Far Eastern University (FEU) looks to dominate Season 76 of UAAP men’s football with reigning champion Ateneo de Manila still groping for form and perennial contender University of the Philippines (UP) lurking dangerously in the sidelines after the first round of hostilities.
The Tamaraws are on top of the table, thanks primarily to fourth-year striker Jesus Melliza who leads the team with five goals, with a perfect 18 points. FEU completed the six-game sweep of the first round with a 3-1 beating of De La Salle, which has 9 points on a 3-0-3 record.
Ateneo, on the other hand, is all struggle in Season 76 and is languishing in the cellar with 1-1-4 for 4 points. The Blue Eagles, who are sorely missing ace goalie Nick O’Donnel who had to sit out the year because of academics, are below the Bulldogs of National University (4 points, 1-1-4) on a one-goal difference.
UP, meanwhile, opened the season with back-to-back setbacks to University of the East (UE) and De La Salle but are on the upswing. With Season 73 top rookie Jinggoy Valyamor getting more matured on the pitch, the Fighting Maroons racked up three wins—shutouts against NU (2-0), Season 75 finals tormentor
Ateneo (1-0) and University of Santo Tomas (UST, 4-0), in four matches to stay in the hunt at third spot with 9 points.
UP and De La Salle have identical number of points but the Fighting Maroons own a superior goal difference. And UE. Behind a dominant midfi elder in Fitch Arboleda, the 2002-2003 champion Red Warriors are shadowing the Tamaraws at No. 2 on the table with a 3-1-2 record for 10 points.
The Growling Tigers, last champions in 2006-2007, are with 7 points (7-2-1), good for fifth place.
Action resumes with the second round matches on January 9 at the FEU-Diliman pitch with Ateneo facing UE at 10 a.m., NU battling UP at 1 p.m. and UST squaring off with De La Salle at 3 p.m.