UAAP Season 80 Men's Football: Former MVP Paolo Bugas still optimistic about FEUís season
ďFirst round pa lang naman, marami pang pwedeng mangyari sa second round.Ē - Former FEU Tamaraw and UAAP MVP Paolo Bugas
What a difference a year makes.
A season ago, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws were in the thick of things at the top of the UAAP men’s football standings, and they eventually finished with the third-best record in the league and a finals berth.
This season, the Season 79 runners-up have been plagued by injuries and find themselves at seventh place with just one win after the first round.
And while everyone may be ready to count the former back-to-back champions out, at least one Tamaraw faithful isn’t.
Former UAAP MVP and champion Paolo Bugas, made a name for himself wearing number 39 on the pitch in Green and Gold says that there’s still a whole round left to turn things around.
“First round pa lang naman, marami pang pwedeng mangyari sa second round.”
Bugas, who now plays for Global Cebu FC in the PFL, spent nine years total playing football for FEU. In those nine years, Bugas helped the Junior Tamaraws and the Tamaraws to a handful of championships and netted himself a number of individual awards as well, including the MVP plum in Season 76.
So, yeah, Bugas knows a thing or two about winning, and he’s confident that his beloved Tamaraws can get back to winning once the second round begins.
“Na-eencourage naman sila na maglaro as a team, and at the same time, gagawin naman nila yung best for the upcoming games, lalo na sa second round kasi kailangan nila manalo sa upcoming games.” Bugas said. “Motivated parin naman sila, hindi naman sila nagpapadala sa mga results sa first round.”
Speaking of first round results, the Nabunturan-born Bugas was on hand to watch the Tamaraws close the first round against defending champion Ateneo last Sunday, in what would be one of FEU’s most spirited performances this season.
Down a goal in the first half, FEU unloaded a two-goal blitz just before halftime to take the lead, but Ateneo responded with two goals of their own in the second half to go ahead. FEU equalized once more down the stretch, but Ateneo utimately closed out with one final go-ahead goal for the thrilling 4-3 win.
Heartbreaking as it was to lose in that fashion, it also show just how dangerous the FEU side is, given that they’re down a handful of guys, and their star striker Rico Andes is playing with a torn MCL.
“Maganda naman [yung morale], maganda yung pinakita nila as a team, yung finishing nila okay naman, yung possessions sa game, yun lang talaga yung last minute, yun yung pinaka-importante.” said Bugas about FEU’s first round ender against Ateneo. “Siguro hindi lang sila nag-focus pa sa last minute nung game, kaya yung Ateneo yung nag-take advantage.”
Moving forward, the former King Tamaraw of football says that FEU needs to stay healthy, both mentally and physically, given that a lot of the guys are already playing hurt.
“Sa roster pa lang, onti lang sila eh, so kailangan talaga yung fitness kasi skills, wala namang problema, yung teamwork okay naman, so kailangan lang talaga ng fitness and mental strength.”
The Tamaraws open the second round against the surging University of the East Red Warriors on Thursday, March 7th, at the Rizal Memorial Football Field,
You can catch that match LIVE at 2:00 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23, S+A HD channel 166, LIGA channel 86, LIGA HD channel 183, and livestreaming on sports.abs-cbn.com