National University nipped De La Salle, 9-3, and University of Santo Tomas edged Ateneo, 6-5, to kick off their campaign in UAAP Season 76 softball that opened on Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Ballpark.
University of the Philippines (UP), on the other hand, had a rousing 13-3 rout of University of the East (UE) to open its season.
Surprise package UE, meanwhile, collides with defending champion Far Eastern University (FEU) in a showdown of league leaders today in men’s football tournament. The lone match is set at 3 p.m. at the FEU-Diliman pitch.
The women’s football match between titleholder FEU and Ateneo will be replayed on December 20 at 1 p.m. also at FEU-Diliman. In their November 27 duel that was rained out, the Lady Tamaraws and the Lady Eagles were tied at 1-1 before game officials declared an abandoned match. The Red Warriors, who only had a point to show last season, made heads turn this early by recording 10 points to grab the top spot. UE has beaten pre-tournament favorites UP, De La Salle and NU, before battling defending champion Ateneo to a 1-1 draw last Tuesday.
Comebacking striker Fitch Arboleda, who missed all of Season 75 due to injury, will be the main man for the Warriors. Behind the efforts of last season’s top goalscorer Jess Melliza and Nicolas Ferrer, the Tamaraws won their first three matches to collect nine points in second spot.
FEU is coming off a 3-1 victory over UST last Tuesday courtesy of a Melliza brace in the second half. Melliza, Ferrer and Arboleda are currently tied for the most number of goals in the tournament with four apiece.