for another stellar season.
The Maroons will try to go for their third straight win when they take on Adamson on Thursday, February 15th, 9:00 AM at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.