UAAP 81 Football: UST faces DLSU in opening day matchup
ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 16, 2019 10:15 PM
DLSU and UST highlight the opening day matches of the UAAP Season 81 Men's Football tournament
MATCHES on SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 17 (FEU Diliman)
9:00 AM - NU vs. Adamson (Men's)
1:00 PM - DLSU vs. UST (Men's)
3:00 PM - FEU vs. UE (Men's)
Two of last season's semifinalists will look to begin the new season on a strong note, as Season 80 runners-up University of Santo Tomas faces De La Salle University in the opening day of the UAAP Season 81 Men's Football tournament, Sunday at the FEU Diliman Football Field in Quezon City.
Fresh off their best finish since Season 74 wherein they finished as runners-up, the UST Growling Tigers are once again strong contenders this season as they look to continue their streak of semifinals berths, which currently stands at three straight seasons.
The España-based squad will be missing the services of key cogs in Marvin Jake Bricenio and Gino Clarino. Fortunately for UST, back in uniform will be the likes of striker Steven Anotado, Dexter Benecio, Ian De Castro, AJ Pasion, and Jayson Rafol.
Perennial contenders in the men's football tournament, DLSU made their return to the semifinals last season after a disappointing campaign in Season 79 that saw them finish sixth. Now, the Taft-based side will once again try to contend for the title that has long eluded them.
Tasked with leading DLSU to the promised land will be team captain Jed Diamante as well as key holdovers in Yoshi Koizumi and Rafael Montelibano. The Green Archers will parade 13 new faces in Season 81, led by former De La Salle-Zobel standout Shanden Vergara.
UST and DLSU clash at 1:00 PM.
Kicking off the opening day action will be National University and Adamson University, a pair of programs who are hell-bent on cracking the top four.
For years, the NU Bulldogs have found themselves almost making the semifinals. Unfortunately, almost doesn't count for much, and expect the Sampaloc-based booters - who finished sixth last season - to use that hunger as motivation to finally make it into the Final Four.
No longer in Blue and Gold will be Lawrence Colina, who paced the Bulldogs' offense last season, but back in the lineup are the likes of Eddie Alivio, Jerico Dagsa, while former Far Eastern University standout Dave Deloso will be making his debut for NU.
In three of their four seasons in the UAAP Men's Football tournament, Adamson has found themselves dead last, save for that one season wherein they placed seventh. If there's any one program that's hungry for improvement, it's Adamson, and this season, they once again have a brand new slate and hope to finally escape from the cellar.
Steering the Soaring Falcons will be the Jumo twins, Bless Brian I and Bless Brian II, as well as skipper Jackson Ramos and keeper Carl Viray.
NU and Adamson face off at 9:00 AM.
Taking the pitch in the final match of the day will be Far Eastern University and University of the East.
Once considered a powerhouse program in UAAP football circles, the FEU Tamaraws have had some tough times in two of their last three seasons. Last season was a new low for the former back-to-back titleholders, as they finished seventh, their worst in a long, long while.
With the departure of star striker Rico Andes who transferred to NU as well as Audie Menzi and Arnel Amita who both played out their final playing years last season, returning players like Martin Salilig, John Renz Saldivar, and Harold Alcoresa will need to step up. Also expected to make an immediate impact will be former Baby Tamaraws star Chester Gio Pabualan.
After spending the better part of the last five seasons in the bottom of the standings, UE came painfully close to ending their playoff drought last season, finishing fifth and just a couple of breaks away from making the top four. With a revamped program thanks to the Fitch Arboleda tandem, the Red Warriors emerge as legitimate contenders in Season 81.
Star striker Mar Diano, Jasper Absalon, and keeper Frank Rieza are all back to represent the Red and White for Season 81.
FEU and UE do battle at 3:00 PM.
Catch the 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM matches live on LIGA channel 86, LIGA HD channel 183.
All matches will be available on LIVESTREAMING via https://sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/uaap and on iWant.