FEU braces dominance over UP despite injuries

FEU Advocate
February 25, 2024 11:09

Far Eastern University (FEU) Booters remained resilient against the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons, 4-2, in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 86 men’s football tournament held earlier today, February 25, at the University of the Philippines Diliman Football Field in Quezon City.

It was a physical match from the get go, as both teams showed eagerness to take early control.

The Fighting Maroons got close to their goal multiple times, but the Tamaraw booters executed their defense tightly to deflect every strike.

In the 19th minute, FEU forward Karl Absalon managed to take advantage of the chaos, causing a goal by striking the ball off UP booter Orlan Togores.

Entering the second half, the physicality reached another level with players from each side clashing and stumbling.

Fortunately, Absalon put the Morayta-based squad at a comfortable 2-0 lead with another strike at the 53-minute mark.

However, Fighting Maroon Marc Tobias answered with a diagonal shot, inching them closer during the 56th minute.

Tamaraw forward Nickos Mamon then followed up with his own goal at the 58th minute after a successful push to stretch their lead back to two.

Players went down as the match continued to heat up, causing FEU's Marc Alipoon and Jermi Darapan to go out of the game due to an ankle injury and cramps, respectively.

Absalon followed suit as he left the match to deal with cramps.

The Katipunan-based squad were also affected by the intensity of the game, being granted multiple free kicks throughout, including a key penalty kick that was denied by Morayta-based goalie Jet Fabrigas at the 75th minute.

Near the end of the match, Fabrigas runs off his turf to deflect the ball in a UP push but was unsuccessful, leaving the goal open for an easy score for Fighting Maroon Ramil Bation III during the 86-minute mark.

Keeping their play up, the green-and-gold booters coordinated on a final push at the 87th minute, giving forward Martini Rey a successful opportunity to seal the win.

In a post-game interview with FEU Advocate, Rey highlighted the importance of willingness in their success.

“To be honest, hindi namin masyadong nalaro ‘yung normal game namin kasi nga UP is malakas din tsaka medyo pisikal din. Siguro 'yung key na tumulong lang din talaga na mapanalo ‘yung game is ‘yung willingness namin, ‘yung puso namin na ayaw magpatalo (To be honest, we did not get to play our normal game because UP is also strong and pretty physical. I guess the key that really helped us win is our willingness and our hearts that don't want to lose,” he said.

The Tamaraw booters totaled five injuries for the game, including a groin injury of Khent Valenzuela and an ankle injury of Gerald Estores.

FEU Booters head coach Alberto Besa stated how they dealt with the physicality of the game.

"It was very important that we did not concede any goals. As for the physicality, I think, yeah, every game is going to be physical at this point. Some of the players did already have some injuries. We were careful to work closely with our PT (physical therapist) so that they don't get any worse," he said.

The booters rise to 1-0-1 win-draw-loss card in the standings and intend to add another win as they will go up against the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles on Thursday, March 7, at the same venue. 

-Vince Matthew Jaramilla

(Photo courtesy of Kayla Babista/FEU Advocate)