FEU claims Ang Liga title over UP

Nano Amita. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

Nano Amita. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

The FEU Tamaraws picked up yet another piece of silverware last Sunday, winning the Ang Liga Division 1 League crown thanks to a 3-0 win over UP in very moist conditions at the FEU Diliman pitch.

Rookie Dave Deloso poked in a goal off a defensive lapse from the Maroons early in the second half. FEU added two window-dressing scores late in second half-stoppage time from Paolo Bugas and Nicholas Ferrer as the State U players chased the game and keeper Ace Villanueva was forced to venture out of his area.

FEU’s Arnel Amita and UP’s Ryan Fermin were sent off by referee Clifford Daypuyat after clashing in the second half.

The greasy conditions made for unattractive football at times. While it didn’t rain much during the game itself, there was plenty of precipitation before kickoff.

Tams coach Kim Chul Su started many of his rookies, with Amita one of his few veteran starters. (Ang Liga is considered to be a developmental competition that allows nine subs per side.) But as UP doggedly held on throughout the half, one-by-one, the FEU regulars, Bugas, Ferrer, Jhan Jhan Melliza, Chy Villaseñor, Eric Giganto, and Van Rey Diaz, all made their way on to the field.

UP, in the absence of graduating Jinggoy Valmayor, deployed Daniel Gadia up top and later on sent forward centerback Ian Clarino to play target man, perhaps to trouble FEU’s towering Nigerian centerback, Josh Mulero. But they were unable to disturb Arjay Joyel’s net.

Deloso wasn’t the only first-year player who shone. Kyle Magdato, a smooth, composed left-sided midfielder, got a start from Anto Gonzales and impressed with his perfectly-weighted passes for UP.

Dave Deloso (18 for FEU) and Kyle Magdato (4 for UP) await the ball. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

Dave Deloso (18 for FEU) and Kyle Magdato (4 for UP) await the ball. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

The win cements FEU’s status as a heavy favorite for next year’s UAAP Season 78 football competition. They hope to match the feat of Ateneo from the mid-aughts and pick up a rare three-peat.

UP, who won the Cup competition of the Ang Liga a few months ago, are denied an Ang Liga double.

Ang Liga also has a Division 2, and in the final match of the second tier, played just before the Div 1 final, The University of Batangas defeated San Beda’s B team, 2-0, to win the trophy.

John Caparas (4) of the Brahmans. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

John Caparas (4) of the Brahmans. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

Both scores came from John Caparas, who eased the ball past the Bedan keeper with two composed one-v-one finishes.

The Brahmans, (get it? Batangas beef = Brahmans), have been in existence since 2011 and last week won the NCAA South championship. Their biggest rival in NCAA South is Letran of Calamba.

JP Limbo, a team alumnus and avid supporter, says they recruit mostly from the Batangas area, although they have a handful of Visayan recruits as well. They have a pretty tall team and look like they could compete very nicely with UAAP teams like Adamson or UE.

The Brahmans have a neat gimmick: during the awarding they use their index fingers to make horns on their heads, then shout “moo” as a rallying cry.

Great to see a non-UAAP or NCAA team win silverware in a competition like this. The Ang Liga is vital to giving these young university-level players added experience. The tournament deserves to grow in stature. Props to Aris Caslib and his staff in the PFF for making this happen. Thanks also to LGR, the official outfitter of the Ang Ligas, and Claude Go and his bunch at Topcoms, who provided the Star balls and KT tape for the players.

Next up for collegiate football: the Unigames, which I believe are slated for Bacolod during sem break. FEU has a bigger challenge, though. They will represent the Philippines in the World University Football Cup in China in November.

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